James Harden and the Nets face Phoenix on a back-to-back (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire)
- The Brooklyn Nets and Phoenix Suns matchup on Tuesday night
- Brooklyn is without Kevin Durant (hamstring), but James Harden and Kyrie Irving are expected to play
- Get the latest odds, betting information and a pick below
The Phoenix Suns are three-point favorites over the Brooklyn Nets for their February 16th meeting. Brooklyn is on the second night of a back-to-back after beating the Sacramento Kings on Monday night.
Phoenix is on a six-game winning streak after blowing out the Orlando Magic on Sunday. Per ESPN, Monty Williams has no injury concerns for this game.
Kevin Durant is sitting out a second straight game with a hamstring issue. Durant’s absence is a key factor in the Suns’ favorites status.
Nets vs Suns Odds
|Brooklyn Nets||+3 (-110)||+123||O 230.5 (-112)|
|Phoenix Suns||-3 (-110)||-143||U 230.5 (-109)|
Odds taken on Feb 16 from DraftKings
Kyrie Irving put the Kings to the sword on Monday. A 40-point night from the former Celtic helped the Nets win comfortably. Doing so on just 22 shots, Irving’s efficiency allowed Steve Nash to rest his key players in the fourth quarter. Irving played just 30 minutes, while Jeff Green, Bruce Brown and Joe Harris were all at 25 or fewer.
Amid Kevin Durant’s brilliance on return from injury and James Harden’s triple-doubles, Irving’s scoring has perhaps been overlooked. Only six players are scoring more than his 28.3 per game. He’s doing that on an impressive 64.7% true shooting. Operating off-ball with Harden running the point, Irving is pulling defenses around the floor with his movement, and still getting ample opportunity to dip into his iso game.
Kyrie and Harden dominated vs. Sacramento:
Irving: 40 pts, 9-11 3pm, 4 reb
Harden: 29 pts, 6-10 3pm, 14 ast, 13 reb
Dangerous duo 🌟 pic.twitter.com/x8QSnhfnEm
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 16, 2021
Phoenix is an elite defensive team. They’re fifth in defensive rating, and Chris Paul will relish the defensive matchup with Irving. Irving is taking and making difficult shots, however. When he’s at his best, there’s very little the defense can do. If he gets going on Tuesday as he did on Monday, it could prove difficult for the Suns to keep pace.
Deandre Ayton’s role has altered with the turnover on the Suns roster. He’s taking fewer shots, and scoring less. Ayton has scored just 21 points across his last two games. This, though, is a matchup where Monty Williams may look to Ayton as an important offensive piece. Brooklyn is at their best when they go small, and Phoenix’s best counter to that is to get Ayton claiming offensive rebounds and doing work inside.
Check Deandre Ayton’s 👀👀 before talking about why #Suns are rolling right now.
Winners of six in a row, Phoenix 6-1 in 2nd of back-to-backs. 5-7 in those games last season.
“This is a winning team and we’re turning into a winning legacy and we’re going to keep it that way.” pic.twitter.com/gpf5LQeOvG
— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) February 15, 2021
The Nets rank 28th in the league in February in opponent field goal percentage on shots six feet or closer to the rim. They also rank in the bottom half of the league in frequency of such shots. Phoenix has multiple players capable of getting to the basket, but how effective Ayton can be in the paint will be a decisive factor in this game.
Rebounding is crucial from Ayton and the other Phoenix bigs. Only the Pistons have a worse defensive rebounding percentage than Brooklyn this month. Ayton ranks fifth in offensive rebounds per game this season – can he wreak havoc on the glass?
Rest Helps Suns
Phoenix is 3-1 when they have a rest advantage, as they do here. Brooklyn is 2-4 on the season on the second night of a back-to-back. There are mitigating circumstances for many of those losses with the disruption the Nets have dealt with this season, but they are once again without Durant on Tuesday.
Devin Booker has won his first Western Conference Player of the Week award:
4-0 record pic.twitter.com/yvLWjIJDit
— Gerald Bourguet (@GeraldBourguet) February 15, 2021
Harden and Irving led a big offensive performance against the Kings. Sacramento is a bad defensive team. Producing such big numbers against the Suns will be a much tougher task. Phoenix look after the defensive glass and they don’t turn the ball over – they will make the Nets work for every bucket.
Devin Booker has found his offensive rhythm. He’s 12th in scoring in February. The Suns are a true two-way team, but the same cannot be said of Brooklyn, particularly when Durant is out.
Pick: Phoenix Suns -3 (-110)
Sam Cox is a freelance writer and sports junkie, who has spent the past several years immersed in the online gaming industry. He has worked with 888sport, Oddschecker, and Colossus Bets to name a few. Based in the UK, Sam also runs Franchise Sports with his brother.