NBA-Best Suns Looking To Continue Red-Hot Surge
Next week, the reigning Western Conference champion Phoenix Suns will look to make another statement when they host the Chicago Bulls at the Footprint Center.
On Mar. 18, DeMar DeRozan and the surprising Bulls will come to Phoenix for a late evening showdown (10:00 pm EST). This will mark the final meeting of their two-game season series; the Suns defeated Phoenix 127-124 in a back-and-forth thriller at the United Center back on Feb. 7.
Even without All-Star point guard Chris Paul (sidelined with a fractured thumb), the Suns are running away with the NBA’s best record. Barring a late season slump, the Suns will hit the 60-win mark for the first time since 2006-07; that Steve Nash-led group won 61 regular season contests.
They are poised to have home advantage throughout the 2022 postseason. It’s no wonder that FanDuel gives Phoenix the best NBA Championship odds at +430. If you want to bet on upcoming Suns games, you can check BetMGM Arizona which is offering up to $1,000 in risk-free bets.
BetMGM Arizona’s $1,000 risk-free bet can be applied on bets for the state’s major sports teams – the Suns Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Coyotes and Suns. BetMGM Arizona offers all sorts of different bets, including game lines, futures, totals, player totals and much more.
Aside from individual Suns games and futures, Phoenix fans can also bet on Devin Booker to win the league MVP award. Booker’s current 2022 MVP odds are listed at +4000, but a hot finish could lead to him winning the award for the first time in his career.
The Suns fell in six games to the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals a year ago. But Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and a hopefully healthy CP3 will make Phoenix a tough out in the postseason.
One can argue that this is the greatest regular season team the Suns have ever assembled. And anything less than a championship has to be considered a disappointment.
Bulls Vying For Home Court Advantage In Postseason
For a while, the Bulls, Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat were neck-and-neck for the top seed at the Eastern Conference.
But the Bulls — arguably the NBA’s biggest surprise team of 2021-22 — have come back to earth in recent weeks. A recent slump has virtually ended Chicago’s hopes of locking down the No. 1 seed in the conference, and a top-four seed is the more realistic target at this point.
The Bulls’ defense and lack of scoring depth were exposed in losses to top contenders against the Memphis Grizzlies (Feb. 26), Miami (Feb. 28), Milwaukee (Mar. 4) and revamped Philadelphia 76ers (121-106).
DeRozan, the most impactful 2021 offseason free agent signing thus far, and Zach LaVine and standout Nikola Vucevich alone give Chicago enough offense to get by for now.
But it’s hard to see them getting past the top teams in a best-of-seven series. They simply don’t have the star power, defending personnel or bench to hang in there with the top teams like Miami, Milwaukee and Philadelphia.
Simply making the postseason and avoiding the play-in tournament would make for a successful campaign in the Windy City.
But at the same time, the season can be considered a bit of a disappointment if Chicago doesn’t win at least one playoff series. That’s just how it is when you consider that they were sitting atop the East not too long ago.
Bulls vs. Suns Predictions
Even without Chris Paul, it’s very tough to pick against the Suns in practically all of their remaining regular season groups. Head coach Monty Williams has done a magnificent job in keeping this confident and poised without the future Hall of Famer.
Phoenix’s schedule over the next two weeks is rather friendly. But between now and Mar. 20, the showdown with Chicago should serve as their toughest challenge.
Even though the Phoenix has been virtually unstoppable in the new year, the Bulls should pose a tremendous challenge without having to worry about the CP3. Paul had 19 points and 11 assists in the aforementioned Feb. 7 meeting at United Center.
Still, Williams’ Suns are well-equipped to limit the damage that Chicago’s “big three” can do. DeRozan (38 points) and LaVine (32 points) put up jaw-dropping performances in that Feb. 7 meeting, but it’s going to be utterly difficult for the two stars to repeat those outings against the Suns’ stingy defense.
Furthermore, Phoenix has a much deeper bench that can make up for any potential off games from Booker, Ayton et al. The Bulls have continuously struggled to guard against the NBA’s top scoring teams throughout the season, and it’s hard to envision them having success here at Footprint Center.
It should all add up to another win and season series sweep for Phoenix.
Prediction: Suns 110, Bulls 94