The Suns visit the Warriors for the final game between the two Pacific Division teams.

The Phoenix Suns (36-25) pay a visit to the Golden State Warriors (39-24) for what could prove to be a very important game for each team's playoff positioning. A win tonight for Phoenix would bring them to a tie with the Golden State in the loss column and also give them the tiebreaker for the season, which could prove instrumental if both teams end the season with the same record.

The Warriors are playing well as of late, winning 8 of their last 10 and currently riding a 3 game winning streak. They currently have their #FullSquad together and are hoping to hit their stride as they regular season nears its end. The Suns, meanwhile, are winners of 6 of their last 10 and are coming off a huge home victory against the OKC Thunder, as they look to carry that momentum into a road victory tonight. Eric Bledsoe is returning on Wednesday, which will definitely help the Suns' regain some of their own #FullSquad swagger.

Who: Phoenix Suns @ Golden State Warriors

What: Round 4 of 4 between two Pacific Division teams vying for postseason berths.

When: 6pm PST/9pm EST (6pm AZ time)

Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA

Why: Playoffs! Dragic vs. Curry! Pacific Division foes!

Recap of Rounds 1-3

Round 1: Suns (106-102 at home as the Slash Bros. prevail over the Splash Bros.)

Round 2: Warriors (Warriors rout Phoenix 115-86 in the Suns' biggest loss of the season)

Round 3: Suns (Goran Dragic's 34 points on 13 shots power Phoenix to a 122-109 at home)

The Opponent


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
Stephen Curry 60 36.9 8.2 17.8 46.1 3.3 8.0 41.3 3.9 4.5 86.7 0.6 3.8 4.5 8.7 3.9 1.6 0.2 2.7 23.6
David Lee 58 33.6 7.5 14.5 51.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 3.6 4.6 78.7 2.9 6.7 9.6 2.2 2.2 0.7 0.4 2.9 18.6
Klay Thompson 63 36.1 6.7 15.4 43.2 2.7 6.6 40.2 1.8 2.2 80.7 0.5 2.5 3.0 2.3 1.7 1.0 0.5 2.8 17.8
Jordan Crawford 62 25.4 4.1 10.0 41.1 1.1 3.5 30.7 2.2 2.5 87.0 0.4 2.1 2.5 4.3 1.9 0.7 0.1 1.6 11.5
Harrison Barnes 59 28.4 3.6 8.9 40.5 0.9 2.3 39.7 1.8 2.4 74.3 0.8 3.2 4.0 1.4 1.1 0.8 0.2 2.2 9.9
Andre Iguodala 51 32.9 3.5 7.6 46.6 1.0 2.9 34.5 1.3 2.1 63.2 0.8 3.9 4.7 4.3 1.7 1.6 0.3 1.7 9.4
Steve Blake 36 29.9 2.9 7.6 37.7 1.7 4.4 39.2 0.8 1.0 80.6 0.3 3.0 3.3 6.6 2.1 1.1 0.1 1.8 8.3
Jermaine O`Neal 29 20.8 2.8 5.6 50.9 0.0 0.0 0.0 2.2 3.0 73.9 1.9 3.5 5.4 0.4 1.2 0.4 1.0 2.5 7.9
Andrew Bogut 55 26.9 3.7 5.9 63.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.4 1.1 34.4 2.9 7.5 10.3 1.6 1.6 0.8 1.9 3.1 7.8
Marreese Speights 62 11.5 2.1 5.1 42.2 0.1 0.4 29.6 1.5 1.7 84.1 1.2 2.1 3.3 0.4 0.7 0.1 0.4 1.7 5.9
Draymond Green 63 20.3 2.0 5.2 38.4 0.6 1.9 30.3 1.0 1.5 62.5 1.0 3.6 4.6 1.7 1.0 1.2 0.8 2.6 5.5
Nemanja Nedovic 21 6.3 0.4 1.7 22.9 0.1 0.8 18.8 0.2 0.3 83.3 0.1 0.6 0.7 0.6 0.6 0.0 0.0 0.6 1.1
Ognjen Kuzmic 17 3.4 0.2 0.6 27.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.4 42.9 0.4 0.4 0.7 0.1 0.6 0.1 0.2 0.7 0.5

Key Matchups

Goran Dragic vs. Steph Curry

Per Game Stats:

Advanced Stats:

Both players' shooting percentages are phenomenal, but the fact that Dragic's TS% and eFG% are even higher than Curry's shows what a tremendous season he's having. It's really a shame that only one of these guys was an All-Star this year.

Gerald Green vs. Klay Thompson

Gerald Green is coming off a scintillating performance against the Thunder, when he scored a career-high 41 points. Both of these players are streaky volume shooters so it'll be interesting to see who will have the hot hand tonight.

Miles Plumlee/Alex Len vs. Andrew Bogut

There's no official word yet on whether Plumlee will be available for the game tonight. If he's not, Alex Len will likely get his third straight start and will have his work cut out for him against the imposing Andrew Bogut, one of the league's premier defensive centers. The Suns' big men will have to battle Bogut hard on the boards.

The Morris Twins vs. the Warriors Bench

Both Morris brothers were great against the Thunder on Thursday night and the Suns could surely use similar performances tonight. The Warriors' bench hasn't been very good this season, but their play has been much better lately. The twins will have to provide some scoring off the bench and outduel the likes of Draymond Green, Jermaine O'Neal, and Jordan Crawford.

Ish Smith vs. Steve Blake

With Eric Bledose still out until Wednesday night, Ish Smith will be the primary backup for Dragic and will need to play well against the Warriors' newest player, the very capable Steve Blake. Smith should be able to use his speed and quickness to make Blake work on the defensive end.

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Note: I'll be at Oracle Arena covering this game and I'm hoping to get a chance to speak with a few of the Suns players to get some quotes. Be sure to follow me (@sreekyshooter) and Bright Side of the Sun (@BrightSideSun) on Twitter to keep up with live coverage.

Time: 6 p.m. MST TV: FSAZ and NBATV Fresh off their longest hiatus since the All-Star break, the Phoenix Suns return to the hardwood Sunday night looking to build off Thursday night’s 128-122...

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Because you guys and gals matter.

Thanks to Crown Royal, your friendly neighborhood Suns blog is able to offer some great giveaways to twitter contest winners in the coming week!

Bright Side started with the giveaways last year, providing game tickets and spending money to three games in March and April of 2013. We gave a game experience to two teens and one Bright Sider. And again last fall, we had a small podcast contest to win Suns swag.

Now we're back with more!

$100 NBA.com gift card

I will announce a contest on Sunday via my twitter account for predictions on the Golden State game. The winner gets a $100 gift card for NBA.com!

You have to follow me to partake in the contest. It will be easy. Anyone can win!

Crown Royal Product pack

Enjoy several flavors of Crown Royal Whiskey in a product pack worth more than $100, sent directly to your home (winner must be 21 or older).

This contest will also be on twitter, sometime in the next week.

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We have NBA sponsor Crown Royal to thank for these giveaways. They really recognize the value of NBA influencers like me and you, the readers.

With the 2013-2014 NBA season in full-swing, Crown Royal is not only looking to pro basketball teams and players that Reign On both on and off the court with greatness, but also to the fans who root for the teams and players day in and day out - those same fans who strive to Reign On in their own lives, in their own right every day.

They've already thanked me with an All-Star experience I will never forget, and now they want to thank you.

So, follow me on twitter and watch out for the announcement of the contests!

Reign On

Thanks to our partner, Crown Royal, your friendly neighborhood Suns blog gets to hand out some great prizes, starting with an NBA.com git card. Just gotta use the twitter to get in.

Okay, here it is Suns fans!

To win a $100 NBA.com gift card, courtesy of our partners Crown Royal, you need to predict the final score of tonight's Phoenix Suns game vs. the Golden State Warriors.

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This is a twitter contest! Leave your predictions on my timeline this way:

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Follow me on twitter to watch the action and see who wins: @DaveKingNBA

-----

We have NBA sponsor Crown Royal to thank for these giveaways. They really recognize the value of NBA influencers like me and you, the readers.

With the 2013-2014 NBA season in full-swing, Crown Royal is not only looking to pro basketball teams and players that Reign On both on and off the court with greatness, but also to the fans who root for the teams and players day in and day out - those same fans who strive to Reign On in their own lives, in their own right every day.

They've already thanked me with an All-Star experience I will never forget, and now they want to thank you.

The Phoenix Suns know that Eric Bledsoe makes them a better basketball team, but the adjustment period could be rough as he is incorporated back into the rotation after 31 games out.

The Phoenix Suns will finally be adding a big piece to their team in the coming days. Not from a deadline trade, nor from overseas or from their couch in Miami (apologies, Shavlik).

With the Suns playing a back-to-back on Sunday (Golden State) and Monday (Los Angeles Clippers) before returning to play Cleveland in Phoenix on Wednesday, expect the Suns to be cautious with Bledsoe's return. After 31 games out, it's not advisable to force Bledsoe to play a back-to-back when he's hardly done that in scrimmages.

UPDATE: Bledsoe says to expect Wednesday against Cleveland:

Screen_shot_2014-03-08_at_8

The Suns are 16-8 in 24 games with Bledsoe this season. When both he Goran Dragic finish the game together, the Suns have an even better 13-5 record. Without Bledsoe, the Suns are 20-17 on the season.

Eric Bledsoe, step right up. But please, don't mess it all up in the process.

"You have to get him in at some point and it's always an adjustment," coach Jeff Hornacek said of Bledsoe returning after 31 games away. "Especially for a guy who's been out for a while. Guys' minutes will be different; they're going to be playing with different groups of players, so there's always that little adjustment. We have to somehow figure out how to get him into that without screwing up our rotation."

My guess is that Bledsoe will come off the bench for a couple of games as the first guard up, with a minutes limitation to build up his stamina. He will share some minutes with Dragic, with Green, with Ish Smith.

Very quickly, however, Bledsoe will be right back in the starting lineup and finishing games alongside Dragic. Remember, the Suns are 13-5 this season when they finish games.

But can the Suns afford the inevitable adjustment period while they are fighting to keep their playoff spot?

"You saw it in Oklahoma City when Westbrook came back," Hornacek said. "It takes a couple of games to get back to being used to the rotations and who you're out there playing with. That's hard."

Thunder coach Scott Brooks wouldn't lay the Thunder's three game losing streak upon Westbrook's return on his point guard, though.

"I think a lot of people thought we would have trouble adapting Russell (back in), but that wasn't the problem at all," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "We weren't playing defense. Adding one of the elite players in the league is gonna help us. When you've got one of your better players back to play, you put him in his normal spot."

Indeed, despite Reggie Jackson playing so well in the starting position, it's really Russell Westbrook's position. As you saw on Thursday night against the Suns, Westbrook was excellent in his minutes. He torched the Suns offensively and defensively.

But the Thunder's defensive rotations were weak, and their second unit's cohesiveness was missing. Jackson was the team's point guard when the Suns went on that 28-5 run.

"Obviously every game is a big game from this point on," Hornacek said. "We can't afford (losing three straight, like the Thunder did) when does back so hopefully it's seamless and guys jump right back into it."

For the Suns, the transition will be different. Shooting guard Gerald Green, who just scored 41 points on Thursday, is the players who will eventually lose his starting position.

Much has been made of Green's poor play off the bench earlier this year, but that was overblown. Green actually took and made more three-pointers in November and December (198 attempts, 39.4%) than in January and February (160 attempts, 35%) despite playing more minutes. It's his mid-range game and drives to the hoop that have expanded in recent months, primarily due to being a bigger part of the offense with Bledsoe out and playing against starting defenses.

Green will still get his most of his minutes, and he will be a good soldier about it. He's said over and over again this season that he doesn't care what his role is. He just wants the team to win.

But the initial games will be a challenge as Bledsoe re-integrates into the lineup. Just when the Suns schedule gets really tough and every game counts.

At least, he's got a set of teammates who aren't letting the pressure of a playoff run ruin their fun.

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