NBA Viewing Guide: Stephen Curry, Warriors travel to Phoenix

Scott Halleran

The Warriors-Suns and Pelicans-Nuggets highlights Sunday's slate of games.

There are six games slated Sunday in the NBA and we're here to help you sort through which games to watch and what to watch for. The Rudy Gay Experiment continues against one of the NBA's hottest teams, Eric Bledsoe squares off against  Stephen Curry and more.


Houston Rockets vs. Sacramento Kings

League Pass; 6 p.m. ET

The Rockets, fresh off their win Friday night against the Warriors, have won seven of their last 10 and are producing the NBA's third best offense. The Kings have put up points -- registering a slightly above average offense via Basketball-Reference -- but the real question fodder here is the Rudy Gay narrative.

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How will Rudy Gay fit? In his first game as a member of the Kings, Gay scored 24 points on 12 shots. That type of efficient production isn't something we're used to seeing from Gay, so expecting that again would be sophistry. But we should get an idea Sunday, and in the coming days, as to how he'll fit alongside DeMarcus Cousins and Isaiah Thomas.

Reading material: Sacramento's terrible defense overshadows Rudy Gay's debutRockets-Kings preview

Main Course

Golden State Warriors vs. Phoenix Suns

League Pass; 8 p.m. ET

The Warriors are struggling to find a second playmaker alongside Curry. That was the role Andre Iguodala, who has missed the last 12 games with a strained hamstring was supposed to fill. Without Iggy, the Warriors are 5-7 but just good enough, at 13-11, to keep the ship afloat.

The Suns have far exceeded preseason expectations, setting their early season schedule ablaze to the tune of 108 points per 100 possessions. That defense is below average, but Goran Dragic and Bledsoe are combining for nearly 40 points and 12 assists and five other guys are scoring between nine and 12 points a game.

Can Golden State regain its footing? If the season ended today, the Warriors would miss the playoffs. The loss of Iguodala obviously hurts and getting him back will go a long way in returning the Dubs to form, but until then, Curry and crew need to find a way to stay out of a hole. Getting Klay Thompson back on track would certainly help -- he's shot just 11-of-37 from long range in the last five games.

Is this sustainable for the Suns? No one expected Phoenix to play this well out of the starting gate, so it's fair to wonder if it can continue winning at this rate in a loaded Western Conference. The script has already flipped in Phoenix -- it has gone from a franchise looking to collect assess to one willing to trade draft picks, if it means a complete rebuild.

Reading material: Everybody loves DraymondWho are these Phoenix Suns?


New Orleans Pelicans vs. Denver Nuggets

League Pass; 8 p.m. ET

Two quality, fun Western Conference teams duking it out for position in the standings will almost always make the juicier parts of our viewing guide. That's what we've got in the Pelicans and Nuggets. New Orleans is 3-2 without its star, Anthony Davis, and the Nuggets are chugging along thanks to a career-best season from Ty Lawson.

Can the Pelicans maintain through a tough road stretch? Denver is the first stop in a five-game road trip that runs through Golden State, Los Angeles (Clippers), Portland and Sacramento. Winning two of five in that span would keep New Orleans at .500. Looking at that schedule, the Nuggets and the Kings look the most winnable.

Are the Nuggets the real deal? Denver has won just two out of five games, after winning seven in a row. Those three losses came at the hands of the Cavaliers, the Celtics and the Jazz. The wins? A one-point game over the Wizards and a late win over the 76ers. After its game against the Pelicans, Denver will play the Thunder, Suns, Clippers and Warriors. We'll start to get a better sense of Denver after that stretch.

Reading material:

Pass It On

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Memphis Grizzlies

League Pass; 6 p.m. ET

At the beginning of the season, this would have been a marquee matchup out west and one that would have fit under the other Viewing Guide categories. The Timberwolves are a fun team to watch, but the Grizzlies, without Marc Gasol, are a bit of a drag. They make their living taking the beautiful sport of basketball and turning it into a cesspool. It works, but that doesn't mean it's fun.

Reading material: A question of defense"There ain't no loyalty in this game"

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Detroit Pistons

League Pass; 6 p.m. ET

Andre Drummond is a full time #LeaguePassAlert, but the Pistons, as a team, are not. If there's anything we've learned of the Blazers so far, it's that they love to score and they do it a lot. Expect a big loss coming Detroit's way. If that's your things then do you, but I will not join you in your tomfoolery.

Reading materialSizing up LaMarcus Aldridge's competitionWhat's the future of Detroit's "big three?"

Orlando Magic vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

League Pass; 7 p.m. ET

If watching a helpless, young team get blown out on the road is your thing, then the Magic-Thunder game is for you. If not, then you may want to stay away from the bloody massacre that will inevitably ensue. As a devout Magic apologist and Orlando Pinstriped Post writer, my eyes will be glued to the screen. But I don't suggest this game for the feint of heart.

Reading material: How Oladipo improved his jumperHow Andre Roberson shut down Kobe

More from SB Nation NBA:

"What the f--k is this?": An oral history of Kurtis Blow's "Basketball"

The Hook: Where did New York's draft picks go?

5 ideas for improving NBA divisions

Deeks: The NBA's trade season is about to start

"ATO" geniuses: Former NBA assistant coach explains out-of-bounds plays

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