Programming note: Suns-Warriors coverage starts tonight at 7 p.m. with Warriors Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, and streaming live right here.
OAKLAND – The Warriors can expect a warm welcome in their first game at Oracle Arena since clinching the Pacific Division title and the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs last week.
Their opponents, the Phoenix Suns, will be hard-pressed to ruin the return.
The Warriors (61-13) have won the last 10 games. Moreover, they last lost a home game to Phoenix on Feb. 2, 2011, when Acie Law and Ekpe Udoh were on the roster.
The Suns (38-37) were among three teams fighting for the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference playoffs before fading badly over the past week, losing their last four games.
At this stage, Phoenix is experimenting with lineups and maybe even planning vacations.
Warriors by 11.5
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Stephen Curry vs. Eric Bledsoe: Curry is playing his best ball in recent weeks and seems to raise his game when confronting a challenge. The Suns became Bledsoe's team after the trade of Goran Dragic, but Bledsoe has struggled to handle his increased role. Based on recent work, this is a mismatch.
Andrew Bogut vs. Markieff Morris: Even as the Suns sink, the bigger Morris twin is playing well, averaging 18.7 points over his last 10 games. Though Morris occasionally wanders outside, it's reasonable to assume Bogut will be assigned to such a rugged customer.
David Lee vs. Brandan Wright: Wright is a lanky forward whose limited offensive skills make him ideal for Lee to defend. Wright, who usually starts for the injured Alex Len, does his work with activity in the paint, cleaning up missed shots. Lee should have plenty of opportunities to score and to set up teammates.
KEYS TO VICTORY
1) A rude welcome: In light of recent achievements, Oracle will be rocking. If the Warriors hit the Suns hard early, this one could be over quickly.
2) No seconds or thirds: The Suns often employ a small but active lineup that can be fierce on the offensive glass. The Warriors have to limit the multi-shot possessions.
3) Park on the arc: The Suns are 23rd in the league in 3-point defense. The Warriors, with their shooters, have to be looking forward to exploiting this weakness.
Warriors 10-0, Suns 5-5.
Warriors: F Draymond Green (inflammation in both shins) is listed as questionable.
Suns: G Brandon Knight (left ankle sprain) is listed as questionable. C Alex Len (broken nose) is listed as out.
The Warriors have won the last six meetings at Oracle Arena and 10 of the last 13 overall. Prior to this run of success, the Warriors had not won a season series over Phoenix since 1994-95.