The San Antonio Spurs are in town for a classic showdown against the Phoenix Suns!….Oh wait, it’s not 2010 anymore. Still, it’s tough not to reminisce the good old days, back when the Suns and the Spurs were bitter rivals and every single game between these two teams were as big as any other in the NBA. Nowadays, the Spurs are still one of the top dogs, in fact they currently are the top dog, owning the best record in the NBA at 44-13 but the Suns have become bottom dwellers.
“Move forward, re-focus, it’s big one in Phoenix,” said guard Tony Parker. “We want to finish on a good note before we go back home. If we win in Phoenix, it will be a very nice road (stretch). … Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.”
The Spurs fell to the Golden State Warriors two nights ago in overtime; the loss snapped San Antonio’s five-game winning streak. The Spurs are the favorites in tonight’s game by a margin of 9.5 points according to ESPN.com. The Suns are injury free but the Spurs will be without star point guard Tony Parker who will be spectating tonight’s game as he’s sitting out with a right triceps contusion.
Keys to the game: Suns
- Shot selection! It seems like every quarter the Suns play, I bang my head against the table at least once because someone in purple and orange would hoist up a contested 20-footer with 10 seconds left on the shot-clock. I’m not pointing fingers here(Michael Beasley), but the Suns has to find better looks.
- Gear up defensively! These aren’t your father’s Spurs, these are the modern Spurs, the Spurs that have slowly become one of the juggernaut offenses in the NBA. San Antonio has scored 100+ points in seven of their last eight games. San Antonio ranks 2nd in the league in FG% behind only the Miami Heat, not to mention 4th in scoring at 104.4 points per game.
Keys to the game: Spurs
- Fast break points. The Spurs scored just two fast break points in their loss to Golden State. Yes, we all know the Spurs are getting up there in years, but two fast break points?
- Give it to Tim Duncan. Marcin Gortat has not proven to be a good post defender. He’s solid help defender, solid pick and roll defender but he struggles defending post-up centers. The Spurs should look to get it to Duncan early to see if he’s poised for success against the Polish Hammer.
Tony Parker. The Spurs are known notoriously for being able to secure wins without key players, well they’re at it against tonight as they’ll be without Parker. The Spurs are 2-1 this season without Parker, 9-2 without Duncan and 10-3 without Manu Ginobili.
Match-up of the night!
Tim Duncan vs. Marcin Gortat! Gortat ripped the Suns defense nearly the moment he arrived in Phoenix, but he hasn’t made a tremendous difference. In Duncan’s last three games against Gortat, Duncan is averaging 23 points on nearly 70% shooting. We’ll see whether or the Polish Hammer is able to hold his ground against veteran Duncan this time around.