What: Phoenix Suns (13-30) host San Antonio Spurs (36-6)
When: 8:30 Tip Off (LATE!)
Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, AZ
Radio: 98.7 FM Arizona Sports
The Spurs have LaMarcus Aldridge and David West at power forward. The Suns might only have P.J. Tucker and Cory Jefferson there.
The Spurs have MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard at small forward. The Suns might only have... hmm... Devin Booker? Sonny Weems?
And the Spurs still have their Big Three for the 82nd straight season.
Previous Suns/Spurs matchups
As Boris put the last time these two teams faced off...
Game day at home against the @Suns ! It's not the same rivalry than in the past but always good games! See you tonight fans!— Boris Diaw (@theborisdiaw) December 30, 2015
Well they aren't always good games.
The Suns have lost by 16, 14 and 33 in their last three meetings, all in San Antonio.
The last time the Suns hosted the Spurs for a regular season game was the time the Suns put up just 24 first half points, followed angrily by Markieff Morris calling out the fans for their poor performance.
Here we go again. And again. And again. Remember when we all thought the Spurs were starting to fade in 2009 and 2010? Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan all looked like they'd already passed their prime.
Yet here we are SIX YEARS LATER and the Spurs are still one of the two best teams in the NBA and it's not even close. Sure, they've made significant changes to the bottom two-thirds of their roster, but the Big Three remain key cogs in the lineup just as they've been for the past 1,236 years.
The Spurs have done it by keeping their transcendent players and coach intact to keep the winning atmosphere going, while adding new players around them from reaches that don't include the NBA Draft.
But hold your horses for a minute. Don't even for a minute talk about how the Suns couldabeen the Spurs if they'd just kept their 2010 team intact. While Duncan, Parker and Ginobili have all been extremely healthy, the Suns core of Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire and Jason Richardson of that season are all long since injured and retired. None have been healthy since 2012, and even that was iffy.
Of course, if the Suns had just taken Kawhi Leonard at 13 that year instead of Markieff Morris, the rebuild might have been smoother. If the Suns could have found and molded Danny Green and Patty Mills when they were available, or any host of other retreads the Spurs have turned into machines, the rebuild might have been smoother. If the Suns had Gregg Popovich and R.C. Buford at the helm, the rebuild might have been smoother.
But I digress. All I meant to say was that 2010 was a long, long, long time ago for both teams.
It's possible the Suns will face the Spurs on national television tonight without five of their top six scorers on the season.
Eric Bledsoe (season), T.J. Warren (bruised knee/spirit), Markieff Morris (bruised shoulder/ego), Mirza Teletovic (bruised push-off-for-the-shot ankle) and Jon Leuer (sore show-boating back) all missed practice yesterday.
Any or all of the last four players listed could play tonight, or all four might not. Maybe Hornacek will pull a Pop and rest half the team just to mess with the national TV guys and see if his remaining charges can pick up the slack.
What we DO get to see is whether Brandon Knight can play any more efficiently than a rec league guard, and whether Cory Jefferson has some NBA game. Oh yeah, and that fun rookie Devin Booker gets to face the league's very best defense.
This game might just be a car wreck, where you don't want to see anything ugly but you still look anyway.
I'll be looking.
What I expect to see is a guy like Boban Marjanovic make Alex Len look like a preteen. And Danny Green to snuff out Devin Booker's heat chart. And Tony Parker to add himself to the exclusive Brandon Knight vine club. And Tim Duncan to stoically walk back down the court after a make. And LaMarcus Aldridge to smile and laugh at his good fortune.
One part of tonight that WILL be fun is that its 90s night! The Suns try to harken back to the good ol' days when Charles, Dan and the crew used to roam the halls and win a lot of games.
The first 5,000 fans in attendance will receive a Ring of Honor pint glass featuring Charles Barkley and Dan Majerle. Fans will also enjoy throwback concession prices including $2 hot dogs, sodas and popcorn at various locations throughout the arena, and will be able to play ‘90s video games in the Suns Social Media Lounge.
Let's hope the Suns wear some cool 90s uniforms. At least that will be fun.