When: 7:00 PM AZ time
Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, AZ
Watch: FoxSports Arizona
Listen: 98.7 FM Arizona Sports
Another year, another dominant Spurs team. Despite a new ensemble that casts newcomers Pau Gasol and David Lee as defensive anchors at times, the Spurs are always gonna Spur, piercing opponents with their one-of-a-kind fundamentals and heady play.
Tonight’s game pins Spurs coach Greg Popovich against one of his disciples — our very own Earl Watson. Popovich has sung the praises of Watson before, and their relationship tosses another subplot into the already storied Suns-Spurs matchup. Phoenix has not held up their end of the bargain competitively in comparison to these everlasting Spurs, but each game sparks a different kind of juice than normal.
Eric Bledsoe has been shooting flames lately, slicing his way to the rim and nailing nifty floaters when a clogged lane forces his hand. For all of the (warranted) build up surrounding the young talent, Bledsoe is still the engine that makes this team go, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Pop plugs Kawhi Leonard on him for stretches if the game stays close late. Then again, Pop could throw Davis Bertans on him just for the mind**** factor. Your guess is as good as mine.
Devin Booker is going to have to be more efficient than he was on Tuesday night, and I am going to guess that he will be. Dude is still so young — trapped in that phase where a young player will sometimes force unwarranted “I’m the man” shots late to assert their ascension towards becoming the alpha male.
After being hailed the golden boy (shout to Jerry Seinfeld’s t-shirt) all summer, Booker has been slipping out of favor when it comes to touting “who’s got next.” Nate Duncan assembled an interesting rankings list earlier in the week that pinned Booker as an “honorable mention” prospect behind the likes of Jamal Murray.
The problem with being so good and so young is that the masses will overreact on both sides of the spectrum. Ball out and you are spearheading the next wave of stars; plateau or struggle for an extended period and you don’t have what it takes. The answer is usually somewhere in the middle. Book is going to be fine.
Even if the Suns end up with an L tonight, I am interested to see how they fare competitively. Fresh off of a win against a mildly strong opponent in the New York Knicks, Phoenix needs to parlay their momentum into a competitive duel against an upper echelon foe to build positive energy that will sustain.
I can’t wait to be pumped for this game only to have Leonard kill my vibe after he steals five passes in the first five minutes with his octopus arms.