When: 3:00pm AZ Time (early start!)
Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix AZ
TV: Fox Sports Arizona
Radio: 98.7 FM, Arizona Sports
"It's a dream come true."
Earl Watson, the interim coach of the Phoenix Suns, is a very serious young man. He speaks in inspirational tones with a voice gruff from yelling more than he probably has in his life. But lately, when he utters the phrase "it's a dream come true" he's clearly using sarcasm, having a bit of fun with the whole situation.
Yesterday, he used it to describe how great it is that your best scorer is a 19-year old rookie who didn't even start in college.
Last week, he used the phrase (with a chuckle) to describe his baptism as an NBA coach against some of the best teams in the NBA. Watson is 0-6 as an NBA coach, with losses to the playoff-bound Raptors, Rockets (2x), Jazz, Thunder and Warriors. Not a winnable game in the bunch.
Today, it's the Spurs coming to town.
All I want to say about the 46-9 Spurs, who are about to have their 17th consecutive 50+ win season (and 23rd in their last 27 seasons), is this...
Here's Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich on what the Spurs want in a player.
It helps a whole lot to have that generational talent who embodies these qualities in a Hall of Fame skill set (Tim Duncan, and David Robinson before him). But the Spurs have put players around those two their whole careers who fit this mold and just win games the right way.
Today will likely be their 48th win of the season, against only 9 losses.
According to reports (mostly the inimitable Paul Coro), the Suns are indicating that Alex Len will likely play today after recovering from another twisted ankle. Len would start at center with Tyson Chandler nursing a bruised shoulder (also a short-term injury).
The Suns signed Phil Pressey to help with point guard duties as Archie Goodwin continues to play hard but really isn't a point guard. I mean, when Ronnie Price's passing skills are a breath of fresh air, comparatively, you're lacking in point guard skills.
"His presence calmed us," Watson said Price's return against Houston on Friday night. "And it just shows that we need a point guard on the court constantly. And until we get Brandon Knight back, we have to find ways to stay within the game."
Archie Goodwin and Devin Booker have been sharing most of the point guard duties for weeks now, but with Price back and Knight returning in the next two weeks those two will be able to share the more natural shooting guard position.
But Knight isn't back yet and Price isn't up to speed yet, so Phil Pressey will probably get some minutes over the next several days.
The Spurs are one of the very best teams in the league, while the Suns are one of the very worst. So to predict anything but a Spurs win would be silly.
But there's still some predictions to be made...
My big prediction is that the Suns will play a competitive game for the first 2-3 quarters before folding to the Spurs pressure at some point in the second half.
My smaller prediction is that Devin Booker will have a good game. Remember that the Spurs' Danny Green gave Booker a bit of coaching in their last matchup, telling Booker to fight harder around screens to come to the ball to make himself more available for shots. Booker doesn't back down, and will take another matchup against Green as a positive.
Also, I'm hoping (rather than predicting) that at least one of Archie Goodwin or Alex Len has a good game. They're playing against certain Hall of Famers (Tony Parker, Tim Duncan) but need to rise to the challenge to keep the Suns competitive.
My final prediction is that at least one of you readers has already jumped down to the comments section after reading the first few paragraphs of this preview to make a snarky comment about the "winnable" game on Thursday before coming back to read this far.