What: Phoenix Suns (49-21, 2nd in West) at San Antonio Spurs (33-37, 10th in West)
When: 11:00 a.m. MST ***EARLY START***
Where: AT&T Center
Watch: Bally Sports Arizona
Listen: 98.7 FM
Betting line: Suns getting 9.5, ML is Suns -435
So much for post-traumatic Spurs disorder. The team of Phoenix’s nightmares came up empty on Saturday, resting most of its players and giving the Suns an easy win to clinch the Pacific Division, keep their dreams of the No. 1 seed alive, and get to 50 wins on the season.
Now it’s time for a rematch. Same place, same time, same teams.
Phoenix Suns: Deandre Ayton (left knee) and Cam Johnson (right wrist) are OUT
San Antonio Spurs: Trey Lyles (right ankle) and Derrick White (right ankle) are OUT
**Also the Spurs rested DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Jakob Poeltl and Dejounte Murray on Saturday, while Monty Williams said the Suns might do the same on Sunday. We’ll see.
Projected starting lineups
Suns: Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, Dario Saric
Spurs: Patty Mills, Lonnie Walker IV, Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson, Devin Eubanks
Usually I’ll give you the teams’ offensive and defensive rating and all that in these sections, but it’s the last day of the season. You know all that. What matters now is whether the Suns will play their guys, whether they can get the 1-seed, and whether they want the 1-seed.
So, yeah — to rest or not to rest? Here’s what Williams said on Saturday:
“I’m trying to get my mind around that and those kind of things. ... I have to do what’s best for the team … it might be a good time for us to do it and have a few days off before we start the playoffs.”
The Suns are sort of victims of playing early today. The Jazz, Trail Blazers and Lakers all play in the evening, which means nothing will be settled by the time the Suns tip off in Texas. So Williams’ decision won’t be made for him, unfortunately.
That brings us to a guessing game. If we’re just operating based on what should happen, we can expect that Utah, the Clippers and the Lakers will win. That would give the Jazz the 1-seed and the Lakers pole position for the the 6-seed. However, because Portland has the tiebreaker over the Lakers, the Trail Blazers would also need to lose to fall to 7. They play Denver, who also has some thinking to do about whether they actually want to win and face the Lakers in the first round, or lose and get Dallas.
Of course, the Suns can’t fall to 3, and so long as they don’t have to worry about the Lakers, it doesn’t much matter if they get 2 or 1. The second round figures to be pretty crazy either way. But going into this game, they can’t know for sure that Utah will lose or that Portland will lose.
In my mind, that makes it smarter for Williams to play the Suns’ starters and aim for the 1-seed, even if the odds are low. Winning is always good, too.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs honestly have nothing to play for, other than maybe rubbing in to Suns fans how good Devin Vassell looks (he went after Jalen Smith in the draft). They may rest even more players on Sunday, or maybe swap some different guys into the game and let someone like Mills or Gorgui Dieng have the day off.
This game itself is hard to predict because we don’t know who will play, so instead, I’ll predict the final West standings:
- Trail Blazers
Have fun today, guys. This will be the thread for the game, too, so go crazy in the comment section. And remember to enjoy this!