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Game Preview: Suns go for season sweep against the visiting Spurs

Phoenix looks to extend streak to 10, be the first to 40 wins, and secure Monty Williams as West coach in All-Star game

NBA: Phoenix Suns at San Antonio Spurs Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

What: Phoenix Suns (39-9) vs. San Antonio Spurs (19-31)

When: 6:00 PM AZ Time

Where: Footprint Center, Phoenix, AZ

Watch: Bally’s Sports AZ

Listen: 98.7 FM


The Phoenix Suns play host to the San Antonio Spurs as they look to extend their winning streak to 10 - their second double digit win streak of the season - and get their 40th win before their 10th loss. They would also be claiming a sweep of the season series versus the Spurs, after winning the first two encounters.

And there’s an added bonus: As long as the Suns get to 40 wins by February 6, their coaching staff will be the coaches representing the Western Conference in the All-Star game. A win tonight would clinch that accolade.

Coming from an entertaining victory over the Timberwolves at home last Friday, the Suns will look to maintain their offensive productivity while still dealing with a number of injuries. Unlike the last win against the Spurs - where Booker dominated Suns scoring with 48 points - Phoenix’s last game told a different story. One in which 7 of the Suns 9 available players scored in double figures, including a much needed 17 point performance from Landry Shamet off the bench.

As for San Antonio, despite their 19-31 record, they come in confident after beating the East second seed Chicago Bulls on that same Friday. Winners of the 2 of their last three games, their are only 2.5 games behind the Portland Trail-Blazers for the 10th seed in the west and are currently fighting for their second consecutive play-in spot. However, they have recently ruled out Dejounte Murray, Jakob Poeltl and Derrick White for the game in Phoenix.


Likely Starting Lineups

Suns

  • Chris Paul
  • Devin Booker
  • Mikal Bridges
  • Cam Johnsons
  • Bismack Biyombo

Spurs

  • Tre Jones
  • Lonnie Walker IV
  • Doug McDermott
  • Keldon Johnson
  • Jock Landale

Injury Report

Suns

Deandre Ayton (Questionable - ankle); Jae Crowder (Questionable - wrist); JaVale McGee (Questionable - knee); Cameron Payne (OUT - wrist); Frank Kaminsky (OUT - knee); Dario Saric (OUT - knee); Abdel Nader (OUT - Knee).

Spurs

Jakob Poeltl (OUT - back); Dejounte Murray (OUT - knee); Derrick White (OUT - rest); Keita Bates-Diop (OUT - H/S protocols); Zack Collins (OUT - G League); Devontae Cacok (OUT - G League).


What to Watch For

Rotations: The Suns have updated Crowder, McGee and Ayton to questionable, but given their history of being cautious, it would be surprising to see them play tonight. With big absences on both sides, both coaches will be facing decisions on their rotation. The Suns have only 9 available players, and have been playing all of them. The Center rotation for San Antonio is a question mark. Popovich made a point to go big in their last game, however, with Poeltl out, we will have to see if he will be able to do it again.

As for the guard rotation, it’s the Suns who we need to pay attention. Despite amazing play, Chris Paul has been playing closer to 40 than to 30 minutes, and the Suns would love an opportunity to scale that back. Let’s hope Shamet can build on his last good game and that this gives Monty and opportunity to rest CP3.

Offense: Coming out of their best offensive performance of the season, the Suns will look to keep their rhythm. Although playing great basketball and having a top 10 offense, the Suns have had much less success with high scoring affairs than expected. They are currently 31-0 when their opponent scores 110 points or less - which means that they are 8-9 when they do score more than 110.

San Antonio does not have a top rated offense, but they are a smart, well coached and athletic young team and also lead the league in assists per game with 27.8, having dished 35 in their 131-122 win against Chicago.

Devin Booker: The Suns superstar has been on a tear lately and has a good case for player of the month award. Ja Morant (28.6) and Devin Booker (28.2) are currently the leading scorers in the West, but the Grizzles have a 11-3 record, while the Suns hold a 12-1. And let’s not forget he dropped 48 on this same Spurs this same month. If Booker can lead the Suns to another win and put up good numbers, he has a great chance of taking it - the Grizzles close out January with a road game in Philadelphia on Monday.

The crowd: Not only the team is on a great win streak, but there will always be a sweet sensation in Phoenix when there’s a good chance to beat the Spurs, let alone sweep a season series. Considering this is a Sunday game at a reasonable hour, I do expect the house to be packed and loud tonight.


Prediction Time

This could be considered a trap game, as any San Antonio team with Popovich is respectable, despite their injuries. However, the Suns have proven they can very well deal with any sort of trap they face. Suns win 110-98.