When: 7:00 p.m. AZ Time
Where: Footprint Center, Phoenix, Arizona
Watch: Bally Sports AZ, ESPN
Listen: 98.7 FM
This is the final week of the regular season and for teams like the Phoenix Suns, it’s one last chance to fine tune your engine prior to the race of the postseason. For other teams, like the San Antonio Spurs, it is the end to the means. The long marathon is nearing its completion, and they want nothing more than to begin counting down the days until the lottery balls determine their draft fate.
Tuesday night will see these two differing story lines intersect as the Suns host the Spurs for the final time this season. Gone are the days of Tim Duncan and Tony Parker versus Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire. A matchup such as this 15 years ago would be “must see TV”. Tonight it’ll just be “see, TV?”.
The road for the Spurs has been a long one, as before the season even began they were resigned to the fact that they would not be a competitive team in the Western Conference. The best player they’ve had in five seasons, Dejounte Murray, was dealt to the Atlanta Hawks. At the trade deadline they sent Jakob Poeltl to the Toronto Raptors.
It’s clear that they’ve had no interest in competing this season as they hope that Victor Wembanyama will be in black and silver next year. Despite those facts, they can still jump you. The Spurs are coming off of a 142-134 victory against the Sacramento Kings.
Phoenix is riding high on a five game win streak and are currently undefeated with Kevin Durant in the starting lineup. They’re playing quality basketball at the time in which it matters most and the hope is it will carry into the postseason and result in a deep playoff run, ultimately ending in a championship.
This house is clear.
- Romeo Langford (thigh) is QUESTIONABLE
- Zach Collins (finger) is QUESTIONABLE
- Keldon Johnson (foot) is DOUBTFUL
- Devin Vassell (knee) is OUT
- Jeremy Sochan (knee) is OUT
- Khem Birch (knee) is OUT
- Charles Bassey (leg) is OUT
What to Watch For
There isn’t much to look forward to from the Spurs side of the ball, but don’t be shocked as they are a young team that comes out swinging. Any team coached by Gregg Popovich possesses grit and fundamentals, and if the Suns believe that they can win simply by taking the court, they’d be mistaken.
The focus should be on just that: the Suns’ focus. How do they respond when they are supposed to win? Last week against the Denver Nuggets, who rostered their third team and didn’t start four of their five starters, we saw Phoenix become lackadaisical after taking a 27-point lead. That killer instinct that Kevin Durant possesses needs to permeate throughout the roster.
Accountability and focus must be the mantra from Monty Williams.
Keys to a Suns Win
Play your game.
The early returns with Devin Booker and Kevin Durant aren’t just glowing, they’re historic. The deal is combining for 56.2 points per game. It is the “others”, most notably the second team unit, that will be the key to victory.
The Spurs will continue to fight for every player on their team that has something to play for. NBA relevancy. A potential roster spot next season. If the second team unit is lackluster, the Spurs can jump the Suns, and the game that should be an easy win will become anything but.
Never underestimate an opponent, especially one who you’re supposed to beat.
The Suns will be offered plenty of three-point opportunities. The Spurs are last in the league in perimeter defense, allowing a shocking 39.1% by opponents. That being said, if the Suns are having an off night from beyond the arc, they must adjust.
Suns won’t though. I’m feeling 17 made three’s from the Suns and an easy victory against a team I will always despise, even when they suck.
Suns 131, Spurs 109
When the game is over, join the Suns JAM Session Podcast as we discuss the game live on YouTube: