San Antonio Spurs at Phoenix Suns Preview
The San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns will both be on the road this afternoon for what will be considered a home game for the Suns in Mexico City. It’ll be the first matchup between the teams this season as they play in the cavernous Arena Ciudad de Mexico.
Who would have thought at the beginning of this season that a quarter of the way through, the Suns would be in playoff position and the Spurs would be Western Conference cellar-dwellers? Phoenix is currently 11-13 and in eighth place in the West. They lost their last game and are 4-6 in their last 10. They are in 5-5 on the road, even though they are considered the home team tonight.
The San Antonio Spurs continue their struggles with consistency and are just 9-15, sitting in 12th place in the Western Conference. They lost their last game, are 4-6 in their last 10 and are 2-8 on the road, which does not bode well for them this afternoon.
Time: 5 PM ET
Arena: Arena Ciudad de Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico
Channel: NBA TV
Spurs: No injuries
Suns: Devin Booker (Q), Cameron Johnson, Dario Saric, Aron Baynes (P)
San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup
The San Antonio Spurs have been searching for some form of consistency and continuity all season. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has tried adjusting lineups with some success but at some points, the Spurs look like they can beat anyone, as they defeated the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Clippers recently, but also got blown out by Detroit and were .500 in overtime games against Sacramento and Cleveland lately.
“Cleveland played for 48 (minutes), we played for 24,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “That’s the bottom line.”
Against the Cavaliers, who had just had five wins prior to the game, the Spurs got sloppy with their lead late in the fourth quarter and allowed Cleveland to creep back in. It’s been a troubling trend in San Antonio lately, and then they have to go into overtime with a lineup Popovich uses that is unable to secure rebounds, as Dejounte Murray and Lonnie Walker IV are left to sit. On Thursday night, the Spurs were outscored in the extra period 14-6 to lose the game 117-109.
They watched as Kevin Love, who is likely being auditioned for trade partners, had likely the best game of his season with 30 points and 17 rebounds as he outplayed and outhustled LaMarcus Aldridge. Collin Sexton also put up 28 and San Antonio native Jordan Clarkson had 25 points. If the Spurs play with the effort they played with against Cleveland, they can easily get blown out by Phoenix, because Phoenix is the better offensive team who has shown that offensively, they can keep pace with anyone.
Phoenix Suns Starting Lineup
The Suns had a big win against Minnesota on Monday but then dropped a game 115-108 on Wednesday to the Memphis Grizzlies. The Suns got off to a slow start, scoring just 19 points in the first quarter, which put them in a hole they tried to dig themselves out of but came up short.
“We have to be more consistent,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “But 29 assists, most nights you’d be like, ‘This is fine,’ but that’s not us. We’re usually in the 30s. I could just think of five or six, maybe seven times where we just didn’t move it to the next guy, so that’s something we’re going to be talking about.”
In the loss, it was a rare low-scoring night for Devin Booker, who had 15 points and 10 rebounds. Ricky Rubio finished with 22 points and eight assists, Frank Kaminsky had 24 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. had 14 points and 13 rebounds. The Suns also got some nice contributions off the bench from Aron Baynes with 12 points, and Cameron Johnson, who notched 11.
If Booker can get going tonight, and they get more of a contribution from Dario Saric or Mikal Bridges, the Suns could find some success against the Spurs, and Monty Williams knows San Antonio well, having served in their front office the last few years.
Key Player Matchups
Devin Booker vs. DeMar DeRozan
This should be a fun one. DeRozan isn’t having the second-year jump in San Antonio as most would expect, and he’s had trouble closing out games and knocking down key free throws, but he’s still one of the best mid-range shooters in the NBA and he’s hard to stop. Meanwhile, if you don’t make a concerted effort to defend Booker, he can go off quickly and end up scoring upwards of 30 points quickly.
Ricky Rubio vs. Derrick White
Ricky Rubio is having a fantastic season for Phoenix, looking better than he has in years and being that steady hand at point guard the Suns have needed while providing some veteran presence. White is clearly a big part of San Antonio’s future and he plays with no fear. He has range out to the three-point line and he uses sneaky speed to get to the rim and finish with layups that seem to always surprise his defenders.
DeMar DeRozan and Devin Booker are fantasy studs for tonight’s game. Booker has a FanDuel Salary of $8.6k with a projection of 37.64 points. DeRozan is available for $7.9k and is expected to finish with 35.48 points.
If you’re looking for a lower-budget value option, Dejounte Murray appears to finally be off his minutes restriction and while his scoring doesn’t always pop off the page, he does well at boosting several categories. He’s available for $6.5k and has a fantasy points per game average of 26.5
Bet on Matchup
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