The ninth seed in the Western Conference will be up for grabs tonight when the San Antonio Spurs (18-23) travel to Arizona to take on the Phoenix Suns (18-24). The Memphis Grizzlies (20-23) are the eighth seed in the West.
The Spurs are 6-13 on the road, however they’re coming off a successful road trip that included victories in Boston over the Celtics and in Toronto over the Raptors.
Oddly enough, the Suns are actually better on the road (9-10) than they are at home (9-14). That said, oddsmakers have Phoenix as the heavy favorite in tonight’s game.
San Antonio Spurs Injury Update
The Spurs don’t have anyone injured — but they have two players battling an illness. Rudy Gay is out for the third straight game with the illness, while DeMarre Carroll is also out due to an illness. Considering Carroll has only played four minutes in the last 12 games and was listed as inactive in the last two contests, his absence isn’t exactly a big deal for the Silver and Black.
Last game, Dejounte Murray was listed as questionable due to an illness but he was ultimately able to play — although he didn’t perform well. The good news is he’s not even on the injury report for this game in Phoenix, which is a positive sign that he’s feeling better.
Phoenix Suns Injury Update
Kelly Oubre Jr. was a game-time decision due to a concussion but the Suns received good news when it was announced that he will suit up and be ready to play tonight.
However, the news wasn’t as good for Aron Baynes and Cameron Johnson. Baynes will miss the game with a hip injury, while Johnson is out with a quad injury.
Spurs at Suns – Key Matchup
The last time these two teams played, 23-year-old Suns star Devin Booker was out with injury. Tonight, he’s ready to go. The Spurs will have their hands full, as Booker is averaging 26.5 points, 6.4 assists and 4.1 rebounds while hitting over half of his shots from the field.
If head coach Gregg Popovich starts Bryn Forbes on Booker, that would be suicide. Either Dejounte Murray or DeMar DeRozan would be better options. It’s also possible that Lonnie Walker IV could be elevated to the starting lineup with the specific purpose to defend Booker.
Prediction: Spurs at Suns
The Suns are predicted to win this game 117-113 by oddsmakers. The Spurs have played better versus the better teams in the league. Will they look down on the Suns or will they realize that this is a big game due to the seeding implications? We’ll find out but I suspect they’ll be up for this one.
San Antonio Spurs – 121
Phoenix Suns – 120