Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Phoenix Suns – Game #79
The San Antonio Spurs (20-58) complete their three-game road trip tonight against the Phoenix Suns (43-35). The Spurs are coming off of one of their best wins of the season. In Sacramento, the Silver and Black stunned the third seeded Kings in overtime by a final score of 142-134.
Against the Kings, the Spurs got great performances from a number of players including Tre Jones, Doug McDermott, Julian Champagnie and Dominick Barlow (see the Grades). Jones had a triple-double, McDermott had 30 points, Champagnie had a career-high 26 points and Barlow had his first career double-double along with a career-high five assists. Prior to that victory, San Antonio had lost six consecutive contests.
The Suns appear to be peaking at the right time. Phoenix has won five straight games and, more importantly, they are healthy. Kevin Durant, who was acquired from the Brooklyn Nets in a midseason trade, is averaging 26.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists in six games with the Suns. Their leading scorer is actually Devin Booker, who is averaging 28.0 points per game along with 5.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds.
In the Western Conference, the Suns currently sit in the fourth seed. It’s unclear who the Suns will play in the first round of the playoffs but possible opponents include the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors.
San Antonio Spurs Injury Update
The Spurs will be without seven players tonight, including four of their five starters. Keldon Johnson has a right foot sprain, Jeremy Sochan has right knee soreness and Zach Collins has a finger injury. Starter Devin Vassell will also sit out due to left knee injury management.
The three bench players who will be sidelined are Romeo Langford, Charles Bassey and Khem Birch. Langford is out due to left adductor injury management. Centers Bassey and Birch have been out for a while with knee injuries and will miss the rest of the regular season.
San Antonio Spurs Starting Lineup
Who will head coach Gregg Popovich opt to start? The one remaining starter is Tre Jones at point guard. The four other starters will likely be Devonte’ Graham, Malaki Branham, Keita Bates-Diop and Sandro Mamukelashvili. Other possible starters include Julian Champagnie and Dominick Barlow.
No matter who starts, expect Popovich to take a long look at the youngsters, namely Branham, Mamukelashvili, Champagnie, Barlow and Blake Wesley.
Betting Guide: Spurs at Suns
The Suns are favored to be the Spurs by 19 points and the over/under is set at 234.5 points. While, yes, the Spurs are fresh off of their impressive road win in Sacramento, don’t expect another shocking victory tonight like they had against the Kings. Instead, the smart money is actually on the Suns to win by 20 or more points.
The Spurs are dealing with a ton of injuries, while the Suns have nobody of note injured. Phoenix also needs to keep winning for playoff positioning purposes, while the Spurs have no real reason to go out of their way to win.