Game Day Preview: Spurs vs. Suns

SAN ANTONIO SPURS (2-1) vs. PHOENIX SUNS (1-2)
TEAM LEADERS

Points Rebounds Assists
SPURS Manu Ginobili 19.7 Tim Duncan 8.7 Tony Parker 7.3
SUNS Jason Richardson 18.3 Robin Lopez 8.3 Steve Nash 6.7

The San Antonio Spurs will continue their road trip as they visit the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center. The Suns swept the Spurs in last seasons’ Western Conference semifinals matchup, so expect the Spurs to play hard and try to get some payback.

The Suns (1-2) are coming off a 114-106 loss against the Los Angeles Lakers while the Spurs (2-1) won their last game against the Los Angeles Clippers 97-88.

The Spurs might face the Suns without George Hill who suffered an injury after receiving a hard foul from Clippers’ Craig Smith. If Hill cannot play, Gary Neal and James Anderson could see more playing time. It would be interesting to see if Tiago Splitter will get more action in this game.

The Suns will meet the Spurs for the first time since Amar’e Stoudemire signed with the New York Knicks, but they will have some frontcourt help from their newcomers Hedo Turkoglu and Hakim Warrick.

Keep an eye out on Tim Duncan. He could leave Phoenix as the second leading scorer in Spurs’ history. Duncan is 23 points shy of matching George Gervin’s total of 20,708 for second in franchise history.

KEYS TO THE GAME

SPURS:


Offense
Against the Suns’ thin frontline, Duncan could have a great game. Also, the Spurs are sharing the ball well and averaging 27 assists in the first three games (good for third in the NBA). Tony Parker, Richard Jefferson and Manu Ginobili are leading the teams’ offensive attack and Neal and Anderson are hitting their outside shots.
Defense – The Suns are a team that can score and it will be key for the Spurs to contain Steve Nash and his play-making ability. The Spurs have to dictate the tempo of the game to keep the Suns off-balanced and try to take away the Suns’ running game.
SUNS:

Offense – The Suns’ offense starts with Nash, but he gets a lot of help on offense. Entering the game against the Spurs, five Suns players are averaging in double figures.

Defense – The Suns have to be wary of the Spurs’ outside shooters especially if they opt to double Duncan down low. Also, containing Jefferson, Parker and Ginobili will be key.

INJURIES

Spurs — George Hill – trapezoid muscle (day-to-day), Matt Bonner – sprained right ankle (out). 

Suns — Josh Childress – sore hip (day-to-day)

PREDICTION: Last seasons’ playoff ouster is still fresh on the Spurs’ minds. Expect them to play hard and bring their game against the Phoenix Suns who are still integrating new players on their rotation. This will be a close one, but exciting if the Spurs continue to run-and-gun. The Spurs should win it by seven points or less.

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