Scouting the Suns: Nash-Gortat will be primary focus for Spurs


After going 1-1 during the week against the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies, the San SNAntonio Spurs (41-16) prepare for their last home game of the week before heading to the west coast for a three-game road trip in three consecutive nights.

The Spurs are hosting the Phoenix Suns, who are currently right outside of the playoff picture in the Western Conference, as they are placed one game behind both the Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets.

The Suns are coming into San Antonio off a win in Houston on Friday, as the Suns are 6-4 in their last 10 games, though 14-17 on the road this season. The Spurs have won both meetings this season against Phoenix, and in both wins, the Spurs have scored over 100 points.

Case No. 58: Phoenix Suns (31-28)

The Kings

  • Steve Nash – 12.8 points, 11.1 assists, 9.2 FGA (54%), 2.4 3PT (40%)
  • Marcin Gortat – 15.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, 11.7 FGA (57%), 4 FTA (65%)

The Knights

  • Jared Dudley – 12.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, 9.8 FGA (48%), 3.2 3PT (37%)
  • Grant Hill – 10.7 points, 9.5 FGA (45%)
  • Channing Frye – 10.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, 9.8 FGA (41%), 4.2 3PT (34%)
  • Shannon Brown – 10.6 points, 9.8 FGA (42%), 3 x 3PT (35%)

The Bishop

Michael Redd – 8 points, 6.8 FGA (41%), 2.7 3PT (30%)

The Pawn

Markieff Morris – 7.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, 6.9 FGA (41%), 2 x 3PT (37%)

Offense vs. Offense

1. Points: Spurs (101.8) – Suns (98.1) = Spurs

2. Assists: Spurs (22.6) – Suns (22.7) = Suns

3. Shooting percentage: Spurs (47.1%) – Suns (45.8%) = Spurs

4. Three point shooting percentage: Spurs (39%) – Suns (34%) = Spurs

5. Turnovers: Spurs (12.9) – Suns (13.5) = Spurs

Offensive Leader: Spurs 4-1

Defense vs. Defense

1. Opponent scoring: Spurs (96.4) – Suns (97.8) = Spurs

2. Opponent shooting: Spurs (45%) – Suns (45%) = Tie

3. Rebounds: Spurs (42.5) – Suns (41.5) = SpursMG

4. Personal Fouls: Spurs (17.3) – Suns (18.6) = Spurs

Defensive Leader: Spurs 3-0, one tie

Game Expectation

In the Spurs’ two wins against the Suns, the obvious issue that can be seen is defending the pick-and-roll when Nash and Gortat are running their sets. The Spurs haven’t done too well in limiting both players, and then throw in the fact that Brown scored 32-points in the last meeting, and the Spurs will have their work cut out for them.

The Spurs must also keep in mind that the Suns recently beat the Lakers without Kobe Bryant by 20-points last weekend. But the Suns lost to the Grizzlies on Wednesday, so either way, this Phoenix team has the capability to beat anyone on any given night if their shots start falling.

The Suns will see a new Spurs team as Stephen Jackson didn’t play in the last game, but the Spurs are expected to have their full squad in uniform tonight. The Suns’ bench isn’t as deep as San Antonio’s, so it’ll be interesting to see how long the Suns can keep pace with the Spurs’ depth.

The Spurs must continue to do what they did on Thursday when they defeated the Grizzlies: play with focus and energy, limit their turnovers, share the ball, and play team defense. Defense will be especially be important when Gortat and Nash are out on the floor running the pick-and-roll.

The Spurs could also be looking at new situational lineups as Boris Diaw started the second half on Thursday, and head coach Gregg Popovich told me after the game that he wants Diaw to get more minutes to get more acclimated with the system.

As good as the Suns have been lately, I just don’t think they have depth to stay with the Spurs, but this Suns team can put up 100-plus points consistently, so the Spurs must also be on their toes tonight.

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Paul is an editor, writer and content manager for (@ProjectSpurs) and (@ATLeague_NBA). Paul is also the host of the Spurscast (@TheSpurscast). Paul has been a credentialed media member covering the San Antonio Spurs and NBA since 2011. Paul has been featured on numerous radio, tv, online and podcast shows.