The Suns (4-5) will end a five-game road trip at San Antonio and hope to have small forward T. J. Warren back on the court against the Spurs. Warren scored 40 points on Wednesday in a win over Washington but was injured on Friday when he collided with Enes Kanter, center for the New York Knicks. Josh Jackson filled in for Warren and scored 13 points. Devin Booker led the Suns in scoring on Friday against the Knicks with 34 points. The Suns are averaging 107.3 points per game on offense, while allowing 117 per game.
San Antonio (5-4) began the season with four consecutive wins thanks to LaMarcus Aldridge carrying the team offensively. Aldridge is averaging a team high 22.6 points per game in additional to 8.4 rebounds. However, the Spurs lost four straight after teams focused on shutting down Aldridge. Charlotte attempted to do the same on Friday but four Spurs players off the bench scored in double figures, led by Bryn Forbes with 22. The Spurs are only averaging 98.6 points per game while allowing opponents 100.6 per game.
Three keys to the game
San Antonio to spread out scoring – The Spurs have relied too much early this season on Aldridge. Part of that is due to Tony Parker and last season’s leading scorer Kawhi Leonard being out injured. San Antonio have managed just 94 points or less in four of their past five games played.
Suns must defend in the paint – Phoenix allowed the Knicks to shoot nearly 52% from the floor and New York scored 62 points in the paint, with most of them coming on backdoor cuts against the loose Suns defense. Tyson Chandler, Jackson, and Warren must clog up the paint and make the Spurs beat the them with perimeter shooting.
T. J. Warren’s health – The Suns do not have depth offensively beyond Booker and Warren. If Warren cannot play or is not 100% his absence will once again affect the offensive output of the Suns. Warren is the second leading scorer behind Booker, while Eric Bledsoe, the team’s third leading scorer, is out due to a trade request he made that soured his relationship with the organization.
Matchup to watch
Pau Gasol vs Tyson Chandler – The Spurs rely a great deal on Aldridge to score, but Pau Gasol could take advantage of Chandler down low, not only in scoring terms but also through his good passing skills and rebounding abilities. If Gasol can score easily on Chandler, it will take pressure off Aldridge. Chandler leads the Suns in rebounding, averaging 9 per game while scoring just 7.8 points per game.
Suns projected starting lineup
PG – Mike James |SG – Devin Booker | SF – Josh Jackson | C – Tyson Chandler | SF – T. J. Warren
Spurs projected starting lineup
PG – Dejounte Murray | SG – Danny Green | SF – Kyle Anderson | PF – LaMarcus Aldridge | C – Pau Gasol
San Antonio have given up big points defensively this season to wings, so the opportunity is there for Warren if he is healthy or Jackson if he plays more in Warren’s absence.
San Antonio enters this game off a win at home while the Suns end their five-game, ten-day road trip. The line has San Antonio as 10-point favorites with an over/under point total of 215.5. This game should be high scoring and the over looks like a solid choice.
San Antonio will win their second straight game and cover, 120-109.
This game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Southwest, Fox Sports Arizona and NBA TV. Tip-off is at 7:00 p.m. ET at the AT& T Center.
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