The San Antonio Spurs (34-21) are back on the road after a curious five-game homestand. The Spurs, who had been one of the best home teams in the league coming into that run of games, lost three of the five. Although, two of them came against the second-place Rockets and the red-hot Jazz. LaMarcus Aldridge had a monstrous performance against the Jazz in a losing effort. The All-Star big man had 31 points on 12-of-19 shooting with three steals and two blocks. However, their defense simply had no answer for the Jazz’s hot 56 percent shooting.
The Spurs will look to snap their skid against the Phoenix Suns (112-93), who continued their recent slide with a 112-93 defeat against the Lakers last night. The Suns have now gone a mere 2-11 over their last 13 games. With Devin Booker out due to a hip injury, TJ Warren (24 points, six rebounds, three steals) and Josh Jackson (16 points, ten boards, three blocks) led the charge for the Suns. Booker will once again be sidelined for the visit of the Spurs.
Three keys to the game
Refreshed Spurs - After a horrific homestand, the Spurs have now had a whopping three days off to regroup and refresh. More importantly, though, it has likely given them the chance to practice, and Gregg Popovich should have used that to drill his team back into shape following some sloppy performances.
Suns firepower - Suns rookie Josh Jackson has been playing so much better recently and is starting to gain much more consistency on offense. However, the Spurs will obviously offer a pretty stern test. It remains to be seen just how effective Jackson can be, especially on the second night of a back-to-back. If he does drop off, it’s hard to see where the Suns can get enough points to remain competitive against the Spurs.
Frontcourt battle - Seeing as this is the second night of a back-to-back, Alex Len will likely take over for Tyson Chandler at center. That could potentially prove to be troublesome for a Suns team which has had problems with opposing frontcourt players. Containing Spurs All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge will be a particularly big concern.
Matchup to watch
Danny Green vs Josh Jackson - Jackson’s offensive game has come a long way in recent weeks. Not only is he scoring with more consistency, but he’s also showing a bit more efficiency. However, the rookie could find the suffocating first-team All-NBA defense of Danny Green tough to shake.
Spurs projected starting lineup
PG - Dejounte Murray | SG - Danny Green | SF - Kyle Anderson | PF - LaMarcus Aldridge | C - Pau Gasol
Suns projected starting lineup
PG - Tyler Ulis | SG - Josh Jackson | SF - T. J. Warren | PF - Marquese Chriss | C - Alex Len
Aldridge is coming off a stellar 31-point outing in a losing effort against the Jazz, his second 30-point game in his last three. Aldridge has been pretty strong fantasy-wise against Phoenix, putting up 20 points, nine rebounds, and 1.5 blocks in two meetings against them this season.
As for the Suns, Marquese Chriss could have a chance to surprise. He’s put up 13.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in his last two meetings against San Antonio. He had ten points, six rebounds, three assists, and two blocks in 19 minutes off the bench in L.A. last night, and could put up even better numbers if he regains his starting spot against the Spurs.
Anything other than a Spurs blowout win should come as a surprise. They have just about everything they could ask for in their favor. They're going to be well-rested coming off a long layoff while the Suns are on the second night of a back-to-back and without Devin Booker. The Spurs should really run away with this and cover the spread comfortably.
The Spurs snap their losing skid with a convincing 112-91 win over the Suns.
This game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN, as well as on Fox Sports Arizona and Fox Sports Southwest. Tip-off is at 10:30 pm Eastern.