The San Antonio Spurs are in unfamiliar territory, as they are actually fighting for a playoff spot after losing three of their last four games. Things don’t get ant easier vs. the Suns.
Maybe the San Antonio Spurs will turn things around like they have in the past when the regular-season kicks into the homestretch. But right now, no team fears a once-mighty San Antonio team that has lost three of its last four games and is fighting for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Spurs face a huge home challenge on Sunday when the red-hot Phoenix Suns visit. Game time is 10 a.m. PT with ABC televising.
Phoenix has won five in a row and 12 of its last 14 games. The Suns are leading the NBA in scoring, averaging more than 109 points per game.
This is just San Antonio’s second home game since Jan. 31. The Spurs are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games and just 2-7 ATS when favored.
Houston snapped a three-game losing streak Friday by defeating the Spurs, 109-104, as 3 ½-point home underdogs. The combined 213 points went ‘over’ the 196-point closing total.
Point guard Tony Parker missed the game because of food poisoning. Parker had missed two of San Antonio’s past five games due to a left hip muscle strain.
George Hill stepped up in Parker’s absence, scoring 26 points against the Rockets with three assists. Tim Duncan chipped in with 17 points.
However, starters Keith Bogans, Michael Finley and Antonio McDyess all failed to score.
Phoenix won for the sixth time in seven games since the All-Star break by defeating the Los Angeles Clippers, 125-112, on Friday. The Suns were 9 ½-point home favorites. The combined 237 points sailed ‘over’ the 209-point closing total.
Center Robin Lopez had a career-night for the Suns, scoring 30 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. Amare Stoudamire had 20 points and Grant Hill contributed 18 points, six rebounds and six assists.
After going 7-9 in both December and January, the Suns are 9-2 this month. Steve Nash is leading the NBA in assists at better than 11 per game.
The 36-year-old Nash helped the Suns beat the Spurs in their lone meeting this season. Nash had 25 points and 13 assists in the Suns’ 116-104 home win versus San Antonio on Dec. 15. The Suns easily covered the spread as two-point favorites, while the combined 220 points went ‘over’ the 209 ½-point closing total.
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The Suns received a big boost from backup point guard Goran Dragic, who hit 7-of-9 field goal attempts en route to scoring 18 points.
Duncan had 34 points and hauled down 14 rebounds in a losing cause. Roger Mason scored 19 points for San Antonio. Parker, Richard Jefferson and Manu Ginobili combined for just 26 points on 8-of-26 shooting from the floor.
The Suns out-rebounded the Spurs, 47-42, while limiting San Antonio to 46.5 percent shooting from the field. Phoenix made 52 percent of its shots from the floor, connecting on 11-of-16 from beyond the arc.
Phoenix currently ranks 29th defensively, allowing better than 106 points per game. However, until yielding 112 points to the Clippers, the Suns had stepped up their defensive game. The Suns held their previous four foes – Atlanta, Sacramento, Oklahoma City and Philadelphia – to an average of 91.2 points per game.
The Suns have covered in nine of their last 11 games against Western Conference foes.
San Antonio is 3-4 both SU and ATS in its last seven games at AT&T Center. The Spurs had been out of town for most of this month, having playing eight consecutive road games during one stretch.
The Suns have won and covered six of their past seven road games.
The Under has cashed in nine of Phoenix’ last 11 games.