Game Preview #22: San Antonio Spurs @ Phoenix Suns

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The Suns have already set, despite their current record.

So, the Suns have a pretty good record so far this season. Nash looks as good as ever, despite losing some of his better teammates over the previous two seasons. What's up with that? Well, they started the season scorching, and still claim the league's top offense, but they've been losing game more frequently over the last 2 weeks, returning to their rightful place in the second tier of Western Conference teams. That doesn't mean the Spurs should expect to win this game, though. For that, we'll need luck, and some good PtR mojo.

So, how do we get PtR mojo to the game? I'm glad you asked.

PtR Mojo at the Game

Alamobro, xman130 and yours truly will all be at this game, representing PtR. Even though we didn't quite coordinate our seating(I'm in the nosebleeds, they're not), simply being there will hopefully give us a little extra mojo. I will gladly take all the razzing Suns fans can throw at me, as long as the final result is a Spurs victory.

On a mostly unrelated note, check out this epic thread at SpursTalk for hilarity. Be sure to go well beyond the first page. Here's a little preview:

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It is so on.

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San Antonio Spurs @ Phoenix Suns
Where: US Airways Center - Phoenix, AZ
When: December 15, 2009, 8:00 PM Spurs time
Watch: FSN SW(San Antonio); FSN AZ(Phoenix)

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How They Stack Up
10-4 Home 8-0
2-5 Road 8-8
101.8
Offense 108.4
96.6 Defense 105.6
48.0 FG% 49.2
39.2 3-pt% 42.7
73.8 FT% 74.7
42.0 Rebounds 41.5
14.7 TOs 15.5
7-3 Last 10 5-5
Won 3
Streak Lost 1
2nd, Southwest Position 2nd, Pacific

Country/Time Zone Game Time
Argentina 11:00 PM
West Coast
5:00 PM
Philippines 9:00 AM
Central Europe 2:00 AM
Palestine/Egypt 3:00 AM
East Coast 8:00 PM
The Land Time Forgot 7:00 PM
Perth, AUS 9:00 AM
Tokyo, JP 10:00 AM
Sydney, AUS 12:00 PM

Spurs
(9-9)
Matchups

Suns
(18-6)

Tony Parker
Defying Expectations

Point Guard

Tony's had double-digit assists in two of the last three games, which is encouraging. Unfortunately, he's also turning the ball over a lot. Mr. Nash is as good as he's ever been, so I'll give him a very slight edge here.

Advantage: Suns


Steve Nash
Pretty Damn Good

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Manu Ginobili
BETTER THAN FANGIO!!!

Shooting Guard

Manu's got his mojo going in the last few games. Keith Bogans will be matched up with J-Rich at first, but Manu will get the bulk of the SG minutes and should be able to win this matchup.

Advantage: Spurs


Jason Richardson
Not Richard Jefferson

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Richard Jefferson
Finally Getting Better

Small Forward

RJ's been doing noticeably better as of late, after the rough start to the season. I expect more of the same tonight, and he should be able to take care of Hill with ease if he's on his game.

Advantage: Spurs


Grant Hill
Not George Hill

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Tim Duncan
No Random Punctuation

Power Forward

Amare is still as deadly a shooter as ever, but doesn't seem to have the explosiveness he used to. Timmy is putting up the most efficient numbers of his career, which is really saying something when you're already the best PF of all time.

Advantage: Spurs


Amar'e Stoudemire
Random Apostrophe

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Antonio McDyess
Jumpshooter

Center

Dice should get plenty of open looks tonight, even if Amare guards him instead of Timmy. Channing Frye was Phoenix's big acquisition this offseason, which says more about the team than it does about the player. If we can keep him off the 3-point line, this matchup will be ours. Also, Blair is going to eat the Suns frontcourt alive.

Advantage: Spurs


Channing Frye
Jumpshooter

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George Hill
Los Cubits

Bench & Role Players

The Suns are without Leandro Barbosa. The BAM should be able to get something going pretty easily, cosidering that Jared Dudley is Phoenix's best remaining bench player.

Advantage: Spurs


Jared Dudley
Aptly Named

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Gregg Popovich
Bring Back the Beard

Coach

Pop should use this game to make a statement. Seriously, he should.

Advantage: Spurs


Alvin Gentry
7 Seconds and Loss
images via yahoo.com

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Other Factors

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Intangibles

If the Spurs could ever stop turning the fucking ball over, they'd be a pretty damn good team.

Advantage: Suns

Mojo

Take a look at the Suns' home record. Then take a look at our road record. Not a tough call. Those of us who are there in person will try to bring enough mojo for the Spurs to overcome, but it won't be easy.

Advantage: Suns

Winner

I always have a good feeling when we play the Suns, but not this time. I have hope, but not a feeling of inevitability like in seasons past. I'm going to go with my optimism, especially in light of the matchups.

Spurs in a squeaker.

Keys To The Game

  • Defense - The Suns bring the league's most efficient offense to the table - we have to slow them down. In years past, this wouldn't be a problem, but we've been pretty inconsistent on D this season. Come on, Spurs - convince me it's not an issue.
  • Weather the Storm - Phoenix always comes out fired up to play us, and they usually jump out to an early lead. We can't let it get out of control.
  • Bench - The Spurs' bench is vastly superior, and they need to play like it. The BAM scored 57 points in our last game, so expectations are definitely being raised.

Last Time They Met

Let's skip the last time these teams met(Don't worry, we won), and go with some classic Spurs-Suns moments. Something tells me Suns fans don't like reliving these as much as we do.

Strength of Schedule

The every other day schedule is over. This is the first game of a back-to-back set(FIGABABA?), with the seond game tomorrow night in Oakland.

The Suns are coming off two days' rest after a road loss to the Nuggets that was very close, and they were actually the victim of some bad calls.

Some Other Reading

Suns

Bright Side of the Sun - These guys are our SBN siblings for Phoenix, and they do a phenomenal job. I briefly met Mike at summer league, and P. Stan is a super blogging machine(he also runs the SBN WNBA blog). I have nothing but respect for the writers over there.

Valley of the Suns - Here's the TrueHoop blog dedicated to the Suns. These other teams' THN blogs seem to be getting better over time, which is a very encouraging sign. Worth the read.

Spurs

48 Minutes of Hell: Speaking of THN blogs, Tim and Graydon are still the best. They're not writing as much as they used to, but that's understandable in light of their busy schedules.
Project Spurs: Good Bloguin blog with lots of good content. Be sure to check out their podcasts and live chats.

The Magic That Happened

jrw put together some great highlights from the Clippers game thread(s):

Ridiculous lineup made us lose our lead. What the hell was Pop thinking? - LatinD
  • "I wanted to lose our lead." - theonlyromeo
  • "Did I leave that case of wine on the plane?" - Queness
  • "Why do we need to have these practices everyday?" - theonlyromeo
  • "Fuck free throws." - Queness
  • "What’s the big deal about Ophra? I don’t see why people like her." - Hipuks
  • "What do you mean wrong spelling? I know Ophra well enough, dammit! I like her more than Elen." - theonlyromeo
  • "Fuck, I totally messed that up." - Hipuks
  • "Damn, how drunk am I that I misspell things that I’m thinking?" - Queness
  • "These shoes are too tight." - Queness
  • "Make-up does wonders to people’s looks." - silverandblack_davis
  • "I’m supposed to be coaching but I really really have to take a shit, I think if I stand up and walk around it will make it better." - Hipuks
  • "Ooh, third quarter. Budendozer, what’s our worse +/- lineup?" - theonlyromeo
Pop ought to think about starting manu in the second half - bones
  • Unfortunately, Pop doesn’t make halftime adjustments. - the little o
  • Pop’s Idea of an adjustment is switching from the Shiraz to a Merlot - alamobro
in reference to LatinD’s shark BLAAIIIRRR pics:
my entire family got eaten by sharks. show some respect! - sleep research facility

How did YOU survive? I sense an evil plot here. - Rich Town

you’ll need to speak to my lawyer. next question! - sleep research facility
Whoa! Kaman started to pick his dribble up at the "Channel" mark, then took off way before the "admin" spot—all while his defender was standing around the "blocked." - theonlyromeo
  • My family was killed by a channel blocked by admin, that’s not funny. - Hipuks
  • My family was killed by a bad joke, that’s not funny. - LatinD
  • How did YOU survive? I sense an evil plot here. - theonlyromeo
  • I hid inside a whale corpse. - Hipuks
  • And, now I’m being killed by lack of oxygen intake. Fuck you guys and your hilarity. - Queness

Bonner elbowed Duncan, -78. - Hipuks

that’s why I smoke cigarettes, because I know that second-hand smoke kills. - the little o
RJ’s driving to the basket a lot more lately. Pop had a talk with him? - LatinD
  • "You get your ass in there or I will fucking trade you for Vince Carter." - silverandblack_davis
  • "How much are we paying your ass again?" - theonlyromeo
  • Why does Pop talk about RJ’s ass so much? - tomasito
  • Maybe every time RJ goes down the court, Pop thinks, "Yup. That’s 15 million for the right cheek and 15 million for the left cheek. Those are goddamn expensive cheeks." - Queness
After RJ misses a free throw and Blair snags the rebound and gets the put-back:
That’s probably easier than teaching our guys to shoot FTs - greyberger

"Oh, you missed both? I’ll take care of that LOLOOLOLOLOL." - Daniel_B
SA announcer when blair fell "I was worried for the floor" - greyberger

Where to Tune In

TV

This game is not on national TV, so for those of you staying at home, you might want to read on below...

Online

As always, NBA league pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Almost every Spurs game will be broadcast there, which is especially helpful for those of us who aren't in the San Antonio area. You know, when we're not at the games.

Please don't post links to illegal game feeds in the game thread. Links to illegal feeds are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate. In fact, nobody can stop you from googling "atdhe". You can also shoot an email to dmenendez@gmail.com for more assistance.

Spurs League Pass audio is still free this year, so check it out.

Radio

If you're in the San Antonio area and aren't near a TV, tune in to WOAI (1200 AM).

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