Game #27 Preview: Suns @ Spurs

Well, well, well, if it isn't the team that knocked us out of the playoffs last year. OK, so they don't look too much like the team that beat us back in May, but they're still dangerous. And they just added some new weapons, who may or may not be available for tonight's game. Let's just assume that they will be, and think about the fact that the new guys give the Suns a rotation that is 11 players deep. Yikes, that is some crazy depth.

To make matters worse, two of our best bench players are out with injuries, making us perilously thin for tonight's matchup. They might also be looking to avenge the win we got in Phoenix earlier this season, when I finally attended a Spurs road win. But there's good news: The trade means that Suns may have some chemistry issues, or they might be shorthanded tonight. Either way, we'll take it, amirite?

Preview after the fold.

Here's your musical selection for the day:

Let's do it.


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San Antonio Spurs vs Phoenix Suns
Where: AT&T Center

When: 12/20/2010, 7:30PM Spurs Time - Timezone Converter
Watch: FSSW, My45


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By the Numbers

Data sources:
hoopdata.com | basketball-reference.com | John Hollinger's team stats

Category Offense
(rank)
Defense
(rank)
Efficiency Rating 110.3
(1st)
100.2
(8th)
Rebound %
25.4
(18th)
74.7
(12th)
Field Goal % 47.4
(5th)
45.7
(15th)
3-Point % 41.2
(1st)
41.2
(30th)
Free Throw %
78.4
(7th)
72.9
(2nd)
Turnover %
13
(5th)
14.4
(9th)
Assist %
61.6
(6th)
53.8
(4th)
Category Offense
(rank)
Defense
(rank)
Efficiency Rating 109.4
(2nd)
110.0
(30th)
Rebound %
25.7
(15th)
69.7
(28th)
Field Goal % 47.6
(4th)
49.1
(30th)
3-Point % 37.9
(9th)
37.5
(20th)
Free Throw %
75.3
(19th)
73.7
(5th)
Turnover %
13.4
(13th)
13.8
(14th)
Assist %
56.4
(19th)
57.6
(17th)
Record Wins Losses
Overall 23 3
Conference 15 3
Division 4 2
Home 14 2
Away 9 1

Conference Division
Position 1st 1st
Lineups

Starters
PG: Tony Parker
SG: Manu Ginobili
SF: Richard Jefferson
PF: DeJuan Blair
C: Tim Duncan

Key Bench Players
Chris Quinn
Antonio McDyess
Gary Neal
Matt Bonner
Tiago Splitter

Record Wins Losses
Overall 13 13
Conference 10 9
Division 4 1
Home 7 5
Away 6 8

Conference Division
Position 9th 2nd
Lineups

Starters
PG: Steve Nash
SG: Vinc Carte
SF: Grant Hill
PF: Channing Frye
C: Robin Lopez

Key Bench Players
Marcin Gortat
Goran Dragic
Hakim Warrick
Mickael Pietrus
Jared Dudley

Matchup Analysis

Point Guard
Shooting Guard
Small Forward
Power Forward
Center

Bench
Coach
Intangibles
Mojo
Winner

Starters

PG: Tony's coming off an amazine performance on Saturday night, that got us a crucial win. But Nash, hobbled as he may be, is still one of the best point guards in the game.

SG: VC is new in Phoenix, but he's probably the only player they have now who is a natural fit at SG. Therefore, I see him starting. Unfortunately for him, he's going to be seeing a lot more of Manu now that he's in the Western Conference.

SF: Grant Hill is a class act, and it's really a pity to see him ending his career ringless in Phoenix. RJ 2.0 should win this matchup easily, as he did the first time these teams met.

PF: Normally, I wouldn't give DeJuan the edge in most of his matchups. But against Frye, the Beast should be able to dominate this matchup.

C: Timmy is still Timmy, as proven during the game against Denver last week. Just because we don't run the offense through him anymore doesn't make him any less of a nightmare for his opponents.

Bench

Is it sacrilege to give the opposing bench the advantage? Maybe. But George Hill is likely to be out again, and I also really miss James Anderson backing up RJ. Meanwhile, the Suns' recent trade made one of the best benches in the league even stronger(in fact, Gortat should probably start over Lopez, but I'm not sure what Gentry will decide to do with his new guys). I mentioned 5 good Suns bench players up above, and that didn't even count Josh Childress.

Coaching

Gentry's a good coach in a bad situation. But Pop is the master.

Intangibles

Although it's unclear whether the new guys for Phoenix will be available, the trade will mess with their cohesion one way or another. They'll either be shorthanded, or adjusting to their new teammates in their first game together.

Mojo

Still pretty sure the Manu count is: Spurs 1, Suns 0

Prediction

Spurs get a needed victory before the brutal Denver/@Orlando back-to-back set coming up later this week.

Keys to the Game

Defensive Rebounding - The Spurs rebounding efforts as of late have been terrible. The Suns have been one o the worst rebounding teams in the league this year, but Gortat should help them immensely in that regard. So, we need to keep them off the offensive glass to ensure that we actually win the inevitable shootout between the league's two best offenses.

Ball and player movement - This is especially key if the Suns' new guys are playing, since they won't necessarily know where or when to rotate on defense, and we should be able to confuse the heck out of them.

Other Reading

Spurs

48 Minutes of Hell

Project Spurs

Suns

Bright Side of the Sun(SB Nation)

Valley of the Suns

Following Along

TV

FSSW (San Antonio); My45 (Phoenix)

Radio

WOAI 1200AM; Audio League Pass[streaming]

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.

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. You can also shoot an email to poundingtherockmail@yahoo.com(IMPORTANT: Please include your PtR username in the email for reference) for further assistance.

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