Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs host Phoenix Suns

USA TODAY Sports

The San Antonio Spurs finally play a home game in three weeks, and they're facing the Phoenix Suns for the 2nd time in four days.

San Antonio Spurs vs Phoenix Suns

AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
February 27, 2013, 7:30 PM Spurs Time
TV: FSSW - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI

The San Antonio Spurs, fresh off their 7-2 performance on their latest Rodeo Road Trip, face the Phoenix Suns in their first home game since the 2nd of February. The Spurs have 58 games under this season's belt, with only Tiago Splitter and Boris Diaw appearing in every game. So far, 34 of those games have been played on the road, which means that over seventy percent of their remaining schedule (17 of 24 games) will be played at home, with 13 of 15 games in March at home, and only a single game played outside the state of Texas. (That said, it's worth noting that lone away game, a tussle with the Minnesota Timberwolves, is a SEGABABA after a potentially grueling game against the Oklahoma City Thunder). Nevertheless, the Spurs should exploit their relatively cushy schedule to at the least secure home court advantage for the Western Conference.

Now, on to the oppenent. My first thought is "not these guys again!" After all, the Spurs took the Sunday game 97-87 with a big second quarter run, even without the services of Tony Parker. However, these Suns aren't completely devoid of talent. Marcin Gortat is considered one of the top big men in the league, while Goran Dragic will forever be immortalized by scoring 9001 1000 100 23 points in the fourth quarter in Game 3 between the Suns and the Spurs in 2010. Nevertheless, since that infamous game, the two teams have gone on opposing trajectories.

The Suns indicated a desire to rebuild when they let Steve Nash's pick and roll partner Amare Stoudemire sign a lucrative deal with the New York Knicks, and ultimately sign-and-traded Nash himself to the Los Angeles Lakers this past offseason after two seasons of roughly .500 ball. After re-signing Dragic to man the point, drafting Kendall Marshall as another point, and throwing money to Eric Gordon (an offer the Hornets matched) and Michael Beasley (no else wanted him), the Suns looked to be treading mediocrity at best. They've gone beyond that and currently sit at the bottom of the Western Conference, even behind the Sacramento Kings.

Meanwhile, the Spurs spent the past few seasons adapting to the perimeter-oriented, fast-paced NBA of today (go enjoy these three excellent articles that Matthew Tynan wrote about that process: they're a must read for Pounders and Spurs fans in general), surrounding the core of the Big 3 with younger, more athletic talent, while reinventing their offense to run through Tony Parker even if it meant putting defensive improvements on the back burner. The result has been two consecutive finishes atop the Western Conference, though post-season ultimate success has yet to come. However, the defense has come roaring back in style; only the Indiana Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies rate better on defense than the Spurs, and they're chasing shooters off the three point line, defending the pick and roll better, and even forcing turnovers (something the Spurs defenses of old were never known for; credit to Kawhi Leonard). Whether this results in another Riverwalk parade in June remains to be seen, but they probably have better chances this time around.

So what can I say about the game? Not much; just run the system well, play well, get back on defense, and prevent anyone from having a big night.

Lineups

Starters
PG: Tony Parker
SG: Danny Green
SF: Kawhi Leonard
PF: Tim Duncan
C: Tiago Splitter

Key Bench Players
Manu Ginobili
Boris Diaw
Stephen Jackson

Head Coach
Gregg Popovich

Lineups

Starters
PG: Goran Dragic
SG: Jared Dudley
SF: P.J. Tucker
PF: Luis Scola
C: Marcin Gortat

Key Bench Players
Markieff Morris
Kendall Marshall
Jermaine O'Neal


Head Coach

Lindsey Hunter

Suns perspective can be found here: Bright Side of the Sun

Game Prediction: Spurs by 9.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and 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.

Get your San Antonio Spurs tickets here!

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