The Spurs started this one somewhat lethargic, looking every bit like a team coming off a long road trip. Shots clanged. Defensive rotations were late. Turnovers abounded.
The only Spur who apparently had any energy early was Popovich, who mustered enough of it to garner a technical for one of his red-faced, profanity-laced tirades near the middle of the first quarter. That tech, along with the insertion of the always-peppy Patty Mills and Manu Ginobili, served to pick up San Antonio's energy, and they pulled ahead to close the quarter up 23-19.
In the second quarter, a 19-0 run for Phoenix against the Spurs bench gave the Suns a 13 point lead. An and-1 lay up from Tim Duncan finally put an end to that disastrous stretch for the Spurs, but they continued to struggle mightily and went into halftime down 35-47.
San Antonio shot a frigid 28% from the floor in the first half, with the previously on-fire Patty Mills connecting on only one of his eight shots. If you were watching, it felt like the Suns should've been up by 20 or more at this point.
In the second half, that feeling became a real thing. The Suns caught fire, the Spurs couldn't get any shots to fall, and six minutes into the third quarter, San Antonio found itself in a 22 point hole. It must be said that I promptly changed into a different (luckier?) Spurs tee shirt at that point and Danny Green answered with a few buckets to close the third quarter down 17, 57-74.
My superstitiously-hopeful wardrobe change was no match for the upstart Phoenix Suns, however. They continued to take advantage of the Spurs' frequent miscues, draining one disheartening shot after another. In keeping with the tradition of allowing opposing backup point guards to play well above their averages, Phoenix's Ish Smith went off for 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two steals, and two blocks, missing only two of his 9 shots in helping the Suns to the 106-85 victory.
Your Spurs fall to 40-16 on the season and, undoubtedly, look forward to the four nights' rest before Wednesday's tilt against the visiting Detroit Pistons.