On the scariest night of the year, the San Antonio Spurs finally put together a complete game that wasn’t a heart-stopper as they blew out a Phoenix Suns team that was missing it’s top scorer in Devin Booker 120-90. (Not that the Spurs have much pity for any team missing its top guard(s).) With some hot shooting and relatively solid defense, the gelling Spurs were too much for the young Suns to handle.
DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with 25 and 24 points, respectively, while combining to hit 20-25 from the field. T.J. Warren scored 21 points for the Suns, while Trevor Ariza posted 14 points and 7 rebounds (so that’s where the Rockets’ defense went).
- The Spurs’ last road win against a non-LeBron James team was against none other than the Phoenix Suns, which came in the form of a 121-89 blowout on February 7: the opening night of the 2018 Rodeo Road Trip. A lot of whatever ailed the Spurs on the road late last season seems to have dissipated, but they’ll still have to prove it against a higher level of competition than the bottom of the West.
- Both teams started the game a little slow on offense — maybe the result of too much Halloween candy — but the Spurs found plenty of early success driving directly to the basket against a hapless Suns defense, and the game opened up for them from there as they closed the first quarter on a 24-7 run and never looked back. In all, 10 of their 12 baskets in the first quarter came from inside the paint, and they ended up scoring 66 points in the paint on the night.
- This is the second game in a row Quincy Pondexter has gotten some first-half minutes off the bench. This could be a result of both Dante Cunningham and Rudy Gay starting, and it allows Davis Bertans to play his preferred role of stretch-four, or it could also be an attempt to infuse some defense into the bench unit. Regardless, Q-Pon brings good effort and hustle whenever he’s out there.
- Heading into this game, DeRozan and Aldridge led the league in minutes per game at 38.8 and 37.2 minutes, respectively. A lot of that is out of necessity due to injury, especially on DeRozan’s part, but it’s still not how Gregg Popovich likes to operate. Tonight they were both done by the fourth quarter and “only” logged 28 and 24 minutes. Hopefully there’s more such nights to come.
- Bryn Forbes finally had a “pedestrian” scoring night with 7 points, ending his streak of double-digit scoring games to start the season at six. It wasn’t because he was bad, though. The reality was everyone else around him was so hot that he could comfortably act as a distributor as he dished out a career-high 7 assists.
- The Spurs closed the game with a looooong line-up of Pondexter, Cunningham, Bertans, Jakob Poeltl, and Chimezie Metu. (There has to be some kind of height record in there.) Regardless, it goes to show how out of balance the Spurs roster is with all the guard injuries.
- Aldridge scored his 17,000th career point tonight. He is the only player with 17,000 points and 7,000 rebounds since he entered the league in 2006.
- I tried to see if Suns owner Robert Sarver was wearing a chicken suit for Halloween, but to no avail.
For the Suns fans’ perspective, visit Bright Side of the Sun.
The Spurs return to the AT&T Center on Saturday to take on the New Orleans Pelicans. Tip-off will be at 7:30 PM CT on FSSW.