The San Antonio Spurs are returning to the AT&T Center for perhaps the last time this season to host a back-to-back with the Suns as their 72-game schedule comes to a close. And while a few victories could vault Phoenix into first place in the Western Conference, the good guys have already punched their ticket into the play-in tournament and locked up the tenth seed no matter what happens the rest of the way.
With the Silver and Black opting to rest two-fifths of their starting lineup on Saturday, it appears PATFO are taking necessary precautions to enter the postseason as healthy as possible for whoever awaits them in the first round of the play-in tournament. And at 3-5 over their last eight outings, Monty Williams and company will be hungry to build some momentum as they prepare for their first playoff appearance since 2010.
San Antonio Spurs (33-37) vs. Phoenix Suns (49-21)
May 15, 2021 | 1:00 PM CST
Watch: BSSW | Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)
Spurs Injuries: Trey Lyles (Out — Ankle), Derrick White (Out — Ankle), Luka Samanic (Out — Hand), DeMar DeRozan (Out — Rest), Jakob Poeltl (Out — Rest), Rudy Gay (Questionable — Heel), Dejounte Murray (Questionable — Back)
Suns Injuries: Abdel Nader (Out — Knee), Cameron Johnson (Day-to-Day — Wrist), Deandre Ayton (Day-to-Day — Knee)
What to Watch For
- There’s a possibility DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, Dejounte Murray, and Rudy Gay might be sidelined on Saturday evening. That means Patty Mills, Keldon Johnson, Lonnie Walker IV, Drew Eubanks, Devin Vassell, and even Tre Jones are probably in for more minutes, touches, and shots than usual. And with zero room for San Antonio to move up or down in the standings, this could be a perfect opportunity to get their role players going leading up to the NBA’s inaugural play-in tournament.
- These potential absences could lead to an abundance of playing time or San Antonio’s third-string trio of Gorgui Dieng, Keita Bates-Diop, and Quinndary Weatherspoon. Dieng is still getting comfortable with his new teammates after a shoulder injury set him back seconds into his Spurs debut. Bates-Diop has looked like a rotational player when given extended minutes. And Weatherspoon hasn’t seen much of the hardwood since fouling out in ten minutes versus the Hawks and testing positive for COVID-19 nearly 24 hours later.
- Chris Paul is one of the most underrated superstars in league history, and the 11-time All-Star has quietly put together an MVP caliber season. The Suns have won 15 more games than a year ago, and the 35-year-old point guard is one of the main catalysts behind this dramatic improvement. His 16.4 points and 8.9 assists per game may not pop off the stat sheet, but his 49.7/39.5/93.3 shooting splits speak to his otherworldly efficiency. And his veteran leadership has been paramount for an inexperienced Phoenix roster with championship aspirations.
- Devin Booker’s nightly numbers may be down a hair across the board, but that isn’t because he’s taken a step back. The 24-year-old two-guard has willingly sacrificed individual achievements for organization success, and his selflessness has paid off. The Suns are on pace to secure their first 50 win season since 2010, and the NBA rewarded Booker for this remarkable turnaround with his second All-Star nod. Between the spectacular backcourt of Book and CP3, San Antonio will have its hands full when Phoenix lands in the 2-1-0.
For the Suns fans’ perspective, visit Bright Side of the Sun.
PtR’s Gamethread will be up this evening for those who want to chat through the game. You can also follow along with the action through PtR’s Twitter feed.