With their play-in spot and position in the 10th spot secured, the Spurs have absolutely nothing to play for in this final game of the regular season. They sat 3 of their healthy starters in the 140-103 drubbing to the Suns yesterday, a scenario that should probably be expected for this afternoon’s tip-off as well. Phoenix, in a positioning battle with the Utah Jazz, still has a chance to clinch the 1 seed and home court throughout the playoffs for the first time since 2005. They started All Stars Devin Booker and Chris Paul, getting huge performances from both in very limited minutes, while once again resting big man Deandre Ayton, their starting center who has missed a handful of games now with left knee soreness.
Getting through the final 48 minutes of the regular season injury-free is all that is likely on San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich’s mind. This afternoon’s game will be all about just keeping bodies warm, active, and healthy ahead of Tuesday night’s play-in game against a yet-to-be determined opponent.
San Antonio Spurs (33-38) vs. Phoenix Suns (50-21)
May 16, 2021 | 1:00 PM CST
Watch: BSSW | Listen: WOAI (1200 AM
Spurs Injuries: Jakob Poeltl, Dejounte Murray, Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan (day to day), Trey Lyles (ankle - OUT), Derrick White (ankle - OUT), Luka Samanic (hand - OUT)
Suns Injuries: Deandre Ayton (knee - day to day), Cameron Johnson (wrist - OUT)
What to watch for
- While the Spurs sat 3 of their starters yesterday, there’s still the off-chance that today’s game could resemble an early preseason game. It could be good to get everyone on the roster a little bit of run before the tournament begins, if for no other reason than to let them at least have some body activity rather than just sitting.
- A Suns loss would take them out of the race for the 1 seed with the Jazz, who play the Sacramento Kings long after the Spurs-Suns match-up wraps up.
- Lonnie Walker IV went 0/9 in 23 minutes of action. If the Spurs are to have any shot at upsetting the Golden State Warriors or Memphis Grizzlies in the first game of the play-in tournament, they’ll need as many people as they can putting the ball in the basket. Walker has flashed his potential even more this year, and if he doesn’t fall victim to a Pop DNP - Rest game, it will be important that he sees the ball go through the hoop.
- Speaking of the Warriors and Grizzlies, their match-up on ESPN at 2:30 CT is the real game to watch for. The loser of that match-up will host the Spurs, while the winner goes on the road to play for the 7th seed. If the Spurs were to win the 9/10 game, they would have to play the loser of the 7/8 game to clinch the 8th and final playoff spot, setting up a match-up with either the Jazz or these Suns.
- Devin Booker scored more points (27) than the minutes he played (26) in yesterday’s win over San Antonio. After missing the playoffs every season since he came into the league, it’s going to be amazing to watch the dynamic young shooting guard play his first postseason games.
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.