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San Antonio vs. Phoenix, Final Score: Spurs blitzed by Suns in fourth quarter, lose 107-121

The teams engaged in a back-and-forth affair before San Antonio succumbed to the defending conference champions

NBA: Phoenix Suns at San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio wilted from Booker’s shooting barrage in the home loss
Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Phoenix continued its recent success against San Antonio and took its third straight game in the season series 121-107. A sizzling shooting night by Devin Booker was boosted by a frenzied paint effort by Bismack Biyombo in the absence of Deandre Ayton. Though the Spurs jumped ahead to an early lead and stayed competitively close throughout, the Suns came back furiously at the end with noticeable and heightened defensive effort and clutch offensive exploits. Despite the teams trading multiple runs throughout the middle two quarters, Phoenix rode a decided advantage in assists, fast-break baskets, and timely defensive stops.

Booker (48 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists), Biyombo (17 points and 14 rebounds), and Chris Paul (15 points, 12 assists, 2 blocks, and 2 steals) led the way for the visiting Suns who ascended to 17-4 on the road.

San Antonio (16-28) squandered an all-time performance by Jakob Poeltl (23 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks). Dejounte Murray (18 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists), Keldon Johnson (14 points and 7 rebounds), and Derrick White (14 points and 7 assists) also stood out among a balanced set of contributions from the Spurs in the loss, but they ultimately were done in by their turnover tendencies.

Observations

  • At some point, Jae Crowder needs to be on a Spurs roster, doesn’t he?
  • Useful information perhaps only to nerdy (and old) Spurs fans, the last time the Suns started a season 33-9 was in 1994-1995. My first guess was their 1992-1993 finals run where they lost to the Bulls.
  • Not that I wish it, but Thad Young would seem ;ike a clear upgrade over Biyombo, Frank Kaminsky, or any other veteran big off the Phoenix bench.
  • It appeared a lot of the misses from distance from San Antonio players in the first half were just slightly off to the left and short.
  • I am hopeful that the Spurs will have an even better version of Mikal Bridges next year or two in Devin Vassell.
  • Devin’s Deeds: He is able to deftly use his leaping ability to find rebounds among the taller trees in the lane - snagging several over Javale McGee (7’0”) and Biyombo (6’10”) in the first half.
  • Sequence of the Game: On a motion set, Poeltl, instead of doing his usual handoff to the wing at the top of the key, found a diving Johnson for a lay-up. On the next possession, he did an “Austrian Aversion” (distant cousin of the Dream Shake) to put home a floater over Biyombo.
  • Befitting Wild Card weekend, Booker scored two touchdowns worth of points in the first six minutes of action. Booker even lured White into two cheapie fouls. All five Spurs starters dented the scorebook with Doug McDermott and Johnson supplying threes from opposite sides to give them an early eight point advantage. While San Antonio’s offense stalled out, Booker had 18 of his team’s first 22 and a Paul three in transition cinched a 9-0 run to get Phoenix to 32-29 leaving the frame.
  • While the Spurs continued to miss, Jock Landale did yeoman’s work on the offensive boards to keep possessions going. Surprising big man Biyombo did similarly for Phoenix and scored a couple of his own baskets. The teams stayed within one possession of each other for a good chunk of the action. A pair of Crowder trees nudged the Suns ahead, Then a pair of Booker makes pushed the Spurs deficit out to seven. San Antonio went into the break down only three.
  • Two picturesque makes by Murray pushed San Antonio back ahead early in the third. Poeltl made the most of his opportunities around the basket. The Spurs took advantage of a brief cold spell from Booker and Paul to go up by eight again. Paul was cited for a technical for arguing a reach-in call not coming quickly enough. Booker found his footing in the midrange again and Biyombo was the beneficiary of Paul’s pick-and-roll wizardry. San Antonio coughed it up on several possessions, and a Booker and-1 put Phoenix back up. Biyombo annoyingly inhaled all of the avaialble loose caroms, but Vassell’s wing three made it 91-87 Spurs leaving the frame.
  • At the start of the final period, threes by Booker and Cam Payne were offset by encouraging makes from Johnson and White. The Suns took advantage of clumsy execution over numerous frustrating Spurs possessions and overwhelmed them in transition to re-take the game and salt it away. Paul finally asserted himself and found the right mix of seeking his own shot in the lane while setting up teammates.

For the Suns fan’s perspective, please visit Bright Side of the Sun.

San Antonio’s homestand continues Wednesday night at 7:30 PM CT against Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the Oklahome City Thunder.