Phoenix Suns v San Antonio Spurs 12/28 Game Preview

Phoenix Suns (9-22) v San Antonio Spurs (25-6)

Friday12/28/2016 6:30pm
AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
Fox Sports Arizona/Arizona Sports 98.7FM

Season Series – San Antonio Spurs lead 1-0
All-Time Series – San Antonio leads 88-75
Last Matchup – December 15, 2016, San Antonio won 107-92
Suns’ Last Game – Loss to the Houston Rockets 131-115
Spurs’ Last Game – Win over the Chicago Bulls 119-100
Suns’ Scoring AveragesPTS/G: 107.3 (8th of 30) Opp PTS/G: 114.2 (29th of 30)
Spurs’ Scoring Averages – PTS/G: 104.6 (15th of 30) Opp PTS/G: 97.9 (3rd of 30)

Preview

Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns lost their last outing to the Houston Rockets in blowout fashion, never giving any inclination that the might be able to pull out the upset against the James Harden-led team. For the official Valley of the Suns wrapup and opinions on that game, read here…More rumors are reported that Brandon Knight might be headed to the Sacramento Kings. For a discussion on what the Suns might receive in return, read here…In his last three games, T.J. Warren has been finding the scoring touch that he began the season with prior to his head injury. Warren has scored 19 points twice and is averaging 16.3 points in that short stretch, all off the bench…Over his last five games, Devin Booker has averaged 23.2 points. He has averaged 5 assists in that period as well. Booker has also made at least one three-point shot in every game since the Suns played at Washington on November 21, 17 straight games – the longest streak of his career…When Tyson Chandler recorded back-to-back 20+ rebound games on December 11 and 13, those two games capped off a stretch of four in a row in which he rebounded in double digits. In the six games since he has only reached double digit rebounds twice, and only has one double-double in that period…Phoenix remains last in the NBA in assists with 18.4. If continued throughout the season, it would be the lowest assist-rate in franchise history, shattering their lowest assist total of 13-14 where they averaged only 19.1. The Suns have also never finished last in the league in assists per game…Granted the number was slightly inflated because they just faced the Houston Rockets, one of the highest scoring teams in the league, but the Suns’ current opponent’s scoring average of 114.2 would be the franchise’s worst since 1969-70, their second season in the NBA, when they allowed 121.1 points per game (the most the have ever allowed). However, for a bit of additional perspective, the 1969-70 Suns team averaged an incredible pace of 116.7, the second most in franchise history behind only their inaugural season. Phoenix’s current pace is only 101.1 by comparison. Thus, the Suns’ current DRtg (an estimate of how many points allowed per 100 possessions) is 111.0, the third worst in franchise history. The DRtg in 1969-70? 101.6…

San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs are on pace to win 66 games this season. That would be the second straight season of 66+ games, and the third out of the last four seasons that the team has won 60+. The Spurs would also win 50+ for their 18th straight season, have a winning percentage of at least 61.0% for the twentieth season in a row, and for the 24th time in the last 25 seasons. The San Antonio Spurs have never missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons in their franchises history. The last time the Spurs missed the playoffs and Gregg Popovich did not coach that season, Ronald Reagan was still President when the season started…(A little additional fact: The season prior, in 1987-88, the Suns finished 28-54 in their worst regular season by record since their inaugural year of 16-66 in 1968-69. Phoenix actually narrowly missed the playoffs by 3 games – to the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs were the Western Conference 8th seed with a 31-51 record. The two teams split the four-game regular season series at two games a piece, San Antonio earning their two victories by a total of 13 points. Certainly the argument I am about to make could be made of a million different variables, but had the Suns won those two games, they would have finished a game above the Spurs, and made the playoffs with only 30 wins, keeping the Spurs out of the playoffs for a third consecutive season, and putting the Suns in the playoffs starting their consecutive playoff streak that in reality became 13 straight years, a year early)…Currently, San Antonio leads the league in 3PT% with 41.0%, and FT% with 82.2%. They are also 3rd in the league in FG% at 47.1%, however are 14th overall in 2P%, although with a solid 49.3%…The Spurs are 7th in the league in assists per game with 23.6…The Spurs have the 5th fewest own shots blocked with 3.9, .7 off the league pace by the Los Angeles Clippers…While the Suns are a league worst in fouls per game with 25.4, San Antonio is 5th best with 18.1…San Antonio’s defensive rating is 101.6, third best in the Association…While James Harden and Russell Westbrook receive the majority of the talk for MVP, Kawhi Leonard is once again putting together another absolutely solid season with 24.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.0 steals, and only 1.5 personal fouls per game, while shooting 47% from the field, 39.9% from beyond the arc, and 92.2% from the free throw line…While LeMarcus Aldridge is statistically having his worst year since his sophomore season with 17.0 points and 7.1 rebounds, while so far only having 5 double-doubles – well off of his normal pace, all is quiet on the Aldridge front in San Antonio and he seems to have transitioned well in the Gregg Popovich system

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