Suns at Spurs, 5 p.m. Friday, FOX Sports Arizona
The Spurs did the Suns a solid on Thursday night by knocking off the Mavericks.
This enabled Phoenix to scoot into the Western Conference’s seventh seed, a few percentage points ahead of the Mavs. And the Spurs could provide the Suns with another crucial assist by losing to them Friday night in San Antonio.
That would downshift a bit of the anxiety leading into the Suns’ date Saturday night in Dallas.
This season: The Spurs own a 2-1 edge over the Suns, but their last showdown resulted in a 106-85 Phoenix win on Feb. 21 at US Airways Center.
Eric Bledsoe didn’t play in that one, and Goran Dragic managed just eight points on 3-of-10 shooting.
The Suns’ salvation was a 60-point explosion by their bench, led by 21 from Markieff Morris. As a collective, Phoenix limited San Antonio, which was playing without Tony Parker, to 35 percent shooting.
Key variable: Dragic, who rolled his ankle during Wednesday night’s win in New Orleans, has been listed as questionable.
And we never know what Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will do in regard to resting players during this walkup to the playoffs. With San Antonio thiiiiiiis close to wrapping up the conference’s top seed, he could sit some front-line players against the Suns.
Tony Parker (back) has missed the last two games, but understudy Patty Mills hit Dallas for 26 points, including six of the team’s 16 3-pointers.
Tim Duncan hyperextended his right knee in the first quarter of the same game, but he kept playing and gave San Antonio 20 points and 15 rebounds. He could be a candidate for R&R in this one.
Suns advantage: Parker didn’t play in the last Spurs-Suns skirmish, either, but tough defense from Ish Smith kept Mills in check.
In addition to matchup issues with Bledsoe and (possibly) Dragic, San Antonio seems a bit light on players capable of handling Markieff.