San Antonio Spurs vs. Phoenix Suns Preview

San Antonio Spurs (28-16) +7 , 201 at Phoenix Suns (33-13), 10:30 pm Eastern Thursday, TNT
by Zman of

The once-mighty San Antonio Spurs, who have lost their way in recent weeks, continue a nine-game road trip with a visit to Phoenix and a bout with the Suns Thursday night in the nightcap of an NBA-TNT double-header.

Phoenix is listed as a seven-point home favorite for Thursday night’s game with a total of 200. Also, the Suns are posted at around -340 on various Vegas money lines, with the Spurs getting +260 as road underdogs.

San Antonio, the defending league champ, started out this season by winning 17 of its first 20 games. But thanks to some injuries to some key players, and simply some bad play, the Spurs have gone just 11-13 since then. And after losing at Seattle to a team that had lost 14 games in a row Tuesday night 88-85, San Antonio had lost three straight games, averaging just 85 points in the process.

On the other side of this match-up, Phoenix has won three in a row and seven of its last eight after pounding Atlanta Tuesday 125-92.

So heading into Thursday’s action, the Spurs sit in third place in the Southwest Division, 3 games back of the first-place New Orleans Hornets, and occupy sixth place in the Western Conference race. Meanwhile, the Suns lead the Pacific Division by 3 games over the second-place Los Angeles Lakers, and own the best record in the West.

San Antonio is 20-24 against the spread this season, and just 8-11 straight up and 6-13 vs. the numbers on the road. Phoenix is 22-23 ATS this season, 16-4 SU but only 9-11 vs. the numbers at home.

Last season, the Spurs took two of three games from the Suns during the regular season, and knocked them out of the playoffs by taking a Western Conference semi-final series in six games. But Phoenix beat San Antonio in the first meeting between these two teams this season 100-95 in Alamo City back on Dec. 17, although the Spurs were playing without guard Tony Parker, who was suffering from a sprained ankle.

And Parker is out for the foreseeable future now with a bone spur on his ankle.

Including that playoff series of last season, these two teams have played 10 games against each other over the last 14 months. San Antonio has won six of those games, but covered the spread in only four of them. Also, the o/u is 4-6 in those 10 meetings, which, excluding one overtime period they played last season, have averaged 197 total points.

Statistically speaking, the Suns rank 4th in the league in point differential at +6.1 per game, while the Spurs rank 8th at +4.5.

San Antonio is shooting 46% from the field this season, 38% from 3-point range and 75% from the free-throw line.

Phoenix is shooting 49% from the floor, 39% from long range and 79% from the stripe.

The Suns are allowing opponents to shoot 45% from the field, the Spurs 46%. But while San Antonio ranks 11th in the league in rebounding at +1.2 per game, Phoenix ranks dead last at -6.1 per game.

Not only are the Spurs now playing without Parker, sharpshooting forward Brent Barry is sidelined with a calf injury. San Antonio is 0-3 without Barry over the last few days, and 1-4 without Parker this season.

The Suns, meanwhile, recently welcomed back forward Grant Hill, who missed some action after undergoing an appendectomy. He’s also suffering, though, from a bad back that has limited his minutes.

The Sagarin PREDCITOR ratings at ranks Phoenix 4th at 95.5, the Spurs 9th at 93.8. Sagarin’s current NBA home-court advantage figure is 3.15.

The o/u is 16-28 in San Antonio games this season, which are averaging 188 total points. Also, the Spurs’ last nine games have all stayed under their totals. Meanwhile, the o/u is 24-22 in Suns games, which are averaging 214 points.