The San Antonio Spurs are headed back to the valley of the sun to take on the Phoenix Suns for the second time this season.
By all accounts, this matchup should be a gimme for San Antonio. After routing the Suns by 30 points on Halloween, head coach Gregg Popovich is tasked with ensuring that his lineup can build on their previous performance and secure the victory.
Though the gap in talent is discernible, it’s not uncommon for an underdog team to steal the second meeting of a three-game series. Fresh off of a road loss to Sacramento, San Antonio has dropped three of its last four games. To make matters worse, San Antonio was favored in each of those losses.
Date: Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018
Time: 8:00 p.m. CST
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Venue: Talking Stick Resort Arena
TV Info: FSSW
Live Stream: FuboTV, NBA League Pass
Radio: WOAI-AM 1200
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After a scorching hot start to the year, All Star DeMar DeRozan has cooled off in his last two games, shooting a combined 12-of-29 while committing four turnovers per contest. Still, the Suns’ porous defense provides a nice opportunity for DeRozan to get back on track.
Phoenix ranks No. 27 in the league with a defensive rating of 113.5. In spite of a poor defensive start, the Spurs have toughened up on the defense end and secured the league’s 11th best defensive rating with 107.1.
By controlling the pace of the game, the Spurs can take advantage of Phoenix’s unstable rotation and force the young Suns into poor shots on Wednesday. Popovich has orchestrated his team so that opponents are slowed down in spite of the league’s record-setting leap in pace.
Since joining the starting lineup, forward Dante Cunningham has played a major role in San Antonio’s defensive resurgence. His performance is crucial to slowing down Phoenix’s high-volume rising star in Devin Booker.
These early-season matchups against subpar opponents add up at the end of the year, so this will be an important ‘get right’ game for San Antonio.