PHOENIX — The Suns didn’t play too poorly during a hectic first 12 minutes against the San Antonio Spurs, but they still looked unsteady and trailed 23-19 after the first quarter. Phoenix...

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PHOENIX – A lackluster first two games out of the All-Star break might have caused worry for the Phoenix Suns. The week off may have taken away their edge, and it could have drowned the momentum that...

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The San Antonio Spurs will trash the video of this game faster than they can leave the Suns arena. The game was a total blowout for the Suns, to the point that coach Popovich waived the white flag at the 5:39 mark of the third quarter with the Suns holding a 22-point lead.

For the first time since the last milennium (1999), the Phoenix Suns beat the San Antonio Spurs by 20+ points, 106-85.

This was a Suns fan dream at US Airways Center. The Suns started slow but jumped out to a 15-point second quarter lead on the back of Ish Smith, and then a 22-point third quarter lead on the back of Gerald Green.

It's a good night when your best player can be a decoy, as Goran Dragic was on this night. Dragic was a +29 in his minutes, but had only 8 points, 5 assists and 4 turnovers in 28 minutes of play.

The Suns really pulled away in the second quarter with a 19-2 run saw them turn a 19-23 deficit into a 38-25 lead before San Antonio could stem the bleeding. That stemming was performed by none other than Manu Ginobili, who drew two offensive charge calls and made a couple of free throws at that point.

Ish Smith owned that second quarter though: 10 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks in that quarter alone.

"I'm like Ricky Bobby. I just wanna go fast." -- Ish Smith

It was the Suns night, folks!

Enjoy these. The Suns are now 33-21.

"They're a really fine team." -- Popovich, on the Suns after getting blown out

Don't go overboard, coach


The Spurs came out very cold, with two backcourt violations in the first five minutes of play. Once Channing Frye hit an open three, Spurs coach Popovich had seen enough and called a quick timeout. He replaced starter Corey Joseph with sparkplug Patty Mills to run the point. And Manu Ginobili to help the Spurs go small with Belinelli at the 3.

The Spurs weren't playing very crisp in this game. No surprise given it's their 9th straight road game. But they stayed close while the Suns missed free throws (4 misses) and field goal attempts (13 misses) by the bunch.

End of one: Spurs 23-19.

The Suns second unit, along with Dragic, came out with more fire and aggression. Dragic and Ish played the guard positions, with the Morrii and Channing Frye. This lineup is quick and scrappy, creating the kind of balance that the Suns get with Bledsoe and Dragic out there (remember those days?).

The Suns quickly took a 38-25 lead on a 19-2 run with everyone contributing in a big way while the Spurs went cold.

Finally for the Spurs, the Suns missed an open three and Tim Duncan made a nice move for a and-one to stop the bleeding.

Then Manu Ginobili happened, drawing two offensive fouls on Suns drives to the basket that were so egregious Ginobili will almost certainly be fined. But his tactics worked - the Suns were driven off their rhythm and the Spurs were able to stop the Suns runaway.

At the half, the Suns still led by 12 (47-35) but the Spurs were able to stop the run.

Big time player for that 28-12 second quarter?

Check out this stat line for Ish Smith: 10 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2, steals and 2 blocks. IN THE SECOND QUARTER.

The third quarter showed that the Spurs weren't really dialed into this game. The built the lead to 22 in the first 6.5 minutes while the Spurs clanked jumper after jumper.

Popovich put in four reserves with Danny Green at that point - only halfway through the third - to try to get some energy out there. It only halfway worked.

Hornacek talked on Wednesday night about the Suns needing to develop a killer instinct, to keep building on leads, turning 8 points into 10 then 12 or 13. Twice against the Celtics, the Suns got lazy on defense and allowed an 8-point lead to drop to 4 instead of pushing it bigger.

Tonight, the Suns kept pushing until it was 22 point lead halfway through the third, to the point Popovich put in the deep, deep reserves. The presence of backups must have made the Suns take the foot off the pedal, as they lost focus and began to allow the lead to drop to 17.

Ish Smith came back to get spark back into the team, but the Suns went soft on defense and allowed the Spurs to get offensive rebounds and make open jumpers.

And Archie Goodwin came in, primarily because Leandro Barbosa was out of the lineup but who cares right?

This has to be the kind of game a coach loves. Dragic has been a decoy all night while Ish Smith has run the team to a huge lead over the Spurs.

The fourth quarter was all about trying to one-up each other at times, like when Aaron Baynes one-hand dunked over Markieff Morris and then Marcus returned the favor on Baynes two minutes later. BOOM.

But really my favorite part of the 4th quarter was Archie Goodwin. We hadn't seen him in a game in two months, since Leandro Barbosa was signed after Archie had lost his confidence/way.

Tonight we saw Archie's entire game: drive/finish, putback dunk, tight defense, bigtime block...and airballed wide open three. That kid still has a lot to learn, but he's a good one folks. A real good one.

Archie and Ish were joined by Alex Len, Slava Kravtsov and Dionte Christmas for the last 3 minutes of the game.

Time: 7 p.m. MST TV: FSA A late February home affair might not qualify as a measuring stick game for the Phoenix Suns anymore than the previous 53 they’ve played in have. Nonetheless, despite...

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The surging Phoenix Suns, winners of 11 of 16 games, face the mighty Borg-like San Antonio Spurs who appear to be able to beat any team with any lineup.

The Phoenix Suns have lost both prior games against the San Antonio Spurs, by three points in the first week of the season and then by 9 at home as one of only 3 losses in December.

Both games featured healthy sides, which is different this time around. The Suns are without Eric Bledsoe, and the Spurs are likely without at least Tony Parker.

The Suns are about to face a difficult second-half schedule, starting with the Spurs tonight in Phoenix.

The Opponent - "The Borg"

Those crazy Spurs are somehow able to beat any team with any lineup. On Wednesday night, they sat Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker (variety of maladies) and still beat the Portland Trailblazers behind 29 points from Patty Mills (of course) and 20 from 3-point champ Belinelli (of course). The Blazers were missing Aldridge though, so that kind of evened the score, right?

The night before that, the Spurs beat a fairly healthy Los Angeles Clipper squad (missing only J.J. Redick) without Parker and Leonard.

Speaking of Tony Parker, he missed the last game before the All-Star break and has been declared out "for the foreseeable future" for a "variety of maladies" since the break. But he magically was okay for the All-Star game itself, by effect not allowing another injury substitution which could have been Goran Dragic.

The Borg is the Borg. They know their roles so well they can beat anyone with any lineup. Who knows who will play tonight against the Suns - just expect great execution. And if the Suns can't find a way to play better than they did against Denver and Boston this week, expect a loss to the Spurs.

The Suns

Despite playing poorly, the Suns found a way to win their two winnable games this week - in Denver, and hosting Boston. Neither game was a big challenge, but for a young Suns team unaccustomed to being favored, that's a real plus and should be seen as a positive sign for the rest of the season.

You WANT to be able to win games even when you're not playing well. That's the Suns lately, who have now gone 11-5 in their last 16 games without Bledsoe after a 2-5 dip in the first 7 without him.

Check that again: 11-5 in their last 16 games without their second-best player. That's pretty good.

The Stats


The Lineups

No one knows who the Spurs will play or sit until later in the day, and sometimes just before tip. With Duncan resting on Wednesday, I assume he will play tonight. Leonard is probably, so he might replace Green or Belinelli in the starting lineup.

Parker is out "for the foreseeable future", per the coach, with officially listed injury called "wrist sprain/body soreness". It's possible that Popovich couldn't see to Friday as of Tuesday, so it's anyone's guess whether Parker will play.

The Key Matchup

The Spurs' unknowns vs. the Suns' unknowns. Can Gerald Green, P.J. Tucker, Ish Smith and Miles Plumlee hold their own against Marco Belinelli, Patty Mills, Corey Joseph and Jeff Ayres?

We know the big names, and if they play they will play well. It's the other guys on the Spurs who can derail the Suns' hope for a win.

The Prediction

While Mike Lisboa predicts a loss (see the '29 to go' article this morning), I'm going to break the mold and predict a win.

I think the Suns will come out firing on their home court and ultimately scratch and claw to a win. And the Spurs will shrug and move on to the next game because they are the Spurs.

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