A season of adventures continues for the Suns. This time, tornado warnings in the Memphis area kept us grounded for an extra hour and a half following a grisly win over Memphis.
Amaré Stoudemire and the Suns take on Tim Duncan and Spurs in San Antonio on Thursday night (6:30 p.m., My45).�����(NBAE Photos)
Once loaded onto the plane, we were advised of a “bumpy ride” into San Antonio. Bumpy? At points it felt more like the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland. Needless to say, we are happy to be on the ground here in San Antonio. I know I quickly text messaged my wife and kids and told them how much I love them!
We had a great day off! Tim Kempton set up a day of “comp” golf for me, Eddie Johnson and our TV producer Bob Adlhoch. But these are not your ordinary, everyday rounds of golf. Not with Eddie and Tim. This is combat golf! Insults, sarcasm, and mental warfare are encouraged; etiquette and humility are forbidden. Certainly makes for an entertaining afternoon (and we all toasted our margarita glasses at dinner, so no hurt feelings!).
Now for some serious hoop talk. The Suns meet up with the Spurs in another late-season exam. They received A-pluses across the board at home against the Mavs, and to match that kind of effort and performance on the road in San Antonio would once again rearrange all those “Power Rankings.”
Here are some of the things I will be watching for against the Spurs:
• The Spurs 3-point defense can be stifling. The Suns coaching staff admits that San Antonio is the best at clamping down on the Suns 3-shooters.
• That should open the lane for Amaré, who as we all remember absolutely torched the Spurs in the playoffs two years ago and then had a 20-20 game last time out against Duncan and company in the paint.
• The Suns like their defensive match-ups with San Antonio. Steve Nash can check Bruce Bowen (coming-off six three-pointers in the Spurs’ last game), while Shawn Marion’s length and quickness can help neutralize Tony Parker. Raja Bell will have the unenviable task of tracking Manu Ginobili, but Raja has the tenacity to make Manu work for his points.
• A couple of wildcards will be Leandro Barbosa and Kurt Thomas. The Spurs will struggle to match up with the small-ball Suns when LB is on the floor with Nash, Raja and Shawn. Defensively, though, the Suns may rely on Kurt Thomas if the Spurs big bodies – Duncan, Francisco Elson, and “Fabio” Oberto – begin to dominate the glass (you may remember Oberto hit all 11 of his shots in the first meeting between these two teams).
The Spurs still have those savvy, 3-point shooting vets – Michael Finley, Brent Barry and Robert Horry. All three are now well into their thirties, so we shall see if their aging legs can run with the Suns. Right now Barry and Horry have nagging injuries, so we may not even see them on Thursday night.
But if the standings hold firm, we could see these two teams in the second round of the playoffs. The Suns have a strong desire to hold down that second seed so that THEY can claim the homecourt advantage for that potential series. It could be the determining factor between these two powerhouses.
We will all eagerly await the sneak peek. All you have to do is dial-up the game at the AT&T Center on My45 starting at 6 p.m. (PHX time) with Suns Gametime! Then sit back and enjoy The Best Show on Sneakers.