NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, January 26th
(All times Eastern)
Phoenix Suns (15-28) at San Antonio Spurs (35-11), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Tony Parker is enjoying a fine season for the San Antonio
Spurs and the All-Star guard looks to keep his team rolling Saturday versus
the Phoenix Suns in the opener of a three-game homestand at the AT&T Center.
Parker has scored 20 or more points in five straight games and is averaging
21.2 ppg this month. Parker finished with 23 points and 10 assists in Friday's
113-107 win at Dallas and has recorded double-doubles in two straight and
three of his last four games.
The veteran Parker also needed stitches to close a gash above his left eye.
Gary Neal had 18 points and came off the bench earlier than expected when
Parker took an elbow to the face early on. Neal's four-point play in the first
quarter highlighted his night.
"If somebody is down then somebody else is going to step up," said Spurs
assistant coach Mike Budenholzer. "They all have a lot of confidence, and they
know we have confidence in them, and Gary (Neal) came in and stepped up."
San Antonio, which was without future Hall of Famers Tim Duncan (knee) and
head coach Gregg Popovich (illness) for the second straight game, looks to
extend its home winning streak to 16 games Saturday and is 19-2 at home.
Duncan has missed two straight and three of four games, and is questionable.
The All-Star is averaging 17.5 points and 9.8 rebounds this season.
Popovich may return to the bench as well versus the Suns. Also scheduled to
visit the Spurs are the Bobcats and Wizards. San Antonio hasn't lost at home
since Nov. 19 versus the Los Angeles Clippers and is 14-1 against the West in
front of the friendly faithful.
The Suns are on a two-game winning streak ever since Lindsey Hunter took over
head-coaching duties from Alvin Gentry. The team won at Sacramento on
Wednesday night, then took out the Pacific-leading Los Angeles Clippers at
home on Thursday.
"The last two games we have played as a team," said guard Goran Dragic. "We
are hustling on defense; offense everybody is engaged, everybody is
participating. It's much easier if you have five guys on the floor and
everybody is dangerous for baskets so the defense cannot relax. We just have
to be solid on defense."
The defense has been strong under Hunter. The Suns have allowed 92 ppg in just
the small sample size, but they held a great Clippers team to 88 points
Thursday, although L.A. was without MVP candidate Chris Paul, who sat with a
Dragic led the way with 24 points and eight assists. Marcin Gortat, Luis Scola
and Markieff Morris all scored in double figures for Phoenix.
The Suns stay in the Lone Star State on Sunday to face the Dallas Mavericks.
They have only four road victories this season, but play two at home before a
four-game sojourn. Phoenix is a putrid 4-17 away from the desert.
The Spurs have won four straight and seven of their last eight against the
Suns and are undefeated in the past six matchups in the Alamo City.
01/26 10:48:11 ET