NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, December 18th (All times Eastern)
San Antonio Spurs (19-5) at Phoenix Suns (14-9), 9 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Phoenix Suns failed in their first test with the San Antonio Spurts, but that was more than a month ago.
The Suns are soaring now with a season-high five-game winning streak and will welcome the reigning Western Conference champions to US Airways Center Wednesday night.
Phoenix suffered a 99-96 loss in San Antonio back on Nov. 6, as Spurs guard Tony Parker scored 15 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, including the go-ahead jump shot with 31.9 seconds to go. Markieff Morris tallied 23 points and 12 rebounds off the bench in that one for the Suns, losers in 14 of the last 18 games against the Spurs.
San Antonio has won three in a row and four of five trips to the desert.
The Suns will try to keep the Spurs in the loss column and made it five consecutive victories with Sunday's 106-102 win over Golden State in the middle portion of a three-game homestand. Eric Bledsoe scored 24 points, Goran Dragic added 21 and Channing Frye posted 20 to lead Phoenix to a 9-3 mark in its last 12 contests.
Phoenix was able to survive against Golden State guards Steph Curry (30 points) and Klay Thompson (19 points).
"We think our guards can play with any of them. Those are two great guards that they have on that team and our guys fought them all game," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said.
P.J. Tucker played solid defense on Curry's late shot and Bledsoe sank a pair of foul shots to give the Suns some breathing room.
Dragic is averaging 27.0 ppg in his last three games and Frye has stepped it up as well lately, posting an average of 14.3 ppg in the past 12.
The Suns have won three in a row at home and are 8-3 as the host.
San Antonio had a four-game winning streak cut short with Monday's 115-92 loss against the Los Angeles Clippers in the second test of a four-game western road trip (1-1). The Spurs, who opened the trip with a win at Utah, lost Parker late in the game because of a right shin contusion with about five minutes to go in the third quarter.
Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said Parker was experiencing pain and trouble walking on the leg, and the star guard ended with eight points and six assists. Parker is expected to miss the next two games and is averaging 17.5 points, 6.1 assists and 2.6 rebounds in 23 games this season.
Tim Duncan had 17 points and 11 rebounds, Manu Ginobili added 16 points and Kawhi Leonard ended with 12 in the loss to the Clippers. The Spurs shot 48.7 percent and committed 22 turnovers, leading to 37 L.A. points.
"We were in control in the first quarter, then turnovers took over," Popovich said.
Los Angeles trailed 28-21 after 12 minutes, then had a 34-21 advantage in the second quarter and posted a 37-22 difference in the fourth. Spurs center Tiago Splitter returned after missing four games with a strained left calf and finished with two points and three rebounds.
Duncan has recorded four straight double-doubles and is averaging 17.0 points and 12.4 rebounds this month (7 games).
The Spurs are fourth in the NBA in opponents' scoring (94.1) and is averaging 102.9 ppg on offense. They have a 10-3 record away from the Alamo City and will close out the current trip Thursday against Golden State.
12/18 10:33:20 ET