Welcome to HoopsHabit.com’s Phoenix Suns vs. San Antonio Spurs live blog. I’m live in the arena and will be providing updates throughout the game. Per NBA regulations, I can only update the score so often, but keep checking back and refreshing your screen for more analysis, observations and opinions on tonight’s game from US Airways Center here in Phoenix, AZ.
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5:45 (local time) – Suffice to say, I just witnessed a legitimate NBA baptism. After a local reporter asked a question about coach Greg Popovich’s message to his team coming into tonight’s game, Pop deadpanned “It’s our next game.” That was followed by about a minute of total silence from the dozen or so media members standing around.
6:15 – One of the things I love to do before games is watch which players ignore the fans and which ones pose for pictures and/or sign autographs. On the Spurs side, Manu Ginobili stopped and signed what looked like every single item. For the Suns, Goran Dragic posed for a few pictures and talked with some fans. I love that stuff. Wish more athletes did that. Imagine how much they made some little kids day just by saying hello.
6:24 – Couple of news and notes for today’s game. Tony Parker (shin) will miss for the Spurs, with Cory Joseph starting in his spot. For the Suns, Emeka Okafor and Alex Len are out.
6:32 – I’m awfully bummed that we’re not going to have Parker in the lineup. Really feel like this could have been a measuring stick game for the Suns. It would still be a nice win, but with Parker out there, we could have really seen what the Suns are made of.
6:45 – The Spurs come out to a smattering of boos. The Phoenix crowds have been notoriously late arriving so far this year and can you blame them? It was 78 degrees outside today. Suns now on the court as well. Just watched Eddie Johnson take a picture on his phone of a guy wearing his jersey. Not sure if that’s cool or really weird.
6:54 – Did you know that Tim Duncan has played just 37 less minutes (42,027) than the entire active roster for the Suns tonight? Getting set for the National Anthem and the tip shortly.
7:09 – Tip won by Spurs the and we’re underway. Off the subject, but the Suns cheerleaders are in some of the hottest outfits I’ve ever seen. I’m smitten, I admit it.
7:14 – PHX 11, SAS 6, 8:52, 1Q. You don’t see Tim Duncan try to show off very often, but he just did against Miles Plumlee and he turned it over. The Suns interior defense has been pretty poor so far anyways.
7:19 – I love to see how much the Suns push the ball. They know they can’t out-execute the Spurs in the halfcourt so they’re doing everything they can to take advantage of their athleticism. Credit coach Hornacek for pounding that into their heads.
7:25 – How can the home crowd boo Boris Diaw? That’s not right. Channing Frye up to 15 points and still getting open shots. Loving the ball movement by the Suns as well. It’s like other teams aren’t scouting the Suns. Strange.
7:33 – Spurs getting penetration from Manu Ginobili and the entire Suns team seems to be collapsing, leaving wide open 3-point shooters. Patty Mills the most recent benefactor. After a quarter, it’s 34-29 Suns.
7:40 – PHX 36, SAS 31. It’s hard to ignore how good Goran Dragic is. I have no clue why he doesn’t get more respect and more national attention. I’m going to go out of my way to start that bandwagon. Get on, kids.
7:45 – The Gorilla just dropped a cake from the upper level onto a guy wearing a Spurs shirt. He may have been a plant but I’m happy to see it happen. Crowd eating it up as well.
7:48 – Much better when Archie Goodwin is taking it to the basket. He still looks like a deer in the headlights out there, but his athletic ability is off the charts. Wait until he learns how to control that fury.
7:53 – One thing scares the crap out of me with this game right now. The Spurs are playing a pretty bad game and it feels like the Suns are playing well…yet the game is tied at 43. Not good.
8:00 – Suns really having trouble getting out to the 3-point line all of a sudden. Bledsoe with an and-1 opportunity but it’s still 54-51 Spurs. Dragic coming back in for Marcus Morris who did….not get his name called much by the PA guy.
8:06 – Spurs lead 59-58 and it’s halftime. Miles Plumlee really gives this team a boost in the middle with his finishing in traffic. He’s in a perfect spot and looks like he’s having a good time. Archie Goodwin showing some positive strides on offense and did a nice job picking up a couple of steals that half. Dragic is the most underrated player on the court and Channing Frye scored 15 in the first half of a fun game.
8:25 – Back from the half and the Suns need to be awfully careful. Spurs are pounding the ball down low and it’s working. Spurs have opened up a five point lead…until another Frye three brings it back to two.
8:34 – Suns have to be really careful not to fall into this trap of playing a halfcourt game against the Spurs. The Spurs just execute so well that the Suns are way outmatched. That, and the refs are starting to call it a bit close. 3-point Spurs lead.
8:40 – I really wonder if Greg Popovich sits at home and laughs maniacally as he says, “We execute! Hahaha! We executed them! Hahahah! We will execute them AAAALLLL!” And the Spurs have taken a five-point lead. Getting beat up in the paint.
8:48 – Suns go on a little run, including a nice 3-pointer by Marcus Morris, but all of the loose balls are still going the Spurs way. We’ve ended the third quarter with the Spurs leading 87-81. Pop got a technical near the end of the quarter so we’ll see how the team reacts.
9:02 – The crowd is into it and the Suns need the energy. They’re slowing the ball down, though, which is generally not a good thing. Ball movement is back and Markieff Morris is starting to ball again. He’s so hot and cold it’s crazy. Also, the PA announcer is now calling P.J. Tucker “Tuck”.
9:09 – We’re all tied up with 6:10 to go in the game. Markieff has made a couple of great hustle plays, both on the offensive glass and on defense. Can the Suns out-execute the Spurs late? They couldn’t do it in San Antonio, but this is a different story.
9:17 – I’m not surprised that Manu Ginobili makes so many big 3-pointers, but I am surprised that he gets so many opportunities. Spurs currently lead by three with 2:26 left in the game as Bledsoe gets called for a questionable foul. Makes me wonder if this would have been too much different with Tony Parker out there.
9:27 – That’s a final, Spurs 108, Suns 101. As I said the entire time…down the stretch ended up being a halfcourt game and the Spurs simply out-executed the Suns. Too many turnovers and too much confusion.