With Suns’ Booker Hampered or Out, Back Spurs in Phoenix

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, October 30, 2018 3:17 PM UTC

Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018 3:17 PM UTC

The Phoenix Suns were supposed to be quite improved this season but that has yet to be the case as they bring a five-game skid into Wednesday’s ESPN matchup vs. San Antonio.

San Antonio (4-2 SU, 3-3 ATS) at Phoenix (1-5 SU, 2-4 ATS)Wednesday, 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)Free NBA Pick: Spurs ATSBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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It’s Wednesday, so that means an ESPN doubleheader in the NBA. The first game is Pacers at Knicks, which my cohort Doug Upstone will have covered here at SBR. The late game is Spurs at Suns, the first meeting of the season between the two.

Phoenix was the worst team in the NBA last year, while the Spurs won 47 games, so not a shock that San Antonio won all four meetings. The final meeting was notable because San Antonio won 129-81 in the desert – the biggest margin of victory by the Spurs in the history of the series and matched the largest loss in Suns history. It was the third-biggest for San Antonio, which led by as many as 53. Only a 51-point Spurs win at Philadelphia on Dec. 7, 2015, and a 49-point blowout of Vancouver on Nov. 5, 1995 were bigger. Phoenix was an embarrassing 3-for-32 on 3-pointers. Devin Booker was out injured – more on him in a second.

San Antonio has won 13 of the past 14 overall in the series and two straight in Phoenix, where the Spurs are 33-52 all-time.

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\"He loves those moments. He's not afraid of failure.\"@DeMar_DeRozan put on another clutch performance in Silver & Black. #GoSpursGo pic.twitter.com/I4zzXyGxLS

— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) October 30, 2018
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Booker Questionable

Will the Suns have Booker? He sat a second straight game Sunday, a 117-110 loss at previously winless Oklahoma City, with a hamstring injury. The team is calling Booker day-to-day. He’s averaging 27.8 points, 6.8 assists and 4.5 rebounds.

I’m a bit surprised the Suns are this bad – their -12.2-point differential is the worst in the West and ahead of only Cleveland in the league. The addition of No. 1 overall draft pick Deandre Ayton to the core of Booker, Josh Jackson and TJ Warren was supposed to start changing the direction of this franchise. Ayton is putting up 17.5 points and 10.3 rebounds a night but is struggling on defense.

The Suns are also last in turnovers per game, coughing it up 18.5 times. Booker gives it away nearly 5.5 times, which is too many. But, this is what happens with young teams. They really need a point guard and tried to trade for a few entering the season. Isaiah Canaan isn’t the answer and now he’s likely to miss some time after spraining his ankle vs. the Thunder. Elie Okobo played a career-high 31 minutes in place of Canaan and responded with 18 points and seven assists. He was the first pick of the second round this year out of France.

San Antonio enters on a two-game winning streak, both at home. It beat the Mavericks 113-108 in overtime on Monday. DeMar DeRozan seems to like his new surroundings as he’s being used more as a facilitator (thanks to Dejounte Murray’s torn ACL) while also still shooting plenty. He had 34 points and nine assists vs. Dallas.

The former Raptors is averaging 28.3 points, 8.0 assists and 6.0 rebounds. Those would all be career highs. DeRozan ranks second in the NBA in scoring in clutch time (21 points), hitting 8-of-18 from the floor in five games, with five assists, six rebounds and no turnovers, according to ESPN. So maybe that trade of Kawhi Leonard worked out for everyone.

  • Spurs are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400.
  • Suns are 3-12 ATS in their last 15 games following an ATS win.

The Spurs generally don’t lose to the really bad teams as they are too well-coached and may not have to deal with Booker – he’s likely to be a game-time call and surely not 100 percent even if he does play. Take San Antonio, which has covered eight of past 11 in series, for a Wednesday NBA pick.

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