Friday, December 1, 2023

NBA Preview: San Antonio Spurs (2-2) at Phoenix Suns (2-2)

The San Antonio Spurs won the first of two matchups with the Phoenix Suns in stunning fashion.

Now the Spurs will attempt to make it a sweep in the rematch on Thursday night in Phoenix.

San Antonio never led in Tuesday’s contest until Keldon Johnson put the ball through the net with 1.2 seconds left.

The hoop came shortly after Victor Wembanyama dunked home a putback with 6.8 seconds remaining to bring San Antonio within one.

Phoenix star Kevin Durant received the inbounds pass and was waiting to get fouled in the right corner by Tre Jones. But Johnson came in and stole the ball from Durant with just over four seconds left and drove for the decisive basket.

The basket capped a fourth quarter in which San Antonio outscored Phoenix 33-19 for a 115-114 win.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was pleased to see that his team didn’t cave after falling behind by 20 early in the third quarter. San Antonio was whipped 123-83 by the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday in its previous game.

Suns coach Frank Vogel said his team backed off after it grew the big lead.

Wembanyama recorded 18 points, eight rebounds and a career-high four blocked shots in his fourth NBA game. He is averaging 16.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.3 rejections.

Though Vogel decried the lack of a foul call on the crucial play, veteran guard Eric Gordon knew where the blame truly belonged.

Phoenix was without guards Devin Booker (sprained left ankle) and Bradley Beal (back) on Tuesday, and it is unclear whether either player will be available on Thursday.

Booker was injured in the season opener and the absence would be his fourth straight. Beal, obtained from the Washington Wizards in the offseason, hasn’t yet played for the Suns.

Gordon and Grayson Allen were the starting guards against San Antonio and combined to make 9 of 16 3-point attempts. Gordon made four treys while producing 20 points and six assists, while Allen connected on five and had 19 points and seven rebounds.

Durant had 26 points on 12-of-19 shooting with seven assists but also was careless with five turnovers. Durant is averaging 30.3 points in the three games Booker has missed. San Antonio had dropped nine straight games against Phoenix prior to Tuesday’s improbable victory.

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