San Antonio Vs. Phoenix
TWO - Western Conference
San Antonio Spurs Vs. Phoenix Suns
The third-seed San Antonio Spurs (58- 24) took the sixth-seed Denver Nuggets in five games in round one. After losing the first game at home, the Spurs took command of that series and won four in a row. The speedy, sharp shooting Phoenix Suns (61- 21), the second seed in the West, easily overwhelmed the seventh-seed Los Angeles Lakers, also taking their first round series in five games.
This Western Conference Semifinals series features the explosive, NBA-leading point producing offense of the Suns against the NBA’s best defense as run by the Spurs. Phoenix scored 110.2 PPG this season, while San Antonio kept opponent point totals down to 90.1PPG. If anyone can stop the potent Sun’s offense, it’s the Spurs and if anyone can penetrate the impenetrable San Antonio defense, it’s Phoenix.
The Suns’ backcourt is run by Steve Nash (18.6 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 11.6 APG) at point and supported by Raja Bell (14.7 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.5 APG) at the shooting spot. Nash is accurate from just about anywhere, hitting 53% of his shots, 46% of his threes and 90% of his frees. Bell is not as precise, but does have a 41% success rate from downtown. Nash is, of course, one of the best set-up men in the league.
The point for the Spurs is manned by Tony Parker (18.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 5.5 APG), whose sure hands are good for 1.1 SPG. Guard/forward Michael Finley (9 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 1.3 APG) hits free throws at a 92% rate.
Upfront, Phoenix features major point-maker and rebounder Shawn Marion (17.5 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 1.7 APG). Marion also provides some sound “D, averaging 1.95 SPG and 1.53 BPG. The other primary factor in the paint is forward/center Amare Stoudemire (20.4 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 1.0 APG). He’s averaged .95 SPG and 1.34 BPG, while hitting 58% of his shots from the floor. Small forward James Jones (6.4 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 0.6 APG) offers some offensive tools.
The Spurs look to Tim Duncan (20 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 3.4 APG) at forward/center to pour in points and stop opponents. Duncan earns an average of 2.38 BPG and .83 SPG. Center Francisco Elson (5 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 0.8 APG) has solid defensive skills, with .84 BPG and .44 SPG and small forward Bruce Bowen (6.2 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 1.4 APG) gets .76 SPG and makes .30 BPG.
Although the Spurs are outmatched at the foul line and in terms of ball movement, if they can slow down the Suns and use their fine defense to make Phoenix take bad shots, they’ll win more than lose. But if the Suns can force the Spurs’ defense to overreact and commit fouls, then look for Phoenix to control the series. The first game is on Sunday, May 6 at 3:30 pm ET in Phoenix.
Maddux Sports Series Prediction:
San Antonio Spurs in 7 Games