NBA Handicapping Picks: Phoenix Suns at San Antonio Spurs

Phoenix Suns at San Antonio Spurs
AT&T Center – San Antonio, Texas

Friday, April 11, 2014, 8:35 pm Eastern, TV: FSN-AZ, FSN-SA, NBA LP
Opening Line: San Antonio -3
Current Line: San Antonio -3
Opening Total: 204
Current Total: 207
Opening Money Line: Spurs -155 / Suns +135
Current Money Line: Spurs -150 / Suns +130

The Spurs look to wrap up home court advantage in the playoffs with a win Friday at home against the Suns.
The Spurs look to wrap up home court advantage in the playoffs with a win Friday at home against the Suns.

Last night, the battle for the Western Conference’s last 3 playoff spots got even tighter. The Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks both lost, meaning only two games separates the Warriors, Mavericks, Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies with only a handful of games left in the regular season. One of those four teams will miss the playoffs. Three of those four teams have games Friday night, with the exception of the Mavericks. The Warriors host the Lakers. The Grizzlies host the Philadelphia 76ers. The Suns have by far the most difficult game as they travel to the San Antonio Spurs.

Phoenix is 47-31 and is currently the #7 seed by percentage points over Dallas. Both teams are a game ahead of Memphis, and a game behind Golden State. Phoenix travels to Dallas tomorrow night. The Spurs are 61-18 and have the best record in the league. San Antonio will clinch home court advantage throughout the playoffs with a win or a loss by the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Spurs lead the Thunder by 3.5 games.

San Antonio has taken 2 of the 3 meetings against Phoenix this season. The Spurs won 99-96 November 6th and in Phoenix 108-101 December 18. The Suns won in Phoenix 106-85. Phoenix has lost 8 of their last 9 games in San Antonio. these teams could meet in the first round of the playoffs.

Phoenix is coached by Jeff Hornacek, a contender for coach of the year. The Suns have gone 9-2 in their last 11 games, including 3 straight wins. Phoenix won in New Orleans Wednesday 94-88 against the Pelicans. The Suns play three of their last four games on the road with the only home game against the Grizzlies. Phoenix is 50-27-1 ATS and the total is 38-37-3 this season.

Phoenix is outscoring teams 106-103 this season. The Suns are #6 in scoring and #22 in points allowed. Phoenix is shooting 46.35 from the field and 37.4% from 3 point range. The Suns are #7 in field goal percentage and #6 in 3 point shooting. Phoenix makes 75.8% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 45.5% from the field and 33.8% from 3 point range. The Suns are #2 in 3 point defense. Phoenix averages 43.2 rebounds per game and opponents average 42.7 per game. The Suns average 19.2 assists, 15.4 turnovers, 8.3 steals and 4.6 blocks per game. Opponents average 20.3 assists, 15.3 turnovers, 7.4 steals, and 4.1 blocks per game.

Guard Goran Dragic averages 20.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. He rolled his ankle Wednesday night, and is listed as a game time decision tonight. Guard Eric Bledsoe averages 17.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Guard Gerald Green averages 15.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists. Forward Markieff Morris averages 13.6 points, 6 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. Forward Channing Frye averages 11 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game. Marcus Morris, P.J. Tucker, Miles Plumlee, Ish Smith and Archie Goodwin will also get significant minutes. Guard Leandro Barbosa is out indefinitely with a broken hand. Center Emeka Okafor is out for the season with a neck injury.

San Antonio is coached by Gregg Popovich. The Spurs have lost 2 of their last 4 games after a 19 game winning streak. San Antonio won last night in Dallas 109-100. San Antonio is 44-35 ATS and the total is 43-35-1 this season.

San Antonio is outscoring teams 105-97. The Spurs are #7 in scoring and #5 in points allowed. San Antonio is shooting 48.9% from the field and 39.8% from 3 point range. The Spurs are #2 in field goal percentage and #1 in 3 point shooting. San Antonio is #4 in free throw shooting at 78.4% from the line. Opponents are shooting 44.2% from the field and 35.4% from 3 point range. The Spurs are in the top 10 in both categories. San Antonio is averaging 43.2 rebounds per game and opponents average 41.9 per game. The Spurs average 25.2 assists, 14.7 turnovers, 7.4 steals and 5.2 blocks per game. Opponents average 20.4 assists, 14 turnovers, 7.8 steals and 4.7 blocks per game.

Point guard Tony Parker averages 16.8 points, 5.8 assists, and 2.3 rebounds per game. He is doubtful with a back injury after missing the last two games. Forward Tim Duncan averages 15.1 assists, 9.7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1.9 blocks per game. He hyperextended his knee in first quarter but played the rest of the game. Duncan is doubtful tonight as Popovich usually rests him in the second game of back-to-backs. Forward Kawhi Leonard averages 12.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. Guard Manu Ginobli averages 12.4 points, 3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1 steal per game. He was listed as doubtful with a calf injury last night but ended up playing against Dallas. Guard Marco Belinelli averages 11.4 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. Guard Patty Mills averages 10 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists. Boris Diaw, Danny Green, Tiago Splitter, Cory Joseph, Jeff Ayres, and Matt Bonner will also get significant minutes. Forward Aron Baynes is questionable with a rib injury.

Phoenix is 5-1 ATS in Friday games, 7-2 against teams with winning records, 23-7 after failing to cover, 20-7 against teams with winning home records, 8-3 when the opponent scores more than 100 points in the previous game, 36-14-1 on one day rest, 5-2 after a straight up win, 27-11 in road games, and 2-6 against Southwest Division teams. The road team is 5-1-1 ATS in this series recently.

San Antonio is 5-0 ATS against Pacific Division teams, 4-0 in Friday games, and against teams with winning road records, 7-1 at home, 12-3 after a straight up win, 8-2 against teams with winning records, 4-1 in back-to-backs, 11-3 against Western Conference teams, 10-3 after a cover, 3-1-1 when the starters play more than 160 combined minutes in the previous game, 15-5 after scoring 100 points per game, 20-7 overall, and 40-18-1 after allowing 100 points or more.

San Antonio has won 14 straight games at home. The Spurs can wrap up the #1 seed in the West with a win, but Phoenix needs this win even more. It is unclear whether Dragic, Parker, or Duncan will play tonight. I don’t like either side but I think this will be a high scoring game. I like the over in this contest.

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