Phoenix at San Antonio
Time: 7:30 PM CST (NBA LP)
Spread: SAS -4
Odds c/o 5dimes
The San Antonio Spurs are three games below .500 but are 4-point favorites at home against the Phoenix Suns at 7:30 PM (CST) on NBA League Pass. The betting total is set at 229 points according to NBA oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
The San Antonio Spurs is just 20-23 on the season and currently is seeded No. 8 in the West.
Looking at the Spurs roster, it is understandable as to why: San Antonio is led by two high-scoring veterans, but this team’s defensive outlook is nowhere near as bright, and it lacks depth unless one is to overrate the talents in it and what they have done so far.
San Antonio is giving up 114.7 points per game while scoring 113.7 itself. It has a negative point differential, a sub .500 record, and still the rough outlines of what could be a postseason team even so. It is certainly too early to write them off, at least.
The Spurs are offensively led by the two veterans DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge. Both post-PERs of 20-plus, but after that, the depth really thins out on this roster. Bryn Forbes has provided a boost with 11 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game, but he is really playing right at “replacement level.” The same applies to Patty Mills, whose defense is partly to blame for teams tallying so many points on the Spurs. Rudy Gay is washed up, and Dejounte Murray has been decent but the Spurs were hoping for even more.
All of this comes together to spell a team that is almost lucky to have won one-third of its games thus far in 2019-20. Without a step-up in defensive intensity, it will not even win that many moving forward. Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, and Lonnie Walker IV were all billed as potential breakout players, but none of them have broken out really.
Murray averages 10 per game, White 10, and Walker tallies just 5.6 per night. The trio was expected to lead the Spurs after Tony Parker’s regime ended, but in the two seasons since Parker left the Spurs, none of it has come to fruition, and the team is sub .500 mostly due to a lack of depth, as its primary two veterans have continued to produce.
Phoenix is 18-26 and seeded No. 11 in the West. It trails the No. 8 seeded San Antonio Spurs by 2.5 games for the West’s final playoff spot. The Suns have lost five of its last 10 including its last two overall. It is 9-10 on the road SU this season.
Phoenix is still rounding into shape after missing starting center DeAndre Ayton the majority of the season thus far. In his 14 games since returning, though, Ayton has been very good. He has started nine games now, and he has averaged 17.6 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks in 31 minutes a night. With Kelly Oubre emerging as a legitimate No. 2 or No. 3 threat behind Devin Booker, the Suns offense seems relatively set with three-star scorers. It is still defense that has eluded the Suns, though it has improved a lot in that regard. Phoenix is surrendering 114.1 per game (The Suns average 113) and it still has not really been able to clamp down on teams.
The Pacers hung 112 on Phoenix the last outing while limiting the Suns to just 87, and though the Suns scored 118 in the game prior against San Antonio, it allowed 120 to the Spurs and lost that one, too. Phoenix is the third-best team in the Pacific Division but it trails the No. 2 L.A. Clippers by 12.5 games. There is still a lot of games for the Suns to start making up, and it will begin with vastly improving its porous and still lackluster defense.