The San Antonio Spurs weren’t going to keep on winning forever, and often it’s better to lose and learn about your faults early on. The Phoenix Suns, with their trio of point guard combination including Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic and especially Isaiah Thomas this time, haven’t caused their last upset of the season although at this point it’s not really a surprise.
The Suns outscored the Spurs by nine points in the fourth quarter, led by Thomas, who sped away with driving layup after driving layup. He scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half, 10 of them coming in the fourth quarter. Markieff Morris followed Thomas down the scoring list with 20 points and 11 rebounds, once again outplaying his brother. Zoran Dragic, the other brother, is still waiting for his chance to play alongside his brother, Goran.
Dragic was the weaker of the three point guards, scoring 10 points. Eric Bledsoe scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while the improving Alex Len might finally be giving the Suns a way to shuffle centers around their talented guards, with Miles Plumlee not doing as well in the starting lineup. Len also grabbed 11 rebounds in a rare double double for him after not doing much during his rookie season. Without adding too much players, the Suns growing from within might be even more important.
The Spurs are without Tiago Splitter for the moment which hurts them. Kawhi Leonard being busy in contract disputes is another problem. Leonard missed all five field goal attempts, finishing with 6 points, all from the line. The Spurs and he missed their deadline of extending his contract, and now have to wait until next summer to negotiate again, or for Leonard to opt out of the deal. The two sides were no longer talking to each other by the final two days, obviously adding a strain to the relationship.
The Spurs had a chance to tie the game, behind by three points with 6.5 seconds left and the ball on the sidelines. Boris Diaw failed to inbound the ball into play and the Suns finished the game to remain perfect so far this season, although the second win was a lot more difficult, following their 20-point win over the broken down Los Angeles Lakers. Gerald Green, back to natural size and playing time now that Bledsoe isn’t injured, scored 10 points in 19 minutes.
The biggest disappointment for the Spurs was Manu Ginobili was only 2 points off the bench. Tony Parker had 19, Tim Duncan finished with 16. Without Splitter, too much burden in the paint fell on his shoulders, as Austin Daye, Aron Baynes and Jeff Ayres didn’t help out a lot – not in the lineup or off the bench. Diaw scored 13 points but blew it on the most important possession, as the Spurs were losing by 11 points with him on the floor. His slimmer figure hasn’t been helping out that much so far.
Only two games. The Spurs aren’t dethroned just yet, not even close. The Suns are an exciting little thing, no longer new and unexpected. But these are just two games, and trying to draw deep conclusions isn’t very wise. The Spurs might have problems with certain things, but there’s no one better than Gregg Popovich than fixing those things while in motion.