Phoenix (19 - 39)
San Antonio (45 - 13)
By JEFF BARTL
(AP) The San Antonio Spurs own the NBA's best record and are aiming for their third consecutive top seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
Playing 13 of their next 15 games at home with many against sub-.500 competition - including Wednesday night's contest with the Phoenix Suns - may help them move closer to accomplishing that goal.
San Antonio (45-13) is a league-best 22-2 at home and is coming off a 7-2 road trip after beating the Suns 97-87 on Sunday. It has won 18 straight at the AT&T Center, with the last defeat coming Nov. 19 in a 92-87 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Coach Gregg Popovich was happy the trip ended on a positive note knowing his team was looking forward to heading home.
"It was a great trip," Popovich said. "I thought the guys kept good focus on the road here in the last game. You know they all want to go home and I thought they did a fine job."
With Tony Parker out due to a sore right triceps, Kawhi Leonard and Patrick Mills each scored a team-high 16 points - role-player contributions Popovich has come to expect.
"We've had to do it quite a bit this year as far as having one, two or three guys out," Popovich said. "So the bench has gotten a good look and I think they have gained some good confidence through all that."
Parker, making his case for MVP with his stellar play, hopes to return Wednesday. He's averaging 27.7 points over his last seven games.
"As long as there aren't any setbacks or it doesn't feel right - Pop doesn't want me to take any risks," said Parker, who hit 13 of 17 from the field and scored 31 points in the Spurs' 108-99 home win over the Suns on Jan. 26. "It feels great to be home. (We will) try and not take it for granted and make sure we play well."
Seven of the Spurs' next nine game are against sub.-500 teams, including four on this six-game homestand. After a road date with Minnesota on March 12, they'll return home to face Dallas and Cleveland.
They've beaten the Suns six straight times and own a seven-game home winning streak against Phoenix (19-39), which had lost seven of eight before Tuesday's 84-83 overtime win over Minnesota.
Marcin Gortat scored 14 points, including the tying bucket in regulation and a clutch basket in OT.
The Suns led by as many as 18 points, though, and interim coach Lindsey Hunter was disappointed they couldn't close out the win earlier.
"We made it a little tougher on ourselves, but we will take it," Hunter said. "We still just for some reason do not finish quarters the way we are supposed to."
Still, Phoenix is tied with Sacramento for the worst record in the West, and gladly will take any victory at this point.
"It feels great," said Goran Dragic, who had 10 points and seven assists.
Gortat scored 21 points while Dragic added 10 and 11 assists in Sunday's loss to the Spurs, but the Suns committed 20 turnovers. They are averaging just 87.6 points over their last seven, and Hunter knows his team can't afford giving the ball away to a San Antonio team scoring 104.3 points per contest.
"You play so hard and then you make one mistake against those guys and they make you pay," Hunter said after the last meeting. "That's what they do."
Phoenix is 2-12 on the end of back-to-backs this season.
Last edited by Eddy from Austin; 02-27-13 at 12:09 PM.
Spurs at home, long rest, getting healthy....should be an good'ol fashion ass kicking tonight!!!!
I think he's going to be a star. And as time goes on, he'll be the face of the Spurs, I think.--- Coach Pop on Leonard
The Spurs have a habit of losing the first home game after the long road trip. I hope that's in their heads. Hold position against Memphis and OKC who also play lesser teams tonight. Between home practices and home games, I hope Baynes begins to get minutes at some point and the back up PGs work on assists over this stretch.
Win or lose this is a game -
You could let it pick your brain for weeks and months, just replay it over and over, won't do you any good at all. When someone loses a loved one and they do that it only brings forth anguish. I feel acceptance is sometimes the key, it happened, now you have to react to it. Giving up is not an option.
“It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it.” --- Maurice Switzer
Sucks to lose in OT to such lowly team as Suns at our Home Sweet Home!!
Spurs losing focus at the second half made Suns look like World Beaters...
Look I know Spurs will bounce back come Friday!
Time to get back to the basics that got you there.... TEAM Ball and no more selfish plays and silly bonehead mistakes esp in the second half....
Go Spurs Go!
Go Spurs FO Go! Grade A for key pick ups this summer!
This was a trap game, pure and simple. Spurs scored ONE point in OT. ONE. Gino missing a FT, leading to a desperation swish to force the extra period?
Sometimes crazy things happen in the NBA.
No sweat; GO SPURS GO!
Click HERE to see the rest of my "oversized" signature.
"Leadership is diving after loose balls." -Larry Bird
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