NBA: Phoenix at San Antonio (9:30E – ESPN)

NBA: Phoenix at San Antonio (9:30E – ESPN)

NBA: Phoenix at San Antonio (9:30E – ESPN)


2010-05-07

The Spurs have to win four of their next five games to advance to West Finals and even having its three stars seemingly healthy might not be enough to make that occur. It seems that Phoenix has all of its pieces meshing at this point in time and appears to be a real threat to the Lakers in the Western Conference. With the Spurs in a must-win spot at home in Game 3 of this series, Sportsbook.com oddsmakers have listed San Antonio as a 6-point favorite.

Basketball is five on five with every player having a job to do. Though Tony Parker is coming off the bench, he’s playing starter minutes. (36:05 in Game 2) And even if you take bench scoring in the literal sense, San Antonio was outscored 31-24 by players that came off the Phoenix chairs, which was essentially the difference in 110-102 final.

Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili have been carrying this franchise for years, unfortunately they can’t do it alone and need more help. This helps explain an 11-25 ATS record revenging a road loss over the last two seasons. Richard Jefferson was more effective in the last contest, but Antonio McDyess and Matt Bonner were non-factors.

Phoenix on the other hand showed the depth of the Chinese Red Army. The Suns starters were a step slow, out of rhythm and playing mediocre basketball as they trailed 30-21 after the first quarter.

Coach Alvin Gentry had just pleaded with his team to give more effort and in came Jared Dudley, Channing Frye and Louis Amundson. Phoenix exploded with increased energy, scoring, rebounding and playing tighter defense. The starters watched as their teammates led the surge on San Antonio and by halftime the game was knotted up at 51.

Dudley in particular was the star of stars. "He was my player of the game -- he made some huge plays for us," Steve Nash said. "He did a bunch of things that more than anything gave us energy and confidence and changed the game and enabled us to come back and tie at halftime just because of his energy and spirit."

San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich seconded that notion: "Jared Dudley changed the whole game. He came in and was a monster. He was committed to the boards, and it was infectious."

The Spurs need this type of player to help the power trio against a Suns’ team that is shining bright with a 20-4 SU and 17-6-1 ATS record since Mar.14. San Antonio is six-point favorites with total of 205.5 and is 8-3 ATS off a straight up and spread loss. This is a conflict they need to take control of throughout and are 10-3-1 UNDER at home vs. teams with a winning road record.

Phoenix has covered eight of last 11 contests as road underdogs and is 17-6 OVER away from Arizona after consecutive games as a home favorite.

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