The veteran-laden San Antonio Spurs still have their sights set on the top seed in the Western Conference, but will need some help to get there. A fan of any team that plays the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Spurs will try to take care of their own business tonight versus the Phoenix Suns in the finale of a three-game homestand.
San Antonio is one game behind the Thunder for conference supremacy with nine to play and is on the verge of locking up another Southwest Division title. The Spurs are 7 1/2 games ahead of Memphis in the division and are coming off Thursday's 107-97 victory over the Grizzlies in the Alamo City.
Tim Duncan posted 28 points and 12 rebounds, Manu Ginobili had 20 points off the bench and Tony Parker chipped in 13 for the Spurs, who halted a two-game slide and won for the 12th time in 14 tries.
"We got back on track," said Duncan. "That was the key to the whole thing. We played awful against the Lakers and we got blown out. We came back in here tonight, against another good team, and (gave) a much better effort."
The Spurs are 24-5 at the AT&T Center this season and will begin a three-game road trip against the Warriors, Lakers and Kings on Monday.
Phoenix still has hope it will reach the postseason and sits one game behind Houston and Denver for the West's final two playoff spots.
The Suns will close out a four-game road trip tonight and are coming off Friday's 112-105 victory at the Rockets in which Marcin Gortat scored 20 points and pulled down 15 rebounds to lead the way. Jared Dudley added 19 points and Steve Nash contributed 18 with 10 assists for the Suns, who won for the sixth time in eight tries.
"We are definitely a better team now then we were a couple of weeks ago. Everybody knows the stretch we are in right now and we have to get those wins to make sure that we have a chance for a playoff spot," said Gortat. "That was the first step today."
Phoenix, which is 17-8 since the All-Star break and 19-9 since opening the season with a 12-19 mark, welcomed back veteran forward Grant Hill on Friday. Hill had missed nine straight games after undergoing knee surgery and recorded four points and six boards in 25:29.
The Suns will play four straight in the desert versus the Blazers, Thunder, Clippers and Nuggets following tonight's test in San Antonio. They have lost both meetings with the Spurs this season and six of the previous eight matchups overall.
Phoenix has dropped five straight and 12 of 15 trips to the Alamo City.