Tonight's matchup will be between Tony Parker and Goran Dragic as the San Antonio Spurs return home from their Rodeo Road Trip to face the Phoenix Suns at the AT&T Center.
This is the third meeting between the teams and the Spurs are looking to capitalize on sweeping the regular season tonight with a win. Tony Parker missed the last game due to a triceps contusion but will return to the starting lineup tonight. Goran Dragic had a decent game during Parker's absence, notching up 10 points and 11 assists but only shot 3-14 from the field in 38 minutes. He was very turnover prone and look for the Spurs to exploit that again with their speedy MVP candidate point guard back in his natural position.
What Parker must do on offense:
As we've seen the past two games, the Phoenix Suns are not a good defensive team. While they're a bad man defense team, they're even horrible at the help rotations. They may get one good rotation off but the rest don't seem to have that mentality during the game. Parker's drive and kicks will be a perfect formula against this team. He's had a quick first step to the basket and, if the Suns choose to collapse on him, will give teammates an open free look on the first pass. It's doubtful the Suns will try to pressure Parker too much on the ball because the other Spurs can create for themselves if they need to. A Parker-Splitter pick and roll will be the best medicine for tonight's game along with a pick and pop with teammate Tim Duncan. Parker will be sure to find open teammates so they'll need to knock down their shots. Parker shot 100% (6-6) in the restricted area during the game he played against Phoenix and 57% (4-7) mid range, so he'll get his shots easily against the Suns.
What Parker must do on defense:
Dragic is a very good passer, but he's not a good scorer. Parker has to pressure Dragic to try to carry the burden by himself on the scoring side of the ball and not letting his teammates get caught off guard on switches. The Suns had some chances at coming back and winning the last game because Dragic was finding open teammates or passing through San Antonio big man's legs. If the Spurs force Dragic to beat them single handedly, the game will get out of hand in the Spurs' favor early on. The Suns don't seem to have another viable creator besides Dragic and if they were to pressure him, they don't have a team that can create plays without him commanding the point guard spot. In the first game, Dragic shot 33% (1-3) from the restricted area, 50% (2-4) from mid range, and 50% (1-2) from the wing three point line. As it was pointed out, the second game Dragic shot a miserable 3-14 for the game. He's not a scorer at all even when his team desperately needs his points, so Parker has to force Dragic to try to beat the Spurs by himself as the first defensive strategy.