Updated Dec 18, 2013 - 1:12 pm
Phoenix Suns ‘can't relax' against shorthanded San Antonio Spurs
Just ask the Phoenix Suns.
Earlier this season, the Suns visited a Memphis team minus big men Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
No problem, right? Correct. For Memphis.
The Grizzlies, behind Jon Leuer's career-high 23 points and double-doubles by Ed Davis (21 points, 12 rebounds) and Kosta Koufos (14 points, 12 rebounds), handed the Suns their worst defeat of the season, 110-91.
Fast forward two weeks to Wednesday when the Suns (14-9) host the Tony Parker-less San Antonio Spurs at US Airways Center.
"You can't relax. These guys—they're machines," head coach Jeff Hornacek said of the Western Conference's second-best team at 19-5. "(Gregg Popovich) has sat guys before and they know how to just jump right in there and play with the same level that they always do. We can't relax one bit."
Parker and his team-leading 17.5 points and 6.0 assists will not be on the floor. He suffered a bruised right shin late in the third quarter of the Spurs loss at the L.A. Clippers Monday and is expected to miss at least two games.
"It doesn't change anything for them," said Eric Bledsoe, who was likely to match-up against Parker. "Those guys come in and play even harder when he's out or whenever one of their key players is out. We've just got to stay locked in because we know it's going to be a long game."
Parker burned the Suns for 20 points in the first meeting back during the first week of the season. The Spurs won 99-96 in San Antonio.
"With Tony you worry about him penetrating in the lane, getting easy runners," Hornacek said.
Third-year point guard Cory Joseph will get the start. Patty Mills will also see additional time for the league's third-ranked three-point shooting team (40.0 percent).
"Our guys have been told," Hornacek said. "It might be a natural reaction for them to relax a little bit, but if we do, we'll have trouble. They know what they have to do. They know that to continue a win streak you got to go out there like it's the final game of the year."
The Suns, winners of a season-high five straight games, have not won six in a row since 2010.
Craig Grialou, Reporter
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