PHOENIX (AP) Rudy Gay scored 19 points, Drew Eubanks added 13 points and 13 rebounds in his first start of the season and the short-handed San Antonio Spurs had a surprisingly dominant 111-85 win over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night.
The Spurs were playing without a handful of their main rotation players, including leading scorer DeMar DeRozan, but still controlled almost the entire game. The 6-foot-9 Eubanks has had an increased role over the past few weeks and finished with his second double-double in the past four games.
”We don’t have anyone on our team that’s concerned with their stats, their play. We’re just focused on winning,” Eubanks said. ”My job is to bring energy.”
Rookie Devin Vassell added 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting, including 4 of 6 on 3-pointers. The Spurs improved to 27-28 this season.
”As a team, we just tried to get after them,” Vassell said. ”My teammates were finding me for 3s and they were giving me a lot of confidence.”
The Suns had their 10-game home winning streak snapped and fell to 40-16 for the season. They’re about to enter a difficult part of their schedule with 12 of their final 16 games on the road.
Phoenix used a pair of 3-pointers late in the third by Jevon Carter and Torrey Craig to pull within 87-68 going into the fourth. Carter hit another 3 to pull the Suns within 87-71 but they wouldn’t get any closer.
”As much as I hate losing games, it affirms what we preach around here and how we play,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. ”Defending, competing and sharing the ball. That is what we have to do every night and we did not do that consistently.”
Carter led the Suns with 17 points off the bench. Devin Booker added 15 points but shot just 6 of 18 from the field. The Suns shot just 40% as a team, including 22% from 3-point range.
Williams emptied the bench by midway through the fourth quarter.
”Midway through the third quarter you just felt like it wasn’t going to be your night,” Williams said.
The Suns have been prolific from 3 the past few weeks – including making a franchise-record 25 3s in a win over the Rockets on Monday – but struggled from long range against the Spurs. Phoenix missed its first eight shots from behind the arc, finally breaking the streak when Cam Johnson knocked one down midway through the second.
By then, the Suns were already in a big hole. The Spurs led by as many as 23 in the second and took a 64-45 advantage into halftime.
”They were making a lot of shots and we couldn’t find our rhythm,” Booker said. ”That is a tough matchup right there.”
Dejounte Murray led the Spurs with 10 points before the break. Booker had 13 for the Suns, who made just 1 of 10 3-pointers in the first half.
Spurs: San Antonio was resting a handful of players, including G Patty Mills, DeRozan and F Jakob Poeltl. F Trey Lyles was also out with a right ankle sprain. … Gorgui Dieng was ejected from the game with 25 seconds left, moments after being he and Suns forward Frank Kaminsky were called for a double technical.
Suns: F Abdel Nader missed his 14th straight game because of a sore right knee. Johnson played despite a nasal fracture.
The Spurs got contributions all over the roster. Vassell – who didn’t play the previous two games – was pouring in points while Keldon Johnson had 17, Murray added 14 and Derrick White had 12. The Spurs shot 51% from the field and 41% from 3-point range.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was particularly complimentary of Vassell.
”He played well,” Popovich said. ”He’s a good shooter, he’s long, he understands how to play. Defensively, he’s starting to figure out the physicality of the game.”
Spurs: Visit the Indiana Pacers on Monday.
Suns: Visit the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday.
Courtesy: CBS Sports