Scouting Report: Spurs-Suns

If the Spurs can bottle their Game 1 performance, they'll head home with a 2-0 series lead.

Originally Published: May 24, 2005
By Brian James | ESPN Insider
Keys in Game 1
Phoenix Suns: The Suns were concerned about the quick turnaround after a taxing Dallas series. Phoenix had just over a day to rest and prepare for San Antonio. Steve Nash said his Suns' squad had to sustain concentration and effort for the entire 48 minutes to hold a superb Spurs team that day. Nash and Amare Stoudemire had their normal Superman-type games, but Shawn Marion and Quentin Richardson struggled and never got into the offensive flow.

Stoudemire's 41 points against the Spurs' towers inside is quite an accomplishment. He averaged 38.7 against San Antonio during the regular season, the highest ever against a Spurs team. Stoudemire's numbers are even more impressive when you consider that foul trouble forced him to the bench after only four minutes in the first quarter. Nash garnered 13 assists and 25 points.

Marion was able to get only six field goal attempts, making just one. Richardson made only one 3-pointer, and both of their baskets were during the run in the third quarter when Phoenix went from minus-11 to plus-8. Marion has quite a task – he must be as productive as ever offensively against two great defenders, Tim Duncan and Bruce Bowen. Then, all the Suns are asking Marion to do at the other end is guard Duncan in the post. This is quite a challenge for Marion, an All-Star who is giving up plenty of size. This is why coach Mike D'Antoni went to a bigger front line, with Steven Hunter trying to contain Duncan as Marion slid over to small forward. Hunter is getting experience under fire – he will be under the microscope with this matchup. Hunter and Leandro Barbosa were the only Suns players to get action off the bench.