Ghosts of Christmas Past: Spurs Return Tonight for First Time Since Their Heartbreaking Defeat of Suns

Roger Mason of the (grrrr) Spurs

It's Christmas Day in Phoenix. You wake up early, even before the kids, to take care of some last-minute errands. But it isn't because you're a good dad and want to be free of afternoon obligations in order to spend quality time with the fam. No, you do it because the Phoenix Suns are hosting the hated San Antonio Spurs, and all you want to do is lay in your own filth and watch the Suns school their rivals. Then some scrub named Roger Mason hits a buzzer-beating game winner and . . . and . . . up yours, Santa.

Remember how poopy that felt? Remember? Well, we do, and we hope the Suns do, too, when they host the Spurs in a rematch tonight at U.S. Airways Center.

Since that crappy Christmas Day heartbreaker, the two teams have gone in significantly different directions. Despite the Spurs pasting at the hands of the L.A. Lakers in last Sunday's nationally televised matchup, they're still the cream of the crop in the Western Conference. And, as always, score-machine and swat-master Tim Duncan has led the charge to yet another division title and high-seed in the NBA Playoffs, averaging 20 points and 10 boards per game. Tony Parker's game has also been on-point (20 points and 6 assists each contest) as well as Mr. Annoying, Manu Ginobili, whose 14 points per game and steady ball-handling make San Antonio tough to beat.

The Suns? Well, the just completed East coast round trip, which ended up 3-3 but was mostly a disaster. It's hard to salvage the embarrassments in Boston, NYC, and Charlotte with a win against the lowly Washington Wizards, but the solid victory against a good Atlanta team can be something to build on.

Phoenix will need to bring its A-game when the no-nonsense Spurs visit US Airways Center tonight. The game tips off at 8:30 p.m. Go to www.suns.com National TV: TNT. Radio: KTAR 620-AM.

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