|Spurs, Suns set for Mexico City matchup|
Phoenix and San Antonio checked some unwanted baggage onto the flight to Mexico City for their Saturday game.
The Suns showed intermittent focus in a 115-108 home loss to Memphis on Wednesday, when the Grizzlies built a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and held on with late heroics from Ja Morant, whose highlight-reel slam locked it up.
"It was one of the worst losses -- if not the worst loss -- of the season," Suns guard Ricky Rubio said. "We didn't play how we know how to play. It will be a one-time thing. It can't happen again."
San Antonio may have one-upped them, losing a five-point lead in the final 20 seconds of the fourth quarter before falling to Cleveland 117-109 in overtime at home Thursday, the Spurs' franchise-record third consecutive overtime game.
"Cleveland played for 48 (minutes), we played for 24," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "That's the bottom line."
DeMar DeRozan missed two free throws with 14 seconds remaining in regulation to open the door.
"That's just not acceptable on my part," DeRozan said of the missed free throws.
The Suns and Spurs will meet Saturday as part of the NBA Mexico City games, a two-game set that opened with Dallas' 122-111 victory over Detroit before 20,006 at Arena Ciudad de Mexico on Thursday.
The NBA has played two regular-season games in Mexico in each of the last four seasons, and the Suns and Spurs -- among the franchises closest geographically to Mexico -- are no strangers to the event.
Suns' leading scorer Devin Booker scored 39 points when the Suns beat the Spurs 108-105 in Mexico City on Jan. 14, 2017, while erasing an 11-point deficit in the second half.
Booker had 15 points and 10 assists on 6-of-17 shooting against Memphis, missing all three three-point attempts. He played with a bandaged right wrist, but Suns coach Monty Williams said, "He's not one to use soreness as an excuse, so he's fine."
"I think we came in complacent, thinking it was going to be easier than it was," said Booker after the loss that kept the Suns from returning to .500 for the first time since Nov. 24. "I think this will humble us."
The Suns (11-13) have their best record through 24 games since starting 12-12 in 2014-15.
San Antonio (9-15) is 4-12 since a 121-112 victory over Oklahoma on Nov. 7, although it has won two of three and scored a season-high 135 points in a double-overtime victory over Houston on Dec. 3.
Frank Kaminsky had a season-high 24 points, Kelly Oubre had a 14-point, 13-rebound double-double and Rubio had 22 points, eight assists and five turnovers against the Grizzlies. The Suns had 29 assists -- their eighth straight game with at least that many, tying a franchise record.
"We have to be more consistent," Williams said. "But 29 assists, most nights you'd be like, 'This is fine,' but that's not us. We're usually in the 30s. I could just think of five or six, maybe seven times where we just didn't move it to the next guy, so that's something we're going to be talking about."
Williams played two seasons under Popovich in San Antonio and credits his offensive philosophy of quick ball movement to lessons learned there.
--Field Level Media