As the San Antonio Spurs really showed off the amount of depth they posses with a 25-point win over the New Orleans Hornets this past Friday, the Hornets coach Monty Williams and several players discussed what they saw in getting beat by the Spurs, as San Antonio’s bench scored 82 points in the game.
“That team is primed and ready to contend,” said head coach Monty Williams after the game, “and at least make some noise in the playoffs.”
“They’re a very good team,” said Hornets center Jason Smith, “they’re a playoff team peaking at the right time.”
Smith has the right idea as the Spurs were able to temporarily take over the number one seed in the Western Conference and the Spurs are currently on their second 10-game winning streak of the season.
“All of them,” said Hornets shooting guard Eric Gordon, “they play well together.”
Playing well together is a strong point of the Spurs as they are one of the top teams in assists and limiting their turnovers.
“They’re a great team,” said Hornets point guard Greivis Vasquez, “after what happened with them last year in the playoffs, now they’re trying to win a championship.”
If you recall, Vasquez was part of the Memphis Grizzlies team that upset the Spurs in last year’s NBA playoffs in which the Grizzlies, an eight seed at the time, defeated the Spurs in a six-game series when the Spurs were the top seed in the Western conference.
Asked if the Spurs’ bench this year is better than last year’s, which featured George Hill, a rookie Tiago Splitter, DeJuan Blair, and Gary Neal, Vasquez agreed this year’s bench is much deeper, “It’s a lot better to me.” Said Vasquez.
I also asked Vasquez what he thought about Tiago Splitter’s success in his second NBA season where he’s averaging 9.2 points and 5.2 rebounds, as opposed to last seasons 4.6 points and 3.4 rebounds.
“He’s gotten a lot better,” began Vasquez, “he’s always been good. I thought last year he didn’t get the chance that he’s getting right now.”
Vasquez made a good point as Splitter only averaged 12.3 minutes compared to this seasons 19.6 minutes.
“He was the MVP of the CBA, the second best league after the NBA.” Continued Vasquez, “He’s a smart player, he can post you up, he’s very-very strong, he knows how to utilize his hands,” said Vasquez of Splitter, and from one South American (Vasquez-Venezuela) to another South American (Splitter-Brazil), Vasquez is glad to see Splitter succeeding, “he’s doing great, I’m happy for him.”
Unlike "Jail-in" Rose, who seems to believe Spurs depth will mean nothing in the playoffs since "all teams only play 8 players", I think Pop will elect to play at least 10 players come playoffs and our finishing 5 will most likely be Tony, Manu, Jack, Timmy and depending on if he wants to go big or small (Tiago/Neal). I don't know about Jail-in but that finishing 5 to me is as good as any in the league. When Gary is on, it really does add a whole new dimension to our offense and makes it pretty much unstoppable. Pop can also go a little more defensive to finish the game having Green/Kawhi on the floor if we have a lead. I think our 10 players will be (starters: Tony, Green (I don't think Manu will start unless we're down in a series), Leonard (since he's a rookie and knowing pop he might start Captain Jack), Timmy and hopefully Bonner. Off the bench we'll have Neal,Manu,Jack,Tiago and Diaw (I love this line up two great passing big men and decent defenders, 3 great play makers and shooters around them). Unless we play Denver, I thin these guys will be our rotation, against Denver I would rather have Jack as 4 so he can guard Gallinari.
@Spursforever69 but you got to wonder if this team is still focusing more on offense. The D has been suspect lately.
Let's hope the spurs play at the same level and finish the job. It's not only Splitter that has improved, but Neal, Green and Blair. Include the addition of Jackson, Diaw and Mills, you have a contender. Good Luck tonight Spurs!