This past week, the San Antonio Spurs gathered three victories as they had a two game road trip and finished with a win at home. The AT&T Center is presently filled with dirt, paraded by ranch folks and tuned to the sounds of Lady Antebellum.
(Advice: READ NEXT SENTENCE IN NASCAR VOICE) So get out your lasso, start twirling it up above your head and send it on out to rope your laptop or desktop computer! It’s ‘Views From the Couch!’ Time!
The Past Should Be Revisited
- @ Golden State Warriors: The Spurs began their two game road trip in “Warriors come out to playyyyyyy” territory; everything was going normal in the first half and then utter silence captured the arena. There was Tim Duncan, sitting down, clutching his knee with just a few minutes remaining in the half. He was helped up by his teammates and was able to walk to the locker room on his own. From that point on, the game didn’t matter. Reporters and viewers stayed quietly tense through the entire half, waiting for any word on Duncan. Then, right before the third quarter, Tim Duncan went onto the court and began shooting warm-up jump shots. After those 18-20 minutes, the entire Spurs Nation could finally exhale. In the third quarter; Antonio McDyess threw down an exhilarating dunk, I tweeted “McDyess used to dunk on those horizontal rims the Aztecs used to use. #OldManSwag” Duncan finished the night with 16 points and 7 rebounds. He was ok, the Spurs won (holding Golden State to only 44 points in the second and third quarter combined) and everyone could be at ease knowing Duncan would be fine.
- @ Utah Jazz (Good Team): In the first quarter, @PeterBurnsRadio tweeted “There is no way Kirilenko is cashing in on the Kirilenko Rule with that haircut. No way.” This was a close game throughout; but going into the fourth quarter, the Spurs had a 10-point lead. Utah put up a fight, getting near the Spurs in the last quarter, but the Jazz’s comeback wasn’t enough.
- Houston Rockets: Midway into the first quarter, I wrote, “When does Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady and Steve Francis come in for Houston?” This was a close game for two quarters, and then in the third, the Spurs defense held Houston to just 20-points. The Spurs extended their lead in the fourth quarter to finish off the Rockets. After the game fellow writer Nick Kapsis (@Kap10Jack) tweeted “Blair's line: 6-12 FG, 2-2 FT, 14 PTS, 12 REB, 3 AST, 3BLK & +12 for the night. 21 years old... Just scratching the surface.”
This past Sunday marked an important date in San Antonio Spurs' history as it was the day the Spurs acquired Spurs' legend George "Iceman" Gervin for $225,000 from the Virginia Squires.
In this News 4 WOAI interview, Gervin spoke on how he became a Spur, including a time where he did not want to come to San Antonio, and his favorite current Spurs player, Manu Ginobili.
|SPURS||Manu Ginobili 18.8||Tim Duncan 9.4||Tony Parker 6.9|
|BLAZERS||LaMarcus Aldridge 21.0||Marcus Camby 11.3||Andre Miller 7.1|
The San Antonio Spurs begin a nine-game road trip with the league's best record and a comfortable lead atop the Southwest Division, they will look to snap a four-game losing streak tonight when they visit the Portland Trail Blazers, who will be trying to avoid their first three-game home losing skid in almost three years.
The Spurs (40-7) typically use this annual Rodeo Road trip to work out problems and use it as turning point of the season. This year they must use it to keep their focus and maintain the pace they are at. They have won three straight and 11 of 12 while reaching 40 victories in the fewest games in franchise history.
The Spurs are league leaders and are currently enjoying one their best seasons but one major concern is defense.They are allowing opponents to average 99.9 points on the road compared to 94.7 at home. In their last two road victories, they gave up more than 100 points. Obviously the team's main goal should be to get better defensively towards the end of the season and into the playoffs.
On the other hand, the Trail Blazers (25-22) has struggled offensively over the last two games, losing 96-81 to Sacramento on January 24 and falling 88-78 to Boston last Thursday. The Blazers have shot an average of 38.1% from the field in those games.
Portland has not lost three in a row at the Rose Garden since March 29 to April 6, 2008.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Offense -- Aldridge has been playing well lately and he will have ample support from their backcourt. Also, Nicolas Batum and Rudy Fernandez can score on a given night.
Defense -- Limit Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Hill and Richard Jefferson's dribble penetrations, contain Tim Duncan inside the paint and guard the Spurs' perimeter shooters.
Spurs -- Matt Bonner - marrow edema (day-to-day)
Blazers -- LaMarcus Aldridge - hip (day-to-day)
The Blazers have been struggling lately but they have a chance to right the ship against the Spurs, they will definitely try their hardest to stop the bleeding and get a big win over one of the league's elite teams. However, the Spurs will be equally determined to open their road trip on a winning note. The Spurs will win this 103-96.
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• The San Antonio Spurs own the NBA's best record at 40-7 but according to ESPN's Chris Forsberg, the Boston Celtics are better:
The San Antonio Spurs have far and away the best record in basketball, but don't be deceived. The Boston Celtics are far and away the best team in basketball as the calendar flips to February.
Give San Antonio credit for feasting on the lesser opponents, a 22-1 record against teams below .500 this season. That's an area where Boston hasn't been able to always keep its focus.
But, heck, before the Celtics even beat his team three weeks ago in a battle of conference juggernauts, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich admitted his team was a cut below Boston.
"We're a significant notch below the big boys, and, of course, Boston being one of the big boys," Popovich said. "Boston [was] third in defensive field goal percentage. Those are the kind of stats we used to have defensively. Right now, I think we're a good basketball team. We have to step up defensively. Luckily, it's early. Maybe I can get these things across."
• Express News' Tim Griffin reports Matt Bonner will be on the Rodeo Road Trip but will not play against the Portland Trail Blazers.
• Here is Dallas Mavericks' Jason Kidd and coach Rick Carlisle on the Spurs' Rodeo Road Trip:
"I think they’re playing extremely well, so it doesn’t matter if they’re going on a rodeo trip or if they had nine at home,'' point guard Jason Kidd said. "They’re playing well at home and on the road, so for us we can't worry about San Antonio or anybody else.''
After shoot around this morning, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle shrugeed his shoulders when asked about the Spurs' rodeo trip. Then he said: "Just looking at us.'' (source sportsblogs.star-telegram.com)
• Seems the GM of the Atlanta Hawks Rick Sund looks to the Spurs as a model for chemistry for the Hawks:
While the Hawks are exploring trade options, they truly believe continuity will be the key to getting out of the second round of the playoffs this season, must as continuity has helped the West-leading San Antonio Spurs.
"Chemistry is so important, and if you look at San Antonio, in some ways they're analogous to us," Sund explains. "They got through the first round last year and got swept in four. We got through the first round last year and got swept in four. They didn't really make any major changes and we didn't make any major changes. They're a more veteran team than us, we started the season with three starters who are 24 or younger in Horford, Josh and Marvin. Joe, Bibbby and Jamal are all in their primes, so that combination is good. But we think continuity and chemistry are important for us, just as they have been for San Antonio." (source hoopsworld.com)
• Here is Spurs' coach Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan on whether Duncan will make the All-Star game in February:
After the San Antonio Spurs win against the Houston Rockets, the Spurs' hand out to the media sheets with post game quotes from both teams. Here are few that stood out.
Rockets' guard Kyle Lowry
On if he feels the Spurs are the best team in the NBA:
"Their record says it. We've played all the top teams; their record shows it so I guess that makes them the best team. They are a pretty good team."
Rockets' forward Shane Battier
On what it is that makes the Spurs so good:
"They don't beat themselves. We were right there with them for a half and we were playing pretty good basketball.The lull that we had in the third quarter where we just couldn't answer any of their three's and their big shots create separation. We were playing from behind and it's tough because they don't make any mistakes to allow you to get back into the game. Tonight was a pretty classic textbook Spurs victory."
On Tim Duncan's game:
"He just solid and he's always in the right spot. He just knows how to play the game. You can put anyone around him and he makes them better. He's just a pillar, he is one of the few pillars in this league."
Spurs' guard Manu Ginobili
On the importance of getting a win against the Rockets before the Rodeo Road Trip:
"Very important. We're going to have nine on the road, the usual rodeo trip. It's important to finish the last home game with a win."
On whether Richard Jefferson's game better when he starts with a drive to the basket:
"Almost for every player, when you make a couple of buckets early, it helps your confidence."
On Tim Duncan's outlet passes:
"It's something that we talk a lot about in preseason and early in the season just trying to get the outlets higher so Tony [Parker] can push it. Tony is one of the fastest point guards in the league and we should be able to run even more. I think we did it very well in the first 15 to 20 games and then we kind of stopped. We've got RJ [Richard Jefferson] who is a deer and George Hill is athletic too. It's important to get some easy buckets, we need them."
Spurs' forward DeJuan Blair
On if he thought the Spurs would get 40 wins before February:
"No. I mean [I] knew we were capable of it, but I didn't think we would be at 40 wins right now. I'm speechless right now because it's just an honor to be on this team, to be on this quest to greatness, and we've just got to keep it going. It's the middle of the season, we're halfway. We still got half a season to go and then the playoffs to get to where we want to go."
On the Rodeo Road Trip with three back-to-backs:
"Rodeo Road Trip, it's going to be fun. We've got some tough ones too. It's all about focus and playing well on the road. Hopefully we play well, I know we'll play well. We got to bring our defense and our hard hats and just go hard because we've got some real good teams on the Rodeo Road Trip."
Spurs' coach Gregg Popovich
On plans for James Anderson now that he is back with the team:
"We're just going to keep trying to play the way we've been playing. We're going to try to improve and if there's a spot for him it will show itself. We're not going to force anything."
On 18 consecutive wins at home is comfortable to have:
"No coach or team thinks in terms of happy or comfort, those are not words that exist. You keep competing, executing, and trying to improve. It doesn't matter if you have the best record or the worst record."
Please welcome Project Spurs' newest staff writer, Miguel Castro. Miguel comes to us with experience working for the Associated Press, the San Antonio Express-News and San Antonio Magazine. Feel free to welcome him in the comments and we hope you enjoy his debut post.
The San Antonio Spurs’ solid start to the 2010-11 season is put to the test over the next two weeks as they enter their annual Rodeo Road Trip.
In past seasons, the trip has proved to be pivotal in making the team stronger and eventually leading it to a solid regular season finish.
This year, even though they are off to a 40-7 start, the Silver and Black hope this year’s edition has the same effect as season’s past.
The Spurs hold the best record in the league with a 7½-game lead on the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference and 8½-game lead over Dallas in the Southwest Division.
Finish under .500 on the trip, and the previously aforementioned leads in the standings can quickly deteriorate, costing them a high seed and possible homecourt advantage in the playoffs.
Win enough road games to keep their distance, and they should remain in good position.
That, of course, is easier said than done.
This Rodeo Road Trip spans 17 days and consists of nine games, including three back-to-backs, with all but three games spent on the East Coast.
Take into account that five of the Spurs’ seven losses this season have been on the road with three coming against teams out of the Eastern Conference and there may be some cause for concern.
That is, until you take a closer look at their nine opponents.
Project Spurs breaks down each of San Antonio’s games and predicts how the Silver and Black will finish on the Rodeo Road Trip.
Portland, 9 p.m. on Feb. 1
The Spurs open their Rodeo Road Trip against a badly beaten and battered Trail Blazers team that has been bitten hard by the injury bug. The Spurs have enough health, rest and focus to pull this one out. Rodeo Road Trip record: 1-0.
L.A. Lakers, 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 3
Kobe Bryant struggled in their first meeting in San Antonio, missing 13 straight shots over nearly three quarters of play. Bryant puts on a much better performance this time around, and his teammates follow his lead. Rodeo Road Trip record: 1-1.
Sacramento, 9 p.m. on Feb. 4
The Kings are a young and talented team and do have recent wins over the Lakers and Hornets, and this is the first end of a back-of-back the Spurs will face. But with less than 10 home wins this year, the edge goes to San Antonio. Rodeo Road Trip record: 2-1.
Detroit, 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 8
The remainder of the road trip shifts to the East Coast and begins with the Pistons, who are outside of the Eastern Conference’s top eight teams. With Detroit having only a handful of wins against above .500 teams, this one’s a no brainer. Rodeo Road Trip record: 3-1.
Toronto, 6 p.m. on Feb. 9
As of Sunday, the Raptors had the second worst losing streak (11 games) in the NBA. Is there really anymore to say? Rodeo Road Trip record: 4-1.
Philadelphia, 6 p.m. on Feb. 11
In their first meeting with the Sixers, the Spurs used a 16-0 run to score a season-high 39 points in the first quarter and never look back. Should be a similar result in this one. Rodeo Road Trip record: 5-1.
Washington, 7 p.m. on Feb. 12
The Wizards had only beaten two Southwest Division opponents with games scheduled against the Mavericks and Hornets prior to their meeting with the Spurs. Washington won’t add anymore to that number. Rodeo Road Trip record: 6-1.
New Jersey, 6 p.m. on Feb. 14
Don’t expect San Antonio to show former Spur Avery Johnson or his Nets any love in this one. The Spurs dominate early in this one, once again resting their starters. Rodeo Road Trip record: 7-1.
Chicago, 7 p.m. on Feb. 17
Da Bulls have only suffered one loss to a Southwest Division team and that was the Spurs back on Nov. 17 in San Antonio. By this time, the Spurs, especially their starters, should be well rested and ready for this one. Still, Chicago hold a solid 23-4 record at home. Rodeo Road Trip record: 7-2.
San Antonio Spurs fans know what happened between Houston Rockets' Luis Scola and the Spurs.
In sum, after being drafted by San Antonio in 2002, the Spurs could not get him to join the squad and the Spurs would eventually trade him to the their inter-divisional rival Rockets where he has become a great player in the NBA.
Now some Spurs fans still wonder what could have been.
Before the Spurs-Rockets game this past Saturday, I had a chance to speak with Scola where he spoke on the Spurs best record, Tim Duncan and more. To read part one of this interview click HERE.
Jeff: The Spurs own the best record in the league. Did you expect this coming from San Antonio?
Luis: To be honest I didn't expect this, that they would be this good at this point of the season. After I saw them play, it makes perfect sense.
During the summer at the FIBA World Championship you played phenomenally. Are you worried about fatigue setting in for you as the season progresses?
No I think it helped me.
Manu Ginobili did not get voted into the All-Star game by the fans. Does he deserve a spot on the Western Conference bench even though other guards in the West are just as deserving?
Oh yeah no question! There's a lot of great players in the West but he deserves it. I think he will go.
You battled against Tim Duncan since you came into the NBA and now that he is nearing the end of his career, have you noticed any decline in his game out on the court?
I'm such a big fan of Tim Duncan. I'll never say he is playing worse or declining in his career. I just think he is just dangerous and he's just a great player. He's maybe not getting the same numbers as before but I think he still has the ability to do it if he wants to.
• The San Antonio Spurs Western Conference rival Los Angeles Lakers seem to struggle against the elite in the NBA which includes the Spurs:
They are 0-2 against the top three teams in the West other than themselves, losing against the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks.
"We're not playing very well against these top teams," said Kobe Bryant after scoring 41 points in the losing effort against Boston. "So we need to elevate our level and we need to get better, if we're to defend our throne."
At 33-15, the Lakers trail the Spurs by 7½ games for the No. 1 seed in the West. Los Angeles has the fifth best record overall, behind San Antonio, Boston, Chicago and Miami. (source espn.com)
• Express News' Tim Griffin reports on how ESPN's "The Sports Reporters" discussed the Spurs.
• Spurs' Tiago Splitter will be the new pitch-man for Ford:
Northside Ford has hired Splitter to be its first celebrity spokesperson.
Splitter, who was named MVP of the Spanish League last season while playing for Caja Laboral Vitoria, will appear in a series of television commercials for the San Antonio auto dealership. (source bizjournals.com)
• Former Spur Michael Pitts was honored as his jersey number 44 was retired:
As Sweetwater’s basketball program looks to move forward this season, current players got a taste of past Red Devils success on Saturday night. At halftime of the Red Devils’ 62-53 loss against Morse, the school retired the No. 44 jersey of Michael Pitts, the 1979 CIF Player of the Year.
Pitts played collegiately at California and was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in the 1984 NBA Draft. He tried out for the Spurs twice unsuccessfully before playing in France and Spain for three years. (source sandiegoreader.com)
• According to the Star-Telegram, The Texas Rangers took time to visit a San Antonio hospital but the Spurs are quite difficult to make a visit:
Stop No. 2: Audie L. Murphy Memorial Hospital (Hunter, Hawkins, Loux, Nadel) The four toured the veteran's hospital, walking in rooms and visiting patients. There is a mural with the Rangers logo on the wall, and the team was lauded for making the trip, with an official saying they can't even get the San Antonio Spurs to visit the San Antonio hospital.
• Former Spurs center Christian Welp will be inducted into the Olympic High School Hall of Fame - his high school Alma Mater.
After defeating the Houston Rockets last night, the San Antonio Spurs (40-7) will embark on their annual Rodeo Road Trip on Tuesday against the Portland Trailblazers. Here is what Spurs' Manu Ginobili had to say about the upcoming road trip.