If you're a regular Project Spurs reader, you may have noticed that we started selling Spurs tickets a few months ago through a partnership with TiqIq.
TiqIq is a service that aggregates ticket prices from several vendors to give buyers real-time ticket deals and updates.
Aside from the service they provide, TiqIq has now given us two Spurs tickets to make one reader's Holidays extra special.
So how do you win?
TiqIq has built us a branded twitter page for Spurs ticket updates, @ProjectSpursTiq, and while you should follow anyway to find great ticket deals, a random follower of that account will be given a pair of tickets to either the Nuggets game on December 22 or the Lakers game on December 28.
If there are 500+ followers to that page, the tickets will be for the Lakers game, otherwise you'll be watching the Spurs take on Carmelo Anthony and the Nuggets. Either should be great to watch in person at the AT&T Center.
One quarter into the season and the San Antonio Spurs still hold the best record in the NBA. While it is certainly a reason to be happy and excited, it doesn't necessarily mean the Spurs can rest on their laurels.
At 22-3 and in the midst of the best start in franchise history, the Spurs are winning games early in the season like never before. However, they only hold a slim lead over the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks for the best record.
It is also noteworthy this team currently sit on top of the NBA due to a relatively easy early season schedule.
During their first 25 games, the Spurs already played the Los Angeles Clippers (three times), the Golden State Warriors (twice), the Minnesota Timberwolves (twice) and the Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Bobcats, Cleveland Cleveland and the Philadelphia 76ers. That means most of their games early on can be considered "winnable" games.
Granted, they've had some success against playoff caliber teams like the Orlando Magic, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, New Orleans Hornets, Chicago Bulls and the Denver Nuggets, but the Spurs have yet to face their toughest test of the season.
Not to take anything away from the Spurs' remarkable start but they are about to get a reality check before the year ends.
They will play seven games in the next 13 days. That will start on a three-game home-stand against the Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns and Nuggets, a road game against the Orlando Magic on a set of back-to-backs, a visit from the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers and a road game against the Mavericks.
That stretch should provide the Spurs a better gauge on how they really measure up against some of the best teams in the NBA.
Will they keep their composure and be able to sustain momentum? I'm pretty sure but we will soon find out.
For the second straight night, Manu Ginobili helped the San Antonio Spurs to win another close game.
One night after drilling the game winner against the Milwaukee Bucks, this time Ginobili sparked a Spurs run in the final period and drew an offensive foul from Carmelo Anthony that sealed the Spurs' victory.
Here are some of the numbers that stood out in this thrilling game.
52 - The Spurs won the inside battle, outscoring the Nuggets 52-42.
50 - The Nuggets made their outside shots, making 7-14 (50%) of their 3 point attempts. The Spurs made only 9-26 (34.6%) shots from beyond the arc.
42 - The Spurs controlled the boards, out rebounding the Nuggets 42-36.
31 - Carmelo Anthony had game-high 31 points and added nine rebounds for the Nuggets. 28-16-4 - Tim Duncan just reminded everyone that he's still one of the best bigs in the league. He stuffed the score sheet with 28 points, 16 rebounds, four assists, four blocks and one steal.
26 - The Spurs did a better job of sharing the ball, they had 26 dimes compared to the Nuggets' 20. 24 - Tony Parker added 24 points and nine assists for San Antonio.
10 - Matt Bonner led the Spurs bench with 10 points on 3-4 shooting from three-point range.
6 - After leaving the game early against Milwaukee because of hyper-extended knee, DeJuan managed to score six points in 14 minutes of action. Antonio McDyess and Gary Neal scored six points a piece off the bench. McDyess went 3-3 from the field.
2 - George Hill scored just two points, grabbed two rebounds and had four assists in 33 minutes of playing time.
0 - Duncan, Bonner and Neal did not commit a single turnover for the entire game.
Rookie Watch: Gary Neal had six points and seven rebounds in 20 minutes of action. Tiago Splitter did not play, one night after suffering a right abductor contusion.
What's Next? The Spurs will host the Memphis Grizzlies at the AT&T Center on Saturday to start their three game home-stand. Follow Robby Lim on Twitter @RobbyLim21
• The Milwaukee Bucks had the San Antonio Spurs on the ropes until Manu Ginobili nailed the game-winning shot. Great for the Spurs. Heart-breaking for the Bucks. Here is what Bucks' Brandon Jennings had to say about the loss via Twitter:
Man I'm piss, we had them dudes tonight. But I can say we are getting better, we know what we can do.
Is it me or is this music to Spurs fans' ears?
• The Dallas Mavericks and the Spurs are close in the Western Conference standings and both can lay claim to having a 12 game winning streak. Though the Spurs hold the better record, Eddie Sefko of dallasnews.com says the Mavericks should not worry because the Spurs cannot keep up their winning ways:
The point is that the Spurs aren't going to keep up their jackrabbit pace. It's not going to require another 12-game winning streak for the Mavericks to pass them. Just keep winning the games you are supposed to and a few here and there that you're not.
Need I remind Sefko it doesn't matter how the two teams finish in the standings. The Spurs are a veteran squad and know what they have to do in the playoffs to reach their goal to advance and win an NBA title. Look at last season. The Mavericks had the better record and we all know what happened to the Mavericks when they faced the Spurs in the first-round.
• ESPN's Jalen Rose and Skip Bayless discussed the top five clutch players currently in the NBA and Ginobili made it but you may not agree where he ranked. Find out HERE.
• Well since we are on the topic of how clutch Ginobili is, let's relive his game-winning shot against the Bucks one more time!
Wait there's more!
What did Ginobili have to say about his game-winning shot?
But did Manu travel on his game-winning shot?
• Believe it or not Spurs fans there are actually other NBA teams besides the Spurs. I know, shocking! If you need a quick glimpse of what else happened last night in the NBA, check out Express News' Tim Griffin's notes on games that went down besides the Spurs-Bucks matchup.
• And finally, here are some ideas on a Christmas gift for the die-hard Spurs fan.
This week’s fan email comes courtesy of ZILLA, his question:
Why isn't Tiago Splitter getting any playing time? And do you think the Spurs should add another big for the playoffs?
It may be a question originating from well off the beaten path and completely out of left field, most likely on a topic San Antonio Spurs fans couldn’t care less about (ya know, like questioning government’s role or the concerns one would have for their loved ones), but what can I say… I’m a man of the people—and I cater to the entire audience.
Well, ZILLA (if that is your real name, and why wouldn’t it be?), I believe it comes down to a few things:
The 2011 NBA All-Star first returns are in so how are the San Antonio Spurs nominees of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker doing so far in the balloting? Let's find out.
Tim Duncan has received 247, 364 votes placing him fifth for a starting spot as a Western Conference forward. In first place is Oklahoma City Thunders' Kevin Durant. No surprise Duncan is currently fifth. He is not receiving major minutes on the court, his numbers are down and Durant is the future of the NBA. Also, with Duncan being listed as a forward he is facing stiff competition for a starting role. Aside from Durant there is Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol and Carmelo Anthony. Still, it's a bit annoying to see him trailing Nowitzki who is in fourth place.
Manu Ginobili has received 230, 137 votes placing him third for a starting spot as a Western Conference guard. In first place is Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant. Ginobili definitely deserves to be starting in this All-Star game. His numbers are up across the board this season, and despite his age and past injuries, he is having a phenomenal season leading the Spurs to their 21-3 record. Ginobili is also trailing New Orleans Hornets' Chris Paul who is currently in second place.
Tony Parker has received 103, 238 votes placing him ninth for a starting spot as a Western Conference guard. Despite having a bounce back season and putting up solid numbers, it's going to be tough for Parker to get a starting spot. Other nominees include Deron Williams, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd and Russell Westbrook.
However, there is still plenty of time to get all three Spurs into the 2011 All-Star Game by voting HERE.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS (21-3) vs. DENVER NUGGETS (15-9)
Manu Ginobili 20.2
Tim Duncan 9.3
Tony Parker 7.0
Carmelo Anthony 23.7
Carmelo Anthony 8.3
Chauncey Billups 5.4
The San Antonio Spurs (21-3) will make their first of two visits to Denver this season after capping off a 6-0 home-stand last night with a 92-90 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Manu Ginobili hit the game-winning fall-away jumper over Luc Mbah a Moute as time expired.
The Spurs are 8-1 on the road, with their only loss on the road coming from the Los Angeles Clippers (90-85) on December 1.
The Denver Nuggets (15-9) are coming from an impressive win over the Orlando Magic last Tuesday. Carmelo Anthony scored 35 points and grabbed 11 boards in the Nuggets' recent win.
Ty Lawson will likely start at point guard for the Nuggets in place of Chauncey Billups, who missed Tuesday's victory with a wrist injury. KEYS TO THE GAME
Offense -- The Spurs did not have great offensive game in their latest win against the Bucks. That will have to change when they play the Nuggets. It will be key for Duncan to establish his inside game early to loosen up the pressure on the Spurs' outside shooters.
Defense -- Anthony is a handful and the Spurs must limit his touches on offense and then try to control the Nuggets' inside game. I know, easier said than done.
Offense -- They are 3rd in the league in scoring and have six players averaging in double figures entering this game. They have a good mix of inside and outside game with Anthony, Nene, and J.R. Smith.
Defense -- Guard the Spurs drive and kick game, contain Duncan on the inside. Limit Ginobili, Parker and Jefferson's dribble penetrations.
Spurs -- James Anderson - stress fracture (out), Tony Parker - finger (day-to-day), Tiago Splitter - right adductor contusion (day-to-day), DeJuan Blair - hyper-extended knee (day-to-day).
Nuggets -- Chauncey Billups - wrist (out), Chris Anderson - back (out)
PREDICTION: The Spurs spent too much energy beating a hard fighting Bucks team and playing the second night of a back-to-back they should try to avoid a flat start.
The Nuggets are well rested and will be primed to win at home with Anthony leading their offensive attack. The Spurs winning streak will be halted to six games, as the Nuggets will take this one 106-102.
The Milwaukee Bucks came into San Antonio last night after coming from behind to beat the Dallas Mavericks and busting their winning streak.
Early in the game, it looked like the Spurs wouldn't face the same problems as they had a 15 point lead going into the half, but the second half proved other wise, as the Bucks made a 19-5 run.
With the game on the line, tied 90-90 with seconds left in the fourth quarter, Manu Ginobili did what we've seen him do several times now, win the game for the Spurs.
Ginobili was heavily guarded by Luc Mbah a Moute, when he put up the fallaway jumper that went through the net as the buzzer sounded, giving the Spurs a 92-90 win.
Sandwiched between Ginobili's game tying three-pointer and his game winner were two layups that were blocked by Andrew Bogut, so he said he knew he didn't want to take it back into the paint for the final shot.
"It was a tough shot, (Mbah a Moute) guarded me really well. Anyway, I prefer playing against one, not against two, him and Bogut," Ginobili said. "I got lucky. I made the shot and we all celebrated."
While many in the AT&T Center celebrated and some of the players may have been happy to leave San Antonio with a win, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich had other things in mind.
"Manu hit a hell of a shot to pull it out for us. We played a great half, but we didn’t play 48 minutes. I thought in the second half they were more aggressive," Popvich said. "I thought our defense really let up and I thought mentality wise, we did a very poor job in the third and fourth quarters as far as making stops and let them back in the ballgame."
"We were just lucky. Just a lucky win"
It's hard to disagree. There is likely way too much tape on their defensive inconsistencies throughout the second quarter.
While Tim Duncan got seven blocks at the rim, there were also way too many open shots due to the Spurs being slow on closeouts. Even when players did close out quick, some of the bigs need to start chopping their feet as they attempt to close out on someone else's player. In the process, the Bucks players flew by them and got to the rim or pulled up for open mid-range jumpers.
Luckily on the last play of the game, the defense showed up and allowed the Spurs the chance to win the game.
"RJ and Tony, Tony was unbelievable chasing Jennings. He’s not the type of player that’s easy to stop, so it was a great job defensively and TD got the rebound and called the timeout right away so we had time to design a play and do it with time," Ginobili said.
Ginobili had 26 points, six rebounds and four assists. Tim Dunan had 13 points, 11 rebounds and an impressive seven blocked shots. Tony Parker finished the game with 16 points and eight assists.
With the win, the Spurs are now a league best 21-3 and will look to improve on that tonight against Denver.
Note: Tiago Splitter left the game in the third quarter with a right adductor contusion and is day-to-day. DeJuan Blair also left the game with a hyperextended right knee.
The San Antonio Spurs extended their winning streak to six games with a close 92-90 victory over the hard-fighting Milwaukee Bucks.
Manu Ginobili scored a game-high 26 points and made the winning jumper over Luc Mbah a Moute as time expired.
It's now time to take a look at some of the numbers that stood out in this Spurs' exciting win. 87.5 - The Bucks made their free throws, making 14-16 (87.5%) of their foul shots. The Spurs only made 17-25 (68.0%) free throws.
54.5 - Milwaukee connected of their outside shots making 6-11 (54.5%) three-pointers while the Spurs made 3-8 (37.5%) of their shots from behind the arc.
52 - The Spurs shot well from the field making 36-69 (52.2%) of their shot from the floor. While the Bucks made 35-79 (44.3%) of their field goal attempts. The Spurs also outscored the Bucks on inside points 52-40.
24 - San Antonio shared the ball well. They finished the game with 24 assists compared to the Bucks' 17.
22 - The Spurs used their running game outscoring the Bucks 22-11 on fastbreak points.
21 - Chris Douglas-Roberts led the Bucks with 21 points, three rebounds and two assists.
20- Drew Gooden played well against his former team scoring 20 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
7- Tim Duncan and Andrew Bogut played a hell of a game for their respective teams. Duncan had 13 points, 11 boards and seven blocks for the Spurs. On the other hand, Bogut had 15 points, seven rebounds and seven block shots for the Bucks.
6 - George Hill scored just six points off the bench, that snapped a string of 11 games in which he scored in double figures. DeJuan had six points and three rebounds in 18 minutes of action.
0 - Antonio McDyess had two points, two rebounds and two assists in 15 minutes of playing time and did not commit a single turnover.
Rookie Watch: Gary Neal scored just three points on 1-5 shooting from the field in 12 minutes. Tiago Splitter left the game early after suffering a right adductor contusion, he scored two points and dished out one assist in four minutes of playing time.
What's Next? The Spurs will visit the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center tonight.
• According to Yahoo! Sports, San Antonio Spurs' coach Gregg Popovich is set to sign a contract extension:
Popovich has long joked that he plans to retire about 30 seconds after Duncan plays his final game, and his contract allowed him to do that: Like that of Duncan, it was set to expire after next season. Parker and Ginobili, understandably, wanted assurances their coach would wait another few years to tend to his vineyard.
“I kind of feel I have to commit to those guys,” Popovich said.
Though the addendum to Popovich’s contract might not be formally completed, it’s close to a formality to those within the organization. Even as the team struggled last season, Spurs owner Peter Holt made clear he wanted Popovich to stay on the sideline during the inevitable transition.
“He suggested that maybe he could have some kind of consulting role,” Holt said. “I told him I didn’t need a consultant; I need a coach.”
This is fantastic news for not only the franchise but for Spurs fans around the world. Not seeing Pop patrol the sidelines during games, his sarcastic banter with the media (something I can personally attest to) and winning attitude would be sorely missed.
• I recently named former Spur Bruce Bowen one of the best defensive players in franchise history and mentioned about his reputation as a "dirty player." Despite his defensive prowess, it seems not even in retirement can he escape this reputation. Bowen ranked the fourth dirtiest player in sports history by best.complex.com.
Really? In sports history! Should Spurs fans be upset or impressed?
• A great read from Express News' Tim Griffin discussing the importance of stability from the Spurs starting five:
While San Antonio’s bench has been one of the most productive in the league, the starting five of DeJuan Blair, Tim Duncan, Richard Jefferson, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker has been the bedrock on which the team’s 20-3 start has been built upon.
• For those old enough to remember former Spurs' coach Stan Albeck then you have to read this article from spurs.com on the man who coached Spurs' legend George Gervin. He suffered a stroke but that hasn't stopped him from cheering for the Spurs and watching his favorite player Manu Ginobili:
Once a Spurs coach in the George Gervin era (1980-83), now a rabid fan, Stan Albeck pulls for the Silver and Black as hard as anyone. He rarely misses a home game. A stroke in the Toronto Raptors locker room – 30 minutes before tip-off in December 2001 – left him partially paralyzed. But the disability also turned his life around.
• Reigning Black talks about Tim Duncan, his career and Popovich:
Has Duncan finally reached that point in his career? Or are he and Gregg Popovich simply taking a page from former Spur Robert Horry's playbook and saving their best for the playoffs?