Tomorrow night the San Antonio Spurs will take on the Boston Celtics in San Antonio in what could be an NBA Finals preview.
The last time these two teams met was in Boston where the Celtics were without Kevin Garnett yet the Spurs lost a close one, 105-103.
John Karalis of RedsArmy.com invited myself and Mike to join him in a podcast-preview of tomorrow's huge game. In the interview, we talk about the Celtics and Spurs slumping of late, keys for the Celtics and Spurs to focus on, give our game predictions and much more.
To listen to the show, click HERE to visit Reds Army.
Tomorrow night the San Antonio Spurs will take on the Boston Celtics in San Antonio in what could be an NBA Finals preview.
In recent weeks, San Antonio Spurs fans have seen a change at the starting center position. In lieu of the scrappy DeJuan Blair, head coach Gregg Popovich has opted to go with the veteran Antonio McDyess. Blair exited the starting rotation in the early-March dismantling of the Spurs at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Offensively, the addition of McDyess stretches the opposing defense. McDyess is a pick and pop type of big man, who can hit long jumpers with regularity while Blair is a classic pick and roller, who may not have a long distance jumper that he can go to, but is much better at taking the ball towards the basket and finishing at the rim.
Since the time of the lineup switch, the Spurs have averaged 104 points per game while, before the change, the Spurs averaged only 103.5 per game. Okay, so I think we can call this a wash.
Defensively, on the other hand, since the switch the Spurs have been giving up an average of 102 per game. Interestingly, this is five points more than the 97 points the Spurs have given up on average this season. The worst of the stretch was 110 given up in the loss to Miami and 115 in the loss to Denver. It's hard to put either of these squarely on the center position, however, the addition of McDyess into the starting lineup does not get you much in terms of size. McDyess has only an inch over Blair. But what you do sacrifice is youth, quickness, and aggressiveness. What this means is hard to quantify over such a short stretch of games, but the five point differential in points allowed is telling of what you might expect.
• ESPN.com talks about George Hill, DeJuan Blair and Tiago Splitter for fantasy league owners:
Incidentally, unless you're in a very deep league, about all you have to gain from the Spurs' current miseries is George Hill. Coming off a 30-point performance versus the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday, Hill produced 27 points and six assists against the Blazers. He's available in more than 75 percent of ESPN.com leagues. In leagues of at least 12 teams, Tiago Splitter (14 points, nine rebounds) could merit consideration, but keep in mind that Antonio McDyess (back) is expected to return against the Celtics after essentially being rested on Monday. One Spurs-related thing I do know is that the re-emergence of DeJuan Blair (three points in just 20 minutes) isn't panning out.
• SB Nation isn't sold on the Spurs' success:
If all things were equal, then yes, San Antonio could run with anyone. That's been true the last few years, too. But with Manu, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan all banged up (again), and Gary Neal, George Hill and Dejuan Blair carrying the torch, all things are NOT equal among the best teams in the NBA. It's not a crime to say as much; if anything, we stupidly gave the Spurs the benefit of the doubt earlier this season. And in the end, the Spurs are exactly who we thought they were.
• The NBA on ESPN RV Tour will hit San Antonio Sunday April 3, 2011 from 10AM-3PM.
• RedsArmy.com continues its Spurs watch.
• Express News' Tim Griffin shares his notes from the Spurs loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Hit the jump to get some Austin Toros news, new Spur Da'Sean Butler to make his debut, and more.
According to diario.com, the San Antonio Spurs have expressed a strong interest in Gustavo Ayon:
“Los más interesados por ahora, con quienes ya se ha hecho todo formal, bien, es con San Antonio y con los Soles de Phoenix. Esos son los dos equipos que ya tenemos ahí con un poco de más interés y esperemos que ojalá y se pueda hacer todo bien y podamos ir a su campamento”.
Also in the report, Los Angeles Lakers' Mitch Kupchak recently went to scout him when he poured in 24 points and 8 rebounds against Barcelona.
Nicknamed "Titan," Ayon is a 6-10, power forward who plays with ACB of the Spanish league. He is touted as one of the best big men overseas and averages 10.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 65% from the field, and 1.5 blocks.
He has a three-year contract with his current team with an option for a fourth year but should the NBA come calling he will speak with his team at the end of the season.
Throughout the NBA regular season, Charles Barkley has made it known he does not feel the San Antonio Spurs are the best team in the NBA, let alone in Texas.
His opinion on the Spurs has drawn the ire of most Spurs fans but is the "Chuckster" changing his tune?
In an interview with KNBR in San Francisco, when the topic of three-point shooting came up, he said what he had to say on the topic, then ranted on how TV ratings will be for a VCU-Butler matchup. Barkley then said it would be a great matchup despite any possible low TV ratings and compared those teams to the Spurs:
You know I’ve been sitting around all today listen to all these people tell me you know what are the ratings going to be between VCU and Butler? Let me tell you something: if you can’t get excited…. and I’m not talking about this because I’m broadcasting the game and all that other stuff… if you can’t get excited about what Butler has done and what VCU has done, you are not a fan.
This notion in the NBA ‘well we don’t like the San Antonio Spurs because they don’t'…let me tell you something if you don’t like the San Antonio Spurs you’re an idiot. You don’t know anything about basketball. You hear that argument every year if San Antonio does well they’re not good for ratings. Let me tell you something: you don’t know anything about basketball. You’re not a basketball fan if you don’t like watching the Spurs play. They’re good for basketball.
So is Chuck changing his tune? Sure seems like it but let's see how quick he flip-flops once the NBA playoffs start.
On this episode of the Spurscast, Jeff and I were joined by Humberto "Humbie" Cervera of News4WOAI.
We talked to Humbie about the San Antonio Spurs' recent skid and how their play of late will affect them in the playoffs. Humbie said the Spurs' lack of size will hurt them in a series against the Lakers, and even went on to say that he does not expect the Spurs to get past the Lakers.
In the second half of the show, we discussed the week in Spurs games and listed our positives and negatives and talked about some of the latest Spurs news.
The Spurscast. The original Spurs podcast.
Music: Metallica, "Sad but true"
After losing four games straight, and dealing with injuries to some of their key players, the San Antonio Spurs grip on the number one seed in the upcoming playoffs is loosening.
Now the Los Angeles Lakers' Shannon Brown realizes there might be a chance for the Lakers to catch the Spurs:
"There's a lot of motivation," guard Shannon Brownsaid. "We know their situation. We know they're trying to get home court. They've been playing well all year. If we can catch them and get home court, that'll be the best thing."
However, Spurs' nemesis Kobe Bryant thinks otherwise:
"It doesn't matter to us whether we catch them or not," Kobe Bryant said. "We try to win every game. If we catch them, so be it. If we don't, so be it."
Currently, the Spurs hold the season series edge 2-1 making the final game in April important for both teams. Each team will want to send a message to each other seeing how these two teams are on a collision course in the playoffs.
One of the best boxers in the world, Floyd Mayweather spoke about a recent trip to Las Vegas where he had a successful trip. By "successful" I mean he won $37,000.00 on a bet on the Chicago Bulls.
During an interview with ESPN Chicago, when asked about the NBA and his thoughts, he picked the San Antonio Spurs or the Los Angeles Lakers to come out of the Western Conference:
“At first I was going to bet $100,000 on the first half, but I happened to be asleep because the Atlanta Hawks happened to be on a slump. At this particular time, what’s going on in the NBA right now, Derrick Rose is the leading MVP candidate in the NBA right now I truly believe. I believe in his skills. He’s an amazing player and that’s one of the players you can bet on. If the team can stay 100 percent, they have a good chance to get to the Finals facing probably the Heat in the East. Then in the West this year I think it’s either going to be the Spurs or the Lakers.”
Although I totally disagree about his Lakers pick, seeing how he is a professional boxer, who am I to argue with him.
With four players out for the San Antonio Spurs last night, the odds were stacked against them from the start. Tony Parker and Antonio McDyess joined Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan as spectators, while several second unit players were asked to step into starting roles.
"I think we’re good enough to do that," George Hill said. "I think the Spurs organization has enough guys that can go in and fill spots and give 100% every night. You have to give our guys credit for doing that tonight"
While they made it much more competitive than most expected, it wasn't enough to stop them from losing their fourth consecutive game, 92-100.
While the Spurs seemed well on their way to ending their streak by outscoring the Trailblazers 21-9 in the third quarter and building up an eight point advantage in the fourth quarter, they watched their lead and game slip away on a 15-1 run by Portland.
While the injuries brought another loss and decreased the gap between the Lakers and Spurs for the first seed, it also gave some little-used players a chance to play some big minutes and show what they are capable of.
James Anderson, who had played a total of 10 minutes in his last three games, was inserted into the starting lineup and scored his first five points in the first quarter, while also defending on the perimeter well.
Tiago Splitter continues to play well in Duncan's absence. He finished with 14 points and nice rebounds, and helped limit LaMarcus Aldridge to just nine points. Steve Novak, Danny Green, Gary Neal and Chris Quinn also chipped in with a combined 30 points off the bench.
"I liked the way everybody played," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "I thought everybody busted their noodles on defense and shared the ball on offense. George Hill and Tiago were really special for us tonight."
It was Hill, who would lead the Spurs their second straight game, after scoring 30 against Memphis. Hill was aggressive going to the basket all game. He finished with a game-high 27 points, six assists and one steal.
With the loss, the Spurs are now 57-17 on the season and they have a 3.5 game advantage over the Lakers with eight games remaining. With their win over the Spurs, the Blazers have won the season series 3-1.
• It's that time San Antonio Spurs fans. Playoff tickets will be available this Saturday for the opening round:
Spurs Playoff tickets for Round 1, games A & B range in price from $10 to $295, including lower-level seats starting at $88. Dates, times and opponent for the Spurs first round NBA Playoff schedule will be announced at a later date.
Playoff tickets can be purchased at all Ticketmaster Ticket Center locations, including select H-E-B locations, charge by phone at (210) 225-TEAM or online at spurs.com or ticketmaster.com.
Playoff tickets can also be purchased at the AT&T Center Southeast Box Office Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and weekend event days only, beginning at 10 a.m.
• See what R.C. Buford had to say about Tim Duncan's injury at Spurs.com.
• Express News' Tim Griffin talks about the upcoming games for the Spurs.
• Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich on Steve Novak's inbound pass that sailed out of bounds in the loss to the Portland Trail Blazers:
Asked about the play, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich offered: “Yeah, we wanted to throw it straight out of bounds without anybody touching it.” (nba.com)
• Speaking of the Spurs loss to the Blazers, woai.com asks who is the bigger bonehead -- the Spurs for losing to the Blazers or former NFL player Lawrence Taylor?
• RedsArmy.com watches every move the Spurs make. Celtics fans know the Spurs might give their team some problems this Thursday if Duncan and Manu Ginobili return to action.
Hit the jump to read about a former Spur making it in the NBA, an injured Celtic to make his return versus the Spurs, and more.