The San Antonio Spurs (57-14) will face the Portland Trail Blazers (41-30) in Portland tonight looking to remove the ugly taste of losing a close game to the Denver Nuggets.
The Spurs and Blazers have split their last two meetings this season with each team winning on their home court. In the last meeting in Portland, the Spurs lost 99 to 86 where Blazers' LaMarcus Aldridge poured in a then career high of 40 points and grabbed 11 rebounds handing the Spurs their eighth loss of the season. Portland won the fourth quarter 28-15 on a 21-8 run to end the quarter. In that game, the Spurs were paced by Manu Ginobili with 17 points and DeJuan Blair chipped in with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
The Blazers tend to give the Spurs major trouble. Portland has not allowed the Spurs to score 100 points since 2007, a streak of 10 games and without Tim Duncan tonight who is still out with an ankle injury, it could be a long night for the Spurs frontcourt to contain Blazers' Aldridge.
To discuss tonight's contest, I turn to friend of Project Spurs Sophia Brugato of Pinwheel Empire, by far the most fan interactive, comprehensive, Blazers site on the Internet. Everything a Blazers fan needs in one site. Check out Pinwheel Empire HERE.
In this Q&A, Sophia discusses the newest Blazer Gerald Wallace, whether LaMarcus Aldridge should have been an All-Star over Duncan, why Portland gives San Antonio trouble, and more.
Jeff: How has the addition of Gerald Wallace been for the Blazers? Likes? Dislikes?
Sophia: Wallace has been a great addition for the Blazers. His greatest strength is his defense, he is an incredible individual defender and he's seamless in the Blazers' team defense. His energy is unmatched. I wish his 3 point shooting was better, however, his relentless drives to the basket, which work to open up the floor for everyone else playing, sort of wipes out any complaints I have about his shooting.
Currently, the Blazers are sitting in the sixth spot in the Western Conference playoff race. Strategically, should they remain in that sixth spot and face the Dallas Mavericks or try to move up and and face the Oklahoma City Thunder?
The San Antonio Spurs (57-14) will face the Portland Trail Blazers (41-30) in Portland tonight looking to remove the ugly taste of losing a close game to the Denver Nuggets.
• The San Antonio Spurs will face the Portland Trail Blazers tomorrow night in Portland and Marcus Camby will be back in the Blazers' lineup after suffering a sprained ankle:
Center Marcus Camby, who sat out the Trail Blazers' last game with a sprained ankle, said Thursday he will play in Friday's game against the San Antonio Spurs.
"San Antonio tomorrow, it's a big game," Camby said after practice Thursday. "We play this team twice in a matter of days. The next week, the stretch of games we have is important, so it’s important for all of us to be out there on the court."
• With the Spurs holding a comfortable lead in the NBA standings at six games, Los Angeles Lakers' Pau Gasol says it's unlikely the Lakers will catch the Spurs:
There was also some discussion with Gasol about whether or not the Lakers are still looking at the Spurs, six games ahead in the standings with 10 left to play for L.A. and 11 for the Spurs. Gasol said it would be "very unlikely" for the Spurs to lose enough games (six) to even give the Lakers a chance at running the table for a tie, and responded to a reporter's question about whether or not he were sticking pins in a Tim Duncan (out with a sprained ankle) doll as follows: "No, not at all. I don't have a Tim Duncan doll." (nba.com)
• With the NCAA Tournament in full swing, the New York Times says BYU's Jimmer Fredette would not fit in with the Spurs' system should he go pro:
An Eastern Conference personnel director said that much of Fredette’s success in the N.B.A. could be predicated by what team he ends up on. He might flourish in a system like those of the, the or the Golden State Warriors, where the emphasis is on offense and scoring. A team like the would likely not be as good a fit.
“I think he will translate fine as a pure shooter,” the personnel director said. He added: “He will need to go to a team that is either stacked with good defenders or a team that doesn't emphasize defense. For as sharp a shooter as he is, he’s just as bad of a defender.”
• RedsArmy.com sends out a spy to keep an eye on the Spurs.
• Express News' Tim Griffin shares some notes from last night's Spurs-Denver Nuggets game.
Hit the jump to read about how to win free tickets to the upcoming Spurs-Blazers game in San Antonio, an Austin Toros update, which team former Spur Sean Elliott is picking to win the NCAA Tournament and more.
San Antonio Spurs fans held their collective breath at the sight of Tim Duncan clutching his ankle in the opening moments of the game against the Golden State Warriors this past week.
Fortunately for the Spurs, Duncan's sprain wasn't as bad as it looked and he will be out of action for possibly up to four or five games. Not to mention Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich plans on having Duncan back at the start of playoffs.
Enter Dallas Mavericks' Tyson Chandler.
Currently, the Mavericks are in the third spot in the Western Conference playoff race and should these two teams meet, it will likely be in the Western Conference Finals.
However, with Duncan recovering, Chandler said if Dallas does meet San Antonio in the playoffs, he wants to beat a fully healthy Spurs squad:
"I want to beat the Spurs and I want to beat the Spurs healthy. I don't want any crutch."
In the Western Conference standings, the Spurs hold a 7.5 game lead over the Mavericks and barring any major meltdown by San Antonio, Dallas will not catch San Antonio.
Chandler knows this but does say the injury to Duncan possibly changes things up in the West playoff race:
"It definitely has the possibility of changing things," Chandler admitted. "But I think, at this point of the year, we have to really concentrate on us. A lot of times you can get caught up in, 'Oh, San Antonio is going to fall' but, regardless of what happens, you have to be playing your best."
I can appreciate Chandler's point. Spurs fans would want the same from whichever team San Antonio faces in the first round. Not to mention erasing any doubt on which is the better team in the end.
But if Chandler wants to face the Spurs, and beat them, so be it. However, here are a few words of advice for Chandler -- be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.
With the race for first place in the Western Conference playoffs being over for the most part, San Antonio Spurs fans are starting to turn their attention to the teams currently in the seventh, eighth, and ninth spots in the playoff race, hoping for the best matchup for the Spurs.
There are three teams battling it out for the right to face the Spurs in the first round in the playoffs, and each team presents its own challenges -- the New Orleans Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies, and Houston Rockets.
Granted there are plenty of games left in the regular season and these three teams may shuffle in playoff positioning. So let's take a closer look at these potential first round foes.
Hornets -- currently in seventh place:
No one in the NBA can run a team like Chris Paul in my opinion. He is a nightmare to guard off the dribble even with him being slowed down with a knee brace. He can absolutely shred defenses when he is at full strength. The Hornets also have smallish but skilled big guys with David West and Carl Landry.
But the key word there is "small." The Hornets aren't big enough down low to be really competitive in a seven-game series with the Spurs. West, Landry and Emeka Okafor are a nice trio but they'll get beaten up on the boards by the Spurs' bigs. If the Spurs are fortunate enough to land the Hornets in the first-round, I think it would be over in five games.
Grizzlies -- currently in eighth place:
Estamos conscientes de que los San Antonio Spurs siguen obteniendo el primer lugar en la liga de la NBA con un impresionante récord de 57 juegos ganados y tan solo 14 derrotas en lo que va del año. Es cierto, definitivamente hemos sido la envidia de muchos equipos esta temporada, en especial para uno de nuestros mas grandes rivales, Los Lakers de Los Angeles, un equipo que tomando en cuenta su grande lista de campeonatos, no le a ido tan bien esta temporada.
Pero lo importante aquí es, que deben de hacer los Spurs para no dejarse caer de la buena racha que han tenido este año. Analicemos lo siguiente:
Lesiones: Si claro lo sabemos que es casi imposible prevenir una lesión en una cancha de baloncesto. Pero, también resultaría contraproducente el tener a uno de nuestros mas valiosos jugadores lesionado en plenas eliminatorias. Sabemos que actualmente, Tim Duncan se encuentra lesionado debido a un esguince al tobillo izquierdo y debido a esto se le a incrementado su tiempo sobre la cancha a Splitter. Hasta ahorita se desconoce cuanto tiempo durara Duncan fuera de la cancha pero esperemos que esta lamentable lesión se torne en una gran oportunidad para que Splitter nos demuestre su destreza.
Tiempo sobre la cancha: El manejo sobre cuanto tiempo se le otorga a cada jugador sobre la cancha siempre es esencial. Tomando en cuenta que Duncan estará fuera del juego debido a su lesión, sin duda alguna, estaremos viendo mas de DeJuan Blair, Antonio McDyess, Steve Novak, y claro Tiago Splitter. En mi opinión Popovich a manejado muy bien el tiempo de cada jugador hasta ahora. Aun así creo que será un reto para el, saber suplir la puntuación de un valioso jugador con la de 4 jugadores de la banca.
Rendimiento: Hay que ser justos y no dejar caer todo el peso sobre la banca. En una situación como esta también se espera mas de otras estrellas de la cancha. Esto significa que también esperaremos que tanto Manu Ginobili como Tony Parker ayuden al rendir y contribuir mas durante estos juegos.
En esta situación la pregunta para nuestro plan de ejecución no será "¿Quien le colgara el cascabel al gato?", si no, "¿Como le colgaran el cascabel al gato?", ya que por fortuna contamos con un buen equipo y solo se trata de manejar bien el tiempo sobre la cancha, rendir mas y a la vez evadir al máximo extremo una lesion.
Wilson Chandler hit a go-ahead jumper with 29.3 seconds remaining and the Denver Nuggets (43-29) beat the San Antonio Spurs (57-14) 115-112 at the Pepsi Center.
The Spurs played their first game since losing Tim Duncan indefinitely to a left ankle sprain in Monday night's night win over the Golden State Warriors.
Rookie center Tiago Splitter got the start in place of Duncan and had a quiet night, scoring four points and stayed on the bench after picking up his fourth foul with 5:37 left in the third quarter.
It's time to look at the numbers that stood out in this Spurs' loss.
88.5 - The Spurs shot 23-of-26 (88.5%) from the free throw line, including 4-of-4 from Richard Jefferson. The Nuggets had a huge edge on free throw attempts but did not take advantage of it, making only 25-of-39 (64.1%) of their foul shots.
57.1 - The Nuggets shot very well from the beyond arc, making 12-of-21 (57.1%) three-point goal attempts while the Spurs went 13-of-32 (40.6%) from behind the arc.
50.6 - Denver connected on 39-of-77 (50.6%) shots from the floor while San Antonio made 38-of-88 (43.2%) of their field goal attempts.
45 - The Spurs won the rebounding battle, outrebounding the Nuggets 45-42.
38 - San Antonio had a good inside game, outscoring Denver 38-32.
• Spurs.com talked about the newest San Antonio Spur Danny Green and March Madness:
A rush of emotion surged through Green. After six humbling weeks in the NBA’s Development League, after a passport misplaced in the mail cost him a job in Italy, after months of doubt and discouragement since his release from the Spurs, he’d secured a second chance. “I was so excited,” Green says, “I almost jumped out of the moving van.”
The timing of the call: perfect. March has almost always been Green’s month. At North Carolina, he made it to four NCAA Tournaments, his Tar Heels advancing deeper each year. In 2009, he reached April, and celebrated as no current Spur has -- with a national championship.
• OpposingViews.com discussed how the NBA isn't a big man's league anymore:
But, as the rest of the league is proving, you can win without a franchise center, and increasingly, without any center at all. The two best teams over the past decade—the Spurs and Lakers—both lost future Hall-of-Fame centers early in the decade, but neither missed a beat, combining for four championships after the departures of David Robinson and Shaquille O’Neal. Since Robinson retired in 2003, the Spurs have gone through a revolving door of centers, winning a title in ’05 with Rasho Nesterovic and another one in ’07 with Fabricio Oberto/Francisco Elson. This season, the Spurs have the best record in the league with Duncan, who’s played most of his career as a power forward, at the center position. It hasn’t been a big leap for him, as he’s controlled the paint on defense for San Antonio for most of his career. The difference is, this time Duncan’s the only big guy on the floor—all of the Spurs’ other starters stand 6-foot-7 or shorter.
• Harlem Globetrotter's legend Meadowlark Lemon said he would build an NBA team around San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan:
"I'm a fan of Shaq. But Tim Duncan? That's the man I like, says Lemon, who's currently on a media tour promoting his new memoir called Trust Your Next Shot: A Guide to a Life of Joy.
"If I was going to build a team around two players, those are the two I would build it around. Jason Kidd is a pure point guard if there is such a thing. And Tim Duncan's fundamentals? Love them." (usatoday.com)
Hit the jump to how you can win free tickets to the upcoming San Antonio Spurs-Portland Trail Blazers game in San Antonio, the Spurs and power rankings, and more
On this episode of the Spurscast, Jeff and I talked about the week in San Antonio Spurs basketball. As usual, we went over our positives and negatives of the week, including Matt Bonner continuing to struggle, and Steve Novak and Tiago Splitter having good games against the Charlotte Bobcats.
Before the break, we also discussed whether the Spurs or Richard Jefferson were to blame for Jefferson's decline over the season.
Our topic of the week was whether or not the Spurs should start resting members of the big three to have them fresh and ready for the playoffs, while other Spurs players, like Splitter, get some important minutes. Listen to our takes and then give us yours in the comments and we'll read them on our next show.
We finished up with some latest news, including the signing of Danny Green.
The Spurscast. The original Spurs podcast.
Music: "Wild Side" Motley Crue
Just when San Antonio Spurs forward Steve Novak found his way out of a losing culture with the Los Angeles Clippers and onto a winning team earlier this season with the Dallas Mavericks, things were about to turn south quick.
Novak had just enough games as a Maverick to get comfortable, but he'd have to readjust quickly. He was waived and with no suitors initially, Novak turned to the D-League to try to play his way back into the NBA with the Reno Bighorns.
After two games, and averaging 18.5 points on 64 percent shooting from beyond the arch, the Spurs came calling with a 10-day contract in hand.
Novak was officially signed on February 8, and in his first game in silver and black, on the road against Detroit, he hit a three-pointer in the one minute of playing time he received, possibly a sign of things to come.
On February 22nd, Novak's stay in San Antonio was extended with another 10-day contract. At the time, I chalked it up to having another non-rotation three-point shooter that could play some spot minutes while James Anderson was working his way back into shape.
Many in San Antonio thought Novak would not make it past his second 10-day contract with Matt Bonner coming back from injury and Anderson well on his way back,
Boy, were we wrong.
On March 4, Novak found out he would be in San Antonio for the remainder of the season. The guessing and hoping that he might be around for longer than 10 days was over, and now Novak could exhale and let himself get comfortable again.
"It was great (to be signed for the remainder of the season). It would be tough to find a better place, that's for sure." Novak said on Monday night. " I was very happy. You know I was with Dallas, then I was released and picked up here. If I would've picked a spot, I couldn't pick a better one."
According to Novak, part of what makes San Antonio the ideal landing spot are the 13 other guys he shares the Spurs locker room with. He said the players made him feel welcomed and at home when he joined the team in February.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS (57-13) vs. DENVER NUGGETS (42-29)
|SPURS||Manu Ginobili 18.0||Tim Duncan 9.0||Tony Parker 6.6|
|NUGGETS||Danilo Gallinari 16.2||Nene 7.4||Raymond Felton 6.7|
With Tim Duncan out indefinitely, the San Antonio Spurs will look to inch in closer to wrapping up the top seed in the Western Conference when they visit the Denver Nuggets tonight.
The Spurs (57-13), already have clinched a playoff berth and own a big lead in the West will play without Duncan who landed awkwardly after scoring early in the first quarter Monday night and did not return in a 111-96 win over the Golden State Warriors. An MRI taken on Tuesday confirmed he sprained his left ankle.
Duncan will stay in San Antonio for rehabilitation during the team's three-game road trip that begins tonight, but the Spurs are unsure how much time he will miss.
After Duncan left Monday's game, rookie center Tiago Splitter recorded his first double-double with 10 points and a season-high 14 rebounds.
It's likely Splitter will start in Duncan's place after doing so against the Charlotte Bobcats. Another player who could see additional minutes during Duncan's absence is forward DeJuan Blair, who did not play last Monday due to a sprained wrist but is expected to play for this game.
The Nuggets (42-29) are fifth in the West but are four games behind fourth place Oklahoma City. They are 10-4 since trading Carmelo Anthony to New York and have limited their opponents to 94.7 points per game in that span.
Denver defeated Toronto 123-90 last Monday night for their seventh straight home win -- the last three were by an average of 34.4 points.
Ty Lawson led seven Nuggets in double figures Monday with 23 points and handed out eight assists. Lawson is averaging 16.3 points and 8.1 assists in 10 games this month. He entered March averaging 10.3 points and 3.9 assists.