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."
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.
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.
The Spurs picked up win number 40 on the season and their third consecutive win, beating the Houston Rockets 108-98 on Saturday night.
The Spurs played from behind for most of the first quarter until they went on a 7-0 run with three minutes remaining to close the gap, ending the quarter down one, 25-26.
In the second quarter, they went on an 11-0 run, led by two DeJuan Blair dunks and a three-pointer by Manu Ginobili, one of only two three-pointers made by the Spurs in the first half.
The Spurs closed out the first half up 53-51. Tony Parker had 14 points, while Manu Ginobili and DeJuan Blair had 10 apiece. Kevin Martin led the Rockets with 10 points.
Points in the paint seemed to be the key for the Spurs in the first half as they outscored the Rockets in that category 32-22.
While the Rockets were able to stay with the Spurs through the first half, they fell behind in the second half as the Spurs stepped up their defensive efforts and kept building on their lead.
"I think second half defense was very good. I don’t think they got as many offensive rebounds and we didn’t turn the ball over too much," Manu Ginobili said. "We played pretty well in the first half. We just let them get too many offensive rebounds, turning the ball over and stuff like that."
While Spurs forward Richard Jefferson has been on a bit of a slump lately, he was able to shoot himself out of it last night, scoring 12 of his 18 points in the second half.
“He (Jefferson) was aggressive all night, he played well," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "He caught with the idea of trying to be a scorer whether it was shooting the ball or driving it. He did a good job the entire time he was on the court. He also did a good job on the defensive end.”
While Jefferson shot himself out of his slump, Rockets guard Kevin Martin likely shot himself into one. His 10 first quarter points were the only points he scored all night. Martin missed his final seven shots, including five three-pointers.
“I think sometimes you can’t settle for just taking long shots. You have to move the ball a little bit better. I don’t think we moved the ball as well as we needed to move it," said Rockets coach Rick Adelman.
"They put a little false pressure on us and we gave into it. The big guys put some pressure on our bigs and it pushed us further out on the court. We didn’t take what defense was giving us. We kind of just gave into it.”
Six Spurs scored in double figures. Aside from Jefferson's 18, Ginobili scored 22 points, Tony Parker scored 17, DeJuan Blair had 14 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots, George Hill had 14 and Tim Duncan had 12.
James Anderson, who was recalled from the Toros yesterday, got into the game late, playing just over three minutes and scoring two points. It was the first time Anderson scored since before his injury in November.
“We’re just going to keep trying to play the way we’ve been playing," Popovich said. "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.”
I had a chance to speak with Anderson pre-game, who said he was surpassed to get the call from the Spurs after only two games in Austin.
"I actually thought I was going to play this morning in Austin and I got the call and I was told to come back here tonight," Anderson said. "It feels good just being back with the team and it definitely feels good be back on the court playing period."
The Rockets game was the Spurs' last home game before they embark on the nine-game rodeo road trip. They'll start the road trip on Tuesday night against the Portland Trailblazers.
For Spurs rookie Gary Neal, although he is well-traveled after playing two seasons overseas, he said he wasn't sure what to expect from the road trip.
"This will be something new for me. I really don't know how I'm going to pack for this," Neal said. "We got a break in the middle after the first three games so we get to come back to San Antonio and rest up and repack and reload our bags, but you know this is new for me, it's a new experience so hopefully it doesn't beat us up too bad."
Make sure to check back on Project Spurs tomorrow as our newest writer, Miguel Castro, will have a rodeo road trip preview.
The San Antonio Spurs (40-7) made sure they got the win before going on the long Rodeo Road Trip against the Houston Rockets. They went 5-8 from behind the arc in the fourth period, including two tightly contested 3-pointers by Manu Ginobili to pull away and beat the Houston Rockets 108-95.
Now, it's time to look at the numbers in this Spurs' recent win.
88.9 - The Spurs went to the foul line a lot and took advantage of it. They went 24-27 (88.9%) of their free throw attempts. The Rockets, on the other hand, made just 10-16 (62.5%) foul shots.
40 - The Spurs reached 40 wins in just 47 games, tying the record for the sixth fewest games needed to reach 40 wins in NBA history. Of the previous seven teams to reach 40 wins in 47 games or fewer, six went on to win the NBA title. The last time the Spurs were the first NBA team to reach 40 wins was in the 2004-05 season, when they went on to win their third NBA title.
39 - The Rockets won the battle of the boards, outrebounding the Spurs 39-32.
25 - The Spurs shot 8-16 (50.0%) from behind the arc while holding the Rockets to just 5-20 (25.0%) from the 3-point area.
24 - San Antonio's running game was effective, outscoring the Rockets 24-13 on fast break points.
23 - Luis Scola had a game-high 23 points for Houston and added 10 rebounds and three steals.
22 - Ginobili led the Spurs with 22 points, four assists and two steals. Both teams were even in the assists department, finishing 22 dimes a piece.
18 - Richard Jefferson played his best offensive game in the last 12 games scoring 18 points on 7-8 field goal shooting. The Spurs won their 18th straight home game, extending the longest home winning streak in the NBA this season.
17 - Tony Parker added 17 points and five assists for the Spurs.
14 - DeJuan Blair had 14 points and 12 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season. George Hill scored 14 points and had five assists off the Spurs' bench.
12 - Tim Duncan chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds in 27 minutes for the Spurs.
10 - Chuck Hayes and Kevin Martin scored 10 points apiece for the Rockets.
9 - The Spurs will play nine straight games away from home for this year's annual Rodeo Road Trip.
3 - The Spurs had six blocks shots for the game, three coming from Blair. The Rockets had three blocks as a team.
0 - Hill and Tiago Splitter did not commit a single turnover for the entire game.
Rookie Watch: Splitter had three points and three rebounds in 14 minutes. Gary Neal had two points, one assist and a steal in 21 minutes of action. James Anderson scored two points and one rebound in only three minutes of playing time. This was his first game with the Spurs after recovering from a stress fracture injury and being recalled from a short stint with the Austin Toros.
What's Next? The Spurs will visit the Portland Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden on Tuesday to start their annual Rodeo Road Trip.
Follow me on Twitter @RobbyLim21
The San Antonio Spurs picked up win number 40 tonight as they defeated their divisional rival Houston Rockets 108-95 improving their league leading record to 40-7.
After the game I spoke with Spurs' guard Gary Neal, who finished with two points and one steal, about the win against the Rockets, his first Rodeo Road Trip and more.
Jeff: Spurs had the edge tonight on fast-break points 24 to 13. This up-tempo style seems to be a perfect fit for the young players on the team.
Gary: We have some energy coming off the bench with George (Hill), and DeJuan (Blair) playing in the starting lineup and I get to play a little bit and I think the tempo plays a lot to us. Tim Duncan is a major key for our offense but at the same time we still have Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and George Hill too, that you also have to try to implement into the offense and try to get them to be most effective.
I think we have a great balance. We run when we need to, and when the game is close we know that we can go into TD and he can come through for us.
The edge in fast-break points stands out, especially going against a defensive-minded team like the Rockets.
Yeah, we knew they were going to come in and play hard and play aggressive. I think we had a good balance tonight of running and also executing on offense the way coach Pop wants us to. I just think to get the win at home before we go on the nine game road trip is extremely important.
Getting 40 wins at this point of the season has to be a great feeling.
Oh yeah! It's huge. Right now I think we are six or seven games in front of the closest team in the West. That's what you play 82 games for, to have the home-court advantage and to position yourself in the best position to make it to the Finals. That's our goal to make it to the Finals and win a championship so that's what these 82 games are doing for us and we just hope we can continue to stay healthy and continue to keep building on our record.
How does it feel to go on your first ever Rodeo Road Trip?
We'll see. If you ask me that at the end of the road trip I can probably give you a better feeling. We are just going to take it one game at a time and hopefully we can come back with more wins than losses.
Have any of the veterans who have done the road trip given you any advice about it?
No, we haven't really talked about it. It's probably going to be a situation where you got to pack enough underwear and stuff like that. As far as basketball goes, we'll take it one game at a time, respect every opponent, and just come out and compete for those 48 minutes to try to win.
- It’s rare that DeJuan Blair gets to matchup with someone his own size (literally); but in the game against Houston tonight, Blair finally has that opportunity, writes Tim Griffin:
“DeJuan always takes any challenge,” McDyess said. “But when he sees a guy his size that he can be bigger and stronger than him, he always plays hard. He always plays well against guys like that.”
- If the Spurs team were football players, what positions would they play? Tim Griffin wrote an interesting piece about his ideal Spurs football squad:
George Hill: His earlier experience makes him an ideal wide receiver or a defensive back. I could see him as a shutdown cornerback who would relish the chances to contain a top receiver — much like he accepts his defensive challenges in the NBA.
- On Wednesday night, BYU’s Jimmer Fredette made headlines for his 43-point game against No. 4 San Diego State. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski wrote a piece on where Freddete is currently assessed amongst NBA scouts:
Nearly every NBA team had a representative – including general managers Pat Riley of the Miami Heat, R.C. Buford of the San Antonio Spurs, Daryl Morey of the Houston Rockets and Bryan Colangelo of the Toronto Raptors – to watch him drop 43 points on No. 4 San Diego State on Wednesday night in Provo, Utah.
- ESPNs Marc Stein revealed who he has picked as his All Star reserves. In his Weekend Dime column, he chooses two Spurs players to represent the West:
Stein on Ginobili: Reinforcing the long-held notion that the Spurs are at their most dangerous when their crafty Argentine lefty is healthy, Ginobili has been the best player on the league's best team through the season's opening half. Which makes him an automatic.
Stein on Duncan: You likewise get the feeling that David Stern will make Duncan his Commissioner's Pick to replace Yao if the coaches don't pick him ... so I decided to bank on that and leave him available to Stern.
Squeaky Johnson of the San Antonio Spurs' D-League affiliate Austin Toros is back with a brand new episode of Squeak TV. Check it out.