Central Division bloggers preview their teams for the 2010-11 season.
Pacers: Indy Cornrows
Recaps: All Previewsno comments
Central Division bloggers preview their teams for the 2010-11 season.
Pacers: Indy Cornrows
Recaps: All Previewsno comments
After suffering a strained plantaris muscle in his right calf, San Antonio Spurs' rookie Tiago Splitter will be out of action for up to two weeks. He missed the Spurs' road preseason game in Mexico City against the Los Angeles Clippers and will miss the preseason game in Pittsburgh against the Cleveland Cavaliers as he continues to recover:
Though the initial prognosis for Splitter indicated he would be re-evaluated seven to 10 days after straining the muscle on the third day of training camp, it may be another 10 days to two weeks before he is cleared to play. In all likelihood, he won't be ready to suit up against Caja Laboral, the team he led to the Spanish League title last season. (source Express News)
The immediate health of Splitter should be something the Spurs need to watch closely. Prior to joining the team he was already dealing with a litany of injuries.
During the summer Splitter was injured at the Super Four Basketball tournament in Brazil suffering a left thigh contusion where he sat out the rest of the tournament. Also, days before the 2010 FIBA World Championship he sat out of a tune-up game in France also due to injury. Let's not forget he played in the Spanish Finals this summer with his former team Caja Laboral.
He then joined the Brazilian national team at the 2010 FIBA World Championship where he averaged 25 minutes per game and there was a report the Brazilian national team was hiding a leg injury he suffered while in Turkey.
Granted Splitter is young and will be able to bounce back but leading up to joining the Spurs he has had a long offseason and might not be coming in fresh.
However, it is quite possible with little rest in the summer, Spurs fans could hear more news regarding Splitter suffering from nagging injuries once the regular season is underway.
Seems Splitter is the one in need of time to rest more than anyone on the team.
According to the San Antonio Express-News, San Antonio Spurs' coach Gregg Popovich may stick to his preseason lineup once the regular season comes around.
Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Richard Jefferson, Tim Duncan and DeJuan Blair have made up the starting core through the first three preseason games.
“I want to give it a look and see how I feel about it,” Popovich said before the Spurs' victory over the Los Angeles Clippers at Palacio de los Deportes. “I might make a different lineup for a couple of games, or I might leave it the same if I like it. It's a little early to say, but I like what I've seen so far.”
The most significant moving part is not likely to be Ginobili, a former NBA Sixth Man of the Year, but Blair, a 6-foot-7 second-year center.
Popovich was hesitant to pair Blair with Duncan at times last season, preferring to play his All-Star power forward with big men who can spread the floor.
I don't doubt that Popovich will try to move Ginobili back on the bench sometime this season to give his second unit another go-to scorer, and while Tiago Splitter could shake things up when healthy, it's hard to argue against Blair in the starting lineup.
Through three games, Blair is averaging 15.3 points and seven rebounds per game.
The San Antonio Spurs faced the Los Angeles Clippers in a preseason matchup in Mexcio City.
For the Spurs, they came out of the gates looking flat. Shots were not falling, the Clippers were getting easy shots at the rim and eventually built up a double-digit lead in the first half.
In the second half the Spurs fought back from an 18 point deficit to eventually take the lead. It was a close game in the fourth quarter as both team exchanged leads and with the Spurs down 99-97, Manu Ginobili drew up the final shot which was for the Spurs' Summer League star Gary Neal who made the clutch three-point shot with 1.5 seconds to take the lead for the Spurs and seal the win over the Clippers.
Final score 100-99. Spurs go to 2-1 in the preseason and will next face the Cleveland Cavaliers in Pittsburgh this Thursday.
While the Los Angeles Lakers are the defending NBA champions, the Miami Heat stole the spotlight in the offseason by adding LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
Some feel Miami might be the team to beat in the upcoming NBA season but don't tell that to the San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Spurs' legend George "Iceman" Gervin.
In an interview with record.com.mx, Parker, Duncan and Gervin weighed in on the Heat and the Lakers and all agreed the Lakers are still the team to beat.
Parker thinks the Heat is an interesting team but the team to beat are the Lakers:
“El Heat es un equipo interesante, pero el rival a vencer son los Lakers”, comentó Tony Parker.
Duncan believes the Heat are not the best team in the NBA and considers Kobe Bryant the most dangerous player in the NBA:
“No creo que Miami sea el mejor equipo; no podría decir en este momento quién es el mejor, pero el jugador más peligroso, sin duda, es Kobe Bryant, lo tiene todo”, destacó, por su parte, Tim Duncan, también de San Antonio.
Gervin feels Bryant can win a game by himself and considers Pau Gasol a great teammate:
“Kobe puede resolver un partido él solo y tiene un gran compañero en Gasol”, declaró ‘The Iceman’, uno de los mejores jugadores de San Antonio.
As much as I hate to agree but the road to the 2011 NBA title does go through the Lakers and not the Heat. They are the champs until defeated.
Aside from Bryant, they have the size with Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom. A tough defender with Ron Artest, veteran leadership with Derek Fisher, added free agents Steve Blake and Matt Barnes to the roster and with no issues of developing chemistry among the core all make for the Lakers to be the team to beat.
However, I'm sure the Spurs will have their say when these two teams meet in the regular season and hopefully in the NBA playoffs.
With the San Antonio Spurs taking on the Los Angeles Clippers in a preseason matchup in Mexico City today, Tim Duncan was asked about his thoughts on native Mexican and Charlotte Bobcats' Eduardo Najera:
Para Tim Duncan, una de las principales estrellas de Spurs de San Antonio de la National Basketball Association (NBA), el mexicano Eduardo Nájera, de Bobcats de Charlotte,
“es un jugador de mucha fuerza, duro en su forma de actuar sobre la cancha”, por lo que le tiene respeto, comentó ayer (source jornada.unam.mx)
For those who do not speak Spanish basically Duncan gave the canned PR answers to the Mexican press saying Najera is a strong player and tough on the court.
Najera, who also attended Cornerstone Christian Academy High School in San Antonio, may be a solid player on the court and the kind of player you want to go to battle with but at times he has drawn the ire of Spurs fans.
Case in point his take down of Manu Ginobili and flagrant foul on Tony Parker:
|SPURS||DeJuan Blair 12.5||DeJuan Blair 7.5||Manu Ginobili 5.5|
|CLIPPERS||Chris Kaman 17.0||Blake Griffin 9.7||Randy Foye 6.3|
The Clippers are coming off a 127-87 trashing from the Golden State Warriors, while the Spurs handed the Miami Heat their first preseason defeat winning 90-73 in San Antonio.
The Spurs have used their preseason games trying to get a closer look at their camp hopefuls. They recently released guard Kirk Penney bringing down the roster count to 17 and will need to cut at least three more players before the season starts.
With that being said, expect the Spurs to play their camp invitees a lot more. Curtis Jerrells, Marcus Cousin, James Gist, Bobby Simmons, Garrett Temple and Alonzo Gee are virtually playing for the three remaining roster spots.
On the other hand, the Clippers seem to use their preseason games to see what they've got with Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and Randy Foye. All have played a considerable amount of time during the preseason and after a season plagued will injuries, Griffin looked to be a good player for the Clippers. In three preseason games, Griffin is averaging 16.7 points, 9.7 rebounds while shooting 74% (20/27) from the field.
Chris Kaman will enter this game well rested since he did not play against the Warriors and Eric Gordon could log major minutes against the Spurs as he only played two preseason games so far.
The Spurs will face the Clippers with a thin front court. Antonio McDyess (given the night off) and Tiago Splitter (recovering from an injury) will not join the team in Mexico.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Offense -- DeJuan Blair has been leading the Spurs in scoring in the first two preseason games. However, given enough playing time, Neal, James Anderson, Jerrells and Gee can all be scoring threats. It will also be interesting to see how Blair matches up against one the league's young big man and possible Rookie of the Year candidate Blake Griffin.
Defense -- Keep Kaman and Griffin from dominating the paint. The Spurs should also be wary of the Clippers' outside shooters.
Offense -- With the Spurs short on big man expect more inside scoring from Griffin and Kaman.
Defense -- The Spurs will probably rely more on their backcourt which means they can focus on guarding Neal and Anderson on the perimeter and stopping the Spurs' dribble penetrations.
Tiago Splitter - strained right plantaris muscle. (out)
Matt Bonner - sprained left thumb (probable)
Baron Davis - knee (probable)
With the Spurs having the tough task on evaluating their players, expect continued playing time for their camp hopefuls. While Clippers might continue on giving more minutes to Griffin and their other young players.
Arianné is back for the latest Spanish edition of the Spurscast. In this episode, Arianne recaps the latest news on the San Antonio Spurs for the Spanish speaking Spurs fans including a recap of the Spurs first preseason game against the Houston Rockets, injury updates and much more.
Remember, Project Spurs was the first Spurs blog to have a San Antonio Spurs podcast and the first to have a Spanish podcast for Spanish-speaking Spurs fans.
Arianne regresa con el Spurscast en Español mas reciente con todos de las noticias de los Spurs.
Y recuerden que Project Spurs fue la primera página de Internet en tener un podcast de Los San Antonio Spurs y la primera en tener un podcast en español para los fanáticos de habla hispana.
San Antonio Spurs' forward Tim Duncan isn't getting any younger. He will enter the new season at age 34 and according to coach Gregg Popovich Duncan got slimmer though Duncan said he actually gained weight at the Spurs' 2010 media day.
Let's face it, Duncan is not the same five years ago. While he can still play at a high-level, age and nagging injuries are starting to catch up with him.
Last season he was able to put up 17.9 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game, shot 51.8% from the floor while averaging a career low 31.3 minutes per ball game. Limiting Duncan's minutes during the regular season is nothing new. The Spurs have monitored his playing time during the 2003-2004 season and have been slowly decreasing his minutes year after year in an effort to keep him fresh and healthy by the time the playoffs come around.
This strategy seemed to have worked as the Spurs were able to squeeze in two more NBA titles while giving Duncan less work-load during the regular season. However, last year the trick appeared to back fire. The Spurs saw themselves battling for playoff position in late March and opened the post season on the road for the first time since the 1997-1998 season.
That is not to say limiting Duncan's minutes is a bad idea.
Last season was one of the toughest in San Antonio. They have to overcome some chemistry issues, inconsistency and a bad stretch just to make it to the playoffs. Unlike in previous years (when the team had secured a playoff spot early), the Spurs never had the luxury of sitting out their stars for the last couple of games to get some breather as the post season approaches.
In short, while averaging less playing time last season, Duncan really never got the 'rest' he normally had. Now, with a healthy 'Big Three', a couple players entering their second year as a Spur, an overdue help from Brazil and some additional rotation players, the Spurs look better than a year ago.
The front court rotation in particular looks deeper which will be good for both the Spurs and Duncan. The development of DeJuan Blair and Tiago Splitter's transition into the NBA will play a huge part in giving Duncan more rest.
Nevertheless, Duncan made it clear he wants to play and he's ready. He even mentioned recently he wants to play for the Spurs "until the wheels fall off". But in saying this, he is fully aware it's the teams best interest to keep him fresher when the playoffs comes around.
Giving Duncan more rest this coming season should be one of the teams' top priorities. He is still one of the games' best when the stakes are high and his leadership will be needed even more during the post season.
Granted Duncan did take the summer off but you have to question what can be done to give him the needed rest? Perhaps they can start by winning early and often during the regular season and give his aching knees the night off during the second game on back-to-backs.
(photo Getty Images)