Aside from tonight's huge matchup between the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers, another big game coming this Thursday will be the Spurs taking on the Dallas Mavericks.
Granted the Spurs must deal with the Lakers tonight, but here is some news regarding Dirk Nowitzki and the recent knee injury he suffered against the Oklahoma City Thunder:
Dirk Nowitzki’s knee injury has been diagnosed as a sprain, and he will miss tonight's game while being listed as "day-to-day'' from there.
"Hopefully,'' he said before the MRI, "I'll be back in action soon." (source foxsportssouthwest.com)
Currently the Spurs are leading the Mavericks in the Southwest Division by 1.5 games. Needless to say, this upcoming matchup will be huge for both teams and the Mavericks would want Nowitzki back in the lineup. For the Spurs, a win would increase their lead in the division and for the Mavericks it would mean gaining a full game on the Spurs.
Highly likely Nowitzki will give it a go come Thursday with both teams wanting to send a message to one another let alone the division implications.
Aside from tonight's huge matchup between the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers, another big game coming this Thursday will be the Spurs taking on the Dallas Mavericks.
Tonight's matchup between the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers will be a huge game and if you think there are no more tickets for the game, think again! Click HERE to pick up some tickets for tonight's game. Pretty great seats left and inexpensive.
Oh and ever wondered how much tickets have been for the Spurs versus the best in the West? Check out this graphic. Yeah to say tonight's game is huge is an understatement.
After 30 regular season games, the San Antonio Spurs (26-4) remain on top of the NBA standings. While it is nice to be league leaders in terms of games won, the Spurs will be the first ones to point out their relatively easy schedule early on helped them to maintain a little cushion over the NBA's elite teams. Not to mention a 12 and 10 game winning streak.
Some may think the Spurs two double-digit winning streaks were not as impressive because of lack of quality opponents. Then the Spurs were blown out in a second game of back-to-back at the hands of the Orlando Magic, and the loss could have fueled the Spurs naysayers.
They bounced back by beating a short-handed Washington Wizards team (94-80) using defense. As the season continues, their upcoming schedule will provide a tough test, that should they succeed, will prove doubters wrong.
It starts today with a visit from the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, followed by road game against the Dallas Mavericks. They will then play the Oklahoma City Thunder at the AT&T Center on New Year's Day, before playing the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics on the road on back-to-back nights.
The Spurs took care off business by winning early and often this season. However, they will now have the proverbial "bulls eye" on their back when they face opposing teams. Especially the teams they will play against in the upcoming days. Besides, who doesn't want to take down the NBA's best team?
Now, the team's resolve will be challenged as they face a tough stretch. This will be a good measuring stick to see where this team is really at.
With so much preseason hype surrounding the Lakers, it has been the Spurs who have stolen the spotlight and are considered by some to be the top team in the Western Conference. Despite the Lakers dropping a few games early in the season, including a recent loss to the Miami Heat, it would be wise to never count out a team with Kobe Bryant and coached by Phil Jackson come the stretch run before the playoffs commence.
To talk about tonight's matchup, I turn to Rey from The No Look Pass a Lakers and general NBA site everyone should visit daily.
In this Q&A, Rey talks about the Lakers start to the season, the Spurs' guards, keys to the game and much more. To read the Q&A I did with Rey, click HERE to visit The No Look Pass.
Jeff: So much has been made of LA not looking strong. Yet they are 21-9 which is not a bad record at all. Should people take a step back and realize it's not time to push the panic button on the Lakers?
• Want to win a pair of free tickets to a San Antonio Spurs home game next month? Of course you do! All you have to do it follow @projectspurstiq on Twitter to enter. Easy huh?
• David Aldridge of NBA.com talks about the San Antonio Spurs and the subtle changes made which has made them one of the top teams in the NBA:
So much for the supposedly warmer and cuddlier Pop, who went to a zone defense out of desperation last week against Denver because, as he recalled it, no one was guarding anybody, anyway. Might as well mess up the Nuggets, too. And, of course, it worked, like most everything has worked out so far this year for the Spurs . . .
• Express News' Tim Griffin talks about DeJuan Blair and his rebounding prowess, on one possession! Check it out.
• Who is Martin Iti? Well if you don't know him, the Spurs sure do. In fact they once offered the sever-footer, once considered one of the top centers by ESPN, Southland Sharks player out of the New Zealand Basketball League an offer to workout with them:
Some would call it a fall from grace for a man who five years ago attracted interest from NBA teams and was once ranked behind superstar LeBron James in a list of America's most promising young basketball players.
After Iti's freshman year at college in 2003-04, where he averaged six points and six rebounds a game, the bright lights of the NBA began to dawn.
He contemplated putting his name in the NBA draft and received offers to work out for Miami Heat, the San Antonio Spurs and the Toronto Raptors.
• Spurs' coach Gregg Popovich gives credit where credit is due in the win over the Washington Wizards:
• Speaking about the win over the Wizards, check out what Tony Parker had to say about the win:
(videos by woai.com)
The San Antonio Spurs hold the best record (26-4) in the NBA thanks to great team play, chemistry, and two winning streaks of 12 and 10 games.
However, like they say, all good things comes to an end so let's break down the two winning streaks and see how the numbers looked.
12 game winning streak:
- Averaged 109.1 points per game.
- Held their opponents to 98.8 points per game.
- Average margin of victory was 10.3 points.
- Had one back-to-back game situation and won both games.
- Beat four teams with at or at an above .500 winning percentage.
- Beat eight teams with a below .500 winning percentage.
- Had 15 days off during the winning streak.
10 game winning streak:
- Averaged 107.4 points per game.
- Held their opponents to 97 points per game.
- Average margin of victory was 10.4 points.
- Had two back-to-back game situations and split them (1-1).
- Beat five teams with or at an above .500 winning percentage.
- Beat five teams with a below .500 winning percentage.
- Had 10 days off during the winning streak.
Aside from an favorable schedule during the 12 game winning streak, you can see the Spurs were pretty much the same statistically which is a positive. Sure they dropped off a bit offensively but it was negligible. The other positive thing to take away is their defensive stats got a bit better.
However, in the 10 game winning streak the Spurs were showing signs of slowing down a bit. They were winning by an average of 4.6 points in the last five games.
The loss to the Orlando Magic was likely to happen. They faced a tough Denver Nuggets team the night before then had to travel to Florida to face a solid Magic team. The fatigue, and travel caught up with them.
It will be interesting to see how the Spurs respond with a rough stretch of games ahead and if these stats will continue. After beating the Washington Wizards, they will face winning teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, and Oklahoma City Thunder.
The San Antonio Spurs made sure there were no letdowns against a cellar-dwelling team beating the Washington Wizards 94-80 at the AT&T Center.
The Spurs improve to 26-4 and rebound from a 123-101 loss to the Orlando Magic last Thursday.
George Hill returned to the lineup after missing four games because of a sprained right toe.
Now, let's check out some numbers that stood out in this latest Spurs win.
51 - With the Wizards being short-handed, you would expect the Spurs to control the boards. That was not the case, the Wizards outrebounded the Spurs 51-44 with Hilton Armstrong and Rashard Lewis combining for 25 rebounds.
41.7 - The Spurs hit their outside shots connecting 10-24 (41.7%) from behind the arc, including, 5-7 (71.4%) from Manu Ginobili. The Wizards only made 5-15 (33.3%) from the 3-point line.
37.5 - San Antonio held the Wizards to just 33-88 shooting from the field (37.5%) which is a season-low for a Spurs opponent.
27 - The Spurs played better as a team, they finished the game with 27 assists compared to only 18 for the Wizards.
21 - Ginobili and Lewis led their respective teams with 21 points a piece.
20-14 - Tony Parker ran the show, he scored 20 points, dished out a season-high 14 assists and grabbed six rebounds for San Antonio.
19 - The Spurs' running game worked well, they outscored the Wizards 19-7 on fast break points.
11 - George Hill made a triumphant return to the Spurs lineup, he had 11 points, two assists, one rebound and one steal while shooting a perfect 3-3 from the field in 16 minutes of action. The Spurs notched their 11th consecutive win over the Wizards in San Antonio. The Washington Wizards last beat the Spurs at the Alamodome on Dec. 11, 1999.
9 - Gary Neal and Matt Bonner scored nine points each from the Spurs' bench. Tim Duncan and Richard Jefferson scored only five points each. However, both helped the Spurs in other areas, Duncan added nine boards, four assists and a game-high three blocks. Jefferson also had nine rebounds, three assists and one steal. More importantly, Duncan logged just 25 minutes for the game.
8 - DeJuan Blair scored eight points and grabbed four boards in 22 minutes. Despite his lack of height, Blair continues to be relentless on the boards.
0 - Bonner, Blair, Neal, Udoka and Quinn did not commit a turnover for the entire game.
Rookie Watch: Neal had nine points, two rebounds, one assists and one steal in 24 minutes of action. Tiago Splitter was scoreless but had one rebound and a block shot in 5 minutes of playing time.
What's Next? The Spurs will host the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers at the AT&T Center in San Antonio on Tuesday.
Follow Robby Lim on Twitter @RobbyLim21
Here is some locker room material for the San Antonio Spurs.
There is a huge game looming on the horizon for the Spurs and no it's not the Los Angeles Lakers next week. Though that is a great game as well. The Spurs will face the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas this coming Thursday which will pit two of the best teams in the NBA. Well maybe just one best team according to Mavericks' guard Jason Terry:
"It's still a fight. But we've positioned ourselves now to go out and have a great season. I think personally we're better than every team in the league. And that's no disrespect to the Spurs or anybody." (source dallasnews.com)
No disrespect Terry? OK granted the Mavericks have beaten the Spurs this season but to say you mean no disrespect might be an understatement.
Terry has always been lobbing verbal bombs at the Spurs going as far as saying it's personal with him when it comes to the Spurs, accusing the Spurs of dirty play and let's not forget the punch to the groin of former Spur Michael Finley. Even this past summer, Terry sounded off about the Spurs beating the Mavericks in the 2010 NBA playoffs in a supposed conversation with coach Popovich this summer in Las Vegas. Though Popovich denied instigating that particular point.
Wait there's more. Dirk Nowitzki also chimed in about the Spurs' winning ways:
"They're playing well," Nowitzki said of the Spurs. "Good teams play hard, and you have to give them credit. It almost seems like they changed their philosophy a bit, but for some reason, the Spurs always win. They used to win games, 75-74, and now they win games 110-109, but it's the same thing. They always win."
All this does is keeps the heated rivalry between these two team alive and well. After this statement by Terry, I'm sure all Spurs fans will be tuning in to watch this colossal matchup.
After a crushing loss to the Orlando Magic, the San Antonio Spurs look to get back on track and start a new winning streak as they face the Washington Wizards tonight in San Antonio -- a place that has been unkind to the Wizards.
To talk about the matchup, I turn to fellow NBA blogger here at Bloguin Joe from Wizards Extreme -- the only place Wizards and NBA fans should go to for all things Wizards.
In this Q&A, Joe talks about the Wizards' recent trade, the recent incident between two Wizards' players, tonight's game and more. To read the Q&A I did with Joe over at Wizards Extreme click HERE.
Jeff: Obviously I have to ask you about the trade. Losing Arenas was kind of the obvious seeing how John Wall is a rising, young star. Likes, dislikes and how does if impact the Wizards season?
Joe: We all knew that the Gilbert Arenas - Washington Wizards marriage was coming to an end, but its another thing to actually finally see it come true. I think at first a lot of Wizards fans were torn, but understood it had to be done, and then you have those that were happy to see him leave. Our website was dominated by those wanting Arenas gone while those of us who cover the team, namely Asad and Matt Naqvi as well as myself were left to think of what was Bullets/Wizards basketball before Gilbert got here, what we had while he was tearing up the league, and now what we are left with.
Speaking for myself and not for the whole, I’m actually at this point indifferent to the trade. You basically traded two former max players whose skills have declined so much since they signed their respective deals that they are now solely looked at as contractual numbers instead of value they can bring to their new teams. When the first question a fanbase asks upon the arrival of a new team member is “when does his contract come off the books”, I think you can get a solid understanding that we’re not looking to get a whole hell of a lot out of our newest Wizard, Rashard Lewis.
I wish Gilbert the best of luck and an injury free career, will remember him for the great plays he made, and at the end of the day hope the Magic destroy the Heat.
As far as the impact on the Wizards, this accelerates the rebuild process. Our young guys, namely, Nick Young, is going to now have the chance to play starter minutes and show what he’s got as evidence by his 22.17 ppg average since Arenas departed. We are all now looking forward to getting Wall healthy and on the court with Young to see what kind of chemistry these two athletic freaks can put together.
Aside from the trade, seems there is some internal dysfunction with the Wizards' JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche getting into a scuffle at a Washington D.C. night spot. What is the latest on this?
Dysfunction seems to be a commonality between all the DC pro sports teams but the Wizards don’t come close to what the Redskins show the world on a season by season basis. I’m not going to sugarcoat this and say there is no friction and all is hunky dory in the locker room but especially with the departure of Arenas, this is the most cohesive I’ve seen this Wizards team since we began covering them this time last year.
As for the said altercation between McGee and Blatche, we really can only go on what we’re told by the team and what we’ve heard. According to Michael Lee, the Wizards beat reporter for the Washington Post, witnesses have said that the players were screaming expletives at each other, but two league sources added that Blatche and McGee also exchanged several punches at the Shadow Room in Northwest Washington.
Early Saturday, a Wizards spokesman released a statement late Friday that read, "The team looked into the matter earlier today and determined it was simply a disagreement between teammates."
According to one source, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not at liberty to speak on behalf of the team, teammate Al Thornton tried to step in and separate Blatche and McGee but was punched by a club bouncer. No arrests were made and no one was injured.
However, late Saturday night, Wizards GM, Ernie Grunfeld suspended Blatche and McGee for the game against the Spurs with the following explanation…
“After further investigation into an incident on Thursday night, we concluded that Andray and JaVale conducted themselves in an unprofessional manner,” said Grunfeld. “As a result, both players will be suspended for tomorrow’s game at San Antonio.”
That being said, what you should also know about the not so Big 3 of Blatche, Young and McGee is that they have all been together for a few years now and any scuffling or altercations at this point could just be the result of having to go through another losing season, mounting frustration and the realization that the two bigs have taken a step backwards in regards to their career progress.
For now, I’d rather concentrate on all things basketball, you know the things that happen on the court instead of the crap that happens off of it. If people want to talk about McGee and Blatche and their off the court antics I’d rather remember this video that was shot a few years back called “The Commercial”.
The Wizards have had a less-than-stellar month of December. What can you pin-point is the issue with this team?
Less than stellar would be one way to describe it, Jekyll and Hyde would be another way to talk about this season to date. Pin pointing one issue would not come close to addressing the issues with the Washington Wizards. We can start with the fact that our #1 pick and star in the making - John Wall has missed 12 games to date with all sorts of nagging injuries, some even apparently mis-diagnosed. Other issues would be lack of focus, lack of energy, inability to play a full 48 minutes, and I believe more than anything else I would have to say, this team is extremely young and still figuring out how to play together.
When Wall gets back, I believe we will see a more consistently competitive team but with the same game results. This team is in complete rebuild mode and if done properly, that is a process which takes a few years and a little bit of draft luck to accomplish.
Let's talk about the game tonight. The Spurs have been the hottest team in the NBA. What would be your game-plan for the Wizards tonight in San Antonio?
Outside of a Christmas miracle, I don’t see the Wizards breaking their 0 for 13 losing streak on the road in San Antonio tonight. The Spurs have won the last nine overall games against the Wizards and Washington hasn’t won in San Antonio since a 99-89 victory Dec. 11, 1999, having lost their last 10 visits there. Not exactly a recipe for success.
Since we are talking about a team (Spurs) who has only lost 4 times in nearly 30 games, the Wizards only game plan whether Wall plays or not should be to compete hard, keep the Spurs off the boards and hope that Duncan, Parker and Ginobili have off nights. Luckily, the Wizards have a tendency to play up to competition so we will all be hoping for Washington to at least make the game competitive. Rashard Lewis cannot have another 0 for 5 night from the 3pt line, Hilton Armstrong will have to have the game of his life, rookies Kevin Seraphin and Trevor Booker will have to contribute big on the boards as well as on defense and Young will have to continue his recent scoring streak.
Which matchup tonight would you tell Spurs and Wizards fans to watch for?
The two matchups we’ll be looking for as the keys to the game would have to be Nick Young on Manu Ginobili and whoever has the assignment of Tim Duncan. Young is going to get his points, what will determine success with this matchup will be how good his defense is on Ginobili, who can pretty much get an open shot and to the basket when he wants.
The matchup of the Wizards bigs and Duncan won’t be a matter of Washington stopping Duncan, because they have no one in the front court that can, but more so how much Duncan can be contained. Again, Wizards fans will be grasping in hopes of a win but these two matchups will go a long way towards determining how close this game will be.
What's your prediction for tonight's contest?
Prediction for the evening will be a Wizards loss. I believe in light of the latest off court issue to hit Washington, the Wizards will come out flat in the first and second quarters, they’ll try to get back in the game in the second half and will ultimately lose in a blowout, 107-88. As I stated before, I don’t see Washington breaking its road losing streak, especially to a team like the Spurs coming off an embarrassing loss to the Magic 3 nights before.
The San Antonio Spurs will face a depleted Washington Wizards team tomorrow in San Antonio as JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche have been suspended by the team due to an altercation between the two players:
A Wizards spokesperson said on Friday that it was "simply a disagreement between teammates," but a day later, President Ernie Grunfeld determined that the dispute went much deeper. "After further investigation into an incident on Thursday night, we concluded that Andray and JaVale conducted themselves in an unprofessional manner. As a result, both players will be suspended for tomorrow's game at San Antonio," Grunfeld said in a statement. (source washingtonpost.com)
The incident referred to occurred Friday night:
Multiple league sources have confirmed that teammates Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee were involved in an altercation outside an area club early Friday morning.
Witnesses have said that the players were screaming expletives at each other, but two league sources added that Blatche and McGee also exchanged several punches at the Shadow Room in Northwest Washington.
A Wizards spokesman released a statement late Friday that read, "The team looked into the matter earlier today and determined it was simply a disagreement between teammates." (source washingtonpost.com)
This will help the Spurs seeing how both Blatche and McGee present issues for the Spurs offensively and defensively. Now the Spurs should not be complacent and not play down to the Wizards.