- Teams: Detroit Pistons (23-38) at San Antonio Spurs (46-14)
- Date: March 3, 2013
- Time: 7:00 p.m.
- Television: FSD
What to look for
The San Antonio Spurs are unquestionably one of the best teams in the league as evidenced b their league leading 46 wins. The Spurs have long been a model of NBA excellence and this season is no exception.
In the Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan era, San Antonio has failed to win 50 games just once. And that one occurrence was during the 1998-99 lockout season in which every team played an even 50 games.
Even the 2011-12 shorted campaigned in which the Spurs as well as all other NBA teams played 66 games produced a 50-win season by Manu Ginobili and company.
San Antonio’s success stems from the environment that Popovich has created: it favors discipline, team play and the old basketball adage of “playing the right way”.
In this respect, the Spurs are more than likely the closest thing we will ever see to an NBA team blending both the professional and collegiate aspects of basketball.
Indeed, San Antonio has three terrific talents in Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili to take over games whenever needed and potentially take advantage of favorable matchups.
The trio is surrounded by a host of specialists that all perfectly complement their skills: ball-handlers, shooters, passers, rebounders and the like.
The collegiate feel comes into play when we look at their execution on both sides of the ball. Pop will rarely call for isolation plays — even late in games — favoring instead ball movement to force defenses to worry about every single player on the court.
Consequently San Antonio players do basic things like set several screens, cut to the hoop, dive to the basket and run misdirection plays on the regular. NBA teams typically do these things in small doses while the Spurs do these things seemingly on each and every possession.
The end result is a team with the fourth best offense in the league coupled with the third best defense given their attention to detail.
With that said, the Detroit Pistons were victorious against them at the Palace of Auburn Hills on February 8th despite a terrific all-around performance from Tony Parker.
Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili both were absent from the lineup in that contest.
Tonight’s game will present the Spurs with a different challenge altogether with news coming out that Tony Parker is expected to miss the next four weeks due to an ankle injury.
The former Finals MVP is enjoying his best season as an NBA player and is undoubtedly the best player for the Spurs.
In addition, he is arguably the second best point guard in the league behind Chris Paul because of his ability to run the offense, create plays and score whenever the situation calls for it. His play this season coupled with the Spurs’ wining has elevated him into the league MVP discussion.
Needless to say, Duncan and the rest of his teammates will have to pick up the slack to make up for the absence of Parker.
This may result in a small spike in the minutes of Manu Ginobili who is averaging a mere 23.3 minutes per game. His scoring and playmaking will help mitigate the absence of the Frenchman but not entirely. Thus, it’s possible Popovich turns to Duncan and Boris Diaw for a bit more minutes as well for scoring and ensuring ball movement remains sharp.