After a sluggish start in the first half against the Golden State Warriors, the San Antonio Spurs came out in the second half with a fire lit under them, the Warriors had out played the Spurs throughout the entire first half and went into half time with a rather commanding lead. A deflating loss versus the Minnesota Timberwolves took its toll on the Spurs, losing their spark plug player, and game MVP in the first few games, Manu Ginobili. Ginobili who broke his fifth metacarpal on his left hand while reaching in for a ball against a driving Timberwolves’ player, causing the injury to his hand, forcing him to leave the game.
Ginobili, who had been the driving force behind the Spurs’ offense, will undergo surgery Thursday to repair it, consequently, he will miss up to two months, possibly more to rehab the injury and get back into the rhythm. In his absence, Danny Green will fill in, as well as new addition to the Spurs’ roster, NBA journeyman Ike Diogu. Diogu, at 6’9 has played on four different teams in his young career. Adding much needed size to the Spurs’ roster, quite a bit of pressure will be taken from Tim Duncan and focused on Diogu.
While Diogu learns the ins and outs of the Spurs’ system, the task of filling in Ginobili’s major role has fallen into the lap of the entire Spurs team, and in the game against Golden State, many of the Spurs stepped up to fill the role, making a team effort to propel themselves to victory after the Warriors built a decent lead at halftime and into the third quarter, but the Spurs showed resilience as TJ Ford and the young gun Danny Green made head-ways up and down the court.
Every Spur who was on the court scored at least one basket, with four in double digits, Tony Parker with 21, Richard Jefferson scored 17, Duncan netted 15 (getting a double double with 11 rebounds), and DeJuan Blair made 12 points. With the high scoring potential of Ginobili out, the rest of the line up will have to score more to make up for the lost points, multiple players in double-digit scoring is the key to victory for the Spurs.
A minimum of at least 5 players need to score double digits, and points off the bench is dire the success of the team, as these back to back games are hell on the legs of the players.
Thursday night, the Dallas Mavericks roll into town, an always tough game between two bitter rivals, while the Mavs are having their own struggles as well, it does not mean that they will be an easy game. The Mavericks always play tough and fresh off a two game win streak, they are looking to hit three. The Spurs are going to be tested against the Mavs, and have a great opportunity to win, but have to keep playing the way they have played in recent games.
Despite this game being their third in four days, the Spurs are on a home stand till Saturday when the Denver Nuggets will roll into town, the back to back games worsened by traveling, losing rest due to having to catch a flight and constant moving about and not being able to fully rest, but a well deserved night’s rest in the Alamo City is what the Spurs need to rest and prepare mentally for the back to back game.
Unlike their earlier back to back game where the team took a one hour flight to Houston, the players can rest up and better prepare themselves, the home stand back to back games will be the mental foundations for the players to get themselves ready for a traveling back to back game.
– Richard Perez