Game Preview #14: San Antonio Spurs @ Houston Rockets


Damn, this team is deep.

After the nasty 4-6 start to the season, the Spurs have gone on a 3-game winning streak. In the last game, we beat an exhausted, overworked Warriors team that was on a SEGABABA. Big frickin' deal. The only "good" team we beat during our little win streak was Milwaukee, and that's a very liberal usage of the word "good". Tonight, the task gets a bit tougher - beat an angry Rockets team in their arena.

Did I mention the Spurs are 0-4 on the road this season? Then again, a couple games ago, they were 0-4 when Tim Duncan scores 20 or more points, which is just insane. Anyway, what are the chances of getting our first road win tonight? Let's talk it over a bit, after the jump.

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San Antonio Spurs @ Houston Rockets
Where: Toyota Center - Houston, TX
When: November 27, 2009, 7:30 PM Spurs time
Watch: KENS 5 (San Antonio); FSN (Houston)

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How They Stack Up
7-2 Home 4-3
0-4 Road 4-4
102.2
Offense 103.4
98.0 Defense 102.6
46.8 FG% 45.4
35-9 3-pt% 34.4
74.2 FT% 78.8
42.9 Rebounds 42.7
13.0 TOs 14.9
5-5 Last 10 5-5
Won 3
Streak Lost 1
2nd, Southwest Position 3rd, Southwest

Country/Time Zone Game Time
ARGENTINA 10:30 PM
West Coast
5:30 PM
Philippines 10:30 AM
Central Europe 2:30 AM
Palestine/Egypt 2:30 AM
East Coast 8:30 PM
Barren Wasteland
6:30 PM
Perth, AUS 8:30 AM
Tokyo, JP 9:30 AM
Sydney, AUS 11:30 AM

Spurs
(7-6)
Matchups

Rockets
(8-7)

Tony Parker
Tornado

Point Guard

Tony creates havoc in the paint like no other point guard in the league can, and his midrange jumper is deadly. Basically, he's an unstoppable force of nature. Despite his limited floor vision, he does a very good job of knowing where his teammates are and getting them the ball in good situations. Brooks' game is modeled somewhat on Parker's, but he's definitely not as good at it. He shoots a lower percentage, and is somewhat turnover prone as well. If Tony plays a little D tonight, he runs away with this battle. OK, even if he doesn't play D, he still wins.

Advantage: Spurs


Aaron Brooks
Dust Devil

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Keith Bogans
The Bogeyman

Shooting Guard

The bad news: Ariza is averaging 18 points, 5 rebs, and 4 assists. The good news: Ariza takes a criminal amount of shots, and making less than 40% of them. I don't expect that shooting percentage to get any better with Keith hounding him half the night. While we all know Keith isn't going to win any offensive awards, the Rox might switch Ariza onto Tony when they're on D, giving Keith a big height advantage over Brooks or Lowry. The Bogeyman might just have himself a big game tonight. If our best SG is back, that will be a huge boost for us as well.

Advantage: Tied


Trevor Ariza
Shoots Too Much

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Richard Jefferson
Bring Some Energy

Small Forward

RJ has been solid for us, if a little reserved in most games. I'd love to see him attack the rim a little more, but he's going to be guarded by one of the best wing defenders in the game. Not expecting big numbers out of RJ tonight, but he'll get his if he works hard enough. On the other end, Battier is pretty efficient and works within his limitations on offense. RJ needs to keep Shane in his sights to prevent him from getting too many open looks.

Advantage: Tied


Shane Battier
PtR's Unrequited Love

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Tim Duncan
GOAT

Power Forward

Hayes is 6'6" and he's going up against the best PF of all time. OF ALL TIME! [/Kanye] Do we really need to say anymore? Timmy is kicking ass lately, and the undersized Rockets frontcourt should make him feel like a kid in a candy store.

Advantage: Spurs


Chuck Hayes
Completely Overmatched

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Antonio McDyess
Excellent Pickup

Center

The jury's no longer out on Dice - the man fits the Spurs's system like a glove. He gives Timmy and the slashers the ever-important floor spacing neccessary to be efficient, whilst still hitting the boards on a regular basis. He's definitely an upgrade over what we had last year, and that's why he starts. Too bad we didn't bother with signing the guy he's going up against, who just happens to be averaging a double-double.

Advantage: Rockets


Luis Scola
Salary Dump Folly

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MANU GINOBILI
BEST PLAYER EVER! FANGIO!

Bench & Role Players

Manu's groin injury was supposed to keep him out 7-10 days. He sustained the injury 9 days ago, so I hope he's back. But even if he isn't back, BAM is going to take care of business. Landry and Kyle Lowry are nothing to scoff at, but Houston's bench firepower is no match for our own. There's also rumors that Tracy McGrady will be ready to play tonight. However, his shot selection is almost as poor as Ariza's has been, and I fail to see how a rusty T-Mac puts us at any disadvantage - especially if Manu's playing. Also, Houston's short frontcourt gives Dejuan Blair an opportunity for a monster game off the bench.

Advantage: Spurs


Carl Landry
The Blair Archetype

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Gregg Popovich
GOML Unless You Brought Wine

Coach

Adelman got screwed in the 2002 WCF, and should have won a title with Sacramento. But that would still only give him 1, to Pop's 4.

Advantage: Spurs


Rick Adelman
Screwed in Sacramento
images via yahoo.com

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Other Factors

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Intangibles

Houston's roster is decimated by only one injury. Namely, the best center in the league is out all season. Time for the best PF the game has ever seen to go to work. Also, the Houston frontcourt is very small, so Blair should also be able to do very well.

Advantage: Spurs

Mojo

In a word: Manu.

Advantage: Spurs

Winner: Spurs

The Spurs don't want to go back to .500, and they don't want to continue having 0 road wins. It will be ugly, but the Spurs should pull through.
Prediction: Spurs win. Barely

Keys To The Game

  • Interior defense - The Rockets' perimeter players have their limitations, but Scola, Landry and Hayes seem to do a pretty decent job cleaning up on the inside. With our size and height advantage, we should be able to limit them. But every other team that's played the Rox should have been able to limit their frontcourt, too. Scola is especially dangerous, so Dice has his work cut out for him.
  • Manu - Is he back? And is he really back? And will he be comfortable out there?
  • Discipline - The Rockets have better execution than just about any other NBA team, and that's what has kept them in the playoff hunt so far. The Spurs can't afford to be very sloppy tonight, or it will be exploited mercilessly.

Strength of Schedule

We'll be playing on one day of rest, like we have for the last several games. This game marks the beginning of a pretty tough part of the schedule for the Spurs. After tonight, the Spurs head home to face Philadelphia, Boston, and Denver, followed by a road game in Utah.

The Rockets are also coming off one day of rest, and will begin a 4-game road trip in Oklahoma City on Sunday.

Last Time They Met

Our last meeting with the Rockets resulted in a collective groan when Luis Scola got a wide open layup under the rim to finish us off, 87-85(scroll down). Those groans were heard throughout the game, as Luis finished with 19 points, 17 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals. If only we hadn't traded him for some old copies of Wine Enthusiast, maybe we wouldn't have had to go so far over the tax to compete this year. And maybe we'd be coming off our third consecutive championship. But, anyway...

Some Other Reading

Rockets

The Dream Shake - The Rockets' SBN blog is full of insightful hoops junkies and diehard fans. You gotta respect that. Go show them some love.

Rockets Buzz - The TrueHoop blog for the Rockets. Seems like a pretty cool place, similar to its THN sibling 48MoH.

Spurs

48 Minutes of Hell: Best damn TrueHoop affiliate out there. Always a must visit Spurs site.
Project Spurs: Now featuring live chats, call-in shows and podcasts (in Spanish too).

Twitter Musings

Here's Kyle Lowry, tweeting Marcus Williams(the other one) about the retirement of Allen Iverson:

Klow7 RT @mw1ll: And say NO to practice! RT @rudygay22: Everyone in the league should wear a sleave and a headband tonight lmao!!!
manuginobili In HOU, tonite dinner w/ Mr.Scola. Always fun to catch up. Happy ThxG'in to y'all!!

MoneyMase Were in Houston getting ready to play @houstonrockets @carllandry14 @thirty2zero @Klow7 tomorrow! Should be a good one!

tp9network thats 3 wins in a row lets enjoy today!! my wife been cooking all day yesterday shes the best cook!! i cant wait to taste everything...happy thanksgiving everybody!

Da_Finster Happy Thanksgiving to all my followers. Becuz the 2 secs u take to read/reply to this message makes me feel important and Im thankful 4 that

That's right, even the classy Mr. Finley uses text-speak.

You can also find all the official Spurs Sports & Entertainment Twitter accounts here: http://twitter.com/spurs/official/members

Where to Tune In

TV

This game will be aired by KENS 5 in San Antonio and the Fox Sports Network in Houston. If you have cable or satellite, you'll have to look up your individual channel. And of course, there's always League Pass for the haves. For the have nots, read on.

Online

As always, NBA League Pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Most Spurs games will be broadcast there, which is especially helpful for those of us who aren't in the San Antonio area.

Please don't post links to illegal game feeds in the game thread. Links to illegal feeds are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate. In fact, nobody can stop you from googling "atdhe". You can also shoot an email to dmenendez@gmail.com for more assistance.

Spurs League Pass audio is still free this year, so check it out.

Radio

If you're in the San Antonio area and aren't near a TV, tune in to WOAI (1200 AM).

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