The Spurs return home to San Antonio, and the friendly confines of the AT&T Center, without fan favorite Manu Ginobili. There they will face the offensively prolific Golden State Warriors. Mark "Mama there goes that man" Jackson now mans the reins, working to instill defensive intensity and discipline into this very young team.
Golden State kicked off their first road trip of the season in a loss to the Phoenix Suns on Monday night. They shot well, but gave up 16 offensive rebounds and committed 17 turnovers. They were without the services of David Lee, who is out with an undisclosed illness.
The Spurs, on the other hand played well on both ends, but Minnesota shot spectacularly well. On 9/10 nights, Spurs win this game as Minnesota committed 19 turnovers, while the good guys had just 9.
A quick summary of the positives of the game:
- Duncan broke out of his slump and shot well.
- Richard Jefferson continued his solid play.
- Leonard improves each and every game
- Splitter continues to be active on D and shows his improved moves
- TJ Ford had some nice passes and a solid Parker-like drive to the basket
- Danny Green was really impressive, especially with his D on Rubio
Unfortunately, the game wasn't the big story, with Manu fracturing his 5th right metacarpal in his left hand while reaching for the ball on Anthony Tolliver near the end of the second quarter. All Spurs fans let out a familiar gasp as they saw Manu in pain. It will not be easy, with Ginobili expected to be out for the next 4-6 weeks.
However, all is not lost, Spurs fans. The Spurs are most equipped to deal with injuries at the wings. Gary Neal has been cleared to play and was recalled from the Toros a day after being assigned. Two of the best players from the Minnesota game were RJ and Danny Green.
For a second straight year, opportunity is knocking for the Spurs youth. Last year, Spurs lost James Anderson just 6 games into the season, which gave Gary Neal the chance to show the maturity of his game. As I'm sure you remember, he made quite a splash. Now, Anderson will get a chance to start, playing an even bigger role than he already has. Additionally, Neal will have more time to play catch up. The end result might be more beneficial going into the post-season, but only time will tell.
Last season, Golden State didn't play much defense, spending the majority of their energy on the offensive end. In their games together, the Spurs averaged 113 PPG while only allowing Golden State 98 PPG.
Although Mark Jackson might have them thinking about defense, they still are pretty much the same team. This will be a good game to break in newer rotations and schemes that the Spurs will have to use to account for the costly loss of Manu.
If Spurs limit their turnovers, protect the boards and keep the Warriors off of the 3-pt line, they should have a solid result and hopefully provide a lot of meaningful minutes to the team's younger guys. Expect to see Parker take on a more aggressive scoring role.
As always, Tony must dominate Fisher, and NBA league pass is still free through January 8th. Almost every Spurs game will be broadcast there, 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. Such links are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate.