Preseason Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets

Soobum Im-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

A preview of a sure fire preseason epic that pits these I-10 rivals in battle of pre-season basketball going on at the same time as regular season NFL games. I'm sure the ratings will be amazing.

San Antonio Spurs @ Houston Rockets

Toyota Center
Oct. 13, 2012, 1:00 p.m. Spurs Time
TV: NBATV - RADIO: WOAI 1200 AM

Seriously, who was the braniac who decided a preseason basketball game should start during NFL football games in Texas? Whoever it was, they're probably banking on the amazing drawing power of Linsanity. That's right, in case you forgot, the Houston Rockets (perhaps in an attempt to recapture their hold on the China basketball market) outbid the Knicks for the services of Jeremy Lin .

I remain skeptical of how that signing will pan out on the court, but the Rockets did just lambaste the hapless New Orleans Hornets the other night. The only thing that keeps me from reading too much into that win is that it's preseason basketball ... oh, and it was against the NOOCH, who where awful last year. So, I remain less than convinced that Houston will do anything this season, beyond possibly being first round playoff fodder.

I can already hear some of you saying: "Wait, what about that big signing of Omer Asik, who played for that amazing Bulls team?!" Yeah, that was their plan B after not getting Dwight Howard. Seems to me like that will not work out quite as well as getting Howard would have.

And now, let me turn the rest of this preview over to a new member of our Preview Team, Wesley Thorne, previously known as Izee. Take it away, farmboy!

Welcome to the first televised game of the preseason. While it's true that the Spurs lost their last game, before you go and book a ticket to frownsville, that pre before the word season means that the game matters as much as the winner of old episodes of Whose Line is it Anyway. Although I believe an important question did arise from the game against Denver: Does every ref with the last name Crawford have a thing against the Spurs? And if so, does that mean that everyone with the last name Crawford dislikes San Antonio? If there are any £ers with the surname Crawford out there, please let me know in the comments and I will retract that generalization. Until then I will continue to assume that all the Crawfords I meet are a Dallas Mavericks fans.

Last game, Tim Duncan nearly tore the roof off of the AT&T center. As to the reason Timmeh was on the court so long, Pop said, "I got Tony and Timmy a few more minutes tonight to try to start upping them a little bit." So I anticipate more playing time for the starters. On another note, it will be interesting to see how Derrick Brown, Eddy Curry, and Corey Joseph do tonight. Their role on the team has not been decided, and tonight could heavily influence that decision.

If the Houston Rockets were a band, they would be called "Jeremy Lin and the Question Marks." It seems that the only starting position that's set is point guard. The remainder of the roster is a bit hypothetical. I can't shake the suspicion that this experiment Daryl Morey is conducting will work, but it will take some time for this team to find themselves. Kevin Martin is their starting two guard for now, while Chandler Parsons is starting at small forward. Expect Patrick Patterson and Omer Asik to round out their starting 5 for tonight. The Rockets are 2 -0 in the preseason, but take that with a grain of salt, because they played a diluted OKC Thunder team, and their win over the Hornets was minus Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon.

Houston has a young and fast team, which could require Pop to get creative with the rotations. The Spurs have an obscenely deep bench so finding fresh legs shouldn't be a problem. I expect this game to be more of a challenge for the Rockets than their previous games this preseason. It will be interesting to see how well the Spurs' point guards match up against Mr. Lin. (I am literally chewing on my hand right now to avoid typing a Jeremy Lin pun.) He is distributing the ball well for the Rockets so far. If this continues, look for one of his targets to be forward/center Donatas Motiejunas, who played well against New Orleans and shows signs of continuing to do so.

In the future Jeremy Lamb looks to benefit from Lin's superb passing, but it looks like he will not be playing tonight. That aside, there are no glaring match up problems for the Spurs. It is preseason, but it's just two weeks before these games start to matter, so look for the silver and black to approach this game with a serious intent to win. If that happens, then the Spurs have been playing together for too long, and at too high a level, to allow the Rockets to give them another (preseason) loss.

Prediction: Spurs by 5

On to the lineups:

Lineups

Starters
PG: Tony Parker
SG: Manu Ginobili
SF: Kawhi Leonard
PF: Tim Duncan
C: Dejuan Blair

Key Bench Players
Gary Neal
Tiago Splitter
Stephen Jackson

Lineups

Starters
PG: Jeremy Lin
SG: Kevin Martin
SF: Chandler Parsons
PF: Patrick Patterson
C: Omer Asik

Key Bench Players
Some Guy
Another Guy
Bench Guy

Rockets perspective can be found here: The Dream Shake

Game Prediction: Spurs by 7.5. That's right, seven and one-half.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and NBA league pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Almost every Spurs game 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.

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