As we approach the end of this crazy regular season I felt like taking a look at the remaining schedule to see how things might pan out as we get closer to the playoffs. First, we all know about the ridiculous amount of games going on in the final two weeks or so of the year. There are 13 days left in the Spurs regular season and 9 games in those thirteen days with only 2 of those games not being some part of a back to back (or Triple Lindy). I know the Spurs are not the only team to have a schedule like this. I still can't believe that the NBA and thought this was a good idea.
So what does the rest of the schedule have in store?
Of the final nine games there are relatively few teams involved. We all know that San Antonio will face the Lakers two more times. We also play Phoenix twice more as well as the Warriors two more times. The other three games are divided between Portland, Cleveland and the Kings. On the face of things and based on record alone, the Spurs should really only have trouble with the Lakers. So can we expect a 7-2 or even 8-1 record to end the year?
I tend to think not, for a couple of reasons. First, all the back to backs are clearly being taken into account by Pop and the coaching staff. Don't be surprised to see Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili resting for 2 or more of these games. Pop has also shown that he isn't afraid to rest Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw and Gary Neal. I wouldn't be shocked to see all of those guys get a game or more off and we might even see others get rest as well. Of course when your team isn't playing with a full deck you can't expect the cards to fall your way every time, even against inferior opponents.
Secondly, the Spurs have not exactly steam rolled thru teams like the Trail Blazers and Kings. Portland always seems to give the Spurs problems as do the pesky young Kings. I for one would be just fine if the Kings game was sat out by Parker and Manu. No need to let Cousins try to hurt somebody. Is it me or does he always seem to be trying that? Anyway, the Suns games always seem to be run and gun affairs these days and I can't imagine that the Spurs won't get a bit worn out from all of that. That doesn't even take into account the Warriors, who are less run and gun these days, but I'm sure they'll be wanting to get up and down the floor.
So with all of that taken into account, plus the Lakers two games, here's what I expect to end the season. Full disclosure: I've done nothing scientific, statistics-based, or analytical in nature. These are my guesses based on nothing more solid than my gut feeling.
Suns game 1 - Win. The first of only two games with days off before and after, I see a full squad beating the Suns
Warriors game 1 - Win. We may not see a full team play here, but I think SA will have enough to deal with GS.
Lakers game 1 - Win. Revenge. This is probably just wishful thinking, but if the whole team plays I like our chances.
Kings game - Loss. The last game of three in three days, I think there will be lots of guys rested and the Kings will win at home.
Lakers game 2 - Loss. Although I foresee a full squad since this is the last game on the schedule that has a day of rest both before and after, I think LA will have the Spurs number this time.
Cavs game - Win. They are terrible and it doesn't matter who plays.
Blazers game - Win. I'm guessing the big 3 will rest for the Cleveland game and get the taste of that 40 point loss from earlier in the year out of their mouth.
Suns game 2 - Loss. Suns at home with the Spurs having little to nothing to play for will take this one.
Warriors game 2 - Win. They Warriors are ready to go the the beach and be done with this season. Of course I'm hoping the Spurs will rest any all who need it if home court is already decided.
I've got the Spurs going 6-3 in their final nine games. That may be more positive than it should be. We might see the Spurs resting more players than I've guessed here. Unless home court is still on the table, I don't think I want to see our big guns in those last two games.