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(Preview/GameThread Pt. 1) Preseason Game 5 - vs. Caja Laboral

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(Originally written by Tim C.)

In each of the past two preseasons, the Spurs have squared off with a European team with whom they were competing for the services of a player during the previous offseason. Last year, speculation ran rampant about Olympiacos big man Ioannis Bourousis, who came to town in the preseason after turning down an offer from the Spurs. This year, the shoe is on the other foot, as the defending ACB champs come to town, without a certain regular season and finals MVP who now plays for the Spurs. Unfortunately, the Spurs will be without Tiago Splitter's services as well, since he'll still be sitting out tonight after a calf injury that has sidelined him for the entire preseason.

But there was another reunion that might have happened, that seems in danger of not happening as well. Former Spur Marcus Haislip now plays for Caja Laboral, but got a conspicuous NWT(not with team) in the box score against the Grizz the other night. Also, according to this article on the Eurloeague website, he's unlikely to play, but I can't seem to find the reason he's not with the team. So, this game is nowhere near as interesting as it seemed just a few days ago. But, let's preview it anyway.

Preseason Game #5
San Antonio Spurs vs
Caja Laboral Vitoria

AT&T Center - San Antonio, TX
7:30 PM Central (SPURS) Time

Likely Starters


San Antonio Spurs

(2-2)
Position
Caja Laboral Vitoria
(0-1)
Tony Parker PG Marcelinho Huertas
Manu Ginobili SG Brad Oleson
Richard Jefferson SF Fernando San Emeterio
DeJuan Blair PF Mirza Teletović
Tim Duncan C Stanko Barać
George Hill
James Anderson
Key
Reserves
Nemanja Bjelica
Pau Ribas

Officials

Monty McCutchen David Guthrie Marat Kogut

Key Matchups

Point Guard: Tony's been playing well so far in preseason, but "tweaked" his ankle in Mexico City against the Clips. Since a "tweak" is nothing major and should be healed within a day(let alone 4 days), he should play tonight. Huertas was probably Tiago's best teammate for the Brazilian national squad this summer, even though the Eurolegue site says he's from Italy.

Bench: The Spurs bench guys finally got some good minutes against Cleveland the other night. Even though the final score was a disaster, there were some positives, notably James Anderson's play. On the Caja side, I'd be curious to see what Bjelica can do, as there were lots of rumors on draft day that the Spurs wanted him, but he did not want to be drafted and refused to go to workouts.

Key to the Game

I'm wondering how Pop decides to handle this. For the past 6 years, he's had a relationship with Vitoria that has been, well, let's call it stressful. The Scola debacle happened somewhat because of Vitoria's(then called Tau Ceramica) refusal to lower his buyout in the years prior to the trade that sent him to Houston. In 2008, the Spurs wanted Splitter, but then-Tau offered him more money. Finally, this summer, the Spurs were able to pry Tiago away from Vitoria, after he had accomplished everything he possibly could in the ACB. Does Pop still have lingering frustrations that he needs to let out on these guys, or does he decide that everything is OK now that Tiago is with the Spurs? I think this will determine how ugly the score of the game gets. But either way, Spurs win.

Winnner:

Watching/Listening to the Game

TV

This game is not being aired in San Antonio. My only hope is that it is being aired in Spain, which would enable someone to find video(see below for instructions on video feeds).

Online

As always, 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. You can also shoot an email to poundingtherockmail@yahoo.com (IMPORTANT: please include your PtR username in the email) for more assistance.

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).

A Look Ahead

On Monday, the Thunder come to SA, so it should be fun to see one of the more hyped teams for this upcoming season taking on the Spurs. On Thursday, the Rockets come to town in a rematch of the preseason opener that the Spurs lost in Houston. That'll be the final game of the preseason, as the Pacers will be in town on October 27th for the season opener.