The Spurs just finished a tough stretch of games against some top Western Conference teams going a very nice 3-0. The good guys will now head out east to play some of the better teams on the eastern seaboard. Tonight it starts with the Knickerbockers. Our old buddies D'Antoni, Apostrophe and RoMaJu are there waiting for your Spurs.
The Spurs are playing in the first game of a back to back. Realistically this is the easier game as the Spurs will go to Boston tomorrow night. Boston is considered by many the favorite to win the East. The next two games will test this team as the Knicks will make your run and defend making them a tough first game of a back to back.
The Spurs have a secret weapon. Angry Pop. That's right Pop will face off with the his old foe Mike D'Antoni. You've got to wonder how D'Antoni thinks of Pop. Pop has basically curb stomped the man's career advancement. It's brutal. D'Antoni has done pretty well for himself, but you have to kind of feel bad for the guy. He can't beat Pop forever and then he leaves and bam! The Suns overcome the Spurs. Sorry Mike, we wish that the Spurs would have won too.
Some good news came out recently, James Anderson is shooting. Let's hope the young guy can make it back and contribute to this team. Here are some tunes for your enjoyment, or maybe just mine. I laughed at it, anyway.
San Antonio Spurs @ New York Knicks
Where: Madison Square Garden
When: 1-4-2011, 6:30 p.m. Spurs Time - Timezone Converter
By the Numbers
PG: Tony Parker is amazine. Cap pointed this out brilliantly in her State of the Spurs post. Tony must not only dominate Fisher (as he must every night) but Felton too. I think he's up to it. Felton has been a very nice pickup for the Knicks. The Bobcats are clearly missing his leadership and passing ability. Felton fits nicely into D'Antoni's system which relies on a good PG who can run the pick and roll and hit a jumper. Frenchie McWonderbutt has both a speed and quickness advantage. He should take advantage of it.
SG: So apparently Landry Fields is a pretty good rookie. He's won Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for the past two months. Well, I have some bad news for Mr. Fields. Today you will not be facing the East, today you will not be facing a mere mortal. No, no my friend you will be facing El Contusión. Be afraid, be very afraid.
SF: I have seen one and one-half Knicks games. Wilson Chandler is something of a streaky shooter, from my anecdotal perspective. He does average 17 ppg. The game I saw he was missing completely. The one-half of a game I watched he basically carried the team. With Gallinari out Chandler will surely be looking to score more. Jefferson will need to make sure that Chandler doesn't get hot. If RJ 2.0 comes out and makes Chandler pay attention on defense that will bode well for Rage on defense.
PF: Normally Gallinari plays the 4 for this smallish Knicks team, but he is out with a bum knee. So that means good ol' Apostrophe. I think this is a easier match up for Blair than Gallinari would be. That's not to say that Blair won't have his hands full tonight. A'mare is playing really well, carrying these Knicks to a most respectable record. I've heard a story or two talking about how A'mare is wanting to mature and be the leader of his team. It'll be interesting to see how that pans out. Blair just needs to do what he does best: make Stoudemire pay for not blocking out and pressure him on defense.
C: Duncan will not have to start off on A'mare, which is good. Traditionally Stoudemire has scorched Duncan. On offense, Duncan should be able to dominate anybody that the Knicks can throw at him. Turiaf is my guess as the starter, but I'm sure they'll be lots of guys that rotate in to take their shot at the GOATPUFF.
Neal, Hill, McDyess, Bonner and soon to be &erson? We can only hope. If Ampersanderson comes back, that makes this deep team even better and means less time for Ime Udoka, who's been....well, not great. The Knicks bench is a little short and won't be able to keep pace with the Spurs' BAM. My favorite guy on their bench is Timofey Mazgov, only because of how he spells his first name. That's how I would have spelled it when I was a kid.
This is an old match up and things have pretty well been settled. Mike D'Antoni is a guy that has a fun offense, but ignores or just doesn't know about defense. Take a look at those numbers up there. This team is good on offense, but struggles to rebound and play defense. Pop clearly has the edge here in both coaching and facial hair, or lack thereof.
Spurs have Pop and a deep team with a high BBIQ. Advantage: Spurs. I haven't watched Felton much, but I know ol' Apostrophe and he's not going to be confused with Einstein.
As previously stated, the Spurs have already won the Manu count. SA - 1, NY - 0
The Spurs should win big, but I can see this being closer than it ought to be, mostly because of the Spurs poor 3-point defense.
Key(s) to the Game
Key 1 - 3 point shooting. Both teams are good at it and both are bad at defending. The Spurs will need to keep close to the shooters and make their open shots.
Key 2 - Rebounding. The Knicks are a bad rebounding team. The Spurs need to take advantage of this by grabbing all their defensive boards and grabbing the offensive boards that are sure to be available.
Posting and Toasting (SB Nation) - Stay tuned for jrw's email exchange with Seth from P&T later today.
WOAI 1200AM; Audio League Pass[streaming]
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 firstname.lastname@example.org(IMPORTANT: Please include your PtR username in the email for reference) for further assistance.