The Spurs season has been anything but uneventful. Although the team missed Manu Ginobili due to back spasms for the first two games, the rest of the team, especially Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, picked up the slack, with special importance to Duncan's great start to the season and Parker hitting clutch shots, including an already much talked about buzzer beater against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Nevertheless, the Spurs continued winning even after Ginobili's return, rallying to win against the Utah Jazz and keeping the Indiana Pacers at arm's length, managing to post their first 4-0 season start in franchise history.
They then face one of the biggest challenges thus far this season in the Clippers. The notorious Chris Paul trade lifted the Clippers from an exciting lottery team to an exciting contender, pairing the point guard with 2009 first overall pick Blake Griffin. Not only did the Clippers finish with a 40-26 record last season, good for fifth in the Western Conference, they managed to upset the favored Memphis Grizzlies in a thrilling seven-game series, but were then dominated in the next round by - who else? - the Spurs. Even with General Manager Neil Olshey leaving the franchise for the Portland Trail Blazers (unsurprisingly because the Clippers offered less money), their makeshift front office lead by Gary Sacks managed to convince former Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford (who looks to be the frontrunner for the award again) to sign with them, and trade for former Clipper and former Sixth Man of the Year Lamar Odom after his disastrous stint in Dallas (and he hasn't done much with the Clippers either). These men, combined with a VERY under-the-radar free agent signing in Matt Barnes and the continued improvement of young guard Eric Bledsoe (who lead the Clippers in playoff Player Efficiency Rating) make for one of the most interesting, holistic units in the Association. Now only if they could find a better coach than "A+ in Hair" Vinny Del Negro, they could make some serious noise in the Western Conference.
Despite a good start to their season, defeating the Grizzlies in a rematch of their playoff tussle and Chris Paul matching the entire Lakers assists total in the First Battle of Los Angeles, they then proceeded to drop a close game to the "small ball no more" Golden State Warriors (even if Paul managed to have 20 free throw attempts!) and then dropped another game to the up-and-coming Cleveland Cavaliers (side note: Dion Waiters is legit) as their lack of crunch-time defense does them in, an unsurprising fact for a team that finished 4th in offensive efficiency and 22nd in defensive efficiency last season. The Spurs could continue to exploit this weakness, as they look to continue the great defense they've started the season with.
Vinny Del Negro
Clippers perspective can be found here: Clips Nation
Game Prediction: The Spurs extend a historic start and exploit the reeling Clippers defense to win a close game, by 3.
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.