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Morning Rehash: "Worst Vs First" Plus Breaking Down the Rodeo Road Trip

With the Rodeo Road Trip only a week away, the San Antonio Spurs are coming to the end of a buffet of weak opponents. The Spurs are using this weak spot in their schedule to rest injured players and "injured" players while also taking another look at their bench talent. The club and fans also got to see the much-anticipated play of Aussie big man, Aron Baynes.

Tony Parker. Boss.
Tony Parker. Boss.
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Opening Hash

There is only one more game within the friendly confines of the AT&T Center before the San Antonio Spurs finally depart for their annual basketball sabbatical across North America. This time around, the Spurs will play 9 games in a span of 19 days with the 2013 NBA All-Star Game acting as an informal halftime break. The Spurs have two sets of back-to-backs in their nine game trip with, not surprisingly, all four teams involved being the only +.500 teams on the trip. Those four teams are a combined 117-66 while the other five teams are a paltry 79-147.

San Antonio will play Brooklyn on February 10th and then jet off late in the night to take on the Bulls the following day. Fortunately, the second set is after the All-Star weekend and much more travel friendly. The first game is likely the most anticipated of the trip for both fans and players - the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers dismantled the Spurs in the Staples Center earlier this season and beat the Spurs in San Antonio in a 5-point slobber-knocker a few weeks later. The game after the Clippers is just up the coast against the always tough Warriors but I'd bet money (if I had any) that Coach Popovich rests a few old guys in that one.

The following is a breakdown of both the offensive and defensive statistics of all nine Rodeo Road Trip opponents and how they match up against your Spurs.



*Data from Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) adjusts for the fact that a 3-point field goal is worth one more point than a 2-point field goal. Defensive Rebound Percentage (DRB%) is an estimate of the percentage of available defensive rebounds the team grabbed.

It should be noted that the San Antonio Spurs are the only ones that do not rank in the bottom 10 of any of the above listed statistics; Not even in turnovers and opponent offensive rebounds, two things Spurs fans constantly gripe about. By the way, on the road, the Spurs are also top five team in points (103.3/2nd), field goal percentage (47.6%/1st), three-point percentage(37.8%/4th), and assists (24.3/1st).

And they do this all with nagging injuries, resting starters, and the third fastest pace in the NBA.

Offensive Note: Spurs 2nd in league in field goal percentage, 3rd in points per game, and 5th in three-point percentage.

One of my favorite defensive statistics is the FT/FGA (free throws per field goal attempt). The Spurs are the third best team at not sending shooters to the line and a top 10 team in opponent field goal percentage. Two of the other top 5 teams in FT/FGA are at the bottom of the league in opponent field goal percentage. The other two are 12th and 15th. So what is so amazing about the Spurs being really good at not fouling people as well as keeping their opponent's shooting percentage at a premium..?

Spurs opponents have taken 4,075 field goal attempts, the second most in the league. This stat becomes even more impressive when paired with the fact that the Spurs are 6th in allowed points per game (95.9).

Shoot Around Notes

  • More mid-range work for Kawhi Leonard. This has been a major focus for him since being drafted.
  • Patty Mills was on fire and his pride only grew more obvious after each make (fist pumps,etc).
  • Charlotte sure loves the medicine ball. And resistance bands. But apparently not running basketball drills. Light work on that end.
  • Stephen Jackson spent a few minutes chatting it up with some of his old teammates on the Bobcats.
  • I got to sit right behind Boris Diaw as he shot from the corner opposite of the Spurs bench. It was neat to watch Boris adjust his hand mechanics with each shot. His shot started off well to the right of the rim but gradually moved closer to being on target with each release. Soon enough, it was all net.
  • Manu Ginobili. How can someone so ballistic be so smooth...?
  • Tiago Splitter's shooting mechanics on his jumper change with distance. Short range shots resemble his old shot put motion while his free throws and midrange jumpers are more of fluid a release.

Standard Pop Pre-Game Quote

Bud has been with me for twenty years. That should tell you the answer. I think I like him.

-Coach Popovich on Assistant Coach Budenholzer's performance as interim head coach.

Quick Game Hash

Due to time restrictions (I write this at 6:50 AM on 4 hours of sleep and only 30 minutes before I begin training others at work), there will not be a quick game hash today. I was planning to write up a quick paragraph or two on my thoughts on Aron Baynes but Mattthew Tynan pretty much shares the same impression of "Bangers" as I do.

So I leave you with this as your quick hash.

Thank you, Australia.

My Game Boss












9 10 7 5 3 2 32:43

Score plus-20 on 90% shooting while dishing out 7 assists? Boss. Oh, and a sweet, sweet double-clutch layup.

My Game Runt












0 1 3 2 2 3 28:29

I love Biyombo and I beg for the powers in the universe to guide his future to another team. Last night, Biyombo was just abysmal on all parts of the floor and played the role of a turnstile during the Spurs 48 point rampage in the paint.

This Thing Was Over When...

...the Spurs made it to the AT&T Center yesterday.

OK. Fine. How about in the second quarter when San Antonio held Charlotte to 14 points on 33.3% shooting, forced 5 turnovers, and out-rebounded the Bobcats 14-8? Or, you know, when they made it the arena. You choose.

By the Numbers

  • 13 - Charlotte assists last night (worst assist team in the league).
  • 23 - Charlotte turnovers.
  • 34 - Points the Spurs scored off Charlotte's 23 turnovers.
  • 30 - Made baskets by Charlotte
  • 9 - Seconds it took for Aron Baynes to get his first foul in the game.
  • 0 - Lead changes.
  • 14 - All-Star selections for Duncan, making him tied for third all-time (most by international player).
  • 5 - Players shooting career highs from the free throw line (Leonard, Neal, Duncan, Parker, Splitter)
  • 22 - Games this season Tony Parker has scored 20 or more points.

Leftover Hash

  • Patty Mills spent quite a bit of time during the game talking to Aron Baynes about plays in the game.
  • Baynes loves to body check. Biyombo gave a few swats at the Aussie after taking an elbow in the chest.
  • Good lord, the Spurs just look bored out there sometimes.
  • Out of the top ten teams in three-point attempts per game, only three rank in the top ten for percentage - New York, Atlanta, and San Antonio.
  • Interesting to see if Manu Ginobili will get a fine from the league for flopping. Manu got away with a pretty obvious one in the second quarter.
  • It took only 15 seconds for Coach Popovich to get back to his red-faced, spit spewing self.

Bird is the Word

@Matthew_Tynan: Spurs' bigs are showing some serious interest in what Baynes is doing. He had Duncan and Diaw in both ears on the way to the locker room.

@SBNationNBA: Bobcats only down 12 to Spurs at the half. #MoralVictory!

@JMcDonald_SAEN: Spurs haven't faced team over .500 since Atlanta on 1/19, and won't until playing at Brooklyn on 2/10. Will need to step it up a notch then.

Going into the Next Game, the Spurs Need to...

...maintain emphasis on fine-tuning their game. For the most part, Coach Pop and company has done a great job with the team in minimizing the turnovers and tightening the defense. San Antonio breezed through a Bobcats team that has the same amount of wins as the Spurs have losses and now the Spurs only have one more hapless Eastern conference bottom-feeder before trekking out far and wide on the great Oregon Trail. The last two weeks leading up to the Rodeo Road Trip has been a light schedule filled with the basketball equivalent of training dummies. The Spurs have a few tough tests coming up on the road so now is not the time (if ever) to become complacent.

For more rambling and Spurs talk, follow Aaron Preine at @DukeOfBexar on Twitter.