Remember all the talk in February about how much easier the schedule was going to be post-Rodeo Road Trip? "Only two road games in the entire month of March" and so on and so on? Yeah, well. Kiss that idea goodbye.
Of the seventeen games remaining in the Spurs regular season schedule, thirteen of them feature teams that are either playoff bound or fighting for a spot in the playoffs. There are also three sets of back-to-backs, including a run of four games in five nights. Only one of those six teams in the back-to-back sets don't have a shot for making the post-season. There are three games are against division rivals and another game in the budding rivalry with conference powerhouse, Oklahoma City. All of the five remaining road games are against playoff caliber teams and four of those are a part of back-to-back sets.
|3/14||vs||DAL||Playoff bubble, division rival.|
|3/20||vs||GSW||Over .500, playoff bubble.|
|3/22||vs||UTH||Over .500, playoff bubble.|
|3/24||at||HOU||Over .500, playoff bubble, division rival.|
|3/27||vs||DEN||Over .500, playoff bound.|
|3/29||vs||LAC||Over .500, playoff bound.|
|3/31||vs||MIA||Over .500, playoff bound, part of a back-to-back|
|4/1||at||MEM||Over .500, playoff bound, part of a back-to-back, division rival.|
|4/3||vs||ORL||Part of a back-to-back.|
|4/4||at||OKC||Over .500, playoff bound, part of a back-to-back, budding rivalry.|
|4/6||vs||ATL||Over .500, playoff bound.|
|4/10||at||DEN||Over .500, playoff bound.|
|4/14||at||LAL||Over .500, playoff bubble, part of a back-to-back.|
|4/15||at||GSW||Over .500, playoff bubble, part of a back-to-back.|
Hoo-boy... makes last night's loss to an injury-ridden lottery squad all that more frustrating, doesn't it? The Spurs balancing act of rest and seeding will be put to the test during these final weeks of the NBA regular season, but depending on how the rest of the West plays out, losing the top seed may not be that big of a deal.
Can never go wrong wearing silver and black, especially when you're down 80 to 60.
- Andrew Monaco commenting on Spurs fans in the Minnesota crowd.
Quickie Game Hash
Check out Fred Silva's recap of last night's game.
During a 20 minute and 41 second period of time that covered the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarters, the San Antonio Spurs scored 11 points. Eleven. Points.
Yes, the Spurs were missing several key players. Yes, last night was the second game of a back-to-back that happened to be 1,250 miles north of the first game. But still, a 0.53 points per minute production rate for nearly half the game is a joke of a performance for the supposedly deepest team in the NBA.
Got to give the opponents credit though. The Timberwolves, who missing many key players, came out hustling and getting their hands in the middle of nearly every Spurs possession. Decrepit or injury-laden, an Adelman coached team rarely ever quits on him.
My Game Boss
Ricky Rubio earned his first career (NBA) triple-double last night and made the highlight reel with a few nifty passes and drives through the lane (including a double behind the back dribble). Rubio was on pace for more prolific numbers but the Spaniard had to just settle for his career high in rebounds, a season high in points (one point short of his career high), and his third highest season mark in assists.
My Game Runt
When Manu is off, the game gets bad for him. Real bad. Traditionally, we're used to Manu making up for bad shooting nights through hustle and game management but Ginobili just hasn't been able to consistently deliver those elements this season. Of course, he's had great nights but - chalk it up to age (35), injuries (a billion), or whatever - it's just not as easy as it once was to produce solid numbers. Manu was -30 on the +/-.
By the Numbers
- 10 - Points the Spurs managed to squeak out in the 3rd quarter. Ten.
- 29 - Three point attempts by San Antonio. They only made 9 of them.
- 60 - Three point percentage on 20 attempts for Minnesota, the worst three point shooting team in the NBA.
- 993 - Career wins for head coach Rick Adelman.
- 30 - Team assists for the Timberwolves. They average roughly 22 a game.
- 11 - Total blocks for the Timberwolves.
- 30 - Points scored off of Spurs turnovers.
- 54 - Combined points of Spurs last two losses.
- 4 - Losses in the Spurs' last ten games. 6-4 is tied for their worst 10-game streak this season.
- 5 - Number of times this season Stephen Jackson has attempted 10 or more shots in a game (44 games).
- 37.8 - Stephen Jackson's field goal percentage this season.
Odds & Ends
- In case you missed it, Popovich subbed in Gary Neal early just so he could yell at Cory Joseph. Joseph went back in almost immediately.
- Joseph ruined a Splitter post-up by cutting inside way too late. Splitter ended up in a double-team and had to pass out. Fortunately, it ended with a Danny Green three-pointer.
- Ginobili's head was bent back when he collided with DeJuan Blair's body early in the second quarter. It looks like he'll be a bit sore for a few days.
- Big men who are excellent at passing are rare in the league. San Antonio has three of them.
- Spurs showed some energy early on in third quarter but a little Minnesota run quickly deflated any chance of a comeback.
- Mickael Gelabale has been doing a decent job in his second stint in the NBA (has hit 16 of his last 25 shots).
Bird is the Word
Derrick almost broke a backboard. Not with a dunk.— Punch-Drunk Wolves (@PDWolves) March 13, 2013
The Timberwolves and Bobcats are really improving their resume tonight for Selection Sunday— Dennis G (@bigpumpkin4real) March 13, 2013
Matt Bonner's putting it on the floor and driving. Go home; etc.— Steve McPherson (@steventurous) March 13, 2013
Going into the Next Game, the Spurs Need to...
...get the bench back firing on all cylinders. As mentioned earlier, the Spurs have a brutal schedule leading into the playoffs and the health (and rest) of key players is absolutely paramount. Tony Parker is still scheduled to return in early April and Duncan, Ginobili, and Leonard all have leg issues that likely won't go away until the off-season. If the Spurs value the overall home court advantage at all, they'll need to get their role players back on track to keep them ahead of Oklahoma City (1.5 games back) and Los Angeles (4 games back). No, not the Lakers.
If you don't place high value on your mental health, follow Aaron on Twitter at @DukeOfBexar for more Spurs notes, quotes, and opinions.