Matinee tipoffs aren't always the most aesthetically pleasing affairs, as anyone who sat through the first half of the Sunday's game can attest. San Antonio struggled to pull away despite an anemic Celtics attack, and the 95-87 game remained close until the final horn sounded.
As a result, the old guys spent significant time on the floor, and we may be looking at one or two getting the day off on the second game of the team's first back-to-back of the season. The smart money would be on Manu (24 minutes), but Tim Duncan is a possibility, as well. Aldridge's former teammate Robin Lopez is a menace on the offensive glass, and he could be in for a big game even if Timmy doesn't sit.
It's probably not too early to start reflecting on how good 38-year-old Manu Ginobili is looking. He's moving around well, hitting from deep, active on the defensive glass and playing at an incredibly efficient level. He also leads the team in assists so far at 5.5 a game. His playmaking and energy will be missed if he doesn't suit up.
Someone who may see more time is the last guy to seal his spot on the roster -- Rasual Butler. He may not be great, and shouldn't be counted on for more than 10 minutes a night, but Butler looks like the better short-term play in close games, while Kyle Anderson remembers his lines. Would it be too much to ask for the AT&T Center to play this sound byte anytime he enters the game or scores?
LaMarcus Aldridge seemed a bit more comfortable in the offense on Sunday as the game progressed. It seems at times that he's not catching the ball in his ideal spots. Aldridge is obviously still getting accustomed to the Spurs system, but there's something to be said for his new teammates getting to know his preferences, as well. When LMA received the ball deep enough to get off his baby hook or open in a place where he could just step into a shot, good things happened.
The Knicks are better than they were last year. How much better is hard to say, but with a healthy Carmelo Anthony (who dropped 37 on Washington in a win a few nights ago) and some new faces (most interesting of them likely being Latvian rookie Kristaps Porzingis) it looks like Derek Fisher's second season in charge could go a bit more smoothly than year one.
The only prediction I initially feel confident in is that this game should be more entertaining than yesterday's. But then I look at the Knicks' starting backcourt and I feel almost as good about picking a San Antonio win to get them to 3-1.
Matchup to watch: Kawhi Leonard against Carmelo Anthony. After an off year hampered with injury and punctuated with a weird focus on extra curricular activities, Anthony's spot among the league's elite is up for debate. What might also irk the 31-year-old is that Leonard is almost universally seen as the better player. His big night against the Wiz came on the heels of 'overrated' comments from Jared Dudley -- we'll see how he comes out tonight.
|Spurs at Knicks|
|November 2, 2015|
|Madison Square Garden, New York, NY|
|6:30 pm CST|
|Tony Parker||PG||Jose Calderon|
|Danny Green||SG||Sasha Vujacic|
|Kawhi Leonard||SF||Carmelo Anthony|
|LaMarcus Aldridge||PF||Kristaps Porzingis|
|Tim Duncan*||C||Robin Lopez|
The Knicks fans' perspective can be found at Posting and Toasting.
Game Prediction: Spurs by 9.
As always (but with a bit more feeling) Tony must dominate Fisher.