That each NBA organization handles its own affairs differently is something you were likely aware of well before Brian Windhorst’s terrific article contrasting San Antonio and Cleveland’s offseasons.
Tonally, the Spurs are in a world of their own, which makes shaky stretches (such as falling to 10-14 on the road after consecutive losses to the Lakers and Hawks, who have a combined 27 wins, temporarily dropping to fourth place, and missing a chance to close the gap on a James Harden-less Rockets team) as close to a non-story as they can be.
And that’s mostly a good thing.
Part of the fan experience is hoping to see your anxieties mirrored in the behavior of your team, but don’t expect the Spurs to oblige. They’ll continue to exercise extreme caution with the health of every player — including their most important one — for as long as they can, even if it costs them games like Monday’s in Atlanta.
Unfortunately for San Antonio, their health concerns grew in the loss to the Hawks, with Manu Ginobili and Pau Gasol both sustaining new injuries and Kawhi Leonard a last-minute scratch. The likely absences of the first two will thrust the team’s reserves into bigger roles, and that hasn’t exactly been a recipe for success when playing away from the AT&T Center.
They head into Brooklyn nearing the end of a tiring 11-game stretch in which nine will have been played on the road. Wednesday night, they square off with the same Nets team we saw a few weeks ago — a well-coached group that makes up for a shortage of talent with a high volume of possessions and three-point attempts. In years past you might have already penciled a W by this one, but it’s January, South Texas has frozen over again, and anything is possible.
San Antonio Spurs (29-16) at Brooklyn Nets (18-26)
January 17, 2018 | 6:30 PM CT
Watch: FSSW, Listen: WOAI
Spurs injuries: Rudy Gay (right heel bursitis), Manu Ginobili (right thigh contusion), Pau Gasol (right wrist sprain)
Nets injuries: Jeremy Lin (knee), D’Angelo Russell (knee)
More reps for Joffrey?
Count me among those willing to let Lauvergne play Chopsticks before considering him a bad pickup. He’s had a string of bad luck with health all season, and that splinted digit has not only taken away his touch around the basket, it’s deprived him of arguably his most appealing skill: slinging one-handed passes at impossible angles to cutting teammates.
There’s not been word on when the splint will come off, but any significant minutes for Lauvergne will be good for him to find rhythm and play a bit more loosely. If Pop decides to sit Gasol, it should mean twenty-plus minutes for the French big.
A flow chart
Vegas Line: Spurs by 6.5.
Game Prediction: Spurs by 4.
For the Nets fan’s perspective, visit: Nets Daily.
As always Tony must dominate Fisher.
PtR’s Gamethread will be up this evening for those who want to chat through the game. You can also follow along with the action through PtR’s Twitter feed.