Tag:San Antonio Spurs
Posted on: April 13, 2011 11:19 pm
Edited on: April 14, 2011 5:51 pm
 

Ginobili doubtful for Game 1 with elbow sprain

San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili left Wednesday's game with an elbow injury. Posted by Ben Golliver. manu-ginobili-elbow

Update: 

The San Antonio Spurs announced on Thursday that guard Manu Ginobili is "doubtful" for Game 1 against the Memphis Grizzlies after an MRI revealed he sprained his elbow on Wednesday night. Here's the team's full statement. 
"Spurs guard Manu Ginobili had an MRI earlier today in San Antonio. The MRI showed that he has a right elbow sprain. The injury occurred in the first quarter of last night’s Spurs-Suns game. Ginobili has already begun his rehabilitation process and will be listed as doubtful for Game 1 of the Spurs-Grizzlies series, which is scheduled for noon on Sunday at the AT&T Center.
Original Post:

Less than four minutes into the first quarter of a Wednesday night game against the Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili left the game with a right elbow injury. Ginobili was shown clutching his arm on the bench in significant pain and was quickly escorted to the locker room by Spurs training staff.

During second quarter action, the San Antonio Express-News reported: "Manu Ginobili has a hyperextended right elbow. X-rays are negative. He will be re-examined Thursday in San Antonio." 

The paper noted shortly after Ginobili went down that he "appeared to get his elbow bent backwards on collision with Duncan/Grant Hill ... Whatever happened, he's in some serious pain."

San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich had rested Ginobili during Tuesday night's game against the Los Angeles Lakers but decided to use Wednesday night's game as a playoff tune-up. Should Ginobili miss any time due to the injury, the second-guessers will be out in full force.

Ginobili is averaging 17.6 points, 5.0 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals this season. He has appeared in 80 games this year for the Spurs. 

San Antonio is locked into the Western Conference's No. 1 seed. They will face the No. 8 seed Memphis Grizzlies.
Category: NBA
Posted on: April 13, 2011 2:23 pm
 

NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Game 1 Schedule


Posted by Matt Moore

The Eastern Conference playoff schedule is out. Here's how you should start planning your weekend:

Saturday

8 Indiana Pacers at 1 Chicago Bulls, 1:00 p.m. EST

7 Philadelphia 76ers at 2 Miami Heat 3:30 p.m. EST

5 Atlanta Hawks at 4 Orlando Magic 7:00 p.m. EST

Sunday

6 New York Knicks at 3 Boston Celtics 7:00 p.m. EST


Interesting that the Heat, despite their troubles, and against a very unfriendly media-wise team get the nice comfy 3:30 p.m. slot. That's typically one of the more marquee matchups, along with the Saturday night special (Knicks-Celtics). Clearly the networks are still counting on the Heat for a draw. Expect the Lakers to get either the 3:30 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. Sunday slots.  Which means that one of the central time zone teams with a home game (Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Dallas) will wind up with the late game. We'll update you on the Western Conference schedule as soon as it's released. 
Posted on: April 13, 2011 9:50 am
Edited on: April 13, 2011 6:23 pm
 

Your Wednesday Morning NBA playoff scenarios

Updated playoff positioning following Tuesday night's games. 
Posted by Matt Moore




We've got 16 teams, and a lot of them are locked in place. Here's where we stand in terms of playoff positioning going into Tuesday night's games.
Eastern Conference:

The East is locked. For more analysis on the East, check out our discussion from Tuesday

1 Chicago vs. 8 Indiana
2 Miami vs. 7 Philadelphia
3 Boston vs. 6 New York
4 Orlando vs. 5 Atlanta


Western Conference

1 San Antonio vs. 8 Memphis/New Orleans
2 Dallas/Los Angeles Lakers vs. 7 Memphis/New Orleans
3 Dallas/Los Angeles Lakers/OKC vs. 6 Portland
4 Dallas/Oklahoma City vs. 5 Denver

What a mess. Though, it is less of a mess than it was yesterday. Memphis pulled Zach Randolph and Tony Allen vs. the Blazers, surrendering the sixth seed, presumably to attempt to avoid Los Angeles. It's thought that Memphis will also rest some combination of starters Wednesday night vs. the Clippers. Portland's win locks them into the sixth seed. 

The Lakers' win over "San Antonio" (I wouldn't really call that team that played the Spurs, would you?) means that Oklahoma City cannot finish second, and the Lakers cannot finish fourth. 

Before we get into contingencies for Wednesday night's results, just to review: San Antonio is locked as the 1 seed, Denver is locked as the fifth seed, and Portland is locked as the sixth seed. Those teams aren't going anywhere. 

Now, here's how Wednesday night's games shake out. 

If the Lakers beat the Kings, the Hornets beat the Mavs, and Bucks beat Thunder: The Lakers. gets the 2 seed with a one-game advantage over the Mavs, the Hornets get the 7 seed by one-game advantage/tiebreaker over Memphis, regardless of the outcome of Grizzlies-Clippers. Mavericks get the 3 seed and face the Blazers. Lakers as a 2 seed face Hornets as a 7. Grizzlies lands in the 8 and faces 1 Spurs, while the Thunder land in the 4 and face 5 Denver. 

If the Lakers beat the Kings, the Mavs beat the Hornets, and the Grizzlies beat the Clippers: The Lakers still gets the 2 seed by virtue of tie breaker over the Mavericks, who land as the 3 seed, regardless of the outcome of Bucks-Thunder, also by tiebreaker. Grizzlies get the 7 seed and will face the Lakers, Hornets fall to 8 and will face Spurs. Thunder wind up in the 4 and face 5 Nuggets. The Mavericks face the Blazers.

If the Lakers beat the Kings, the Mavs beat the Hornets, and the Grizzlies beat the Clippers: Lakers get 2 seed by tiebreaker, Mavericks land in 3 seed, Thunder get 4 and Grizzlies wind up 7. 1 Spurs face 8 Hornets, 2 Lakers play 7 Grizzlies, 3 Mavericks play 6 Blazers, and 4 Thunder play 5 Nuggets.

If the Kings beat the Lakers, the Hornets beat the Mavs, and Bucks beat Thunder: The Lakers keep the 2 seed by virtue of tiebreaker over the Mavs, the Mavericks still get the 3, and the Thunder wind up in the 4. The Hornets earn the 7 seed, while the Grizzlies fall to 8.  Spurs play Grizzlies, Lakers play Hornets, Mavericks play Blazers, and Thunder face the Nuggets. 

If the Kings beat the Lakers, the Mavericks beat the Hornets, and the Grizzlies beat the Clippers: The Mavericks slide up into the 2, the Lakers down to the 3, the Thunder into the 4, Hornets drop to 8 while Grizzlies notch themselves at 7. 1 Spurs play 8 Hornets, 2 Mavericks play 7 Grizzlies, 3 Lakers play 6 Blazers, 4 Thunder play 5 Nuggets. 

If the Kings beat the Lakers, the Mavericks beat the Hornets, and the Clippers beat the Grizzlies: The Mavericks slide up into the 2, the Lakers down to the 3, the Thunder are locked into the 4. New Orleans maintains the 7 with tiebreaker over Memphis, who drops to 8. 1 Spurs play 8 Grizzlies, 2 Mavericks play 7 Hornets, 3 Lakers play 6 Blazers, and 4 thunder play 5 Nuggets.

If the the Hornets defeat Mavericks, and the Thunder defeat Bucks:  This drops L.A., Dallas, and Oklahoma City into a three-way tie. Lakers win 2 seed regardless of their game vs. Kings by virtue of tiebreaker/ one game advantage, Thunder move into the 3, and Dallas winds up 4th. Hornets win assures them 7. 1 Spurs play 8 Grizzlies (a Hornets win makes their game irrelevant... well, more irrelevant), 2 Lakers play 7 Hornets, 3 Thunder play 6 Blazers, 4 Mavericks play 5 Nuggets. 

In short: 
Lakers win and they get the 2.

Mavericks win and Lakers lose, Mavs get the 2.

Thunder win and Mavericks lose, Thunder get the 3. 

Hornets win, they get the 7.

Grizzlies win and Hornets lose, Grizzlies get the 7. 

Complicated enough for you? Last game of the season, and still so much to decide.
Posted on: April 13, 2011 12:54 am
Edited on: April 13, 2011 1:57 am
 

Andrew Bynum injures knee versus Spurs

Andrew Bynum injures knee against Spurs, diagnosed as a hyperextended knee, MRI tomorrow. 
Posted by Royce Young



Update 1:40 a.m.:
Kevin Ding of the OC Register tweets, "Bynum says he will be fine and will be ready for playoff opener this weekend." Obviously the MRI will tell the real story, but that's at least some encouraging news.

Update 12:53 a.m.:
Phil Jackson told TNT during a third-quarter interview, "I went in and talked to (Andrew Bynum) at half-time, and he said 'I'm (going to) be allright." That's what you'd expect to hear out of Jackson regardless, but it's still a better sign than Jackson spouting off a parable or starting to cry.

Original report
: Things may be much different heading into the playoffs for the defending champs. All of Laker nation will be holding their breath for the results of an MRI Wednesday morning.

Andrew Bynum hyperextended his right knee (that's the one with the brace) during the second quarter of the Lakers' game against San Antonio on Tuesday. He sat on the floor grimacing a bit, then immediately went to the locker room.

Bynum was hurt midway through the second quarter when he stepped on DeJuan Blair's foot. Bynum awkwardly fell to the floor but did walk on his own off re court.

Bynum won't travel with the Lakers to Wednesday night's season finale to Sacramento the team said. The center will have an MRI on Wednesday morning.

Bynum is averaging 11.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and almost two blocked shots in 54 games this season. His presence alongside fellow 7-footer Pau Gasol is one of the things that make the Lakers so darn dangerous. That size makes them almost impossible to match up with. And then you Kobe Bryant as well and it's easy to see why they've won two titles and are a favorite going in this year. Plus, Bynum has quietly put together a nice season on the interior, especially on the defensive end. All of that changes a great deal if Bynum is out.

But Bynum missed the first 28 games of the regular season following surgery on his right knee and has really become pretty fragile. He partially tore the meniscus in his right knee last season, but postponed surgery until summer to start all 23 playoff games in the Lakers' championship run. (And to make a trip to the World Cup in South Africa.)

He tweaked his knee a week ago in a game and just seems ready to go down at any moment. With him, the Lakers are a dominant interior team. Without him, they're a whole new story.

If he's hurt, things change. But we'll have to wait and see.
Posted on: April 12, 2011 3:35 am
Edited on: April 13, 2011 8:54 am
 

Your Tuesday morning NBA playoff scenarios

Updated playoff positioning following Monday night's games. 
Posted by Matt Moore




We've got 16 teams, and a lot of them are locked in place. Here's where we stand in terms of playoff positioning going into Tuesday night's games. 

Eastern Conference:

The East is locked. With Miami's win over the Hawks combined with Boston's loss to the Wizards, along with the Sixers loss to the Magic, we have our first round playoff match-ups.

1 Chicago vs. 8 Indiana
2 Miami vs. 7 Philadelphia
3 Boston vs. 6 New York
4 Orlando vs. 5 Atlanta

Boston lucks out in this scenario. Without a legit center and against a weak rebounding team, their biggest concerns are mitigated, and it could allow them time to get back on their feet. Shutting down explosive stars is their business. Philadelphia, on the other hand, is the exact kind of team Miami could overlook. While the Sixers are outmatched at nearly every position outside point guard (even lacking a superior center). The Magic knew they were headed for the Hawks for weeks, same with Chicago and Indiana. 

New York landing as the six is considerably higher than many thought they would in the preseason. Philadelphia has to be unnerved they surrendered the sixth spot, but given their beginning, it's still a win. 

A likely Easteron Conference semi-finals series between Boston and Miami would begin with Game 1 in the great state of Florida. 

Western Conference: 

Things are much more liquid in the Western Conference. Denver's win over Golden State secures Denver in the fifth seed. The Spurs locked up the No. 1 seed a week ago. Other than that, everything's up in the air. Dallas' win over Houston after L.A.'s loss to the Thunder Sunday puts the 2 seed back in play. The Mavericks are now a half-game ahead of the Lakers for homecourt in a theoretical second round. The pressure is now on L.A. to break their five-game losing streak and close out the season to secure that seed. But then, lowering themselves to actually trying in games like this are not really the Lakers style. 

And oh, look at that, Oklahoma City is only a half game behind the Lakers. If the Lakers lose out, it's possible L.A. could wind up in the fourth spot, as crazy as that is. 

Meanwhile, as Denver is the dividing line between the insanity up-top and the looniness on the bottom, there's a continuing shuffling in spots 6-8. Portland remains in the driver's seat for the sixth seed. With the Hornets' loss to the Jazz, which was about as badly timed as it could have been, the Hornets have fallen to the 8th seed. Memphis is now in the seventh spot. The Grizzlies face the Blazers Tuesday night with the season series tied 1-1. Winner gets tiebreaker. Portland wins, they lock up the sixth. Grizzlies win, it comes down to Wednesday night's games. This situation is made trickier by not knowing how the top will look. In reality, everyone's trying to avoid the Lakers. But since L.A. could land anywhere between 2 and 4, there's no way to effectively duck them. If Portland wants to avoid the Lakers, for example, and think winning is the best way to do so, they could beat the Grizzlies, then watch Phil Jackson pull his starters against San Antonio and Sacramento. 

There's no way to tank to avoid opponents. It's a lottery at this point. Which is why so often coaches ignore such strategies at an organizational level. 

We'll update you after Tuesday's games. 
Posted on: April 12, 2011 1:29 am
 

How a random drawing could decide the Finals

Chicago and San Antonio could wind up needing a random drawing to determine home court advantage should they meet in the Finals. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Going into Tuesday night's games, the San Antonio Spurs have a one-game lead on the Chicago Bulls for homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs. They split the season series between the two 1-1. The Spurs have two games remaining, both versus Western Conference opponents.  The Bulls have two games remaining, both versus Eastern opponents. The Spurs are 23-7 against Eastern opponents, while the Bulls are 23-7 against Western opponents. 

Why is this information relevant? 

Because the NBA Finals could be determined by a random drawing. 

Should the Spurs and Bulls finish tied in overall record (Bulls go 1-1, Spurs 0-2; Bulls 2-0, Spurs 1-1) and meet in the Finals, the two will pass the first two tiebreakers. There are only three tiebreakers for homecourt advantage in the Finals. The third is a random drawing. 

The official NBA tiebreakers have a complex and thorough system which would actually lead to a Bulls advantage were they put into play. However, as ESPN pointed out, and a league release confirmed, the Finals operate on a different structure. First tiebreaker is, of course, head-to-head record, the second record against opposing conference, and the third a random drawing. So should Popovich's Spurs elect not to rest starters Tuesday, but do so Wednesday against the Suns, and the Bulls to stretch their 7-game winning streak to nine, and the Spurs and Bulls win their respective conference finals, we'll be seeing a random drawing to determine where the majority of games are played. 

Another sign of how close this season is between the greats in both conferences, and how much a role luck could conceivably play in determining the 2011 NBA Champion. 
Posted on: April 7, 2011 10:42 am
 

How the West was won by San Antonio

Spurs clinch top seed in the West. How the West was won.
Posted by Matt Moore




Not a bad way to finish a season you were expected to land middle of the pack. The San Antonio Spurs crushed the Sacramento Kings Wednesday night (while Tyreke Evans crushed Gary Neal in all sorts of dirty ways), and the Lakers dropped a bizarre game to the Golden State Warriors (their third straight loss, and so the Spurs wind up with the Z. As in the Z in the standings signifying they have clinched homecourt advantage in the Western Conference Playoffs. 

There are questions about the Spurs, let's be clear. This thing became a race down the stretch because San Antonio started to show some very real weaknesses, particularly on the defensive end. But now's not the time for that. Now it's time to celebrate the Spurs for one of their best seasons in history and Pop's work in turning a team that was ousted in the second round by the Suns last season into the West's top slot. 

The Spurs' offense really is a thing of beauty. It's not the constant-ball-movement, high-pace dervish that the Phoenix Suns were a few years ago, and in fact, it has slipped to third in the league in recent weeks. But it's still the very model of efficiency. It relies on individual players creating mismatches with ability, not necessarily athletic prowess, like Manu Ginobili's ability to slip between defenders and then whip passes to the corner, and Tim Duncan's ability to pass out of the low post to kick start rotations. If the defense remains set, they have playmakers to finish at the rim, like Tony Parker and George Hill. But if it starts to commit, the Spurs will punish you with a flurry of perimeter movement to find the open shooter. They have mainstays, like Tim Duncan's short game, and can hammer the glass with DeJuan Blair and Antonio McDyess

Richard Jefferson's perimeter ability has been a monumental reason for the Spurs' offensive up-tick. Jefferson jumped 12 percent from long range from last season, going from a 32 percent shooter to a 44 percent shooter. Much of this is attributable to his devotion to working out of the corner. Spurs' shooters have always made their money from there, and Jefferson finally bought in to that tactic. When he did, he found open look after open look. With his size and length, he's got an advantage on defenders trying to close, and he's lived up to the contract he signed this summer with San Antonio which was questioned. 

The Spurs have won their fair share of big games against tough opponents, with wins over the Lakers, Heat, Mavericks, Bulls, and Magic. They feature a deep and formidable bench with shooters like Matt Bonner, rugged frontcourt rebounders like Blair and McDyess (depending on who's starting), and George Hill is a nice change of pace guard. Rookie Gary Neal has come on and shown that even rookies can get minutes in Popovich's rotations. This may be a deeper team than some of the championship squads. 

But in the end, their hopes rest with the Big 3. Tim Duncan has said publicly several times this season that he knows his time is growing short. Manu Ginobili is no spring chicken. Popovich will only want to continue doing this for so long. And eventually the time will come for Peter Holt to trim down his expenses on a small market franchise. If this is the last ride for the Duncan-era Spurs, it will be the Big 3 that will have to carry them to glory in the face of the most loaded league they've ever had to battle through. But, quietly as always, this team has shown it knows how to win, and it's hungry for that fifth piece of jewelry. 

Yes, there are defensive issues, but the fact remains: this is the best team in the Western Conference in 2011, and if they hit that playoff gear, there's every reason to believe they'll be right there competing for the title deep in the playoffs.
Posted on: April 5, 2011 9:59 pm
 

The significance of San Antonio's win in Atlanta

Posted by Royce Young



Much was made about the Spurs six-game slide and rightly so. The team hasn't seen a losing streak like that in years but more than that, the top seed in the West has directly been put in limbo.

The Lakers are charging, but the bullrush took a chill pill momentarily as San Antonio picked up a win Sunday over Phoenix and the Lakers dropped a home game to the hot Nuggets. As a result, the Spurs held slim 2.5 game lead in the West and regained their own destiny.

That all could've changed Tuesday night as San Antonio went on the road against the Hawks, a team that's good in their own building and has been quietly making their own little push as of late. A loss to the Hawks would again put San Antonio in a tricky situation, with the Lakers having very winnable games ahead and then a big showdown at Staples against the Spurs April 12. If the Spurs mess around, that game could very well be for the top seed.

That's why Tuesday's win was pretty important.

The Spurs have their pieces back which is really all they need. During the losing streak, Tim Duncan missed all six, with Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker missing a couple. Their first focus is getting healthy for the playoffs, top seed be damned.

But obviously San Antonio much prefers having home court and that regular season Western crown. Not only does beating a good Hawks team on the road put them in good shape to wrap things up, but it also sort of restores the order for the Spurs. They're back to winning and putting that losing stretch in the rearview mirror a bit.

Still, the game with L.A. will be big no matter what, even if it's just for one side to make a late statement. But the Spurs are trying to make sure it's not actually for anything important and that's why taking care of business Tuesday was so big.
 
 
 
 
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