3-on-3: The Spurs and Rockets play another preseason tilt
Tonight is the first home game of the year. Breathe that in, Spurs fans. It won’t be a packed house, it is preseason after all, but the AT&T Center will be alive once again. While things will continue to be rusty and out-of-sync for the time being, basketball is back in San Antonio. To get you primed and ready for an evening of basketball, we kick things off with a 3-on-3 featuring Houston Rockets blog Red94 writer Michael Pina and a couple of us 48MoH bloggers.
1. Is the Luis Scola-Jordan Hill combo that good, or were the Spurs big men making it appear so?
Michael Pina, Red94: Well, Scola certainly is, but Jordan Hill’s overall impressiveness on the stat sheet was more a product of him being the largest person on the court than anything else. Of course, it isn’t his fault Tim Duncan and the recently departed Antonio McDyess gave way to the likes of DeJuan Blair and Tiago Splitter. Hill was opportunistic; Scola was Scola.
Andrew McNeill, 48 Minutes of Hell: We covered the plight of the DeJuan Blair-Tiago Splitter pairing. Also a defensive liability is the Blair-Matt Bonner combo. But Luis Scola did the things that keep Gregg Popovich up at night and Jordan Hill looked like a honest-to-goodness NBA rotation player, which I didn’t think he was. We’ll see how Hill looks tonight with Tim Duncan playing for the Spurs.
Timothy Varner, 48 Minutes of Hell: Scola and Hill are good basketball players, but they’re far from unguardable. Their success against the Spurs last week had more to do with the absence of Tim Duncan and the rest of the Spurs’ bigs not manning up to the challenge of slowing Houston’s offense.
2. It’s only the second game, but are you expecting something more aesthetically pleasing this time around?
Michael Pina, Red94: To be honest, no. Both teams—and the NBA at large—are integrating new pieces, seeing what they have, and discovering the parts that do and don’t work, in a hyper sped up process that won’t smooth itself out for at least another month.
Andrew McNeill, 48MoH: I would expect so. A mid-season shootout it will not be, but I’d like to think that a few kinks will have been worked out with Saturday’s game and Monday’s scrimmage. Things will slow down a bit and muscle memory will be fine tuned. I’m hoping for over 38% shooting tonight. Please.
Timothy Varner, 48MoH: I’m not sure what to expect, and that will probably be the case for the next month. The Spurs’ frontcourt is still a player away from being whole and their backcourt/wing rotation is crowded by intriguing but still unknown talents. It will take the Spurs a little time to find themselves.
3. What are you looking for more, results or the process?
Michael Pina, Red94: Right now it’s all about the process. Kevin McHale needs to formulate his lineups, find who plays well with who, and scheme with our lackluster roster the best he can. The Western Conference is up for grabs. Even though the Rockets are several pieces away from becoming title contenders, getting the most out of every single player on the team is key when looking at the unit from an asset perspective.
Andrew McNeill, 48MoH: I’m always about the process, even in the regular season. As long as you’re in (or on pace to be in) playoff position, I’m all for sacrificing some results in order to fine tune the process. For example, I try not to knock a guy too much for missing a wide open shot (unless he habitually misses them) and instead applaud the ability of the team to get that wide open shot. I’d like to think that’s how I am, anyway.
Timothy Varner, 48MoH: Process. I primarily want to see three players—Tiago Splitter, James Anderson, and Kawhi Leonard—find a good comfort level within the Spurs system and begin to compliment San Antonio’s veteran core and established role players.