Game Preview: Spurs vs. Kings

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Saddle up, the annual Rodeo Road Trip begins tonight in Sacramento. If there is any hope to be salvaged this season–outside of any potential blockbuster trades–history (and a reminder from John Hollinger) dictates that it will come from the next few weeks.

The good news about the rodeo trip, however, is the Spurs’ history. Historically, it’s been when they’ve begun their late-season charge after lying in the weeds for more than half of the season.

Once can make a case that they’re ready to make a similar move. Although San Antonio’s recent results are cause for concern, it has spent half a season assimilating seven new players and playing through injuries to Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. It’s only now that the Spurs have really become comfortable with the pieces they have.

Coming off their less than impressive home stand, it’s imperative that the Spurs get off to a good start. A trip to Sacramento might be the cure for what ails them (the Kings are 1-9 over their last ten games), but rookie duo Tyreke Evans and Omri Casspi can make any victory questionable when they both show their flashes of brilliance at the same time.

Whereas Duncan entered the league with so much polish and poise, Evans’ Rookie of the Year campaign is a mixture of unexpected production and untapped potential. Evans, as ESPN’s David Thorpe writes, is anything but polished but extremely dangerous already.

Evans lacks range on his jumper, makes only about a quarter of his 3-point attempts, and struggles to drive and finish going left. But almost nobody can guard him. That’s what you call talent. (It helps to be long and strong, too.)

He is extremely crafty with stopping and starting on dribble drives and has improved his ability to finish in traffic around the rim. He’s also very tough to slow down when he’s pushing the ball in transition, as he searches out a crease before exploding through it. And his size and skill with the ball force defenders to foul him often, so he spends a lot of the game on the foul line, too.

The matchup of the night could be Manu Ginobili and his disregard for all forms of life. He’s been in a slump all season, which explains why one of his few signature highlights this year has been his knocking a bat out of mid air.

The more likely target of his aggressions tonight will be Kevin Martin. Not known for his defense, to say the least, Martin should offer Ginobili the perfect opportunity to get his missing scoring game on track.

  • wannabe_fan

    I’d be happy to see 75% of the “Manu of old” tonite and the rest of the season. To me, all’s we have been getting is 30-50%, and he’s still a better than average NBA player. Hopefully, he can reach down and pull up some of the old magic. Remember Manu, you need to show you’re still worth MLE type money for the next contract.

    Go Manu Go!!!

  • Sauce

    glad to see they are starting the road trip against the kings. not too excited about the game though other than to watch tyreke evans because we need to decisively beat the kings. no more let ups (i’m talking about you 3rd quarter) and no more passes that are dropped because teammates aren’t “expecting” them.

  • not as good as I once was

    All in all this is were it all begins. Go Spurs Go!

  • ThatBigGuy

    My faith in this team as a Lakers adversary will be decided during the next 8 games.

  • SpurredOn

    Both wins in Sac last season were buzzer beaters so, though I want nothing more than an 11+ point victory with Duncan and Manu playing fewer than 30 minutes, I expect a challenge in the 4th quarter.

  • zainn

    Hey while watching the sac spurs game, the announcer said the spurs are close to a trade for a backup center and power forward, i’m very excited!!!

  • Nadeem

    Me too. Does anyone know the details?

  • Nadeem

    Btw, he said backup PG and forward

  • Hobson13

    @nadeem and zanin, I wonder who will be gone?? My bet would be on Bonner, Mason, or Findog. If we got two players, then they all three may be gone. As much as I’ve been hatin’ on this team the past two weeks, I really hope they get their stuff together…

  • http://espn.com jacob

    Jefferson’s play is unacceptable… he is playing without intensity, and his defense isn’t consitent enough to make up for his scoring droughts, which are all to often. As I said before, I really don’t want to see him pull up on a jump shot 15-18 feet away anymore unless it’s literally wide open or for a 3. I’m not sure if this has been his shot in the past, but it certainly isn’t this year as I’ve watched him clang them over and over again. The Spurs need him to be agressive, to STAY agressive with the basketball, and to get to the line agian and again. Having RJ on our roster is only appealing if he settles into his natural rythmic role and starts putting the ball in the hole. I hope he turns the ship around soon and finds his groove because my patience with him is running very thin.
    On an up note, the ‘Blair via Manu’ thing makes me smile every time!

  • not as good as I once was

    I don’t know what the rest of this season is going to bring. I know it does’nt look to good right now,but I’m in wait and see mold myself. The only thing I can do is put my faith in Pop and the management untill its all over. I can put my trust in them becuse of thier outstanding record ever since Pop took over. I do believe we need another defensive big man, and a bowen type defender. I still hold with keeping our core intact. Everyone else except Blair and maybe Hill are expendable. Depending on the trade of course. I believe our troubles started when we didn’t resign Bowen. I know people say he was getting old but he is still a better defender then anyone we have. So I’ll just set back watch what develops and keep the faith.

  • grego

    ^As much as I love Bowen, and I still very much do. Spurs would have these same troubles even if Bowen were on the team.

    Their biggest troubles have always stemmed from not upgrading their athletic bigs (3s and 4s) which force the Spurs to play small ball which cause rebounding nightmares. So they have to go with the least amount of poison.

    What the Spurs need is a guy or two like Thabo Sefolosha/Hill (but taller/bigger).

  • SpurredOn

    It should be noted that the Kings already have home wins over the Rockets, Hornets and twice vs the Nuggets (wish we could say that about Denver). They also took the Lakers to double OT and the Cavs to OT (without Martin), so that our guys won in Sac and had an eleven point lead with less than 2 minutes to go is no small feat. That they did it while keeping both Manu and TD under 30 minutes is a wonderful start to the trip. It’s all about perspective.

  • Easy B

    Why didn’t Beno play? injured? about to be traded? Strange if he was fit and didn’t play against spurs because he usually carves them up…..if he is not injured I think he is about to be traded…..any win is a good win…ill take 40 bench points even if it is from 2 players…it is solely about winning right now – doesn’t matter how we get them.

  • DieHardSpur

    The only reason Blair is as good as he is, is because of Manu… just a thought!