On Manu’s injury and playoff seeding

by

Maybe a coach does know his team best.

Gregg Popovich is always reluctant to play his stars in meaningless games. Injuries happen. Injuries derail seasons.  Injuries suffocate championship hopes. And significant injuries on the last night of the regular season? They’re crushing. In those cases the isolated meaninglessness of a single game retroactively infects everything that came before.

We’ll have to wait until later today to know whether Manu Ginobili’s hyperextended right elbow is a serious injury or not.  But between Ginobili’s hyperextended elbow and the bone bruise Andrew Bynum suffered the night before, one finds immediate sympathy for coaches who’d rather rest their stars during relatively inconsequential games.

It was a bad night for the Spurs.

With their loss to the Phoenix Suns, the Spurs finished with the second best record in the league. If the Spurs meet the league-leading Bulls in the Finals, Chicago will hold homecourt.  The Spurs maintained the best record in the league from the opening week forward.  To lose that which they maintained for 81 games gives a sense of how they finished the season. Less bang, more whimper.

The Spurs begin the playoffs Sunday afternoon at 1:00 pm EST. They’ll play the Memphis Grizzlies, whose final two games strongly suggested they were tanking for the privilege of playing the Spurs in the first round, and not the Lakers. The Grizzlies played the Spurs tough in the regular season—Memphis’ frontcourt abused San Antonio in their regular season meetings. The teams split their season series 2-2, but San Antonio was out-rebounded by Memphis in every game. It won’t be an easy series.

If playoff seeding is to be trusted, the Spurs’ route to a championship includes games in Memphis, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles and Chicago.  The Lakers, on the other hand, were fated with the better half of the bracket—they drew a date with New Orleans and a probable series against Dallas. New Orleans limped into the playoffs after David West’s season ending injury and Dallas is simply not playing well. With no disrespect to Hornets or Mavericks fans, the Lakers half of the bracket is a much easier row to hoe.

It’s not the finish or start we expected.

  • Hobson13

    I still find it unbelievable that a team can sleepwalk through much of the regular season (besides that 17-1 burst) and come up with an easier road to the WCF than a team who showed up and played consistently well (besides the 6 game slide). It really makes one wonder if all the effort put into getting the first seed was really worth it. I understand that no playoff system is perfect, but this year’s WC seedings are a travesty.

    I really don’t know how this Grizz team will pan out. On one hand, they are a feared team with a big front line. They are physical and play good defense. On the other hand, they have virtually no collective playoff experience and can struggle to score. This could be an easy 5 game series or an intense 7 game series sans Manu.

    It will be super important for guys like Neal and Hill to play well in Manu’s stead. Those two could determine how quick this series lasts. I will add that if Duncan and Dyess are fully committed, then we can considerable slow down the Gasol/Randolf tandem. I would really like to see Splitter on Randolf. I think Splitter’s size could bother him some. I sure hope Pop doesn’t go with the Blair/Bonner duo for any significant stretch. Those two would get blown up by the Grizz.

  • austinspur

    obi wan ginobili youre our only hope

  • austinspur

    obi wan ginobili youre our only hope

  • http://www.mmajunkie.com rangerjohn

    i have trained brazilian jiu jitsu for years, and hyper-extended limbs is a fairly regular occurrence. i did not see manus arm, but i know for us this injury is about a week with no treatment other then some ice and isolation. provided nothing is torn, i expect manu to be back and while a little stiff otherwise fine for opening night (or day as it where). the other “bright side”, it was manus right arm and as everyone knows he is VERY left handed.

    i feel the spurs can handle the griz, spurs in 5, 6 max.

  • Shizzle

    The Grizz pulled off a great tank job the past few games. They made it seem a little less obvious with that comeback last night, but they completely deserve to get destroyed by their first-round opponent. You always play to win, regardless of who you’re going to pull. That being said, a hyper-extension is always an odd way to injure a joint. It can range from a serious injury taking months to heal to a minor impact injury.

    Regardless, the Spurs are going to need Manu in the first round. Memphis is a pretty aggressive team defensively, and they scrap for every little loose ball. Especially that Tony Allen, man he’s gritty. I may be a panicking fan, but we may be in serious danger of pulling a Mavs choke job, so long as the bench comes to play.

  • Olexiy

    BTW
    What prevents NBA from having a draft for the first round of the play offs?

    Top 4 teams in each conference pick their opponents in the order they finished: so, SA picks first, followed by LA, Mavs and OKC. Then play offs proceed as usual (or, maybe, the draft repeats in the second round).

    Wouldn’t it be cool? Wouldn’t the opponents of the top-seeded team feel angry for being picked first?

  • Jacob

    most of my attitude going forward today is hinging upon the diagnosis from Manu’s elbow. I’m really struggling with trying not to be too angry at the situation. hopefully he turns out to be OK, and we see him back on Sunday or Tuesday.

  • SAJKinBigD

    @Olexiy: An interesting and FUN proposition! :) But again, this choosing of opponents can lead to and lend added fuel to their choice. Hopefully Manu’s injury isn’t too bad. Hopefully the Grizz tank-job back-fires and the Spurs rise up to the challenge and just rip out the heart and jugular of the tough but ultimately untested Memphis team. Hopefully our speed, rotations and penetration can be the catalyst to a fast start and a strong finish. I predict 5 games if Manu plays from the beginning, 6 otherwise. Oh, and I expect to see Splitter about 15+ mins/game. Not too much, but enough he can start building a rhythm before a possible series against OKC and Perkins, when he’ll bump to 20+ mins.
    Go Spurs GO!

  • Anthony McDonald

    Let’s see how the games play out. The Lakers look to have an easy time of things but they have a way of making in the most over-matched opponent look like world-beaters. The regular season can not be discounted…..the Spurs rested while the Lakers labored (Gasol 98 minutes in the last 2 games). No team is going to be able to flip a switch and all of a sudden run the table, even LA. Somewhere along the lines they will have to pay the price for not having a bench….for running Gasol in the ground. Maybe it manifest itself in a tough series with New Orleans or a 2nd round upset to Portland…it will come….it has to.

  • http://www.passthemsticks.com Batmanu

    I honestly think rest prior to the playoffs is a bit overrated. Sure, I understand there is some value in giving overworked players some extra time, but the first round or two of the playoffs, each team has 2-3 days between games, and in the Finals, 1-2.

    Assuming their coaches are not working them too hard in practice, that’s plenty of built in rest.

    I do, however, agreeing with not playing them to avoid injury, especially when your seed is already locked up.

  • grade21

    Why does everyone fret over seedings? You are going to have to beat the best teams anyway.

    And if you go through the better teams and survive, that makes your team better for the next round.

    If you lose–you never would have won the championship anyway.

  • junierizzle

    WOrd. THings just work out for the Lakers.

    They could very well walk into the WCF. Or maybe this is the year Dallas shuts everybody up????? Maybe POrtland beats them and really takes it to L.A.

    Last year they played OKC, which is not as close as everyone makes it out to be. We all knew their inexperience would do them in. Then they get a first round bye with the Jazz. Then they play the SuNS, who didn’t realize they could win until they were down 0-2. They played scared the first two games.
    Now they get a first round bye in the first round. And let’s say the make it to the Finals against Chicago, again they it will be easy. BOOZER shrinks against the Lakers. I don’t know how he can shoot over TD but not over Gasol.

    But whatever it is what it is. It’s all about MANU now. Tough schedule or not they will go as far as he can take them.
    As far as the GRIZZ tanking, I think it was more about them not trying to play the Lakers.

  • Hunter

    @ Ranger John
    If what you say is true does that mean we could see him on the first round if so great.

    Im not scared of memphis they are overrated. Gasol and Randolph are tough but we are way tougher. Throughout basketball history they have always choked in the first round.

    I hate the Blair Bonner combination against any matchup I would love to see splitter play some considerable minutes in this round.

    Don’t know about denver or oak city denver is new and oak city just seems like somethings missing so if we play well i think we can win the finals the first and third rounds are all too important

    YOUR 2011 CHAMPIONS THE SAN ANTONIO SPURS

  • Peter

    Yeah, tough break on the playoff draws. Looks even worse when you compare it to road for the #1 seed in the East (Indiana + Orlando).

    But, in the end, its just a matter of a few more games for San Antonio to reach the Conf. finals (I’m predicting 11 games v. 9 for LA).

    By the way, Memphis has yet to beat Spurs team with all the Big 3 healthy. And nine days ago they lost to the Clippers at home!

  • Duncan21MVP

    A simple fix would be to make this less of a “tournament” and more of a playoff. Adopt the NHL model of the highest seed automatically getting the lowest remaining seed in each round will fix this. I think that there will be an “upset” or two to knock out higher seeds. Earning the best record in your conference should have some benefit.

  • wyatt

    for you to say the spurs are way tougher than the grizz is pretty ignorant…they are not tougher…the spurs are a better team, but not a tougher one. the grizzlies are about twice as tough in the paint. the grizzlies are the best paint team in the league, just look at the stats. and memphis is not overrated. they were 2-2 against the spurs and lakers. 3-1 against the thunder and mavs. and they did lots of this without rudy gay

  • wyatt

    umm san antonio has only beaten a completely healthy grizzlies team only once. and either randolph or gasol will outmatch duncan. duncan will hit a couple of big shots, get a few boards, and block a few shots, but gasol and randolph will both have their way with him

  • jwalt

    No Manu, no chance. It’s been that way since 2005. Even this year, with 61 wins, when Manu sits the team loses. This is statistical true. According to 82games.com, when Manu doesn’t play the Spurs are a -2.6 for every 48 minutes. He’s the ONLY player on the team who this is true for.

    So it’s a little on the important side that Manu is alright. Or doesn’t anybody else remember when Manu was out for the playoffs 3 years ago? Think it was a coincidence we flamed out in 5 games against Dallas? And what was Pop’s quote at the time before those playoffs? “No Manu, no chance.”

  • Chris

    Not worried about Manu, or the bench. Spurs post-season success rests with Tony Parker. Yup, Tony Parker. He needs to be smart & aggressive, a la Finals MVP year.

    Oh, it wouldn’t hurt if Jefferson showed a little competitive spirit either. Totally on his bandwagon earlier in year, but he’s become pretty complacent.

  • betsyduncan

    As we hold our collective breaths, I can’t help but feel angry about Manu’s injury…by none other than Grant Hill!
    Conspiracy theorist that I am, I think (that) that loser was out there ‘gunning for’ one of our players, and he hit pay dirt! Jerk!
    Moving on…
    STALK THE GRIZZLIES!
    SNARE THE GRIZZLIES!
    SLAY THE GRIZZLIES!
    SKIN THE GRIZZLIES!
    GO SPURS GO!!!!!

  • http://www.3sob.com L3ESmith

    Grizz fan here . . .

    So let’s get this straight: The Spurs can rest Tim Duncan and it’s NOT tanking. The Grizzlies rest Zach Randolph and it IS tanking.

    Popovich plays Manu (who sustains an injury that may affect his availability for the playoffs) in a relatively meaningless game. Lionel Hollins sits Tony Allen and Mike Conley to AVOID such a thing . . . and we’re TANKING?

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to a very good series. And like much of the rest of the league, I realize that many of you guys haven’t seen how my guys play, so you assume you’ll be advancing.

    Well, we’ll see about that! Beware the Bear! Go Grizz!

  • idahospur

    Maybe we can scrap our way through the first round without Manu but I don’t want to play those odds. Ice up Manu and get ready for Sunday.
    Bonner isn’t making anything lately. If he ain’t shooting, he should not be playing (and at 10 minutes most if he is making).

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Bry

    Yes, the Laker’s got extremely lucky, and the history of Laker luck over the past decade just goes to show there is absolutely no karma in this world. However, don’t discount Dallas. Everybody’s jumped off their wagon because they struggled down stretch. But, remember, they are deep at every position, and won just as many games as the Lakers this season. Bynum’s knees are fragile, and there is no way they can win without him. They have no answer to good point-gaurds, so Paul should make them miserable for a few games. I know it sucks the way the seeding ended up, especially with how close the games were and certain teams tanking/choking, but we all knew at the beginning of the season the Spurs need to win three tough series in the West and they need to beat the Lakers at some point. I am more hopeful of that happening now than I was at the beginning of the season.

  • John T.

    Playing Memphis this year brings back memories of the Spurs and Kings first round battle in 2006. Both the Kings and Grizz have a crazy element (Artest and Randolf), a wild card (Bonzi Wells and Tony Allen), and an undersized streak scorer (Martin and Mayo). I expect the Spurs to beat the Grizz but it will probably be an exhausting series just like that one with the Kings.

    Like all Spurs fans I really hope Manu is able to make an impact in the playoffs. Guy can’t catch a break. Either he has his nose broken, ankle sprained severely, and now an elbow.

    If there is one positive Duncan appears to be picking up his play, and not having back-to-back games hopefully will be of benefit to him.

  • rob

    @ grade21

    Spot on.

    ___________________

    Hopefully we don’t have to find out SOONER than May that playing the starters this last game was a worse outcome than pulling a Pomona-Pitzer maneuver.

  • Jose

    Maybe this is a heat of the moment response. But I think, Pop made a mistake. He should have played his starters in LA, got the win and rested his starters in Phoenix.

    Sure, Ginobili’s injury was freak injury. But I think there is something else brewing. The Spurs finished sub par at best. I’m not putting this all on Pop. But he did, give Duncan and Co limited minutes throughout the season. For games like last night and Tuesday in LA, right?

  • agutierrez

    I hope Pop recognizes that Randolph manhandled both Blair and Bonner. After Dyce, Tiago should be next to guard him. That would effectively end any chance the Grizz has.

  • rob

    @ Jose

    “But he did, give Duncan and Co limited minutes throughout the season. For games like last night and Tuesday in LA, right?”

    I think he regulated minutes in the regular season so the starters can have the best opportunity to play more minutes in the playoffs.

    These last two games other than best record in the league really didn’t matter so much as far as already establishing best in the west. Granted Chicago will be a very tough opponent if we meet in the finals. But Chicago hasn’t played as tough the teams the Spurs have faced this season from the west.

    Homecourt was advantageous to the Spurs throughout the WC playoffs. Maybe not so much come finals against an eastern team.

    I would have rather the Spurs not played their starters in any of the last two games. It was obvious the Grizzlies were tanking just so they could face the Spurs …might as well served notice to the Grizzlies …if you are preparing for us …we’ll prepare for you.

    Let the battle begin.

  • Rafael

    @rob

    Spurs were tanking too, we can’t say anything

  • rob

    Rafael

    “Spurs were tanking too, we can’t say anything”

    Not like the Grizzlies.

    Besides…the reponse was more to the question of playing the starters in the last game compared to the L.A. game. And I wouldn’t have cared if the Spurs did not play any of the starters the last two games or what implication might be conjured by anybody else if they did/did not. The Grizz were “obvious” to their reasoning why in hoping to face a certain opponent. The Spurs were doing it to help save it’s best players for a long playoff run regardless if they faced the Grizzlies or Hornets.

  • Colin

    Ginobili, Duncan, and Parker should have rested against Phoenix too. Dunno why I got pissed when I saw them line up for the tip off.

    Get ready for Sunday. If we kick their ass in the first game, I think we win in 5. If the Grizz have a good showing, then it will give them hope they can stay in the series.

  • Mark B

    Popovich gave the starters minutes in the Phoenix game to keep them sharp. Obviously, since Manu got injured, it doesn’t seem so smart in retrospect.

    But players aren’t like some commodity that you can keep on the shelf and just open up a can when you’re hungry. Players need to play to be ready. It looks like the play was to give the starters 20-30 mins … and that’s what Duncan and Parker got.

    It was an ugly finish to the season, after good health for the first 70 games, the Spurs had serious injuries and poor play for the last 12 and lost 8/12. The only upside is that a lot of the bench players got some good minutes and we found out they could play. Not well enough to win games without the big three, but well enough to provide some good minutes when needed.

    I just hope that Manu’s injury is not serious and he can return soon. There’s a lot of time between games in the playoffs, so I’m hopeful. First game Sunday, next game after that is … Wednesday. I think the Spurs can beat the Grizzlies w/o Manu, but they will need him for the 2nd round.

  • Jimbo

    I second the comments about the tough draw with the playoff seeding. Memphis and the winner of OKC-Den is brutal compared to NO and Dal. Then again, Portland may beat Dallas, and if so they might give the Lakers trouble. Still, not much of a reward for getting the #1 seed in the tougher conference.

  • MissKari

    I think if Pop was gonna sit the big 3 on Tuesday, he should have done it last night too. It really made no sense. But, what’s done is done. I think Manu will be fine and, if nothing else, he should be back by game 2 of this first round.
    I feel fairly confident in this first round and I really hope the Spurs use the obvious “positioning” by the Grizz as “locker room bulletin” material ala George Karl’s statement about the Mavs.
    And, call me crazy, but I honestly don’t fear the Lakers this season. Looks like they are imploding to me.

  • TD = Best EVER

    For all my friends here with short or medium term memory loss…… Splitter has been burned by Memphis as well this year……. March 1st game we lost 109-93 and Darrell Arthur tore Splitter a new one…… scored on him like 4 out of 5 possessions or something like that……. SO lets not go too overboard on the Splitter=defensive stopper rants…….Because from what I have seen, he gets scored on as well…….

  • Bruno

    @TD = Best EVER

    Splitter can’t be worse than Bonner/Blair combo. What i remember is Z-bo killing us on offensive rebounds against Bonner/Blair and everybody getting easy layups and dunks

  • badger

    @betsyduncan

    I can’t help but feel angry about Manu’s injury…by none other than Grant Hill!
    Conspiracy theorist that I am, I think (that) that loser was out there ‘gunning for’ one of our players, and he hit pay dirt! Jerk!

    I’m sorry, but if anyone thinks Grant Hill did ANYTHING on purpose that caused Manu’s injury, that is simply preposterous. The guy has won the league’s Sportsmanship award at least 3 times, if memory serves me right. As much as I love Manu, it seems he stuck his arm out to Duncan’s hip so that Hill would either slow down and get stuck between Manu and Tim, or the arm was meant to encourage Hill to try to slip behind the Duncan pick, which would have given Manu the room he was looking for.

    Just because Hill didn’t fall for Manu’s trick does not make him dirty. Hill fell hard, and at his age, that wasn’t something he wanted to do either. He was committed to sticking with Manu, and the whole thing was a freak accident.

    If Manu’s ok, I have to believe the Spurs will be ok too. I look for all of the Spurs to attack the rim early and often. This will likely get the Grizz bigs into foul trouble, especially on the Spurs home court. Once Randolph and Gasol are forced to sit or play tentatively, hopefully it’s game over.

  • betsyduncan

    I have always thought that Grant Hill was a dirty player—his ‘angelic face’ and ‘schoolboy’ charm have never fooled me. Those ‘Sportsmanship’ awards are bogus. Hasn’t DFish won one a time (or two)? My theory is that Hill ‘picked wrong’ (when he had a chance to join us), and he stubbornly (and stupidly) can’t face those facts, so he takes out those frustrations (cheap shots) on our players when he can. I hope Grant Hill slips on a bar of soap this summer, in any case…

  • AS

    It’s unbelievable how some people post without even think what they are writing, like this @L3ESmith. Well, maybe they don’t think at all.

    Tanking makes sense if you have an objective, like avoid a certain opponent, something that Memphis did.
    The Spurs were tanking for what, lose the first overall seed?

    Let’s go kick their…

  • Jonathan

    @L3ESmith

    The Spurs emphasize rest throughout the year and sometimes will sit starters during a back-to-back in the middle of the season. Memphis, on the other hand, was clearly “resting” guys with a specific seeding outcome in mind. Unlike the Grizzlies, the Spurs’ #1 (WC) seed was already locked up when we sat our players on Tuesday. (Yes, the #1 overall spot was still in play, but there isn’t a lot of incentive to go after it since the chances of both #1 seeds making the Finals are relatively low.)

  • http://readramblerant.blogspot.com/ Humberto

    Did people forget what “tanking” means? It means you are purposely trying to drop in rankings. It mean if the Spurs were tanking, they would be trying to get the number 2 seed.

  • BigJ

    Hmm, as usual a lot to digest here.

    My thoughts:

    – Game 2 is the pivotal game in the series with the Grizz. I expect game one to be tight, game 2 is the push game that will set up the remainder of the series.

    – Great for the Grizz that they got who they wanted. Let’s now see how they respond to play off atmosphere. Thy are largely untested on these grounds where the Spurs are the vets.

    – I’m most curious to see how our leaders respond in Game 1? If TD, Man, TP and Dyse coming out and play with their game faces set they will be tough to overcome for the Grizz. It’s appears convenient with in this scenario to uptick the positives of the underdog and to dial down the effectiveness of the better team. That seems to be happening here.

    – We give way too much credit to the Lakers. They’ve fumbled their way along for the last two weeks and far more so earlier in the season. There are a group of monkeys on their back that are ready to jump off and make plenty of noise at any time. They look beatable and their opponents know so.

    – When Dallas gets to the Lakers they will give them fits galore. There is so much on the line for the Mavs and they will figure a way past Portland and will give the Lakers a run for their money.

    – I agree that Manu is the man for this team. If he breaks his nose, his arm, or his pinky toe the Spurs are in deep trouble. With him they suceed, without him they sink.

    GO SPURS GO!

  • JD

    Not sure if this is true or not, but the ginobili twitter feed on google search is saying MRI is negative out a week though….

  • Kenan

    Okay guys, time to calm down.

    I haven’t read all of the responses to this post…and there’s a good reason. I got about 10 in and became extremely fed up with the panic.

    You’re telling me we are going to have trouble with a team that does not have one of the 20 best players in the league on it? Seriously? The Grizz have been resting Zach R. and Tony A. like they’re freaking superstars…what a laugh! While I am impressed with how Z-bo has somehow salvaged his career, he does not take over games and win them for his team. He might not even match up well with the Spurs. Yes, the track record THIS SEASON doesn’t bode particularly well for the Spurs vs. the Grizz, but it’s also the REGULAR SEASON. Z-bo will not take over a single game in the playoffs. Not to mention Blair LOVES playing Z-bo and will be locked in all series.

    Which brings me to Tony Allen. SERIOUSLY? Tony Allen? 11th man for the Celtics last year. You think hes really going to drop 30/night on the Spurs? Do you think there is a single Spur that is afraid of Allen? Pick Neal, Anderson, Jefferson, or obviously G. Hill and dude gets shut down. I envision around 40% from the field with about 17 shots a game….he’s not going to end up being any kind of savior. He just isn’t that good.

    Don’t get me wrong, though, I do like their role players (Battier, Gasol, Mayo, Conley) but that’s all they are. None of them are going to take over a game. Plain and simple. They don’t have an X-Factor.

    I would say let Manu rest his elbow if its bad. Give him 20 off the bench and start Hill. This will work fine vs. memphis.

    YES, it is true the Hornets are worse than the Grizz. But that doesn’t really matter because we’re far superior to both teams. I like the Mem matchup because it will get young guys minutes. Blair won’t get used a lot of we get to the Lakers, but he could be crucial this round. So could G. Hill.

    Everything is fine. We are still the No. 1 seed. We will take Memphis on the road in 4 games. It won’t be nearly as close of people are envisioning. This is what it was all for.

    Round 2 isn’t too bad either. Den vs. OKC is going to be a BLOOD BATH and I like out chances vs. a Thunder team that just played 7 games in the first round. The Thunder are scary, and better than Dallas, but they’re still not the Spurs. All this talk of offense and how great its been will shine through in a serious against the Thunder.

  • Colin

    Disclaimer for all Splitter fans for this series: Splitter will get engulfed by Randolph 1 v 1 and stands half a chance vs. Gasol in any 1 on 1 scenario.

  • Rafael

    Why Spurs has a good chance of losing :
    1- No Manu
    2- Rebounds
    3- Bonner play too much
    4- Bad matchups
    5- Bad Coaching management

  • http://poundingtherock.com Big50

    I don’t think Dallas is going to beat Portland. Which is good for the Spurs, as Portland will give LA a lot more trouble than Dallas would.

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Len

    BLOGARCHIVESABOUTSpurs success translating off the court in more ways than oneTHURSDAY, APRIL 14TH, 2011…4:55 AM
    On Manu’s injury and playoff seeding
    Jump to Comments
    Maybe a coach does know his team best.

    Gregg Popovich is always reluctant to play his stars in meaningless games. Injuries happen. Injuries derail seasons. Injuries suffocate championship hopes. And significant injuries on the last night of the regular season? They’re crushing. In those cases the isolated meaninglessness of a single game retroactively infects everything that came before.

    We’ll have to wait until later today to know whether Manu Ginobili’s hyperextended right elbow is a serious injury or not. But between Ginobili’s hyperextended elbow and the bone bruise Andrew Bynum suffered the night before, one finds immediate sympathy for coaches who’d rather rest their stars during relatively inconsequential games.

    It was a bad night for the Spurs.

    With their loss to the Phoenix Suns, the Spurs finished with the second best record in the league. If the Spurs meet the league-leading Bulls in the Finals, Chicago will hold homecourt. The Spurs maintained the best record in the league from the opening week forward. To lose that which they maintained for 81 games gives a sense of how they finished the season. Less bang, more whimper.

    The Spurs begin the playoffs Sunday afternoon at 1:00 pm EST. They’ll play the Memphis Grizzlies, whose final two games strongly suggested they were tanking for the privilege of playing the Spurs in the first round, and not the Lakers. The Grizzlies played the Spurs tough in the regular season—Memphis’ frontcourt abused San Antonio in their regular season meetings. The teams split their season series 2-2, but San Antonio was out-rebounded by Memphis in every game. It won’t be an easy series.

    If playoff seeding is to be trusted, the Spurs’ route to a championship includes games in Memphis, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles and Chicago. The Lakers, on the other hand, were fated with the better half of the bracket—they drew a date with New Orleans and a probable series against Dallas. New Orleans limped into the playoffs after David West’s season ending injury and Dallas is simply not playing well. With no disrespect to Hornets or Mavericks fans, the Lakers half of the bracket is a much easier row to hoe.

    It’s not the finish or start we expected.

    46 CommentsFiled under San Antonio Spurs
    46 Comments
    Hobson13
    April 14th, 2011 at 5:07 am
    I still find it unbelievable that a team can sleepwalk through much of the regular season (besides that 17-1 burst) and come up with an easier road to the WCF than a team who showed up and played consistently well (besides the 6 game slide). It really makes one wonder if all the effort put into getting the first seed was really worth it. I understand that no playoff system is perfect, but this year’s WC seedings are a travesty.

    I really don’t know how this Grizz team will pan out. On one hand, they are a feared team with a big front line. They are physical and play good defense. On the other hand, they have virtually no collective playoff experience and can struggle to score. This could be an easy 5 game series or an intense 7 game series sans Manu.

    It will be super important for guys like Neal and Hill to play well in Manu’s stead. Those two could determine how quick this series lasts. I will add that if Duncan and Dyess are fully committed, then we can considerable slow down the Gasol/Randolf tandem. I would really like to see Splitter on Randolf. I think Splitter’s size could bother him some. I sure hope Pop doesn’t go with the Blair/Bonner duo for any significant stretch. Those two would get blown up by the Grizz.

    austinspur
    April 14th, 2011 at 5:10 am
    obi wan ginobili youre our only hope

    austinspur
    April 14th, 2011 at 5:10 am
    obi wan ginobili youre our only hope

    rangerjohn
    April 14th, 2011 at 5:15 am
    i have trained brazilian jiu jitsu for years, and hyper-extended limbs is a fairly regular occurrence. i did not see manus arm, but i know for us this injury is about a week with no treatment other then some ice and isolation. provided nothing is torn, i expect manu to be back and while a little stiff otherwise fine for opening night (or day as it where). the other “bright side”, it was manus right arm and as everyone knows he is VERY left handed.

    i feel the spurs can handle the griz, spurs in 5, 6 max.

    Shizzle
    April 14th, 2011 at 5:16 am
    The Grizz pulled off a great tank job the past few games. They made it seem a little less obvious with that comeback last night, but they completely deserve to get destroyed by their first-round opponent. You always play to win, regardless of who you’re going to pull. That being said, a hyper-extension is always an odd way to injure a joint. It can range from a serious injury taking months to heal to a minor impact injury.

    Regardless, the Spurs are going to need Manu in the first round. Memphis is a pretty aggressive team defensively, and they scrap for every little loose ball. Especially that Tony Allen, man he’s gritty. I may be a panicking fan, but we may be in serious danger of pulling a Mavs choke job, so long as the bench comes to play.

    Olexiy
    April 14th, 2011 at 5:19 am
    BTW
    What prevents NBA from having a draft for the first round of the play offs?

    Top 4 teams in each conference pick their opponents in the order they finished: so, SA picks first, followed by LA, Mavs and OKC. Then play offs proceed as usual (or, maybe, the draft repeats in the second round).

    Wouldn’t it be cool? Wouldn’t the opponents of the top-seeded team feel angry for being picked first?

    Jacob
    April 14th, 2011 at 5:24 am
    most of my attitude going forward today is hinging upon the diagnosis from Manu’s elbow. I’m really struggling with trying not to be too angry at the situation. hopefully he turns out to be OK, and we see him back on Sunday or Tuesday.

    SAJKinBigD
    April 14th, 2011 at 5:54 am
    @Olexiy: An interesting and FUN proposition! But again, this choosing of opponents can lead to and lend added fuel to their choice. Hopefully Manu’s injury isn’t too bad. Hopefully the Grizz tank-job back-fires and the Spurs rise up to the challenge and just rip out the heart and jugular of the tough but ultimately untested Memphis team. Hopefully our speed, rotations and penetration can be the catalyst to a fast start and a strong finish. I predict 5 games if Manu plays from the beginning, 6 otherwise. Oh, and I expect to see Splitter about 15+ mins/game. Not too much, but enough he can start building a rhythm before a possible series against OKC and Perkins, when he’ll bump to 20+ mins.
    Go Spurs GO!

    Anthony McDonald
    April 14th, 2011 at 5:55 am
    Let’s see how the games play out. The Lakers look to have an easy time of things but they have a way of making in the most over-matched opponent look like world-beaters. The regular season can not be discounted…..the Spurs rested while the Lakers labored (Gasol 98 minutes in the last 2 games). No team is going to be able to flip a switch and all of a sudden run the table, even LA. Somewhere along the lines they will have to pay the price for not having a bench….for running Gasol in the ground. Maybe it manifest itself in a tough series with New Orleans or a 2nd round upset to Portland…it will come….it has to.

    Batmanu
    April 14th, 2011 at 6:12 am
    I honestly think rest prior to the playoffs is a bit overrated. Sure, I understand there is some value in giving overworked players some extra time, but the first round or two of the playoffs, each team has 2-3 days between games, and in the Finals, 1-2.

    Assuming their coaches are not working them too hard in practice, that’s plenty of built in rest.

    I do, however, agreeing with not playing them to avoid injury, especially when your seed is already locked up.

    grade21
    April 14th, 2011 at 6:28 am
    Why does everyone fret over seedings? You are going to have to beat the best teams anyway.

    And if you go through the better teams and survive, that makes your team better for the next round.

    If you lose–you never would have won the championship anyway.

    junierizzle
    April 14th, 2011 at 6:29 am
    WOrd. THings just work out for the Lakers.

    They could very well walk into the WCF. Or maybe this is the year Dallas shuts everybody up????? Maybe POrtland beats them and really takes it to L.A.

    Last year they played OKC, which is not as close as everyone makes it out to be. We all knew their inexperience would do them in. Then they get a first round bye with the Jazz. Then they play the SuNS, who didn’t realize they could win until they were down 0-2. They played scared the first two games.
    Now they get a first round bye in the first round. And let’s say the make it to the Finals against Chicago, again they it will be easy. BOOZER shrinks against the Lakers. I don’t know how he can shoot over TD but not over Gasol.

    But whatever it is what it is. It’s all about MANU now. Tough schedule or not they will go as far as he can take them.
    As far as the GRIZZ tanking, I think it was more about them not trying to play the Lakers.

    Hunter
    April 14th, 2011 at 6:31 am
    @ Ranger John
    If what you say is true does that mean we could see him on the first round if so great.

    Im not scared of memphis they are overrated. Gasol and Randolph are tough but we are way tougher. Throughout basketball history they have always choked in the first round.

    I hate the Blair Bonner combination against any matchup I would love to see splitter play some considerable minutes in this round.

    Don’t know about denver or oak city denver is new and oak city just seems like somethings missing so if we play well i think we can win the finals the first and third rounds are all too important

    YOUR 2011 CHAMPIONS THE SAN ANTONIO SPURS

    Peter
    April 14th, 2011 at 6:38 am
    Yeah, tough break on the playoff draws. Looks even worse when you compare it to road for the #1 seed in the East (Indiana + Orlando).

    But, in the end, its just a matter of a few more games for San Antonio to reach the Conf. finals (I’m predicting 11 games v. 9 for LA).

    By the way, Memphis has yet to beat Spurs team with all the Big 3 healthy. And nine days ago they lost to the Clippers at home!

    Duncan21MVP
    April 14th, 2011 at 6:42 am
    A simple fix would be to make this less of a “tournament” and more of a playoff. Adopt the NHL model of the highest seed automatically getting the lowest remaining seed in each round will fix this. I think that there will be an “upset” or two to knock out higher seeds. Earning the best record in your conference should have some benefit.

    wyatt
    April 14th, 2011 at 6:42 am
    for you to say the spurs are way tougher than the grizz is pretty ignorant…they are not tougher…the spurs are a better team, but not a tougher one. the grizzlies are about twice as tough in the paint. the grizzlies are the best paint team in the league, just look at the stats. and memphis is not overrated. they were 2-2 against the spurs and lakers. 3-1 against the thunder and mavs. and they did lots of this without rudy gay

    wyatt
    April 14th, 2011 at 6:45 am
    umm san antonio has only beaten a completely healthy grizzlies team only once. and either randolph or gasol will outmatch duncan. duncan will hit a couple of big shots, get a few boards, and block a few shots, but gasol and randolph will both have their way with him

    jwalt
    April 14th, 2011 at 6:49 am
    No Manu, no chance. It’s been that way since 2005. Even this year, with 61 wins, when Manu sits the team loses. This is statistical true. According to 82games.com, when Manu doesn’t play the Spurs are a -2.6 for every 48 minutes. He’s the ONLY player on the team who this is true for.

    So it’s a little on the important side that Manu is alright. Or doesn’t anybody else remember when Manu was out for the playoffs 3 years ago? Think it was a coincidence we flamed out in 5 games against Dallas? And what was Pop’s quote at the time before those playoffs? “No Manu, no chance.”

    Chris
    April 14th, 2011 at 6:53 am
    Not worried about Manu, or the bench. Spurs post-season success rests with Tony Parker. Yup, Tony Parker. He needs to be smart & aggressive, a la Finals MVP year.

    Oh, it wouldn’t hurt if Jefferson showed a little competitive spirit either. Totally on his bandwagon earlier in year, but he’s become pretty complacent.

    betsyduncan
    April 14th, 2011 at 6:55 am
    As we hold our collective breaths, I can’t help but feel angry about Manu’s injury…by none other than Grant Hill!
    Conspiracy theorist that I am, I think (that) that loser was out there ‘gunning for’ one of our players, and he hit pay dirt! Jerk!
    Moving on…
    STALK THE GRIZZLIES!
    SNARE THE GRIZZLIES!
    SLAY THE GRIZZLIES!
    SKIN THE GRIZZLIES!
    GO SPURS GO!!!!!

    L3ESmith
    April 14th, 2011 at 6:57 am
    Grizz fan here . . .

    So let’s get this straight: The Spurs can rest Tim Duncan and it’s NOT tanking. The Grizzlies rest Zach Randolph and it IS tanking.

    Popovich plays Manu (who sustains an injury that may affect his availability for the playoffs) in a relatively meaningless game. Lionel Hollins sits Tony Allen and Mike Conley to AVOID such a thing . . . and we’re TANKING?

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to a very good series. And like much of the rest of the league, I realize that many of you guys haven’t seen how my guys play, so you assume you’ll be advancing.

    Well, we’ll see about that! Beware the Bear! Go Grizz!

    idahospur
    April 14th, 2011 at 7:12 am
    Maybe we can scrap our way through the first round without Manu but I don’t want to play those odds. Ice up Manu and get ready for Sunday.
    Bonner isn’t making anything lately. If he ain’t shooting, he should not be playing (and at 10 minutes most if he is making).

    Bry
    April 14th, 2011 at 7:21 am
    Yes, the Laker’s got extremely lucky, and the history of Laker luck over the past decade just goes to show there is absolutely no karma in this world. However, don’t discount Dallas. Everybody’s jumped off their wagon because they struggled down stretch. But, remember, they are deep at every position, and won just as many games as the Lakers this season. Bynum’s knees are fragile, and there is no way they can win without him. They have no answer to good point-gaurds, so Paul should make them miserable for a few games. I know it sucks the way the seeding ended up, especially with how close the games were and certain teams tanking/choking, but we all knew at the beginning of the season the Spurs need to win three tough series in the West and they need to beat the Lakers at some point. I am more hopeful of that happening now than I was at the beginning of the season.

    John T.
    April 14th, 2011 at 7:41 am
    Playing Memphis this year brings back memories of the Spurs and Kings first round battle in 2006. Both the Kings and Grizz have a crazy element (Artest and Randolf), a wild card (Bonzi Wells and Tony Allen), and an undersized streak scorer (Martin and Mayo). I expect the Spurs to beat the Grizz but it will probably be an exhausting series just like that one with the Kings.

    Like all Spurs fans I really hope Manu is able to make an impact in the playoffs. Guy can’t catch a break. Either he has his nose broken, ankle sprained severely, and now an elbow.

    If there is one positive Duncan appears to be picking up his play, and not having back-to-back games hopefully will be of benefit to him.

    rob
    April 14th, 2011 at 7:43 am
    @ grade21

    Spot on.

    ___________________

    Hopefully we don’t have to find out SOONER than May that playing the starters this last game was a worse outcome than pulling a Pomona-Pitzer maneuver.

    Jose
    April 14th, 2011 at 7:56 am
    Maybe this is a heat of the moment response. But I think, Pop made a mistake. He should have played his starters in LA, got the win and rested his starters in Phoenix.

    Sure, Ginobili’s injury was freak injury. But I think there is something else brewing. The Spurs finished sub par at best. I’m not putting this all on Pop. But he did, give Duncan and Co limited minutes throughout the season. For games like last night and Tuesday in LA, right?

    agutierrez
    April 14th, 2011 at 8:18 am
    I hope Pop recognizes that Randolph manhandled both Blair and Bonner. After Dyce, Tiago should be next to guard him. That would effectively end any chance the Grizz has.

    rob
    April 14th, 2011 at 8:18 am
    @ Jose

    “But he did, give Duncan and Co limited minutes throughout the season. For games like last night and Tuesday in LA, right?”

    I think he regulated minutes in the regular season so the starters can have the best opportunity to play more minutes in the playoffs.

    These last two games other than best record in the league really didn’t matter so much as far as already establishing best in the west. Granted Chicago will be a very tough opponent if we meet in the finals. But Chicago hasn’t played as tough the teams the Spurs have faced this season from the west.

    Homecourt was advantageous to the Spurs throughout the WC playoffs. Maybe not so much come finals against an eastern team.

    I would have rather the Spurs not played their starters in any of the last two games. It was obvious the Grizzlies were tanking just so they could face the Spurs …might as well served notice to the Grizzlies …if you are preparing for us …we’ll prepare for you.

    Let the battle begin.

    Rafael
    April 14th, 2011 at 8:23 am
    @rob

    Spurs were tanking too, we can’t say anything

    rob
    April 14th, 2011 at 8:30 am
    Rafael

    “Spurs were tanking too, we can’t say anything”

    Not like the Grizzlies.

    Besides…the reponse was more to the question of playing the starters in the last game compared to the L.A. game. And I wouldn’t have cared if the Spurs did not play any of the starters the last two games or what implication might be conjured by anybody else if they did/did not. The Grizz were “obvious” to their reasoning why in hoping to face a certain opponent. The Spurs were doing it to help save it’s best players for a long playoff run regardless if they faced the Grizzlies or Hornets.

    Colin
    April 14th, 2011 at 8:43 am
    Ginobili, Duncan, and Parker should have rested against Phoenix too. Dunno why I got pissed when I saw them line up for the tip off.

    Get ready for Sunday. If we kick their ass in the first game, I think we win in 5. If the Grizz have a good showing, then it will give them hope they can stay in the series.

    Mark B
    April 14th, 2011 at 8:46 am
    Popovich gave the starters minutes in the Phoenix game to keep them sharp. Obviously, since Manu got injured, it doesn’t seem so smart in retrospect.

    But players aren’t like some commodity that you can keep on the shelf and just open up a can when you’re hungry. Players need to play to be ready. It looks like the play was to give the starters 20-30 mins … and that’s what Duncan and Parker got.

    It was an ugly finish to the season, after good health for the first 70 games, the Spurs had serious injuries and poor play for the last 12 and lost 8/12. The only upside is that a lot of the bench players got some good minutes and we found out they could play. Not well enough to win games without the big three, but well enough to provide some good minutes when needed.

    I just hope that Manu’s injury is not serious and he can return soon. There’s a lot of time between games in the playoffs, so I’m hopeful. First game Sunday, next game after that is … Wednesday. I think the Spurs can beat the Grizzlies w/o Manu, but they will need him for the 2nd round.

    Jimbo
    April 14th, 2011 at 8:46 am
    I second the comments about the tough draw with the playoff seeding. Memphis and the winner of OKC-Den is brutal compared to NO and Dal. Then again, Portland may beat Dallas, and if so they might give the Lakers trouble. Still, not much of a reward for getting the #1 seed in the tougher conference.

    MissKari
    April 14th, 2011 at 8:47 am
    I think if Pop was gonna sit the big 3 on Tuesday, he should have done it last night too. It really made no sense. But, what’s done is done. I think Manu will be fine and, if nothing else, he should be back by game 2 of this first round.
    I feel fairly confident in this first round and I really hope the Spurs use the obvious “positioning” by the Grizz as “locker room bulletin” material ala George Karl’s statement about the Mavs.
    And, call me crazy, but I honestly don’t fear the Lakers this season. Looks like they are imploding to me.

    TD = Best EVER
    April 14th, 2011 at 9:00 am
    For all my friends here with short or medium term memory loss…… Splitter has been burned by Memphis as well this year……. March 1st game we lost 109-93 and Darrell Arthur tore Splitter a new one…… scored on him like 4 out of 5 possessions or something like that……. SO lets not go too overboard on the Splitter=defensive stopper rants…….Because from what I have seen, he gets scored on as well…….

    Bruno
    April 14th, 2011 at 9:16 am
    @TD = Best EVER

    Splitter can’t be worse than Bonner/Blair combo. What i remember is Z-bo killing us on offensive rebounds against Bonner/Blair and everybody getting easy layups and dunks

    badger
    April 14th, 2011 at 9:29 am
    @betsyduncan

    I can’t help but feel angry about Manu’s injury…by none other than Grant Hill!
    Conspiracy theorist that I am, I think (that) that loser was out there ‘gunning for’ one of our players, and he hit pay dirt! Jerk!

    I’m sorry, but if anyone thinks Grant Hill did ANYTHING on purpose that caused Manu’s injury, that is simply preposterous. The guy has won the league’s Sportsmanship award at least 3 times, if memory serves me right. As much as I love Manu, it seems he stuck his arm out to Duncan’s hip so that Hill would either slow down and get stuck between Manu and Tim, or the arm was meant to encourage Hill to try to slip behind the Duncan pick, which would have given Manu the room he was looking for.

    Just because Hill didn’t fall for Manu’s trick does not make him dirty. Hill fell hard, and at his age, that wasn’t something he wanted to do either. He was committed to sticking with Manu, and the whole thing was a freak accident.

    If Manu’s ok, I have to believe the Spurs will be ok too. I look for all of the Spurs to attack the rim early and often. This will likely get the Grizz bigs into foul trouble, especially on the Spurs home court. Once Randolph and Gasol are forced to sit or play tentatively, hopefully it’s game over.

    betsyduncan
    April 14th, 2011 at 9:47 am
    I have always thought that Grant Hill was a dirty player—his ‘angelic face’ and ‘schoolboy’ charm have never fooled me. Those ‘Sportsmanship’ awards are bogus. Hasn’t DFish won one a time (or two)? My theory is that Hill ‘picked wrong’ (when he had a chance to join us), and he stubbornly (and stupidly) can’t face those facts, so he takes out those frustrations (cheap shots) on our players when he can. I hope Grant Hill slips on a bar of soap this summer, in any case…

    AS
    April 14th, 2011 at 9:49 am
    It’s unbelievable how some people post without even think what they are writing, like this @L3ESmith. Well, maybe they don’t think at all.

    Tanking makes sense if you have an objective, like avoid a certain opponent, something that Memphis did.
    The Spurs were tanking for what, lose the first overall seed?

    Let’s go kick their…

    Jonathan
    April 14th, 2011 at 9:51 am
    @L3ESmith

    The Spurs emphasize rest throughout the year and sometimes will sit starters during a back-to-back in the middle of the season. Memphis, on the other hand, was clearly “resting” guys with a specific seeding outcome in mind. Unlike the Grizzlies, the Spurs’ #1 (WC) seed was already locked up when we sat our players on Tuesday. (Yes, the #1 overall spot was still in play, but there isn’t a lot of incentive to go after it since the chances of both #1 seeds making the Finals are relatively low.)

    Humberto
    April 14th, 2011 at 9:52 am
    Did people forget what “tanking” means? It means you are purposely trying to drop in rankings. It mean if the Spurs were tanking, they would be trying to get the number 2 seed.

    BigJ
    April 14th, 2011 at 9:57 am
    Hmm, as usual a lot to digest here.

    My thoughts:

    – Game 2 is the pivotal game in the series with the Grizz. I expect game one to be tight, game 2 is the push game that will set up the remainder of the series.

    – Great for the Grizz that they got who they wanted. Let’s now see how they respond to play off atmosphere. Thy are largely untested on these grounds where the Spurs are the vets.

    – I’m most curious to see how our leaders respond in Game 1? If TD, Man, TP and Dyse coming out and play with their game faces set they will be tough to overcome for the Grizz. It’s appears convenient with in this scenario to uptick the positives of the underdog and to dial down the effectiveness of the better team. That seems to be happening here.

    – We give way too much credit to the Lakers. They’ve fumbled their way along for the last two weeks and far more so earlier in the season. There are a group of monkeys on their back that are ready to jump off and make plenty of noise at any time. They look beatable and their opponents know so.

    – When Dallas gets to the Lakers they will give them fits galore. There is so much on the line for the Mavs and they will figure a way past Portland and will give the Lakers a run for their money.

    – I agree that Manu is the man for this team. If he breaks his nose, his arm, or his pinky toe the Spurs are in deep trouble. With him they suceed, without him they sink.

    GO SPURS GO!

    JD
    April 14th, 2011 at 10:16 am
    Not sure if this is true or not, but the ginobili twitter feed on google search is saying MRI is negative out a week though….

    Kenan
    April 14th, 2011 at 10:36 am
    Okay guys, time to calm down.

    I haven’t read all of the responses to this post…and there’s a good reason. I got about 10 in and became extremely fed up with the panic.

    You’re telling me we are going to have trouble with a team that does not have one of the 20 best players in the league on it? Seriously? The Grizz have been resting Zach R. and Tony A. like they’re freaking superstars…what a laugh! While I am impressed with how Z-bo has somehow salvaged his career, he does not take over games and win them for his team. He might not even match up well with the Spurs. Yes, the track record THIS SEASON doesn’t bode particularly well for the Spurs vs. the Grizz, but it’s also the REGULAR SEASON. Z-bo will not take over a single game in the playoffs. Not to mention Blair LOVES playing Z-bo and will be locked in all series.

    Which brings me to Tony Allen. SERIOUSLY? Tony Allen? 11th man for the Celtics last year. You think hes really going to drop 30/night on the Spurs? Do you think there is a single Spur that is afraid of Allen? Pick Neal, Anderson, Jefferson, or obviously G. Hill and dude gets shut down. I envision around 40% from the field with about 17 shots a game….he’s not going to end up being any kind of savior. He just isn’t that good.

    Don’t get me wrong, though, I do like their role players (Battier, Gasol, Mayo, Conley) but that’s all they are. None of them are going to take over a game. Plain and simple. They don’t have an X-Factor.

    I would say let Manu rest his elbow if its bad. Give him 20 off the bench and start Hill. This will work fine vs. memphis.

    YES, it is true the Hornets are worse than the Grizz. But that doesn’t really matter because we’re far superior to both teams. I like the Mem matchup because it will get young guys minutes. Blair won’t get used a lot of we get to the Lakers, but he could be crucial this round. So could G. Hill.

    Everything is fine. We are still the No. 1 seed. We will take Memphis on the road in 4 games. It won’t be nearly as close of people are envisioning. This is what it was all for.

    Round 2 isn’t too bad either. Den vs. OKC is going to be a BLOOD BATH and I like out chances vs. a Thunder team that just played 7 games in the first round. The Thunder are scary, and better than Dallas, but they’re still not the Spurs. All this talk of offense and how great its been will shine through in a serious against the Thunder.

    Colin
    April 14th, 2011 at 10:42 am
    Disclaimer for all Splitter fans for this series: Splitter will get engulfed by Randolph 1 v 1 and stands half a chance vs. Gasol in any 1 on 1 scenario.

    Z bo is a crafty vet who will give some lumps to Splitter. But M. Gasol? No chance. The younger Gasol just likes to bang and Tiago will do great agaisnt him. Jeeesh.

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Len

    Holy crud. I copied and pasted the entire blog by accident. Paging management, little help? My bad guys.

  • rob

    Why Spurs have a good chance of winning:
    1- Tim Duncan
    2- Tony Parker
    3- Playoff Experience
    4- Deeper Bench
    5- Coaches that know how to game plan for a series.