Who will the Spurs face in the first round?

by

With just two days left in the 2009-10 regular season, only the first and eighth spots in the Western Conference have been decided. After the Oklahoma City Thunder slipped up against a Brandon Roy-less Portland Trailblazers last night, the Thunder have booked themselves a first round date with the Los Angeles Lakers. As has been the case the last few seasons in the Western Conference, the race for the remaining six spots remains tight and messy.

Of all the teams in the conference yet to be seeded, the formula for the Spurs may be the simplest. If the Spurs lose, they’re the 7th seed. If Portland wins, the Spurs are the 7th seed. The only way San Antonio can earn the sixth spot is if Portland loses and the Spurs win. It’s as simple as that.

(It’s worth noting that Portland’s last game is against the Warriors and San Antonio’s is against the Mavs. The odds are stacked in their favor.)

Where things get tricky is when you try and figure out who the Spurs will face in the first round. It will be either the Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, or Phoenix Suns.

It’s most likely that the Spurs will face the Dallas Mavericks in the opening round. I say that because there are more scenarios in which the Spurs and Mavs land in the seventh and second spots, respectively, than any other. If the Mavs or the Nuggets win, or if Utah loses one of its remaining two games, the Mavericks are locked into the two seed.

The Spurs could also run into the Mavericks if they fall into the third seed and San Antonio moves up into the sixth. In order for that to happen, both the Mavericks and the Nuggets would have to lose and Utah would have to win both of its games.

Denver cannot earn the two seed; the highest spot they can fill is the three seed (they are also in danger of falling all the way down into fifth). We are not concerned with Denver if they move down into the fourth or fifth spot. All we care about is if Denver wins or Utah loses to the Warriors and the Suns lose to the Jazz. If either of those scenarios occurs, and the Spurs slide up into the sixth spot, San Antonio will face Denver in the first round.

The Spurs could also face the Utah Jazz in the first round. With two games left to play, the Jazz could land anywhere between the second and fifth positions. Like the Denver, we’re only concerned with how they might meet the Spurs in the first round so lets focus on the second and third seed.

The situation that would push the Mavericks down into the third seed (Mavs and Nuggets Lose, Utah wins twice) is the same scenario that would bump Utah up into the second seed. But even if Utah wins both games, they will only earn the three seed if the Mavericks win and the Denver loses. If the Nuggets win, the Spurs will not face the Jazz in the first round.

Lastly, the Spurs will have a date with our old friends the Phoenix Suns if the Nuggets lose, Phoenix wins its remaining two games, and San Antonio climbs up into the sixth seed. The Suns could also end up in fourth or fifth but, as with Utah and Denver, we don’t care.

Got it? Good.

  • DieHardSpur

    I dont know why everyone is freaking out…

    In the last 2 weeks we have beat the 4 best ball clubs in the league…

    Believe me – these SPURS are ready!

  • Jim Henderson

    Bentley
    April 14th, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    “We are the ones freaking out over who we’re gonna play.”

    I don’t really know who you’re referring to, but I’m not “freaking out” about who we’re going to play. I, like many others, are just curious, and assessing the match-ups. And I’m sure the team is doing the same. Nobody’s “afraid” around here. I don’t care who you play, you start doing that, and it’s a death-knell.

  • Tyler

    @TradeTP –

    Keep in mind also, Parker will guard Roddy B., Barea, and Terry when they’re in the game, which should be a significant amount of time. This will allow Pop to cross match with TP and George, which should help out Tony.

    TP has always had trouble with big, physical PG’s that like to punish him on the low block. That means Deron Williams and Andre Miller are a nightmare matchup right now. I wouldn’t necesarily lump Westbrook or Fisher into that group though b/c neither like to operate down low.

  • Matt

    Come on Spurs Fans. The Mavs are built to beat the Spurs. Been that way for the past couple of years. Parker will get his, as will Manu… but an aging duncan doesnt help you guys out. Mavs in 6. Ends on your floor again.. for the 3rd straight time.

  • idahospur

    Pop going for it all tonight (as in not resting starters).

    http://sports.espn.go.com/dallas/nba/news/story?id=5087206

    I have to say I don’t like this m0ve. Rest and be ready for Game 1 of the playoffs. Still can’t believe it’s almost here!

  • SAJKinBigD

    Not sure Pop was being completely honest there. I know the sports radio gang ’round here (Dallas) don’t believe him!
    I think it’s typical Pop maneuvering.

  • TradeTP

    Tyler

    Im with you that Westbrook or Fisher dont post, my thoughts on those two:

    Westbrook = fast and attacks rim. Not good for out of shape, sore feet.

    Fisher= constantly bumping on d and I dont want someone being physical with TP in round 1. Hes fragile when he isnt injured and I throw up in my mouth every time he gets bumped, falls down, and carried off the court.

    In order for us to get a deep run Parker has to either sit out or we have to get used to playing with him in his return. Playing Dallas will give us the best opportunity to reinsert TP into the lineup.

    We were playing our best ball without him. So my first post on this board with this name makes me look fairly intelligent.
    What I hope has happened is that while on the sideline Tony grasped how to allow the offense to flow. We can no longer have Pick and Roll Tunnel Vision the whole game. Effective in situations we shouldnt revert back to allowing Manu, Jefferson, and Hill to be spectators.

    One more thing. NO MCDYESS>!!!!! HE BLOWS!!!

  • blentzen

    I don’t care who they play as long as they are in the playoffs. I STILL BELIEVE!!!!! 2010 THE YEAR OF THE SPURS!!!!! GO SPURS GO!!!!!

  • Shaun

    Hmmmm maybe Popp is reading my comments. :P

  • Jim Henderson

    All I know is that Mason & Bonner are 0-12, including 0-6 from three, and ZERO POINTS in their first 49 minutes, combined, in tonight’s game. Utterly ridiculous!

  • http://espn.com Jacob

    and, so….what’s the status with Hill’s freakin’ ankle now?!?

    man, do I hope he is ok for Sunday!

  • Hobson13

    Jim Henderson
    April 14th, 2010 at 6:06 pm
    “All I know is that Mason & Bonner are 0-12, including 0-6 from three, and ZERO POINTS in their first 49 minutes, combined, in tonight’s game. Utterly ridiculous!”

    Three things worry me about this team:
    1. Front court depth (even though Dejuan Blair could radically change that if he played more)
    2. The injuries to both Tony and Hill and how they will both be integrated into the offense.
    3. The two morons formerly named Matt Bonner and Roger Mason(who went 2-17 tonite). Spurs went 2-22 from 3 and only lost by seven. Those two should hand in their paychecks for this game because they didn’t earn it. Roger won’t be in the NBA next year at this rate and Bonner will go 6-8 one night and 1-8 the next. Absolutely NO consistency. In the playoffs, that is going to hurt us at some point.

  • lvmainman

    Perfect preview for the playoffs against the Mavericks.

    Roger Mason goes 1 for 9.
    Keith Bogans goes 1 for 4.
    Matt Bonner goes 1 for 8.
    Not 1 of the 3 players made a shot in the 1st 3 quarters of play.
    Expect that exact performance all playoff long against the Mavericks.

    Tony Parker had at least 6 turnovers by my count. But, the official play by play says 3. The 4th qtr Parker had 3 turnovers. 1 turnover got attributed to Temple because Parker threw the ball to him at 100 mph while only 2 ft away. 1 turnover got counted as a blocked shot, but it was a lob pass to Mahinmi that got swatted back for a turnover. Then, of course the only counted turnover was the offensive foul push off on Barea. Parker was atrocious. Hopefully Hill is okay to play more minutes than Parker in the playoffs.

    Mason should never see the floor in the playoffs. Nothing but DNP-CD for Mason. Temple should play before Mason. Hairston should play before Mason. Temple reminds me of a more athletic Antonio Daniels. He’s a keeper as a 3rd pg.

  • http://espn.com Jacob

    hill’s ankle….

  • Hobson13

    lvmainman
    April 14th, 2010 at 6:45 pm
    “Mason should never see the floor in the playoffs. Nothing but DNP-CD for Mason.”

    I seriously believe that Mason may not be in the NBA next year. He has been a D league player for much of this year. No way we resign him unless he wants to play for free.

  • rj

    dejuan blair- what a FREAK!!! hopefully he can have one or, dare i say, 2 of these explosive games.

    proud of our guys hanging tough without tim and manu. ian played nicely. showed some offensive versatility and avioded foul trouble against legit competition. hopefully we resign him. garret temple may have stolen malik hairston’s roster spot. that will be a good preseason battle.

    RND 1 SPURS VS MAVS!!!

    TIE YOUR NUTS!!!

    GO SPURS GO!

  • idahospur

    RJ should not see the court unless Manu is with him. RJ has a game now, don’t mess it up Pop! Blair needs to be on the court a lot and Duncan needs to find a way to be huge! It’s go time and all players need to be on target if we want 4 wins out of 7.

  • Ian

    Spurs lost by seven when they hit only 2 out of 22 3 pt attemps, played without TD and Manu, and RJ and Hill logging 20 min in total while on the road. If I was a Mavs’ fan, I’d be worried as hell (it seemed Mavs were playing their regular rotation).

  • AP

    If Duncan was the last rookie to get a 20-20 before Blair, when was the last time a rookie recorded two 20-20 games in the same season? I’m looking forward to that stat, and I think it indicates that the Beast will be a serious force in the future.

  • Hoopster

    Well we will face our old rivals the Mavericks in the first round. Should make for some exciting basketball. While a tough matchup. i believe no matter who we would have had in Rd 1 it would be tough. Not because I do not think we can win but just due to the extremely competitive nature of the western conference this year. The only team I did not want to face in Rd 1 was the Lakers, other than that we can beat anyone we play. I do think we can beat the Lakers as well, but would just rather have the confidence of a couple of series wins before facing them.
    @Hobson
    Yeah Mason has been terrible. A shooter with no confidence is tough to watch especially when they play for your team. He will need a change of scenery to get it back, plus we do not really need him anyway. Would rather let Temple develop and give him the time on the court. As far as Bonner, well I expressed many times my dismay with him while others have stuck up for him. He may shoot 6-8 some nights but you can bet it will not be against anyone we may face in the playoffs. He will be in the tank just like last year. I will give him this though, he has played harder and better defensively over the last few weeks, but still would not resign him. Face it, the guy and Scalabrine could be brothers and only way Scalabrine plays for Celts is injuries but yet we have him starting and playing big crucial minutes.
    Going forward I like the way we have played over the last month and think we can play with anybody so now we see what we are made of, because if the NBA playoffs show us anything pretenders get exposed real fast and go home.
    GO SPURS!

  • SpurredOn

    I don’t think Dallas knows what they’re in for. They’ve only played the Spurs once this season when Manu, Duncan and Parker were all in the lineup. Let’s just play coy like Pop and dominate this team before they know what hits them.

  • Jack

    Bonner and Mason shooting is a little scary. Those guys basically bombed in the playoffs last year. It’s useless to shoot well in the regular season and miss them when they count.

  • ali

    Bonner will be fine, rmj is our 4th best gaurd and i dont think anyone has a better 4th option in the gaurd position than us. But dallas is the only team I fear in the playoffs, and they want 2 face us.

  • Miggy

    @AP – Joe Smith did it his rookie year. They announced that on the telecast.

    I’m hoping Blair will be the x-factor in this series after seeing him perform the way he did against Dallas’ bigs. Phenomenal!

  • TradeTP

    Hobson great post

    I would like to say that I have proven Henderson, Bushka, and all creators of 48 minutes wrong with my assessment of hill versus parker. I remember people saying that Hill couldnt fill Tony’s shoes, and now it is evident that Temple can.

    So much for trade value.

    Our coach is still an idiot as I expressed earlier. Blair finally plays minutes and only gets 20 some rebounds…..

    No more McDoosh and no more Boner no matter how many “experts” on here write about +/-.

  • Gary

    Every time I see Mason on the floor im pretty happy I can turn my tv off

  • Tyler

    @TradeTP –

    Don’t hurt yourself patting your back too hard….

  • Tyler

    …..and you’re wrong, which makes your post more funny than anything…..

  • Tyler

    I wouldn’t read too much into last night’s shooting display. When you’re missing your two best players, you’re not going to get near as many the quality looks. Instead of shooting wide open 3’s, our guys were forced to shoot with a hand(s) in their face.

    I really doubt last night’s game gives either team insight into what’s going to happen on Sunday. As Sean said, last night’s game was pure vanilla. From my POV, I didn’t think Dallas (especially Dirk) played with any sense of urgency. Our young guys were able to stay in the game b/c they played harder. The talent gap was just too great to overcome.

  • BigJ

    Plenty of great analysis here. I see three big factors to the series with Dallas:

    1) The 1st round schedule. Sunday night game, followed by a Wednesday night game, then a Friday night game, which is then followed by another Sunday night game. Advantage Spurs.

    2) Pop will play more than 8 players in this series.

    3) The Maverick’s depend on Nowitzki to be their go to guy. Hasn’t done the big things yet in the post season and this will continue.

    4) As contrast, we have Manu Ginobli to be our go to guy. More often than not, he comes through.

    Granted, the deeper a team proceeds into the play-off’s the more the schedule grinds. Shouldn’t be so much in the first round and the in-state series helps the Spurs.

    I won’t be shocked if this goes either way. If the Spurs take the first game, look out.

  • Jim Henderson

    TradeTP
    April 15th, 2010 at 3:04 am

    “I would like to say that I have proven Henderson, Bushka, and all creators of 48 minutes wrong with my assessment of hill versus parker. I remember people saying that Hill couldnt fill Tony’s shoes, and now it is evident that Temple can.

    So much for trade value.

    Our coach is still an idiot as I expressed earlier. Blair finally plays minutes and only gets 20 some rebounds…..”

    You haven’t “proven” jack …… except that you’re still on another planet ….. after all this time. Hill as good as Parker? Are you joking me?! Hill is very good, but he’s no Tony Parker, certainly not yet. And besides, they’re different types of players ….. with different strengths and weaknesses, and that’s pretty obvious, so I’ll spare you the detailed explanation. And Temple? Might make our team, and has some potential. But capable of running the point for three championship teams? Not now, and likely not ever.

    As for Pop. When a player doesn’t perform, it’s Pop? When a player can’t play 5 minutes half the time without fouling, it’s Pop? When a player is 20 years old, used to playing 30 games against college dudes, hits a wall at game 50 in the NBA, and requires his minutes to be cut, it’s Pop? Please, wake up and smell the coffee ….. roses…..etc.!

  • TradeTp

    Jim Henderson,

    I have in fact proven you all wrong. You stated that we were in trouble without Parker, how we wouldnt be good without Parker, etc.

    We played the best basketball without Parker.

    It doesnt matter what players have done for us 3 years ago. It matters what they do now. Again, you keep living in the past. Parker was great when Tim was great.

    And YOU need to wake up. Players dont see the court unless Pop puts them in the game. McDyess, Bonner were both horrible this year. As last year. Anyone with half a brain can see we get better action with Blair than McDyess, or Bonner. You have to play the players and let them learn.

    Your infatuation with our coach is scary and concerning.

  • Jim Henderson

    TradeTp
    April 15th, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    “You stated that we were in trouble without Parker, how we wouldnt be good without Parker, etc. ”

    I never made a statement even close to the one above. The closest I might have come is saying that we might be hard-pressed in the playoffs without him. In fact, I’ve been quite open in my comments on this blog to trading TP next year, for the “right” pieces in return.

    The rest of your post is pure baloney, so I won’t bother responding.

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