Spurs vs. Hawks: Please, please no one break anything
The San Antonio Spurs did not hold open tryouts for small forwards looking for a 10 day contract, but no one would’ve blamed them if they had. After losing Danny Green earlier this month to a fractured hand, San Antonio lost Kawhi Leonard to a similar injury during the first half of Wednesday’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Spurs announced Thursday Leonard would be out 3-4 weeks.
This means that when the team takes on the Atlanta Hawks tonight, you’re likely to see Marco Belinelli or Manu Ginobili in the starting line up listed as “SF.” If it’s Belinelli listed at the 3, we’ll likely see Cory Joseph start at shooting guard. This might actually mess up the rotation the least. It will allow Manu to come off the bench with Patty Mills and Boris Diaw (assuming Jeff Ayres continues to start). Regardless of who starts, we’re going to see a ton of Belinelli, Ginobili and Joseph tonight and maybe even some Nando De Colo.
While the Hawks don’t have another Kevin Durant (the world does not need 2 of him… then again maybe we do), they do have Kyle Korver, a lengthy three-point gunner. That could present a problem, though obviously not a Durant sized problem. Another issue could be Jeff Teague, who is looking a little like Tony Parker under Mike Budenholzer’s watchful eye. He doesn’t shoot nearly as well, but his mid-range game has improved and he does a decent job getting to the free throw line (but man is he bad finishing at the rim). The final and biggest concern is Paul Milsap, whose play since Al Horford went down with a torn labrum has been brilliant. Whether Diaw and Jeff Ayres can contain Milsap may be the determining factor in this game.
Tip-off from Philips Arena is set for 6:30 p.m. CT.