The Spurs finished off last week with a thriller against the Washington Wizards with a Kawhi Leonard jump shot to ice the game. The Spurs are looking to continue their undefeated road streak against the Bucks, Timberwolves, Bulls and finish off the week at home against the Nets.
Monday, 5 December 2016 at 08:00 PM ET Away
Giannis Antetokounmpo. It doesn’t matter if you can pronounce his name or not, the talent he displays on the court is universally understood. He is 6’11 averaging 22 points, 8.6 rebounds, 6 assists and he turns 22 on Tuesday. The Bucks are one of the longest and most athletic teams in the NBA and athleticism is something that can hinder the Spurs if they do not play their rotations efficiently. If Giannis is running the point guard position, there is little chance of anyone on the Spurs roster taking down a 6’11 version of Russell Westbrook. To combat the effects of Giannis, the Spurs will need to be active on the boards on Monday by boxing out the length of the Bucks. LaMarcus Aldridge will need to show up on the offensive end as games are too close for comfort when he’s cold from the midrange, especially against teams like Milwaukee. Greg Monroe is still an avid specimen on the court regardless of what fans say, although Miles Plumlee is someone who provides evidence to the theory that if you’re 7 feet tall and above average in the athletics department you can make the NBA. As long as Pau and LMA can handle the bigs, the game should be in the Spurs’ favor as the Bucks’ has minimal perimeter threats. Expect a fast paced matchup as the Bucks can match the play style of their opponents as they have depth on their bench from Matthew Dellevadova as well as Jason Terry who provides the necessary guidance for closing out games against tough opponents.
Tuesday, 6 December 2016 at 08:00 PM ET Away
The Minnesota Timberwolves have been underwhelming for most fans this year. Everyone and their mother expected the Timberpups to make the jump with Thibs as head coach along with Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins getting buckets but unfortunately, there are still significant growing pains with the Wolves. They are currently one of the worst 4th quarter teams in the league, and they are going up against one of the best closing teams the league has seen in the last 20 years. If the game is still relatively close, you can expect the Silver and Black to step on the throttle and bombard the Wolves bucket after bucket as seen in last week’s Dallas and Washington games. In this matchup, the Spurs should be playing Dedmon more to combat KAT’s effectiveness on the offensive end. Pau Gasol will likely end up giving up too many open jumpers, and KAT is also able to drop the three, so Gasol will look foolish trying to keep up with such a young talent. To combat Andrew Wiggins and Zach Lavine, it will require efficient switching with Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard depending on who gets their shot going in Minnesota. For the Spurs to pull out of this game, they need to be able to drive to the basket in the closing quarters as KAT is a defensive liability and will likely continue to play extended minutes under Thibodeau’s watch.
Thursday, 8 December 2016 at 09:30 PM ET Away
The Chicago Bulls are a coin toss. One night they defeat the best team in the Eastern Conference, and the next day they lose to the team with the worst record in the west, so it is hard to expect what they’ll do on the court. Jimmy Butler has been having an incredible season, and he is the heart of the Bulls while Dwayne Wade mentors him throughout the season. Vintage Wade is still a factor, and in the twilight years of his career, he has developed a dangerous three-point shot, shooting a career-high 37%. With Wade and Butler at the helm, Rajon Rondo is still serviceable as a point guard, although he has yet to improve his career shooting woes which are still occurring this season. Although the Bulls have been winning games, they have a significant weakness from the three-point arc where they shoot 32% as a team putting them at 28th in the league overall. For San Antonio to get out victorious, they need to shut down Wade and Butler from attacking the basket and force them to pass the ball to Mirotic or McDermott. A better solution is to simply force Rondo to take shots, but with his crafty passes, he will likely find a way in the Bulls offense. We can also expect LMA to take advantage of Taj Gibson in the midrange while Gasol will have a field day on offense with Lopez as well for an exciting game in the windy city.
Saturday, 10 December 2016 at 08:30 PM ET Home
The Spurs will finish off the week against the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets should have a better record, but unfortunately, Jeremy Lin has been sidelined with a hamstring injury with no clear timeline as of yet. Jeremy Lin makes this team capable of competing for a playoff spot in the East, but with no signs of return, the Nets are looking to be out of options at the PG spot and have to rely on Isaiah Whitehead who has been subpar. Brook Lopez is still on this team, so he will be the biggest threat on the floor followed by Bogdan Bogdanovic. The Nets suffer from the same problem as Chicago where they shoot the three-ball incredibly poorly at 32% also, so we will likely see San Antonio let Lopez do work while shutting down the rest of the players on the court. This game should be a good way to close out the week for the Spurs as long as they don’t let Lopez get a ton of offensive boards for easy putbacks as seen in last week’s loss to the Orlando Magic. The Spurs should get another win at home, but this season is a bit of a wash at the AT&T Center, and there will be a chance that we will see a career game from Brook Lopez. When watching this game, you should have confidence in this Spurs team, but at the same time, be incredibly critical of every mistake the Spurs make as it will add up by the time the fourth quarter starts and will be too much to dig out of.