Last week San Antonio won all three of their games and currently sit with a record of 10-3 as the 3rd seed in the west. The Spurs begin this week at home against the Dallas Mavericks, and then go on the road to face off against the Charlotte Hornets, Boston Celtics, and Washington Wizards.
Monday, 21 November 2016 at 08:30 PM ET Home
The Dallas Mavericks have been struggling so far this season. Dirk Nowitzki, JJ Barea, Deron Williams, and Devin Harris are injured, Wes Matthews is shooting a career low 31% from the field, and as a result, the Mavericks are at the bottom of the western conference with a 2-10 record. It’s hard to win games when Harrison Barnes is the only consistent offensive option you have, despite his career-high 21 PPG on 46% shooting. Jonathan Gibson is going to step up as another offensive weapon as a result of injuries, but as an NBA rookie, he will be pushed to his limits especially against proven defensive teams such as San Antonio. With regards to defense, the Mavericks have Andrew Bogut who provides some of the best interior defense in the league, and despite his shooting woes, Matthews can still be a threat on the defensive end.
During this game, the Spurs will likely keep out of the paint a little more than usual due to Andrew Bogut. As seen last year when the Spurs played the Warriors, the Spurs settled for shots outside the paint more than they normally do. To compensate, San Antonio will likely take advantage of the injured Dallas guard situation and continually abuse the likes of Seth Curry and Wes Matthews in the pick and roll. Parker and Mills are able to facilitate in such scenarios for an easy Aldridge jumper or a pull-up from Leonard. San Antonio on the defensive end will make offense miserable for Dallas as Kawhi will be matched up with their primary scorer Harrison Barnes. Barnes isn’t a great passer as he averages 1 assist per game so if he ends up getting locked up it will be a long night for Dallas. With Danny Green back in the mix Wes Matthews will continue to look non-existent on the court, so unless Curry or Gibson are on fire Dallas will struggle.
Wednesday, 23 November 2016 at 07:00 PM ET Away
Charlotte is looking promising. Kemba Walker is one of the most underrated players in the game, Nicolas Batum has always been a solid contributor, Cody Zeller is looking like the best Zeller, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is back. Despite their promise, their 8-4 record is slightly deceiving as they’ve only won against 3 playoff caliber teams being the Indiana Pacers, Utah Jazz, and Atlanta Hawks. They also lost against the Pelicans recently so this team looks like it is in limbo thus far in the season. With the Hornets hosting the Spurs, we should expect an interesting matchup as Kemba Walker should put most Spurs guards on skates and put on a show, but the Hornets lack a big man presence. Roy Hibbert is a shell of his former all-star self, and although Marvin Williams is a solid veteran, he has trouble scoring as of late. Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge will look to feast on the offensive end against them, so we should expect a majority of the buckets coming from the San Antonio bigs. Nicolas Batum and MKG have the potential to keep Kawhi from getting any easy shots, but in the Spurs system, it doesn’t matter who scores, as long as a win is in order. The Spurs are capable of defending everyone except Kemba Walker due to the lack of athleticism in their PG situation. As long as LMA and Pau are able to get their shots, and if the team is able to shut down everyone except for Kemba, a win should be in line for the Silver and Black.
Friday, 25 November 2016 at 01:00 PM ET Away
After recently acquiring Al Horford, the Celtics have started to look more like a serious threat in the east. Horford provides them some great spacing, and so far looks good around the likes of Isaiah Thomas and the rest of the team, but still needs time to mesh as the Celtics have been seeing some injuries throughout the start of the season. It appears that everyone should be healthy for the upcoming matchup, and there are a couple caveats to look out for in the game.
We should expect stellar defense from both teams. Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, and Jae Crowder can keep most people quiet, and one of the best ways to counteract these defensive monsters is to have relentless switching. The Spurs should constantly look for mismatches for Kawhi and Aldridge as this is the problem the Celtics had when they faced the Warriors last week. Look for San Antonio to keep Thomas quiet on the offensive end as well. Thomas is incredibly crafty due to his size, so we may see Danny Green on him for some of the game as the Celtics frontcourt isn’t the largest with Avery Bradley standing at 6’2 and Thomas at 5’9. Parker would be able to handle Bradley in certain situations, but Parker may struggle with his strength. Al Horford will be a significant threat during the game as he is able to score from anywhere, and he is able to pass the ball well for his size. Pau Gasol may end up sleeping on him, and Dedmon may not be available to assist Pau in his defensive struggles. This should be an interesting game, but it could go downhill fast if San Antonio isn’t able to contain Thomas or Horford.
Saturday, 26 November 2016 at 07:00 PM ET Away
To finish off the week, the Spurs face off against the Washington Wizards. Like the Mavericks, the Wizards have been struggling immensely, and are currently sitting with a 3-9 record. It appears that the backcourt experiment of John Wall and Bradley Beal might be coming to a close, and there isn’t much helping them besides Marcin Gortat. Both Wall and Beal combined for 68 points in a loss against Miami on Saturday, and we will likely see a similar performance against the Spurs.
Danny Green will be able to keep Beal away from the basket for most of the night, but John Wall will get his all night as he is one of the fastest players in the league while scoring a career-high 24 PPG this season. No guard on the Spurs will likely compete, but thankfully they can compete against the rest of the Wizards with minimal problems. Outside of the Wizards’ backcourt, Gortat may pose some problems for Gasol as Gortat is one of the strongest centers in the league and could bully his way to a nice game alongside Wall and Beal. Otto Porter is one of the most inconsistent players to watch in the league where he will either drop 30 or drop 3, but with Kawhi Leonard guarding him, he will likely be chucking bricks or passing the ball back to John Wall.
The Wizards are currently one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA currently ranked 26th overall, so the Spurs will feed the ball to Kawhi to feast on the poor defense and put up some great scoring numbers. If Kawhi isn’t getting his, then LaMarcus Aldridge will likely outclass Markieff Morris with his midrange game, and we will also see Tony Parker crash into the paint full force for his signature floaters and layups. With the three of them getting their way, along with some signature Spurs passing, a win should be in the books at the end of the week.