The San Antonio Spurs are ripe for the picking on the tail end of a back-to-back-to-back where they've already beaten Dallas at home and New Orleans on the road. Tonight they'll host the Sixers, who they beat 100-90 last month behind what must have been 142 points from Tony Parker (and none from Matt Stone). But this is their third game in a row and the occasionally geriatric Tim Duncan has played over 30 minutes in each of the past two nights, so perchance the Sixers will catch a break against the 2nd best team in the West.
Save for Duncan, Parker, and Manu Ginobili, the Spurs are filled with NBA castoffs and misfits that R.C. Buford dug up out of the trash. DeJuan Blair, Matt Bonner, and Danny Green are all 2nd-round picks that average more than 20 minutes per game, and they've also added Boris Diaw and the Stephen Jackson Reunion Tour from the scrap heap. It's wildly impressive that they continue to do what they do and they're in position to make some more noise in the playoffs - this season will be the 15th in a row that they've played playoff basketball, every season since they drafted Timmy out of Wake Forest. Bow down and respect.
But alas! Just one game is all we need, and the Sixers are coming off a nice win of their own, a non-collapse-related victory over the toe-nipping division foe Boston Celtics. Scoring has been down the last five games, with everyone but Jrue Holiday below their season average. The games have been slowed down, and against the Spurs they'll want to speed it up to take advantage of their tired legs and Tony Parker's injury. Passing was in full display last game, as mySynergySports.com tells us that 20.6% of their plays against the Celtics was off cuts. They scored 1.23 points per possession on cuts. Some more of those crispy passes would do well against the Spurs vulnerable defense.
The Parker/Holiday matchup is one to look at. In each of their five previous meetings, one of them has scored at least 8 points more than the other and that team has won every time. So when these two guys D up, one kills it and the other is the goat. Keep both eyes on the point guards tonight.
Check Pounding the Rock for their preview and stick it here for the Game Thread later.