For the first time season, this weekly review will include two losses for the San Antonio Spurs. After matching a franchise-best start to the regular season at 13-1, the Spurs met two teams vying to contend for the title this season and chalked up two more in the loss column.
Week in Review
Nov. 25 vs. New Orleans Pelicans – Win (93-112)
The Spurs fared well against the Pelicans, which included Anthony Davis, the rising big man who’s already in the running for league leader in PER. Tim Duncan did a decent job of containing Davis and Tim also shot 50 percent from the field, which is a nice change of pace. Manu Ginobili had a wonderfully efficient game with 16 points on 6-for-7 shooting from the field, as well as six assists and five rebounds. Tiago Splitter had 11 points and six rebounds in the first half before sitting out the second with an ankle injury.
Nov. 27 @ Oklahoma City Thunder – Loss (88-94)
As many expect to see these two teams to face each other at least four times in May, the first game of the regular season between the Spurs and Thunder didn’t work out for San Antonio’s favor. The hero of this game turned out to be OKC backup point guard Reggie Jackson, who poured in a career-high 23 points while the Spurs bench wasn’t able to produce much of its own offensive fire power. In a game where the stars on both teams shot poorly, the Thunder reserves are who made the difference.
Nov. 29 @ Orlando Magic – Win (109-91)
As the team took on the Magic without Tony Parker, the Spurs continued their rout of non-contending teams. The team shot 55.3 percent overall in their bounce-back win. Cory Joseph got the start in place of Parker and contributed 13 points and four assists, while Duncan and Belinelli led the way with 19 points each.
Nov. 30 vs. Houston Rockets – Loss (112-106)
The Rockets put the Spurs in a deep hole in the first half, leading by as much as 23 points in the second quarter. A big Spurs run in the second half gave them a five-point lead in the fourth quarter, but the Rockets came roaring back and thwarted Gregg Popovich’s Hack-a-Dwight scheme. Tony Parker led the way with 27 points, eight rebounds and six assists for San Antonio. Boris Diaw left the game early due to a dislocated left middle finder and it is uncertain how much time he will miss. James Harden led all scorers with 31 points.
Best 3-Point Shooter in the League
It’s ridiculous how well of a fit Marco Belinelli has already been for the Spurs. He’s averaging 9.2 points per game on 50.4 percent shooting, including 56.5 percent from beyond the arc, which is first in the league. The week he averaged 14.25 points on 75 percent 3-point shooting, and has already developed great chemistry with Manu Ginobili. Even if Belinelli has already reached the ceiling of what he could do for the team, he’s going to provide a huge boost for the offense off the bench.
Monday Dec. 2 vs. Atlanta Hawks
Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer makes his regular season return to San Antonio, this time as head coach for the opposing team. It will be interesting to see how much of a fight Atlanta will put up against the Spurs, since Coach Bud is probably the person outside of San Antonio that has the best idea of the Spurs playbook.
Wednesday Dec. 4 @ Minnesota Timberwolves
The sole road game next week will take place in Minneapolis when the Spurs take on MVP candidate Kevin Love and Spanish sensation Ricky Rubio. The Wolves and Spurs had a bitter offseason, when the Wolves front office refused to do any trade negotiations with the Spurs for Andrei Kirilenko, who eventually walked to the Brooklyn Nets. By doing so, Minnesota did the league a huge favor.
Saturday Dec. 7 vs. Indiana Pacers
The current two best teams in the league meet up for what can be an NBA Finals preview. The Spurs won the season series 2-0 last year, but the Pacers have come back this season with a much-improved bench that features a former Spurs draft pick, Luis Scola. Both contests also came in November last season, so the Spurs have yet to face the superstar potential version of Paul George.