Tonight the San Antonio Spurs host the Chicago Bulls at the AT&T Center. Both teams are riddled with injuries. The top two point guards in the league as we know will not be playing, Tony Parker for San Antonio and Derrick Rose for the Chicago Bulls. Even though there was hope according to Tom Thibodeau yesterday about Rose being listed as day-to-day. Even though the leaders won’t be on the court, this should still be a very good game.
Both teams are very defensive minded and still bring a lot of talent to the floor. Though there will be not Parker nor Rose, there will still be two players that are candidates for defensive players of the year, Tim Duncan and Joakim Noah.
As we stated these two teams are defensive minded but their games on the offensive side of the ball are totally different. San Antonio likes to push the ball in the open court. Kawhi Leonard has become a treat to watch in the open court. Though he does not have the fancy of dunks as most other wing players in the league, he does know how to finish. Danny Green in the open floor will attack at some point but most of the time you will see him getting to the open spot to knock down the three. Chicago on the other hand are not as athletic (with Derrick Rose being out) but they like to pound down low and use the rebounding game to keep themselves into the game. Joakim Noah has a nose for the ball and like him or hate him, the guy has a motor that does not quit. He has stepped into the role of the teams leader on the court, he is involved in mostly every play. I have watched a few games of Chicago and see that Nate Robinson looks to be a lot more aggressive on the offensive side of the ball than distributing.
The game can be seen nationally on ESPN starting at 8:00 PM (San Antonio time).
Starting Lineups // Who Has The Edge?
Cory Joseph vs Nate Robinson
Joseph is coming off scoring 8 points and 4 assists against the Detroit Pistons. He will have his hands full against a physical player in Nate Robinson. Robinson between the two is the better scorer and does a great job getting to the rim.
Danny Green vs Marco Bellineli
Green is coming off of another solid performance. He played 21 minutes while scoring 16 points (3-6 3PT). Green is a remarkable defender and is always active around the ball. He is that gnat that you always want to swat away.
Kawhi Leonard vs Luol Deng
This two me is the match-up that I am looking forward to seeing. Both are great defenders on the ball and can also score. Deng is the bigger of the two but Leonard work ethic and pride to defense should give Deng some problems on the offensive end. Against Detroit, Leonard had 14 points and 6 rebounds in 26 minutes. Deng is a scorer. He can do it from the outside as well as the inside. He is one of those players that if his jumper is falling, you have to attest to it, while doing so, he will get to the rim.
Tim Duncan vs Carlos Boozer
Another match-up that looks great on paper. Duncan is playing possibly the best basketball of his career. He does not have to score 20+ points to help his team win. Duncan also does everything. He has assumed that though this is his team for now, the torch has been passed to Tony Parker and he realizes that. He is the Big Fundamental and his play on the court and helping making everyone better is apparent. Boozer is the bruiser. He likes to take his jumpers when it is near the free throw line. While not trying to hit jumpers on the outside, you will find him down low banging and grabbing rebounds to help his team get those second chance opportunities.
EDGE: San Antonio
Thiago Splitter vs Joakim Noah
Noah is having himself a great year, the best that I have seen him play. There are many talks of him being a candidate for defensive player of the year. He is coming off of a triple double where he was all over the place. Noah is awkward, looks and his mechanics, but there is know doubt that this guy can play. As I stated before about being a gnat, well Noah is another that you can find to be on the ball, and in your face. Splitter will have to be as physical as ever tonight.
We have Manu Ginobili and lately he has been playing the facilitator for this team since Parker went down with his injury. One of if not the deepest benches in the league, San Antonio can surely put up some points and if the starters are having a hard time on the offensive end, we surely can have a big lift from them. Jimmy Butler is coming off of a 20 point game in their loss against the Indiana Pacers on March 3. He is the only threat I see coming off of their bench.
Bulls perspective can be found by heading over to Pippen Ain’t Easy.