Jun 16, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; The San Antonio Spurs mascot rides a motorcycle during a timeout in the first quarter of game five in the 2013 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat at the AT
Who doesn’t love The Coyote sitting on a motorcycle? No? Just Me? Whatever! Last season the San Antonio Spurs win 58 games, which marked the second best in the Western Conference. When the 2013-2014 season starts, most of the familiar faces will be taking the floor for Gregg Popovich again. Another 50+ win season could be on the horizon. Every year the Spurs are battled tested early in the season as well as late.
There is always one are of the schedule that many San Antonio fans have marked and that is the dreaded ‘Rodeo Road Trip’. What I tend to look at is the amount of back-to-backs our team will be up against for another year. This year, the silver and black will have 19 of them, totaling 28 games.
Before hitting the post-season, San Antonio runs through their own gauntlet through the season. There are a few games on the schedule in which I have circled that to me are the most anticipated games of the regular season. This is a two part series that I will be conducting.
I hope you guys enjoy what I have in store for you.
April 5, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) moves the ball up court against the Memphis Grizzlies during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
@ Los Angeles Lakers – November 1, 2013 – Televised on ESPN at 9:30 PM EST
The San Antonio Spurs on the second game of their season will be on the road against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. Everyone has heard of the news of Kobe Bryant going down with the achilles injury that would sideline him for the remainder of the season. Most players whom suffer this kind of injury do not come back as an explosive player as before. I for one am looking forward to see how Bryant does come back from this.
I can take the heat that I may get from Spurs fans on wanting to see how Bryant comes back, love him or hate him, the guy is a competitor and if you can’t see, a really good player. I never want to see someone with the stature as him go down the way he did.
It has said that he is recovering well and will be ready for the season. Others are wondering if he is coming back to fast. It is Kobe Bryant. After seeing his team being knocked out of the playoffs and the fallout of one Dwight Howard, you better believe he has a lot that he wants to prove. The Lakers last season was a joke. Yes I did say it. When they signed Howard, everyone thought title. Do not get me wrong, they had a chance, but I never once thought it would work out. Howard played his best basketball when he was the ‘man’. While in Orlando he put up huge numbers, to the point where he could of possibly been the best center in the league. Then the Lakers happened. End of Story.
San Antonio fans around the world will be able to see these two teams battle it out on national television as this game will be on ESPN. This also means, fans will be able to see newest Spurs Marco Belinelli. I am excited to see what he brings to the Spurs. He is a great defender and can shoot the ball pretty good as well.
My Prediction: There certainly will be a lot of emotion during this game. All eyes will certainly be on Kobe Bryant and how he responds. Will he be passive, or will he be the Kobe everyone knows. This in fact will be a new beginning for the Lakers as it is now the Kobe and Pau show. Outside of these two, the Lakers will be trying to find some sort of rotation that will work for them during the season. Trying something against the San Antonio Spurs seem to be doom for them. I see San Antonio taking control of this game and possibly winning by a good margin.
Apr 27, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (13) gets the ball on a fast break during the second quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder during game three in the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs at the Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Houston Rockets – November 30, 2013
San Antonio took three of four games against Houston in 2012-13 including both meetings at home. In fact, the AT&T Center has been quite friendly to the Spurs as the team has a seven-game home winning streak over the Rockets.
The Houston Rockets turned heads last season with the signing of James Harden. Harden came on and showed exactly the player that many already knew. He is a scorer. He can take over a game when he needs too. This team is solid, yes I said it. They have a nice core and I feel that Chandler Parsons can be an x-factor for this team. With the signing of Dwight Howard during this off-season, many have them as being a contender in the Western Conference. I did say in the Conference not for the title. Like teams that have new players coming in we will have to wait and see how they will react with one another.
Frankly I do feel that this signing for Howard is good for him. Going to a city like Houston, which is not a big market like the Lakes is what I feel he needs. As I stated in the first slide, Orlando was the prime spot for him. He excelled. I feel Howard will have a good season in Houston. Good, not great. He could possibly get back to his days when he was in Orlando but it is going to have to take him being consistent. Something that he was not in Los Angeles.
This go around, Tim Duncan will be bodied up against both Howard and Omir Asik. This will be a match-up to watch as well as Leonard and Harden. Two of the rising stars in the league.
My Prediction: You can sit there and say that the Spurs are going to dominate against this Rockets team, in years past yes. Howard coming on has made them a threat. With the rise of Harden and Parsons, I feel that the Rockets will put up a good enough fight to the point where they could possibly win this game. This game will be in San Antonio though and the Spurs at home are a tough team to beat. I do feel San Antonio pulls this off in the final period, extending their streak on Houston to 8 games. As I said though, it will be a battle, during the first three quarters.
May 12, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (30) celebrates during overtime in game four of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Spurs 97-87 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
@ Golden State Warriors – December 19, 2013 – Televised on TNT at 9:30 PM EST
They went out and signed Andre Iguodala, many feel that this is whom they needed to catapult themselves over a team like the San Antonio Spurs. A young team that showed a lot of pose during the playoffs, the Warriors will make more noise in the coming season in the Western Conference.
The Golden State Warriors hosted three games of the 2013 playoff series between the teams, and San Antonio had its share of fits when surrounded by the loud, yellowed-out fans in Oracle Arena. San Antonio survived the tests that Golden State issued during the conference semifinals, but the Dubs improved their roster this offseason.
Though the Warriors did lose a key player, what we Spurs fans call the Spurs killer in Jarrett Jack, they also lost Carl Landry. Two players in which proved to be a piece of their playoff run last season, the Warriors will still have the players that will make noise, Curry, Thompson, Iguodala, David Lee, Harrison Barnes, and Andrew Bogut.
The Warriors have proven that they can play with San Antonio. This Warriors team is fun to watch, you can take that away. Curry is one of the leagues best-shooters. We saw glimpses of this during their playoff series against San Antonio. When the ball is in his hands, there is no doubt that the chances of it going in are pretty high.
For San Antonio, their success relies on point guard Tony Parker. Parker will have to play at the top of his game against this young team that is always hungry when they play against one of the leagues best teams year round. What San Antonio also needs to do a better job on is rebounding. The Warriors dominated this team through-out their playoff series. Again, they are young, hungry and eager to get their hands on the ball.
My Prediction: This is one game that I am truly looking forward to seeing. If San Antonio comes out and controls all aspects of the game then their chances of walking out of Oracle Arena with a win are pretty high. Yes, I know. Pretty observant huh. San Antonio can be attacking the basket with ease but if they give the Warriors the 50/50 balls then this could turn out to be a game that the Warriors are wanting. To be quite honest, I fear the Warriors because of the team they are at home. They feed off of the energy of their crowd at the Oracle. Outside of that, if Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are both hitting, then your attention of course would have to go to them, but, Harrison Barnes has proven himself as well as the addition with Andre Iguodala, this team is primed for something good. I think this game will be a battle but the Warriors may pull it out in the end.
Jun 20, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) and Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (3) react against the San Antonio Spurs during the third quarter of game seven in the 2013 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
@ Miami Heat – January 26, 2014 – Televised on ABC at 12:00 PM EST
A big red circle is around this date on my calendar. The San Antonio Spurs will travel to Miami to take on the defending NBA Champions for the first time since game seven of the NBA Finals last year. Redemption, revenge, whatever you come up with this is a game that could possibly once again be a preview for the NBA Finals.
The Miami Heat though lost a key player during the finals, Mike Miller as he was signed by the Memphis Grizzlies this offseason. There is not much to lay out there about this game. The San Antonio Spurs have their stars, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard and the Heat, have, well, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
This game will be televised on ABC at 12:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. We would say this is for all the marbles, but, it is going to be a well fought game that pits two of the leagues best.
My Prediction: The Spurs pushed this Miami team to the limits. If it were for that one rebound, we would be sitting here talking about the Spurs being the defending champions. It is what it is. This game is in Miami and San Antonio has proven that they can defeat this team on the road. Kawhi Leonard has come up as a budding star and with his play against LeBron James, this truly could be one of the best match-ups everyone will be talking about for years to come. I feel the Heat will be a loss without Mike Miller as he was a factor in their title run. They do still have Ray Allen I know, but Miller was doing more than just shoot threes. I will take the Spurs in a close contested game.