Mar 24, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs centerTiago Splitter
(22), forwardTim Duncan
(21), guardTony Parker
(9), and forwardKawhi Leonard
(2) sit on the bench during the second half against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks won 101-94. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
The NBA officially released the team-by-team schedules for the 2015-16 season on August 12th. You know what that means, fans get to scream in joy about the easy string of games their teams have or they scream in anger on what the NBA was thinking giving them a back-to-back set against the league’s best.
Spurs fans have lots of fun games to key in on. Whether it’s against the league’s best like Cleveland, Oklahoma City, and Golden State or against Minnesota, who has lots of young talent. Many fans can’t wait to see how Portland reacts when LaMarcus Aldridge returns in a new uniform. Some can’t wait for their match-up against the Los Angeles Clippers, who beat them in a terrific seven game first-round playoff series last year. I know I can’t wait for these, who wouldn’t want to see these match-ups? The Clippers and Spurs might turn into the next great NBA rivalry in the coming years.
What games must Spurs fans have circled in on their calendars for the upcoming season?
Next: Spurs at Thunder
Apr 7, 2015; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guardRussell Westbrook
(0) shoots the ball against San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) and centerBoris Diaw
(33) during the first quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
October 28, 2015: San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder
The Spurs don’t kick off their season on the official opening night for the league (October 27). Instead the Spurs season opener will be a nationally televised ESPN game at Oklahoma City. It will also be LaMarcus Aldridge first game as a Spurs player, how exciting.
The Thunder missed the playoffs due to a tiebreaker last season after winning 45 games. This wouldn’t have happened if Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka stayed healthy. Either way the Thunder are arguably the most talented team in the league. The Thunder have the game’s best duo in Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. They also have Enes Kanter and Serge Ibaka down low. This is a team that no one wants to face. Not even the Spurs. You can make a case that the Spurs and Thunder are the best teams in the league when healthy. Both teams are incredibly deep, star-power aside. The Spurs have Manu Ginobili, David West, Boris Diaw, and Danny Green. The Thunder still have Dion Waiters, Mitch McGary, Cameron Payne, and Anthony Morrow.
Who can’t wait for a Tony Parker-Westbrook or Kawhi Leonard-Durant matchup? I know I can’t! What a way for the Spurs to start the season in what should be an amped up Thunder crowd.
Next: Spurs at Trail Blazers
Feb 25, 2015; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guardDamian Lillard
(0) drives the lane against San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (9) at Moda Center at the Rose Quarter. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
November 11, 2015: San Antonio Spurs at Portland Trail Blazers
Remember when the young Portland Trail Blazers took on the San Antonio Spurs in the 2014 Western Conference Semifinals? Things have quickly changed since the Spurs swept the Trail Blazers in four games. The Trail Blazers aren’t the contender that many believed they will become. The main reason, LaMarcus Aldridge left them for the Spurs. It’s that or the fact that Nicolas Batum, Robin Lopez, and Wesley Matthews are also gone.
This is a game that even the average NBA fan must circle. The Spurs will visit the Trail Blazers in what will be Aldridge’s first game in Portland as a member of another team. The four-time All-Star had spent his first nine years of his career in Portland.
Will he get booed or will they cheer for him? It’s only right that the crowd cheers when he is introduced as he helped lead the Trail Blazers to five playoff appearances in the last seven seasons. Find out what happens in this nationally televised game on ESPN.
Oh and did I forget to mention that they have one of the best young players in the league in Damian Lillard. Lillard loves to play San Antonio. He has averaged a minimum of 25 points in the season series in each of his three years in the league.
Next: Clippers at Spurs
May 2, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (14) blocks a shot by Los Angeles Clippers forwardBlake Griffin
(32) in the first half of game seven of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
December 18, 2015: Los Angeles Clippers at San Antonio Spurs
Mark your calendars for this one folks! The Los Angeles Clippers are one of the most talented teams in the league. In the offseason they didn’t land an Aldridge type player, but they upgraded their bench significantly. The Clippers added Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith, Wesley Johnson, and Paul Pierce.
All of a sudden the Clippers no longer have to rely on what is at times a one man bench in Jamal Crawford. The Clippers will also no longer have to worry about turning to their bench like in past seasons. Clippers fans will no longer hold their breaths as combinations of Hedo Turkoglu, Glen Davis, and Spencer Hawes won’t be out there.
It’s possible that these teams will also dislike each other by the season’s end. Blake Griffin and Aldridge will matchup now in what should be a battle of two of the elite power forwards in the league. Chris Paul and Tony Parker match-ups never disappoint either. The Spurs do have a significant edge with Kawhi Leonard at small forward, he must capitalize against Pierce.
The game will be televised on ESPN, how can it not be? It will be only the first matchup of three.
Next: Spurs at Rockets
Apr 10, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guardJames Harden
(13) dribbles the ball as San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) defends during the fourth quarter at Toyota Center. The Spurs won 104-103. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
December 25, 2015 (Christmas): San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets
Who likes playoff basketball on Christmas? I know I do. Wait playoffs begin until April. Never mind. The Spurs and Rockets will meet on Christmas in what should be a playoff type matchup. Both teams are from Texas and both have had significant battles in past years.
Spurs fans get to see James Harden, one of the league’s best players and Dwight Howard, a force on the defensive end. Harden will have the Toyota Center amped up. The Rockets got a big piece in the offseason, when they traded for Ty Lawson. Lawson is one of the most underrated players in the league. He has averaged at least 15 points and 6.5 assists in the past four seasons. The last two seasons he has flirted with double digits assists a game. If Lawson plays like he is capable of the Rockets will be a championship contender.
This game will be part of a five game slate on Christmas. Check out the game on ESPN.
Next: Spurs at Warriors
Apr 5, 2015; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) is defended by Golden State Warriors point guardStephen Curry
(30) during the second half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
January 25, 2016: San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors
There aren’t many louder arenas in the league. In fact the Oracle Arena might be the loudest arena in the league and it will be louder on January 25th. Warriors fans know that this can be a preview of the Western Conference Finals. I know Clippers, Thunder, and Rockets fans have something to say about that.
Either way this game will be one to highlight for not only Spurs and Warriors fans, but for everyone that likes the game of basketball. Both teams play the way the game the way it should be taught to be played. The Warriors hoist up threes like a mid major in college and the Spurs play like a team in the 1970’s without many above the rim players.
The Spurs have a big edge down low with Aldridge and Duncan, while the Warriors have it in the perimeter with Klay Thompson and MVP Stephen Curry. Kawhi Leonard will be the x-factor in this matchup for the Spurs. Draymond Green‘s defense on Aldridge will be interesting to see.
Unfortunately the game will be televised on NBATV. This is the first game of four in the season series between the two teams.