What to watch: Spurs vs. Heat in second game of 2015 preseason
The San Antonio Spurs will hit the court for their second game of the 2015 preseason on Monday night, battling the Miami Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET, and you should be watching for a couple storylines once the ball is thrown into the air.
First Look at LaMarcus Aldridge Next to the Core
LaMarcus Aldridge tallied eight points and showed encouraging signs during his Spurs debut, but the most important initial takeaways are reserved for Monday.
First points in Silver & Black for @aldridge_12 https://t.co/gBifaCtPpu
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) October 9, 2015
None of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw even made the trip to open the preseason against the Sacramento Kings. However, each player is expected to suit up opposite Miami, so Aldridge will play alongside San Antonio’s core—Duncan and Parker specifically—for the first time in a game situation.
Dominance is not expected while Aldridge and the Spurs adapt to each other, but more steps in the right direction would be a welcomed result for the first full-strength preseason game.
Battle for the 15th Roster Spot
Though six players are competing for the final spot on the 2015-16 roster, veteran Rasual Butler is off to a better start than the youth. He scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds in just 15 minutes of action.
Per Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News, Butler understands he has a tougher road to the roster than other players:
"“Some of us have to work a little harder, and you have to be OK with that. You have to pick your lunch pail up and go to work if this is what you love do to.”"
Jimmer Fredette, who missed all four shots and both three-pointers in his Spurs debut, and incumbent reserve Reggie Williams are also working for No. 15. Will they bounce back from unassuming performances? Or will Butler put a little more space between himself, Fredette and Williams?
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How the Bench Defends Justise Winslow
Be excited about Aldridge and his first outing with Duncan, Parker and Co. However, don’t expect them to play more than 15-20 minutes total, let alone together.
Once the veterans are done for the night, the reserves will take center stage—and Miami rookie Justise Winslow is a perfect antagonist. The 10th overall pick of the 2015 NBA draft, Winslow is establishing himself in the rotation and should receive 20 minutes of action.
How the Spurs defend him will provide both a benchmark for the rookie and some valuable insight into how well the reserves at shooting guard and small forward can handle a player of Winslow’s athleticism and potential.