The San Antonio Spurs will look to spoil the return of a few familiar faces Monday as they try to rebound from a loss on the road to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
San Antonio has been on fire since a December 7th win over the Los Angeles Lakers kicked off a five week stretch of excellent team-oriented basketball. Though the Spurs have lost two of their last three games, they’ll have a great opportunity to come away with a victory when the Charlotte Hornets visit the AT&T Center.
While this matchup holds little relevance in the grand scheme of things, the return of Tony Parker and head coach James Borrego will surely make this one sentimental for San Antonio’s faithful fanbase. The six-time All-Star and former Spurs assistant coach helped lead the Alamo City to four NBA titles and their contributions won’t soon be forgotten.
Kawhi Leonard was met with a shower of boos from a hostile Spurs crowd earlier this month, but the Frenchman’s homecoming should be more along the lines of Danny Green’s warm reception. Parker deserves a hero’s welcome and I’m sure San Antonio will give him nothing short of a standing ovation.
Charlotte is currently clinging on to the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff seed by the skin of their teeth. Despite a legitimate shot to make the postseason, their 19-23 record is more indicative of their lackluster performance this season.
The cheers for Danny Green's return to San Antonio QUICKLY turned to boos for Kawhi Leonard ? pic.twitter.com/Oj7C9AhlTD
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 4, 2019
Kemba Walker is as dangerous a scorer as the league has to offer, but the Hornets lack the high-end talent to compliment the talented point guard. Charlotte relies heavily on Walker to carry the offense and containing the two-time All-Star is the Spurs’ best bet to win the game.
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As for the good guys, San Antonio should continue to strive for a balanced attack. LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan should obviously be a huge part of the gameplan, but the Spurs function best when everyone gets involved on offense.
Beautiful ball movement and gritty team defense have helped the Spurs climb the standings, and they shouldn’t shy away from what’s working for them. Although I wouldn’t be upset if they traded in a few midrange jumpers for more efficient shots, San Antonio hasn’t exactly been hurt by their outdated shot selection.
Coach Pop and the Spurs haven’t taken to the three-point movement quite like the rest of the league, but they’ve still managed to use the long-ball to their advantage. While the Silver and Black attempt the fewest three-pointers in the NBA, they also lead the league in three-point percentage.
The Spurs may not take many threes, but they make teams pay for leaving their sharpshooters open. San Antonio has six players shooting above 38% from downtown this season and stretching the floor allows their midrange specialist room to work with.
The emergence of Derrick White has also forced the defense to stay honest. The crafty combo-guard endured a shaky start to his second season but has since come on strong for the Spurs.
Derrick White has been stuffing the stat sheet. Here’s a quick look at his numbers over his last nine outings.
— Noah Magaro-George (@N_Magaro) January 14, 2019
Rudy Gay has missed several games due to injury and White has stepped up to fill the void left by his absence. Derrick hasn’t just increased his production on offense, he’s absolutely locked down on the defensive end of the floor too.
DERRICK WHITE CLUTCH BLOCK! https://t.co/lUk8VgBc7C
— Matchup Brasil ?? (@MatchupBR) January 11, 2019
Bryn Forbes looked like a serious candidate for Most Improved Player of the Year, but now it seems that San Antonio might have two nominees for the prestigious award. White has scored at least 10 points in eight of his last nine games and should be a threat to do so again on Monday night.
The Hornets have lost three straight contests and the Spurs should be able to extend Charlotte’s losing streak with ease. Both squads reside in similar spots in their respective conferences, but San Antonio has a clear edge.
The Spurs will hit the road again after this one and a win at home could spell some much-needed momentum as the boys travel to Dallas. Luka Doncic has the Mavericks playing competitive basketball on a nightly basis and they won’t be so quick to roll over for a divisional rival.
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Viewing details for the game are below:
Date: Monday, Jan. 14Time: 7:30 p.m. CSTLocation: San Antonio, TXVenue: AT&T CenterTV Info: FSSW-SA, FSSE-CHALive Stream: FuboTV