The tough early schedule for the Spurs continues tonight with a visit from the undefeated Knicks. Are the Knicks the best team in the league? Probably not. Are they really good? Sure looks like it.
Tonight’s game should be another good test for our guys and I expect it to be a really tough game.
1. Sustenance & Song: Megg’s Cafe & Meat Loaf
Circumstances dictated that I spent most of the last two weeks in Temple, TX every morning, which is a one hour drive from my house. Luckily for me, I am aware of Megg’s Cafe. I ate Megg’s 14 times in an 11 day stretch. This tells you two things. One, I really like Megg’s. Two, I didn’t like my other options.
If you ever find yourself in Temple and in need of food. Go to Megg’s. Period. Don’t even think about going anywhere else. This isn’t greasy diner food. It’s top-notch right-off-of-the-food-channel type food.
Also in the last two weeks, I have listened to a lot of Meat Loaf. You remember him, right? Late ’70s one-album wonder guy who was doing some campaigning with Romney? Well, “Bat Out Of Hell” (released in 1977) is an amazing start-to-finish album not designed for radio play (3 of the 7 songs top 9 minutes) and a true masterpiece. I say that in all sincerity. It is masterful. It totally nails the melodramatic teen sex tension and combines it with some truly fantastic music. No 3-minute pop songs here. “Paradise By The Dashboard Light” is probably the best known, but I think the opening track really sets a great tone for the album. “Bat Out Of Hell” gives you a little bit of everything that is to follow. The album track is what I have a link to. Check out the live version to get a sense of his very dramatic presentation. It’s pretty over the top. I’d link to it, but the sound quality of the recording is brutal. For better and for worse, they don’t make ’em like this any more.
2. Key Match Up: Kawhi Leonard vs Carmelo Anthony
I’m really interested to see how Pop defends Carmelo. Carmelo has been starting as the PF and I don’t think Pop will want to put Diaw on him. I could see Pop starting Captain Jack this game. If he’ll start Splitter to match with the Lakers, I could see him starting small to match with the Knicks. Either way, I expect a lot of Kawhi on Carmelo.
Will Kawhi be able to cause trouble for Carmelo in the low block? If Kawhi can push Carmelo outside, I think Pop will be content to let Carmelo shoot from the outside all night and not let the other Knicks get involved. I could also see Pop using Kawhi to deny Carmelo as soon as he gets across half court and trying to force the Knicks to run their offense through somebody else.
3. Keeping An Eye On: Rotations
The Knicks play fairly small and Pop has shown that he likes to play small as well. I expect the Spurs to play a lot of Kawhi and Jack at the 4. It will be interesting to see who Pop plays at the 1-3 when they are at the 4. The Spurs are deep in the back court and can bring a hell of a lot of firepower on the floor. Keep an eye out for a back court Mills and Neal and Manu all playing at the same time.
4. Bold Prediction: Spurs By 5
I think it will be a really good game with both teams going on mini-runs, but I think the Spurs will pull this one out late with a couple of big buckets from the usual suspects.
Odds and Ends
I’d like to see if Tiago can start putting together a string of productive games. He was amazing against the Lakers. His effort created points and possessions for the Spurs that they haven’t been getting from their bigs much this year. Hopefully, Tiago sees this as his calling on the team.
Where has Matt Bonner gone? At this point, I expect the Spurs to not dress him occasionally for Cory Joseph. If Matt continues to slide to the end of the bench and not receive playing time, I’d look for him to get moved around the trade deadline. He still has a useful skill set, he’s smart, and he has a very friendly contract for next year (only $1M guaranteed).
Did you know that Kawhi Leonard leads the team in +/- and that it isn’t even close?