Annnnnnd, we’re back! After a much-needed a few days off, the Spurs (and Wayne and I) are back on the schedule and the Spurs are on the road in Sacramento. I have to say that All-Star Weekend only stoked my desire for the last half of the season. I found myself wishing there was a Spurs game on last night. There are only 28 games left in the regular season and Wayne’s preseason prediction of getting to 60 wins will look really solid if they finish the RRT strong.
1. Song of the Game: Best Coast, “The Best Place”
I do not like this band, particularly. But this song is greatness, even if I don’t feel as strongly about California as Beth does. Granted, I have not spent much time in California, but the one place I have been on multiple occasions is Sacramento. It’s portrayed as a cow-town, amongst all of the star places in Cally. My experience though, is that it’s a really fun place. It’s pretty – although not in a Malibu-kind of way – with a nice downtown area and lots of good places to eat. Basketball-wise, the fan base for the Kings over the years has been fantastic. While I love the idea of a team playing in Seattle again, I hope it’s not at the expense of the Kings. Please, take the Bucks or the Bobcats, but not the Kings.
2. Who Has to Be Stopped: Boogie
I’m not entirely sure I’d be down with being a grown man and still have my childhood nickname, especially if it was Boogie. But Cousins, when he’s motivated and willing to play, is a man. It will be interesting to see who Pop puts on him: Duncan or Splitter to begin, but there will be some Diaw in there too. I’d love to see if Baynes has the foot speed to stay in front of his drive.
3. Who Has to Go Off: Splitter/Diaw
All of the Boogie-praise aside, Cousins has had stretches of looking completely lost on defense (in fact, the entire Kings roster has that, so maybe it’s not a Cousins thing). I think the Spurs can pick and roll this team to death, with Splitter going to the basket without a secondary shot blocker and Diaw drawing a defender for the pass to the corner. With Pop probably working Tim and Manu in slowly, I expect heavy doses of the high screen tonight.
4. And the Crystal Ball Says….: Spurs, 113; Kings, 108
Both teams can score and play at a brisk pace (7th and 9th in pace stats, respectively), so I expect a big number. Also, this is a team that the Spurs have had difficulties with over the past few years. Tyreke Evans is a tough cover for any of the Spurs and I think he’s better now with Isaiah Thomas taking over the point. With Cousins and a few bangers on the boards, they’ll give the Spurs fits tonight on the glass and then run like crazy on every rebound.
5. I’m Wrong If….: ASW Hangover
If the Spurs ASW contingent is out of gas from the festivities, it may be a long night. Only Isaiah Thomas from the Kings participated, meaning the Kings are rested and ready. I would not be surprised to see Tony and Tim be sluggish, at least to start the game.
6. Odds and Ends
Greatly enjoyed seeing Bonner in the 3-Point Shootout on Saturday. The Larry Bird mustache was a nice touch. While you may not think much of his performance in the final round, keep two things in mind: first, his score of 20 would have won the event numerous times over the past 10 years; and second, no one was beating Kyrie. Period.
The SA E-N guys are reporting that Jack is back with team. Still no word on why he was absent from the last few games pre-All-Star break, but it’s good to have him back. I hope his play in the second half of the season is better than the first. For what it’s worth, there are no injuries listed for the Spurs tonight.