The San Antonio Spurs had a tough loss over the weekend but have a pretty easy schedule coming up.
Check out the latest news and rumors below.
Spurs Waiting for Injured Players to Return
The Spurs may be one of the deepest teams in the league but are still missing three rotation players–Tiago Splitter, Marco Belinelli, and Patty Mills, none of whom have definite returns listed soon.
Tony Parker addressed not having the players after the close 94-91 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night.
“Definitely, it’s going to be like that for awhile,” he said.
“It’s still a great road trip, 3-1 is still a great one. We wanted to be greedy and wanted to be 4-0 but 3-1 especially with the Clippers going into a back-to-back. It’s tough with back-to-backs for our teams especially with all the injuries. Just have to stay positive and start another series.”
Parker also noted how the team failed to make crucial stops in the last few minutes.
Kawhi Leonard was asked about the extended minutes for the veteran players, a factor because of the three injuries.
“I mean we had two days off between our back-to-backs. I felt like that’s why they played and last night they didn’t play much minutes. So I had a sense that they were going to play tonight,” he said.
“Probably later on as we get into game 30 or 40 he [coach Gregg Popovich] will start sitting the guys or someone tells him something will be bothering them.”
“We ran out of juice a little bit,” Popovich said, reported the San Antonio Express. “A couple of guys were probably tired at the end of the road trip. But everybody goes through that. We had a chance to win the thing and we just didn’t.”
Spurs Missing Splitter
Splitter being out could very well be the biggest reason the Spurs are just 5-4.
Splitter played just 10 minutes in the regular season before being sidelined with a calf injury, and his absence “has only reinforced the notion that Spurs fans have long realized: That Splitter, whose inconsistency and offensive limitations became trademarks of his first few seasons as a Spur, has since become the team’s most unsung weapon and an under-the-radar key to their success,” according to Bleacher Report.
The website says that Splitter is a fantastic passer for a big man, and has also developed several moves in the post so that he can score down low.
But it’s on defense where Splitter makes the real impact.
And without him, the Spurs have only two players–Tim Duncan and Aron Baynes–above 6’11”.
“When it comes to anchoring the team in the post—on both ends—the crop ends at Duncan and Splitter. With Duncan’s health of prime importance, it’s integral that he can receive proper rest and not be pitted against the opposition’s best post player every minute that he’s in. The Spurs need to rely on someone else to do the dirty work. In a manner that nobody else—and I mean, nobody else—can, Splitter has the means to fill that capacity,” the report concluded.
“He has shown that he is capable of making an impact, and with his role boosting his importance, Splitter—for all the obstacles that has faced—will return from injury as a savior of sorts with tools rivaled by few on the roster, and a role that will make him a key to the Spurs’ 2014-15 success as they look to defend the title.”
There’s no timetable for Splitter’s return from injury, but he’s been ruled out against the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday.
Duncan and Parker Both Quiet
A big factor in the Kings loss was bad games from both Duncan and Parker.
“It’s not too often that Tony Parker and Tim Duncan have quiet games on the same night,” noted Air Alamo.
“Duncan finished with 15 points (4-11 fg) and 8 rebounds. Duncan also struggled to contain Cousins, just like the rest of his teammates. Parker had 11 points (5-11 fg) and 6 assists. Expect big nights from the two against Philadelphia on Monday.”
On the other hand, Manu Ginobili had a big game off the bench, finishing with 21 points and 5 assists.