Celtics: 105.0 points/100 possessions (11th)
Spurs: 106.7 points/100 possessions (8th)
Celtics: 106.3 points allowed/100 possessions (22nd)
Spurs: 101.9 points allowed/100 possessions (9th)
View from the opposing bench: 48 Minutes of Hell
In lieu of our more traditional preview format I have conducted a little Q&A with Andrew McNeil of the great great great Spurs blog 48 Minutes of Hell (to read my responses to his questions along with other great analysis, click here Sometimes we here at CelticsHub like to offer something a little more substantial for some of the bigger games on the schedule. Tonight’s contest would definitely qualify as such.
CelticsHub: Gregg Popovich seemed to really rip into his guys after the Clippers loss Monday night, should we expect an extra feisty effort on Wednesday night as a response? And despite bringing back nearly the entire roster, what changes (both good and bad) stand out the most for this crew this year?
McNeil: It might have been a calculated rip into the team by Pop. The Spurs will be without Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Jackson for at least this six game road trip. As a result, they’ll be missing a lot of toughness, especially on the perimeter. Usually teams respond to strong criticism in the media, and if the Spurs can come out physical without Jack and Kawhi, it could mask some of those deficiencies a bit, by sheer effort if nothing else. It’s hard to really point what the Spurs are doing differently this year. Well, it’s not hard, it’s just tough to say what exactly they’re doing. Zach Lowe had a really good piece on Monday at Grantland about how the Spurs are spending a lot of time tinkering right now. Different lineups, different combos, different styles. So it’s hard to say what to expect on Wednesday night from the Spurs. They’re going to go small, but who knows what exactly that means. We may see more Matt Bonner in some spread-the-floor lineups.
CelticsHub: San Antonio seem to have some excess in the frontcourt again this year. What would the Spurs be looking for in trading DaJuan Blair? Are they just showchasing him now more than anything else?
McNeil: The Spurs want at least a late first round pick for Blair, but I don’t think they’re going to get it. They couldn’t get Golden State to give up the 30th pick in the draft (that the Spurs traded in the Stephen Jackson deal) for Blair. I think there’s a good bet that the Spurs are showcasing Blair right now to drum up some trade interest. And I don’t think Blair minds all that much, he’ll make more money getting traded and signing with another team than he would simply re-signing with the Spurs.
CelticsHub: I always like to compare the continuity the Spurs have had over the past couple years with their roster to Boston during The Big Three Era. The C’s had it for awhile but are experiencing growing pains now with so many new faces. Do you like the Spurs’ moves to bring everyone back this year? Do they match up with the new-look West now or would you have preferred outside help in the offseason?
McNeil: As much as bringing in new blood is fun, especially for someone covering the team, they didn’t have a lot of options for outside help. Based on their cap numbers, San Antonio’s best option was to bring back the same group as last season. That said, they have a lot of good players with affordable contracts, so I fully expect some sort of trade to shake up the rotation at some point this season.
Prediction: Celtics 99, Spurs 95