After two weeks of play, San Antonio remains tied for first place in the division with the Houston Rockets, although the Spurs got last week off on the wrong foot. Last Tuesday, the boys in black traveled up the road to face the rival Rockets, and couldn’t come up with the win. The Spurs did have a four game winning streak at Houston’s home arena before the loss.
In the game, Tim Duncan was no match for Yao Ming, as the Rocket’s center put up 28 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 blocks. Duncan had an uncharacteristically off-night, only managing 14 points (on 5-15 shooting) with 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks, but he also had 5 turnovers. San Antonio did play well in the contest, shooting over 46% from the field, and making 37% of their 3-pointers, but Houston was just a little better, getting good play from bench players, Bonzi Wells, 14 points, and Mike James, who had 13. Aside from Manu Ginobili’s stellar 23-point game, San Antonio’s bench only managed 9 points.
The following night, San Antonio was back at home as the struggling Heat came to town. Playing without Dwayne Wade, the Heat were no match for the Spurs, who were led by Parker’s 23 points and Ginobili’s 25. Tim Duncan continued to underwhelm, scoring 12 points and pulling down 8 rebounds. San Antonio’s bench played well, with Francisco Elson chipping in 12 points, and corralling 14 rebounds in 36 minutes of action. Shaquille O’Neal scored 17 points, but only managed 3 rebounds for the lowly Heat.
New Orleans had started the season off strong, and were tied with Houston and San Antonio for first place during the first week, so Thursday’s game was an important one. Tony Parker certainly realized the importance of the game, as he poured in 27 points and dished out 8 assists. Tim Duncan finally found his stroke as well, scoring 24 points on 11-14 shooting, while grabbing 12 rebounds. He also had 4 blocks. The Hornets made a run at the end of the game, but it was too little, too late. The Spurs moved on with the final score of 97-85, giving New Orleans its second straight loss.
Currently, the Spurs are tied for first in the division with Houston, at 6-1. New Orleans and Dallas are close behind, while Memphis struggles along with only one win. Duncan has had a few nights where he hasn’t looked quite like the all-star that everyone knows he is, but the Spurs have still managed to keep rolling. Ginobili continues to be a demon off the bench, and any questions about Tony Parker being too tired after playing for the French National Team during the off-season have been put to rest. The speedy Frenchman has been playing lights-out and is averaging over 20 points per game, 37 minutes, and almost 6 assists.