The San Antonio Spurs are starting this shortened NBA season off right; they are a perfect 5-0 at home and have only lost two games for one of the best winning percentages in the Western Conference.
Things might have just taken a dive for the Spurs, however. Manu Ginobili, who has been the team’s leading scorer, averaging 17.4 points a game, is going to be out for two months after surgery on his broken left hand. Everyone knows that Ginobili is somewhat prone to injuries; last year prior to the playoffs he sprained his elbow. This time, however, is a more detrimental to the team. Manu has been a leader this year, taking over Tim Duncan’s usual role of “as the emotional and offensive centerpiece” of the Spurs.
The Spurs, however, have found ways to win without Ginobili, as they will have to do for an extended period of games. Last night they beat the NBA defending champions-the Dallas Mavericks. The team was well balanced as far as contributions go-Matt Bonner led the way in points with 17, Richard Jefferson had seven rebounds and Tony Parker had eight assists. No where in those category leaders do you see Tim Duncan. As of late, several analysts have mentioned his struggling season so far with lackluster numbers. In Thursday’s victory Duncan had only 10 points and five rebounds in 25 points. Sure, the Spurs were +17 with him on the floor, but in a rising Western Conference with teams such as the Thunder and Clippers developing and only getting better, the Spurs cannot have their experienced veteran contributing only 10 points a game.
The Spurs have been playing well offensively so far this season. They are ranked 7th in the league in points per game and 7th in the league in assists. Their downfall, however, has been their defense; they are fifth in the league in points allowed per game. On Saturday they play the Denver Nuggets, who are also 5-2 and are second in the league in points scored in games. This matchup is sure to be an offensively driven game. It is going to be interesting to see how the Spurs react long term to Ginobili’s absence. His return, however, will come at a crucial time in late February/early March when the playoff picture starts to take shape.
About the Author
Written by Chelsea Curto
Chelsea is a college senior who is majoring in art history and minoring in communications. She plans to become a sports broadcaster. She is a former Division 1 athlete who rowed for a year and a half in college. She enjoys any and all sports, especially basketball. She plans to pursue her education in communication at the graduate school level. Follow her on Twitter: @chelseacurto