How many remember the horrible finish to the San Antonio Spurs season last year, where Manu Ginobili was injured in the final game, and then the Spurs bowed out to the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs? Ya, it was not a pretty site as the Spurs were beaten handily by the Grizzlies.
This season, head coach Gregg Popovich is taking a different approach. The Big Three of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker are not playing as much as last season. “Pops” is also not afraid to lose games if it means the Spurs are going to be healthy, even if they are marquee games on prime time television.
Case in point: last night against the Utah Jazz, Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker did not see the floor at all. The Spurs eleven game win streak ended, but Popovich does not care about that either. He is going for a healthy Spurs squad come playoff time; a squad that could make a splash in the playoffs.
San Antonio has the bench and stars to compete with every single team in the league. They have blown out the Oklahoma City Thunder twice, hung in against the Chicago Bulls without Ginobili, and taken the Los Angeles ‘Lob City’ Clippers to school.
We will find out more about the Spurs in the next few weeks, as they are supposed to take on the other LA team, the Los Angles Lakers three times before the end of the season. TNT, who is broadcasting the second game on April 17 will probably have a vendetta against Popovich on that day, as the Spurs are in their second game of three games in three days. I doubt Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker will play much.
As I said though, Popovich is not trying to get the first seed in the playoffs; he just wants a healthy squad when they arrive.
Follow Paul Troupe on Twitter @gamin4HIM