5 Important Early Games On San Antonio Spurs 2014-15 Schedule

+Read full article

San Antonio Spurs 2014-15 Schedule: 5 Important Early Games

Tim Duncan
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The mission for the San Antonio Spurs was clear last year. They wanted redemption in the NBA Finals and they got it. Now, many are doubting that San Antonio has the motivation to repeat this season. Whether the same fiery focus exists within the group has yet to be seen, but we will know early on. These five teams are sure to put the Spurs to the test, so let's check out the five early big games of this year.

5. Los Angeles Clippers (Game 6)

Blake Griffin
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

5. Los Angeles Clippers (Game 6)

Blake Griffin Copy
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the Donald Sterling saga behind them, the Clippers are focused on their rise in the West. The Spurs will get "Lob City" and all the athleticism that comes with them. It will be a good opportunity to see what those aging legs can do as they guard the likes of Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford and Blake Griffin.

4. Houston Rockets (Game 4)

James Harden
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

4. Houston Rockets (Game 4)

James Harden Copy
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Spurs had a grand total of zero wins against the Houston Rockets last season. San Antonio wasn't at full strength for most of these games as they dealt with various injuries, and the Rockets were there to take advantage. James Harden and Dwight Howard will look to continue the domination of their interstate competition as they host the NBA champions. The Spurs can send a message that this year is different -- for everyone.

3. Golden State Warriors (Game 7)

Stephen Curry Copy
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

3. Golden State Warriors (Game 7)

Stephen Curry
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With a new head coach and hopefully a new direction, the Golden State Warriors' offense is primed to do what they do best which is score. This will be a good marker for the Spurs' defense as they start the season. They will have to quell the shooting attack of "Splash Bros." Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

2. Dallas Mavericks (Opening Night)

Tony Parker
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

2. Dallas Mavericks (Opening Night)

Tony Parker Copy
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

There is no love lost between these two teams. The Dallas Mavericks and the Spurs met in a fierce seven-game battle in the opening round of the playoffs last year. With Tyson Chandler returning to the Mavs, the Spurs will see a slightly different team that is better than the one they saw in the playoffs. This will be a gut-check, grind it out game for the Spurs.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers (Game 11)

LeBron James
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

1. Cleveland Cavaliers (Game 11)

LeBron James Copy
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

This possible preview of the NBA Finals will be an early season glimpse into the mindset of the Spurs. The Cleveland Cavaliers will bring all their new toys out to play as they host the champions. LeBron James has this game marked after the way his season ended last year, so this will definitely be the biggest early test for the Spurs mentally and physically.