When: 7 p.m. EST
Where: Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC
TV: Fox Sports Southeast and NBA TV (TV), WFNZ 610 AM (radio)
Holy wow. Remember when the Hornets came out flat and got run on their own floor by the Denver Nuggets? Sorry for bringing that up again, but tonight better be a different Charlotte team. The loss hurts, but at this point in the season they all seem pretty significant. Currently, the Hornets are sitting in the sixth seed, three games ahead of the Indian Pacers who are the seventh seed right now.
Have you heard of the San Antonio Spurs? No? Well, that means you hate basketball and stumbled across At The Hive while trying to find an effective can of Raid for the nasty buggers flying around the outside of your house, trying to sting your eyes.
Seriously, if you thought what you just read is ridiculous, think about the Spurs. They are having one of the best season in the history of basketball and just held home court by defeating the Golden State Warriors. You've heard of them at least, right?
The Spurs are the greatest basketball team on earth. Watching them is poetry come to life. San Antonio forward Tim Duncan is a living legend, as is head coach Gregg Popovich. It feels right to say that no one reading this will live to see another pairing quite like Timmy and Pop. And then there's the rest of that team, which runs almost comically deep with Danny Green, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, LaMarcus Aldridge, David West and the phenomenal Kawhi Leonard.
Pop runs his team purely on a minutes economy. That means, if the game isn't a must win or in the playoffs, he will carefully manage how many minutes his players spend running around the court. Coming off a big showdown with the Warriors on Saturday night, then having to travel to Charlotte, it is entirely possible that Popovich will rest some combination of Duncan, Parker and Ginobli. Again, that still means West, Aldridge, Leonard, and Green are available. And of course, they have the human cappuccino machine Boris Diaw, Andre Miller, Kevin Martin, Kyle Anderson, and Patty Mills. Reminder: this team is ridiculously deep. (Edit: since the time of writing, Boban Marjanovic and Jonathon Simmons have been sent to the Spur D-League affiliate)
The Hornets are no slouch, either. Steve Clifford has done a great job with this Charlotte squad. If Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum, and Marvin Williams all come out fired up and focused, they can give anyone a hard time. They'll need to bring their "A" game and get some help from the rest of this roster. If Courtney Lee, Troy Daniels and Frank Kaminsky can be positive factors, they game can be close. Al Jefferson will have his hands full, but should be able to make an impact.
Biggest question mark might be Jeremy Lin. If he takes smart shots and stays in control of his body instead of getting ahead of himself, he can stabilize the team while the first team backcourt gets some rest. When he is focused and calm, he can help reduce turnovers and hit a few important shots. And turnovers are always a theme. The Spurs take great care of the ball and love to punish mistakes with their seemingly insatiable defense and unrelenting ball movement on offense.
Win or lose, the Spurs are sight to behold, so let's hope for a win since the Hornets need to roll into their road trip on the heels of a strong performance.