|ROCKETS||Kevin Martin 14.0||Luis Scola 6.0||Kyle Lowry 2.0|
The San Antonio Spurs will open their pre-season at home against the Houston Rockets who dropped their pre-season opener, 97-88, in Hidalgo, Texas against the Orlando Magic.
Eight of the Rockets’ rotation players from last season played 20 minutes or more against the Magic, including four of their starters. Yao Ming is the only starter who played under 20 minutes. He logged in 12 minutes, scored 3 points and grabbed 3 rebounds with the Rockets closely monitoring his playing time.
The Spurs on the other hand could give more playing time to their young players and camp hopefuls. With Tiago Splitter, Richard Jefferson and Garrett Temple out with injuries, DeJuan Blair, George Hill and James Anderson might see a lot of time on the court.
It will also be interesting to see who will the Spurs use at small forward. Expect Alonzo Gee, Bobby Simmons and James Gist to battle it out for that spot. The Spurs’ starters, especially their ‘Big Three’ will probably be given limited playing time.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Offense: The Spurs have been evaluating players with specific offensive abilities this offseason namely shooting. It will be exciting to see how Gary Neal, Kirk Penney will look on the floor and if they can nail the outside shot consistently.
With their shortened frontcourt rotation, the Spurs should rely more on their backcourt and wing players to get the job done on offense. Hill maybe the team’s floor leader in this preseason game, but this is a good opportunity for Anderson, Neal, Penney and Gee to showcase some of their scoring talents.
Defense:The Rockets backcourt of Martin, Aaron Brooks and Courtney Lee matchup well with the Spurs. It will be key for the Spurs to limit Houston’s inside threat of Luis Scola and Ming.
Offense: Martin and Brooks can both score on any given night but with the Spurs’ frontcourt cut short, expect Scola, Jordan Hill and Ming get the ball often.
Defense: With Splitter out and Duncan probably playing limited minutes, the Rockets can focus on stopping Hill, Anderson, Penney and Gee on the offensive end.
Tiago Splitter – strained right plantaris muscle. Richard Jefferson – sprained ankle. Garrett Temple – sprained ankle.
Since this is a just preseason game both teams will use it to have a closer look at their camp hopefuls.