The San Antonio Spurs (38-14) are back home in the AT&T Center as they prepare to host the visiting New Orleans Hornets (14-40) for the final time this season tonight.
The Spurs will have their full roster available tonight, but the Hornets will be missing point guard Jarrett Jack (sore right ankle), who averages 26.5 points and seven assists against the Spurs this season.
The Hornets will still be getting some offense through returning shooting guard Eric Gordon, who will play in his second game since returning from injury. Greivis Vasquez will be starting at point guard while Emeka Okafor and Chris Johnson will also be out with injuries.
In his pregame conversation, head coach Monty Williams discussed why the Spurs are so tough to defeat.
“They play the game the right way,” said Williams, “they carry out their game plan.”
Williams also thinks the Spurs have a legitimate shot at the NBA championship.
“They look like they’re primed to make a run at the title.”
When describing the Spurs’ players, Williams commented on every player on roster and their ability on the court except for Patty Mills and James Anderson. Listening to Williams name player after player who can make an impact on the game tells of what coaches of other teams have to prepare for when facing San Antonio.
Williams was once with the Spurs as an assistant coach, he credits their ability to either find hidden talent (Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili) or mold the talent in individuals (Danny Green) to Popovich, General Manager R.C. Buford, and assistant coach Brett Brown.
“They know what they’re doing,” said Williams on the Spurs’ organization.
Williams also commented on one Spurs player who can easily take over a game, yet he comes off of the bench.
“He’s a model of selflessness,” said Williams of the Spurs’ Ginobili’s role of leading the Spurs’ second unit, when Ginobili is really a starter in the NBA.
And finally, what’s a pregame story without a coach Gregg Popovich quote?
Unfortunately, I was the one to ask the not-so-brilliant question to Pop tonight, I should have rephrased the question a bit better.
I asked Pop if it would be a different game with Eric Gordon playing, and Jarrett Jack sitting, Pop gave me the response I deserved.
“When there’s different people playing, one would say that there’s a different look,” Pop began, “because they’re different people, so they look different. You’re exactly right,” Pop told me, “very incisive, very incisive.”