The San Antonio Spurs closed out their series against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night. This earns the team more than a week long rest until their opponent is decided between the Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors.
This long rest may be beneficial for the Spurs to rest up nagging injuries like Tony Parker's ankle, neck, and whatever else is ailing him. This will also give Tiago Splitter and Boris Diaw an opportunity to possibly come back to the team to give it depth so the main rotation won't be averaging 35 or more minutes per game the next game.
The rest may worrisome with the Spurs coming in with momentum after a series sweep against the Lakers. With a week off against competition, the Spurs are in danger of losing the momentum they've desperately needed after finishing off the regular season in a poor fashion. This isn't the only factor either. The opponents for the silver and black play a huge role in this also. The Denver Nuggets were the favorites to win the series against the Golden State Warriors and may carry this series to seven games.
If the Nuggets prevail, they're not entirely banged up except for Kenneth Faried and his ailing ankle. Denver may present a huge problem against San Antonio with their athleticism, especially if the Spurs don't come out with energy early on and that may be expected with a long rest. The Warriors present a completely polar opposite situation for the Spurs.
If Golden State prevails in the series, San Antonio is going to have a matchup against a banged up Stephen Curry and a team that's playing without their double-double machine in David Lee. The Spurs' inside game will play a huge factor and by that I mean Tim Duncan.
Duncan dominated the Lakers' frontcourt who had two centers playing together and helping each other throughout the series. Duncan would face a smaller lineup and Andrew Bogut, who would bury the team's hopes of winning the series if he gets into foul trouble. Tony Parker's inside game would thrive without bigs for Golden State as opposed to Denver.
Now that the series is going to at least six games, the Spurs will have a week off before their earliest possible game on Monday. Coach Popovich will have the difficult task of keeping the team fresh and motivated while not wearing them out before the second round starts. The Spurs will find out Thursday if the series ends and who they'll be playing.
They can't afford to come out rusty, especially against an energetic Denver Nuggets team while they will be able to get away with it against the Golden State Warriors. The difference between the two teams is possibly a 6-7 game series with the Nuggets to a very possible sweep with the Warriors. This will all depend how the Spurs come out of this week long hiatus.
This could be a huge blessing for the San Antonio Spurs in much needed rest or a horrible curse in becoming rusty at the worst possible time.