For a team with an older core barely limping into the playoffs with a banged up roster, rest between playoff games is about the best thing you can ask for.
After a physical Game 1 on Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Spurs’ elder statesmen were likely pleased to hear that their next game wouldn’t come until tonight, providing two full days of rest to heal their ailing bodies.
Tim Duncan, I’m sure, is glad he had an extra day of rest before he goes to battle against Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol tonight in the AT&T Center.
For Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who has had to deal with his team being fined after resting players early this season, and has had to manage minutes along with more than a handful of injuries, he chalked it up to being lucky.
"It's a lucky break for us to have that schedule without a doubt. But, you still have to take advantage of it,” Popovich said after Sunday night’s win. “It's easy to react to a loss, so they'll (Lakers) come back and play even better. I want to see how we react to a win."
Things like luck and rest can often come back and haunt you. Even in the craziest, luckiest Vegas craps games, when everyone’s chip stacks are piled high, that dastardly seven can come out just as you’ve doubled down on six and eight. Extended rest for some can be a godsend, but it can also be a cause for concern and a way of losing momentum and focus. Even a veteran, championship-laden team like the Spurs have had their pitfalls after extended rest.
As Popovich said, the Spurs should’ve taken advantage of that rest and seen it as an opportunity to heal while staying focused. How the Spurs react several days after a win will tell Popovich and silver and black nation exactly what mindset this team has and how the rest of the series could play out.
Losing can almost always be the biggest motivator, so the Spurs will have to make Sunday’s win a distant memory, and look to start all over again tonight and match the Lakers’ energy and intensity.
For the Spurs’ sake, let’s hope six and eight keep hitting tonight.