This week San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker and Tim Duncan were selected to the NBA’s Mid-Winter Classic in Houston with coach Gregg Popovich more than likely to coach the West All-Stars.
While it will be great way to cap the first half of the season, the team needs to make sure everyone makes it to the All-Star Break healthy and prepared for the remainder of the season.
If last season’s playoff run taught us, is the bench must be ready at all times to pick up or maintain the pace the starters establish. The frustration level kept on climbing in last season’s playoff series versus the Thunder. You would see the starters giving it all they had to build a lead or erase a deficit, only to have the bench, which came up big in the regular season, not knock down the shots or make the stops.
With head Popovich’s establish patterns of saving the “Big 3” during back-to-back games or games where things have gotten out of hand, one option would be to have the bench play big minutes during crunch time. That way, the bench logs critical end-of-game minutes and experience hitting momentum-shifting shots.
In the past, Pop has been known to treat end-of-season games, with playoff positioning decided, just like pre-season games. At times, the Spurs had lackluster starts during the playoff’s opening series. Playing the starters a little bit will help them keep their edge and keep them in game shape as opposed to working themselves back in to a groove.