NBA Regular Season 2012-2013, Game 69:
Utah Jazz (34-32) @ San Antonio Spurs (52-16)
Time to bring out your best Eva Longoria jokes, Parker is back!
The big news of the day is that the Spurs will have Tony Parker back tonight, his first game after injury. He missed 16 games, where the Spurs still scraped away and went 12-4. They had wins against the Los Angeles Clippers (road) and Oklahoma City Thunder (home) during that stretch, two very impressive wins. They lost to the Golden State Warriors (in OT on the road), Phoenix Suns (in OT), the Portland Trail Blazers, and the Minnesota Timberwolves. They did not win EVERY game, but going 12-4 without their best player (this season he has been), that's still really good.
Having Parker back means that we know who'll be beating us in the pick and roll, so he at least removes that level of uncertainty (would it be Patrick Mills killing us, or Cory Joseph, or Gary Neal, or Nando De Colo?) -- so it's the small victories I guess. This season Parker has been averaging 21.0 ppg (53.3 fg%, 37.9 3pt%, 4.9 FTA/gm), along with 7.6 apg, 3.1 rpg, and 0.9 spg. That's all superior to what we've been giving up over the last 20 games on average at the opp PG spot. He is always hard to handle, and even when injured, I would expect his quickness to be hard to corral. For his career he has averaged 18.0 ppg and 5.4 apg against us in 38 regular season games. It'll be fun to see how much Gregg Popovich actually lets him play though.
Beyond Parker, the Spurs are still the Spurs that we know very, very well. They are #2 in eFG% as a team in the entire NBA, they are #4 in PPG, they rarely send the other team to the FT line, and are #6 in DRB%. They play a smart, disciplined game and we were one great Mo Williams shot away from being winless against them since that one game Pop threw last season.
Over all the Jazz are 74-91 against the Spurs in franchise history. We're only 20-63 against them in their gym. *cough cough* That was like their record that season when they
tanked strategized to get Tim Duncan. *cough cough*
We're in a tail spin right now, and in the middle of a hard road trip. But we can't possibly LOSE all of our games. We have to start playing with more passion and heart. We have the players. We're all healthy. We're just not playing as a team right now, particularly on defense. The Spurs specialize in making teams look silly on defense. So tonight doesn't look so good -- but we weren't supposed to win all those games against the Lakers in their gym over the last 2 years. If we work hard we can compete and have a chance to break the spell in San Antone.
Well. We'll see. I expect the Jazz to have a good second quarter, I can't predict how we'll start. But I really hope they show some heart tonight.