"Playoff Perspective" provides a look at the Rockets' possible playoff opponents from the opposing blogger's point of view. Each team, from Dallas to LA (as the chances of us playing Phoenix aren't very probable), will be represented. On today's edition, AaronStampler of the SBN San Antonio Spurs blog Pounding the Rock gives us his take on a Rockets-Spurs first round match up
What advantages do you think the Spurs would have over the Rockets in a playoff series?
I would think the Spurs' two main advantages would be scoring depth and experience. We tend to not think of the Spurs as an offensive team, but that is mainly due to the pace they play and not their proficiency at putting the ball in the hoop. Obviously their big three all have a history of kicking it up a notch in the playoffs (playing more minutes doesn't hurt), but also guys like Mason, Bonner, Finley, even Gooden can all go for 15 or so on any given night and can all knock down open shots. The match-up that really hurts the Rockets is Parker. They don't have anyone who can check him and if they pack the lane against him they have to hope that A) his jumper won't fall and B) neither will the jumpers of all the guys he'll kick it out to for open looks. Frenchie has a long and proud history of dominating first round series, so that won't be very pleasant for you.
Also, and I know this sounds like some cliche ESPN talking head thing, but until the Rockets win a series with Yao, you can't, at this point, take them too seriously. They just haven't been able to get over the hump. I like Yao, I love Scola (still a sore point for Spurs fans), but I think ultimately that Artest will shoot you out of most games and will do more harm than good.
If Yao avoids foul trouble, he should be able to score consistently on us, we're not the kind of physical, banging team that will intimidate him or put him in foul trouble. Rebounding will be a problem for us against Houston because Bonner is weak and Scola will have him for lunch. I don't know how much Pop will trust Drew Gooden. He can board, but can be had on the pick and roll all day. The Rox also have not one but two guys who can make life difficult for Ginobili in Artest and Battier, and a bunch of guys like Hayes to throw at Duncan.
Would home court advantage affect your chances greatly, marginally, or not at all?
No, I doubt it. When I think of teams that have rabid fans and intimidating home courts, I don't think of the Houston Rockets. And Spurs fans have become so spoiled that they don't even start cheering until the fourth quarter or unless Manu does something.
Compared to the other possible match ups, how confident would you be in your team if they faced the Rockets in the first round?
I probably have no reason to be as confident as I am, and I'm probably living in some fantasy world where the Spurs are actually still you know "good," but I have full confidence in the Spurs against anyone in the West besides LA. Besides them Utah worries me a bit. I think my favorite matchup would be the always-ready-to-implode Nuggets.
Want to know more about the Spurs? Head over to Pounding the Rock.