We have long passed the point in the season where the games themselves were of primary interest, and considerations like overall record, possible playoff seeding, tiebreakers, "messages sent", injuries, and whatnot, were of much lesser importance. As the 81st game of the season is now concluded, those considerations are completely flipped. What's important now, almost entirely so, are implications for the playoffs, and perhaps just as important, team health.
San Antonio came to town for the last home game of the Rockets regular season winner of 62(!) previous contests, but losers of
three four straight matchups to the Rockets. Put another way, 21% of San Antonio's total losses are to the Rockets. Despite clinching the pole position for the Western Conference, the Spurs decided to play some starters tonight early and rest them late.
Apparently had a very long shoot around today as well. Perhaps they're trying to keep their playing rhythms, perhaps they were trying to salvage the season series somewhat against Houston, in a sort of half-hearted way. In any case, it wasn't the Spurs bench that largely suited up to start the game, though there were some key Spurs resting. As it turned out, the San Antonio bench played almost the whole 4th quarter.
That Spurs bench was excellent, and the Rockets bench was grody. Despite the Rockets leading most of the game, the Spurs bench brigade came back and nearly won the game. Only a late push from the Houston starters, put back into the game around 8 minutes left in the 4th, restored order. With the starters the Rockets were able to prevail against Boris Diaw dropping dimes off drives, and Marco Belinelli "Flouncin' & Flingin' '" and the Spurs either making a layup, or an awful mid-long range jumper. It's also a marvel that San Antonio actually has a player more annoying than Belinelli, What are the odds?
SO WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS ALREADY?
- Home court advantage for the upcoming series with Portland.
- Starters can rest against the Pelicans on Wednesday.
- No one got hurt.
- Dwight Howard and Patrick Beverley got to shake off a bit more rust.
So, all ye doubters, that's a minimum of 54 wins for the 3rd youngest team in the NBA.
If you like, you can spend your time Pounding The Rock, its a sin, but you have free will.