Those looking at the NBA spread for San Antonio’s games this week may see the lines affected by injuries, which have hit the Spurs at precisely the wrong time. Future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan is out with an ankle injury, and now Manu Ginobili may be sitting this week because of a leg contusion that he suffered Sunday against Memphis. Combine this with a three-game losing streak heading into games against Portland and Boston this week, some may be jumping off the Spurs’ bandwagon.
The Spurs are only for real if they can get one of these players back. Ginobili is the leading scorer in a very balanced attack, and he also handles the ball so Tony Parker can play the two-guard role to open up his scoring. But Duncan is a bigger loss for the Spurs, literally, because of his size. In the West, the Spurs have to contend with the defending champions from Los Angeles, who are a big team, Oklahoma City picked up Kendrick Perkins, Dallas has Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler roaming the inside, and you also have Portland (LaMarcus Aldridge) and Memphis (Zach Randolph). Without Duncan, the Spurs are left with DeJuan Blair, Matt Bonner and Antonio McDyess, none of whom play over 22 minutes a game. While Duncan isn’t the 20/10 machine he once was, he still has enough savvy in the post to be a factor on both ends of the floor, and they need him in the playoffs.
If the Spurs can hold onto the top spot in the West, that will help a lot because they are 33-3 at home this season. They can manage to get away with losing Ginobili, but the Spurs need Duncan to be 100%, or at least 90%, for the Spurs to have a chance to get out of the wild West.