The San Antonio Spurs moved to the top of the Western Conference standings with their win on Monday night over the Golden State Warriors, but it won't be easy to stay atop the standings. Tim Duncan and the rest of the Spurs are in lovely California to face the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night as two of the top teams in the Western Conference face off in a battle of title contenders.
The lineups could be quite intriguing on Tuesday night, however, considering Kobe Bryant is likely going to miss a sixth straight game for the Lakers whereas the Spurs are liable to do crazy things with their roster every night. For instance, a healthy Tim Duncan didn't even play a full quarter of action in Monday night's win while Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili played less than 30 minutes combined.
Knowing all of that, it'll be interesting to see what Monday night's game is going to mean to the coaches when the two teams take the court at 10:30 p.m. ET in a game scheduled to be televised as the second half of a TNT doubleheader. There's a chance it could be a great game as both teams try to gear up for the playoffs against tough competition... or there's a chance Gregg Popovich continues to rest his important players while Mike Brown tells his guys to take it easy so he doesn't have to worry about waiting for anyone but the Black Mamba to heal up.
Our friends over at Pounding the Rock believe that it'll be a hotly-contested matchup, though, saying the Spurs need to win for the good of all
mankind of the Western Conference.
The Spurs need to win this game for the Western Conference, which cannot handle a focused and rejuvenated Lakers team. For most of the season LA has been playing beneath their potential as age and inconsistent effort has held them back. There's no Kobe again tonight, which for Spurs fans is a mixed blessing. As Kobe's been out these last five games, two players in particular have gone from inconsistent to stellar in Andrew Bynum and Metta World Peace. Bynum's averaging 16.6 rebounds a game in that span while World Peace's average line is something like 7/13 FG, 2/3 FT. It's sensible to be skeptical of World Peace's resurgence and worried about Bynum's, but the end result is the court is opened up for everyone else.
It'll be interesting to see if Popovich is thinking along those same lines.