spurs may want the six seed

there’s an interesting article on espn.com by andrew ayres today about the various playoff scenarios in the west depending on tonight’s results. he argues that gregg popovich faces a tough decision about playing manu ginobili tonight instead of resting his groin, because if the spurs lose to utah, they fall from the three seed, with home-court advantage in the opening round to, likely, the six seed, and forced to open against utah, which would move to the three seed and has the best home record in the league. an interesting argument, but i disagree with the logic.

if the spurs hold their three seed, they open at home, true, but against the phoenix suns, a team they probably don’t want to face right now, injury depleted as they are…and doubly so if manu’s groin isn’t much better…anyone who’s ever played with a groin injury knows how long it takes to heal, how much it impairs your explosiveness, and how it gets worse and worse the more you play on it…for a guy who depends very much on sharp changes of direction and elevation, manu needs as much recovery time from that injury as he can get. phoenix is a speed and power team, while utah is much more a precision team. if it were me, i’d much rather take a veteran team like the spurs on the road against a team like utah that they match up with fairly well, man for man, in the first round, than i’d want to take phoenix at home right now, especially if you factor in that manu could get another five days of rest on that groin. and falling to sixth wouldn’t change a thing about their second round home-court situation…if new orleans wins its first round series, the spurs are on the road either way, and if new orleans loses, the spurs are at home either way. be interesting to see what pop elects to do tonight…i’m betting he rests manu…

postscript: well, just shows how wrong you can be…the spurs crushed the jazz, and as i write this, with two and a half to play in the game, ginobili has played 19 min, scoring a dozen on 4 for 4 from the field, 4 for 4 from the line, six boards, four assists (vs. one turnover) and three steals…wow…i guess the spurs are cool facing the suns in round 1…should be fun…

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