Editor’s note: Once again we have the pleasure of collaborating with Jeff Garcia of Project Spurs. He visits us to give us some Spurs intel, Q and A Style, for tonight’s game. Our answers to Jeff’s questions can be found at Project Spurs, which I encourage you to visit any time for the lastest and some of the best analysis of the Spurs and NBA basketball: San Antonio Spurs vs. New York Knicks Gameday Q&A with Knicks Fanatics
The Spurs are arguably the best regular season team in the league. What has changed to make them seem so youthful and strong since last season? Will it carry over to the post-season?
Jeff: The biggest change has been their system. Changing from a half-court style to a running game. This lends to the Spurs players/roster. They have been on a quiet youth movement in the past seasons. Blend that with the core of Duncan, Parker and Ginobili then you have the making of a team that can play any style. A Case in point was the Spurs holding the Thunder to 74 points or putting up 118 points as in the Suns game. Will it carry over into the post-season remains to be seen. Health, age, peaking too soon, and complacency are issues to look for. My main concern is peaking too soon. I want this team jelling right before the playoffs and not in January.
I know you have been watching the Knicks a bit. What has impressed you about the team and what do you think they need to do to make the playoffs?
Jeff: How quickly this team is jelling. Adding new pieces like Landry Fields, Rony Turiaf, Amar’e Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, etc., I thought it be a while for this team to develop chemistry.
What they need to do to make the playoffs is to simply play every game as if it’s their last. Let’s be honest the East is a weaker conference and 35-40 wins gets you in the playoffs. They can’t let their foot fall off the pedal.
What can the Knicks expect offensively from the Spurs?
Jeff: Pick your poison. Seriously. This team can play in the half-court or run. Seeing how coach D’Antoni is at the helm, this Knicks team will run on the Spurs. Bring it!
What will the Spurs do defensively against the Knicks and particularly Amar’e Stoudemire?
Jeff: With Amar’e I can see coach Pop letting him get his. Pop has done it before when Amar’e was with the Suns. Just try to contain everyone else. On the Knicks, expect the Spurs to close out on their three-point shooters and try to limit Felton’s drives to the rim.
What should we watch regarding the Spurs to truly appreciate how good they are?
Jeff: The mix of youth and veteran experience. See how the team concept is fully embraced by the Spurs. Watch to see a Hall of Fame bound player like Duncan defer to make the team better. Watch how Manu will give his all on every possession. Watch how an undrafted player like Gary Neal understands his role.