Spurs (11-6) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (9-8)
When, where: 7 p.m., Wednesday, New Orleans
Season series: First meeting
Last meeting: Spurs 101, Pelicans 98, March 3, 2017, New Orleans
Spurs’ last game: Beat Hawks 96-85, Monday, AT&T Center
Pelicans’ last game: Beat Thunder 114-107, Monday, New Orleans
Spurs’ last 10 games, streak: 7-3, won two
Pelicans’ last 10 games: 6-4, won one
Notable: The Spurs are 35-0 since 2015-16 when they have at least 29 assists.
Remember those days when true centers roamed the paint and post-up offense was an integral part of the NBA game?
If you’re an old-school fan, you might want to catch the Spurs-Pelicans tonight. The game in New Orleans features a matchup that will showcase post play on both ends of the court.
The Silver and Black have won back-to-back games, but they’ll be severely tested when they face a Pelicans team anchored by 6-foot-10 forward/center Anthony Davis and 6-11 center DeMarcus Cousins. Davis and Cousins have made the All-Star team four and five times, respectively.
Arguably the NBA’s best big-man tandem, Cousins is averaging 26.6 points, No. 5 in the league, and Davis has a 25.8 average (No. 6). Both are among the NBA’s top 10 in rebounding, Cousins at No. 5 with a 12.9 average and Davis at No. 8 (11.3).
It will fall on veterans LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol to keep Cousins and Davis under control. Aldridge, a five-time All-Star himself, is averaging a team-leading 22.2 points and 8.5 rebounds. Gasol, who has made six All-Star Game appearances during his long career, averages 10.4 points and 8.1 rebounds.
Veteran Spurs guard Manu Ginobili agreed that Wednesday night’s matchup could have a throwback feel to it.
“We do it. They do it. But not many teams do it anymore,” Ginobili said, referring to starting two big men. “It’s going to be interesting. Pau and LA are going to play together more. It’s going to be a good opportunity for Joffrey (Lauvergne, Spurs’ back up forward/center) to compete against those guys.
“They are both very tough scorers. Interesting game. Looking forward to it. A lot of post-ups, a lot of back-to-the-rim play that you don’t see that often. Hopefully, we do what I just said: Feed LA and feed PA, but after moving the ball and being energetic and aggressive than just bringing it (the ball) and putting it in the post.”
Ginobili sparked the Silver and Black off the bench in a 96-85 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Monday, finishing with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 2 of 5 from the three-point line. He also dished out three assists.
The Spurs finished with 18 turnovers, but offset that deficiency with 29 assists on 40 made field goals. Since the 2015-16 season, San Antonio has gone 35-0 when it has finished with at least 29 assists.
Ginobili said inconsistency continues to plague the Silver and Black.
"I think that there is a lot we can do better," he said. "Today we played with intensity, we hustled, we scrambled, but we were not as sharp as we were in the second half against Oklahoma City. There are some teams that you are going to be able to get away with the win with 18 turnovers.
"Most of them are not going to let you get the win. We are trying to improve. We are trying to keep doing better, our offense to flow better. I think we pass the ball well. We just are turning it over too much. Same thing happened in the previous games. It is something we have to improve."
The Spurs rallied for a 104-101 win over OKC last Friday after falling behind by 23 points in the first half.
Up next for the Spurs after Wednesday’s game: at Charlotte, Saturday, 6 p.m.
Next home game: vs. Dallas, Monday, 7:30 p.m.
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