Don’t sleep on the Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs are currently in sixth place in the Western Conference with 13-9 record.

Duncan has had a lot of help lately, if and when Manu returns healthy, there aren't many teams that would want to face the Spurs come playoff time.

Not bad, when you consider the fact that they are playing the most part of the season without Manu Ginobili and backup point guard T.J. Ford.

Let’s face it, the Spurs are not the only NBA team suffering from injuries, but Ginobili is big part of what they do on both ends on the floor and I’m inclined to believe that many naysayers have written off the Spurs early when Manu went down with an injury, perhaps expecting doom and gloom in San Antonio.

But guess what?

After 22 regular season games that Spurs are very much in the playoff hunt and are four games above .500 playing without one of their best players — credit should go to the Spurs reserves for that.

However, the Spurs are staring at a 3-game home stand against the Houston Rockets, New Orleans Hornets and the Oklahoma City Thunder before playing nine games on the road (where they have a woeful 3-8 record) for the annual Rodeo Road Trip.

Nonetheless, should Tim Duncan and company manage to tread water without Ginobili then it wouldn’t be too surprising to see San Antonio going deep into this years playoffs.

Here’s what some ESPN bloggers/analyst think about the Spurs chances this season.

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ESPN ranked the Spurs’ Big 3

As the NBA lockout drags on, the ESPN round table have continued to rank the NBA’s top 500 players.

Over the past dew days, ESPN have ranked the top 16-30 players and several Spurs cracked the list.

Here is what they had to say:

Manu Ginobili at No. 18: Too high, too low or just right?

Jovan Buha, ClipperBlog: Just right. Although he’s an old 34, Ginobili remains one of the league’s best perimeter players. His ability to score from basically anywhere on the court goes unnoticed. When the game’s on the line, there are few players you’d rather have with the ball in their hands (unless someone’s wide-open — right, Henry?).

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NBA talks continues to make little progress

NEW YORK (via Associated Press, ESPN) — With a month until the NBA season, players and owners don’t sound much closer to a labor deal than they did when the lockout began.

NBA Commissioner David Stern talks to the media after a 7-hour meeting, labor talks is set to resume later today.

They’re so far apart on money they decided to leave it alone Saturday and focused mainly on the salary cap.

They couldn’t solve that, either.

“I wouldn’t say there was any progress. What happened was, they put some concepts up, we put some concepts up, and we’re still miles apart,” union executive director Billy Hunter said. “There’s a huge bridge, gap, that I don’t know if we’re going to be able to close it or not.”

The sides will meet again later today — the day training camps were to have begun — though time is getting short to save the start of the regular season, scheduled for November 1. Neither side sounds optimistic.

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Sources: NBA 2011-12 season hangs in balance

As reported by ESPN’s Marc Stein, NBA commissioner David Stern is planning to threaten players with the cancellation of the entire 2011-12 season if the sides haven’t made major progress toward a deal by the end of the weekend when NBA labor talks resume on Friday according to sources close to the talks.

Although sources said the union views such an extreme stance as more of a negotiating tactic than a legitimate threat, Stern went almost that far in his comments to reporters in New York on Wednesday after a second straight day of negotiations.

Referring to meetings scheduled Friday that are expected to attract as many as 15 owners and star players such as the Heat’s LeBron James, Stern said: “I’m focused on let’s get the two committees in and see whether they can either have a season or not have a season, and that’s what’s at risk this weekend.”

In 1998-99, the only season in NBA history in which regular-season games were lost to a work stoppage, no deal was reached until Jan. 6, 1999, with a 50-game season finally starting on Feb. 6, 1999.

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Granderson: “Hoops will live on”

With the labor negotiations not showing signs of being resolved soon, the entire 2011-2012 NBA season is in jeopardy of being  called of.  However, LZ Granderson of ESPN, thinks that hoops will live even if the NBA season doesn’t.

He wrote this nice piece that is a MUST read for all basketball fans.

There could be a lost season with no NBA championship banner, but the game would live on.

“At this very moment there is quarter-size bump on the right side of my forehead, courtesy of an errant elbow during a lunchtime pickup game of basketball.

I wanted the rebound and obviously I wasn’t the only one.

I didn’t call foul because, well, I was too busy rolling around on the ground. Besides, when I finally got up, I was told I was hit by my own teammate.

All I could do was laugh, thinking: “I am living.”

This is why I feel a bit ambivalent when I hear the NBA season may not start on time. I love the league but I won’t be devastated if the entire season is lost. It’s a business. A business that only represents part of the story of basketball. The lump on my head epitomizes the rest.

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NBA stars to play Entertainers Basketball Classic – Goodman game

New York natives and NBA players Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest), Joakim Noah and Kemba Walker will headline the Entertainers Basketball Classic (EBC) squad when they face the Goodman League in a streetball game Sept. 30 at Long Island University in Brooklyn, according to EBC chief executive officer and founder Greg Marius. (via Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York)

San Antonio Spurs guard and Baltimore native Gary Neal, could represent the Goodman league in this summer spectacle.

Marius said EBC’s roster will also include Dallas Mavericks forward Corey Brewer and there’s interest in adding Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings and Detroit Pistons guard and Mount Vernon native Ben Gordon to the roster. Arrangements need to be made so Washington Wizards rookie Chris Singleton and Portland Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews can join the team in Brooklyn.

“Everybody is definitely excited about this game,” Marius said. “It’s a lot of star power and it’s for charity for both of the leagues. Both of us depend on sponsorship dollars and want to be able to create some other revenues and this is (a) great avenue with the lockout and players are willing to lend their support.”

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Drew vs. Goodman League rematch set


San Antonio Spurs' Gary Neal drives to the basket against Austin Daye and Jarret Jack in a Summer League game last month. (Photo via USA Today)

After much waiting and anticipation, there will finally be a rematch between the Los Angeles based Drew League and the Goodman League of Washington D.C. (via Andrew Kamenetzky, ESPNLosAngeles)

The game will take place on Oct. 9 in Los Angeles at Cal State Dominguez Hills. The time is tentatively set for 5:30 p.m. PT. Longtime Drew League commissioner Dino Smiley confirmed the news and date to ESPNLosAngeles.com.

The first meeting on Aug. 21 in D.C. saw the Goodman League squad, fueled by 44 points and a pair of clutch free throws from Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, eke out a 135-134 victory, San Antonio  Spurs Gary Neal scored six points in that win.

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Steve Javie to retire after 25 years as NBA ref

As reported by Ric Bucher of ESPN, veteran referee Steve Javie will be retiring after 25 years in the NBA.

Steve Javie, one of the NBA's top officials will retire after 25 years. (Photo via ESPN)

Although NBA referees, after agreeing to a new five-year contract earlier this week, are assured of returning whenever the league resumes play, veteran Steve Javie will not be among them.

Javie, rated as one of the league’s top officials during the past 15 years, is retiring because of an arthritic right knee.

The injury forced him to miss the end of the 2009-2010 season, but he returned last fall with the hope of making it to the 25-year mark as an NBA referee.

He accomplished that, but filed his retirement papers when the pain in his right knee and his doctors convinced him a 26th year was not realistic.

An NBA referee must submit his papers within 30 days of the last Finals game if he does not plan to return.

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Over/Under: 55 wins for the Spurs next season

Which way are things leaning heading into the 2011-12 season? After breaking down every team in the NBA, ESPN’s 5-on-5 squad takes aim at each league division.

Here’s what they see for the rough-and-tough Southwest, particularly the San Antonio Spurs:

Note: Over means they reach the NBA Finals. Under means they do not reach the West finals. Push means they lose in the West finals.

ESPN writers and contributors think the San Antonio Spurs will take a slide next season.

Rob Peterson, Hardwood Paroxysm: Under. Though, every time I think the Spurs will slide, they prove me wrong. Last season, they proved everyone wrong. I don’t think they have another 55-win campaign in them. No one manages his players’ minutes as well as Gregg Popovich, but not even he can make Tim Duncan or Manu Ginobili young again. They’ve had their time.

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Spurs’ Parker focused on helping France gain an outright Olympic berth

After defeating Greece in the EuroBasket quarterfinals, San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker and Team France are one victory away from achieving an Olympic berth to the 2012 London Games.

Tony Parker has his sights on the Olympics. (Photo via ESPN)

For Parker it is one of his remaining ambitions, the French starting point guard is focused on helping France defeat Russia on Friday to reach the championship game of 2011 EuroBasket and secure his first trip to the Olympics.

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