Gone are the days when the LA Lakers were daily tabloid fodder. Perhaps jealous of the attention being paid to the chill bros in Miami, the San Antonio Spurs roll into SLC tonight with a media circus in tow. Tony Parker is dealing with his impending divorce from Eva Longoria, to say nothing of the team chemistry issues caused by his purported relationship with the wife of former teammate Brent Barry. Not fun for anyone involved, but it will be interesting to see how all the drama affects the surprisingly 9-1 Spurs.
Last season, the Jazz swept the Spurs in the regular season, going 4-0 and exorcised the demons that made the Spurs almost invincible against Utah for about 10 years. Will the recent succes continue? All four wins came fairly early last season and current Bull Carlos Boozer was a beast for the Jazz in all four games.
The stars are aligned for a huge game from Paul Millsap. Boozer is gone and Millsap wasn’t included on the newly released All-Star ballot. You can vote for Memo Okur, who hasn’t played a game since last spring, but you can’t vote for Millsap. Hopefully for the Jazz, the snub results in rampage from the oft-overlooked second-round pick.
The Spurs are off to their best start in franchise history and are putting up their most points per game since the 1987-88 season. They’re also shooting a blistering 44% from behind the three-point line.
Surprising rookies Gary Neal and James Anderson are second and third in the league among rookies in three-point field goals made. Neal went undrafted out of college and then tore up leagues in Turkey, Spain, and Italy. He hit 5 three-pointers against Charlotte earlier this season and Anderson hit a 3 in each of his first 6 games, the first Spur to ever do so.
On the Jazz side, Jerry Sloan will be away from the team to attend a funeral. Longtime assistant Phil Johnson will take over the head coaching duties for the next two games. Raja Bell is recovering from a groin injury but will play, while CJ Miles is a gametime decision after sitting out the second half of the previous game with a sprained back.