After sweeping the Utah Jazz in their first round playoff series, the San Antonio Spurs have used their longest break of the season emphasizing on conditioning and keeping their rhythm.
Coach Gregg Popovich and the Spurs did their best to replicate game conditions during five-on-five scrimmages, hoping to strike the perfect balance between rest and maintaining the high level of play to get them ready for the next round.
However, there are some concerns. San Antonio surely welcome the extended rest, but it could also mean they might be rusty after the long layoff.
Nonetheless, Manu Ginobili brushed aside concerns about the rest vs. rhythm conundrum the Spurs wrestled with while passing seven days without a game.
"I don’t really think I lost or gained anything," he said of the long hiatus between games. "My Game 2 (vs. Utah) was awful, for sure. Game 3, I played well. I just didn't take a lot of shots. I didn't have the opportunity. Game 4, I played pretty well and made a couple of shots. It was never a concern.
"Now we are facing a completely different series. We’ll see how it goes."
Meanwhile, Chis Paul has a pretty good idea on what to expect against the Spurs.
In 24 regular season games in his career, Paul has averaged 19.8 points against the Spurs. But he only averaged 8.3 assists against them, which ranks as his second-lowest against any opponent.
Those numbers were better in his only previous playoff series against San Antonio. In a seven-game series loss to the Spurs in the Western Conference semifinals back in 2008, Paul averaged 22.3 points and 10.7 assists while shooting 50.4 percent.
And he knows, the Clippers have to be ready and focused for their series opener against the silver and black.
"As soon as the wheels hit that ground in San Antonio we got some work to do," Paul said.
Paul's counterpart on the other hand, was impressed with the grit his team showed in their series against the Grizzlies.
"It was a very hard game and very physical" Tony Parker said. "I think, for us, we have to make sure we really respect them".
"Even if they're hurt a little bit they're going to play hard and they're going to play very physical and we're going to have to match their energy in everything they do. It's going to be a tough series."
The Spurs will play the Clippers on Tuesday night at the AT&T Center in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinals series.
(Photo via mysanantonio.com)