1. The San Antonio Spurs and their fans finally got the news yesterday about Manu Ginobili’s right elbow. It’s officially “sprained” and he’s listed as doubtful for Game 1 of San Antonio’s opening-round playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies.
If Ginobili’s Twitter feed is any indication though, it’s likely that he won’t miss more than one game in this series. That’s good news.
San Antonio’s biggest advantage over Memphis is their guard play. As well as Tony Allen has played this season, the rest of the crew and the bench don’t stack up against the Spurs. Without Manu, that advantage takes a hit and the teams are more even. After all, the last time the Spurs beat the Grizzlies, Ginobili went off for 35 points. San Antonio still has an advantage, though. Memphis doesn’t have anyone that can handle Tony Parker, so if the Spurs can get their guards to continually get into the paint and cause some disruption, then the offense will open up for both the big men and three-point shooters.
George Hill will likely start in Manu’s place and he’s the closest thing the Spurs have to a young Ginobili and he’s got plenty of playoff experience, so Gregg Popovich should be plenty confident in his rotation until Manu gets back.
2. Here’s what the first round schedule looks like for San Antonio:
Game 1 — Sunday at San Antonio, Noon
Game 2 — Wednesday at San Antonio, 7:30 p.m.
Game 3 — Saturday, April 23 at Memphis 6:30 p.m.
Game 4 — Monday, April 25 at Memphis, TBD
Game 5 (if necessary) –April 27 at San Antonio, TBD
Game 6 (if necessary) –April 29 at Memphis, TBD
Game 7 (if necessary) — May 1 at San Antonio, TBD
Given that the Spurs get two full days in between games one and two, expect Pop to keep Manu out of the lineup. He should definitely return for the 2nd game, giving him almost a full week to recover and prepare.
3, Check out our San Antonio Spurs Playoff Preview for the Memphis Grizzlies and find out what the X-factor will be for this series.
4. As for the Dallas Mavericks in their series against the Portland Trailblazers, here’s what their schedule looks like:
Game 1 — Saturday at Dallas, Noon
Game 2 — Tuesday at Dallas, 7:30 p.m.
Game 3 — Thursday, April 21 at Portland 6:30 p.m.
Game 4 — Saturday, April 23 at Portland, TBD
Game 5 (if necessary) –April 25 at Dallas, TBD
Game 6 (if necessary) –April 28 at Portland, TBD
Game 7 (if necessary) — April 30 at Dallas, TBD
5. Read our Dallas Mavericks Series Preview of their matchup against the Portland Trailblazers and find out how much Dallas actually has an advantage in a series where they’re a popular upset pick.
6. Finally, we at Playmaker Magazine are proud of our MLS coverage with stories about the league appearing in two of our previous issues. Not only is soccer an underrated sport, but it also seems to create many memorable moments. Surprisingly Patriotic moments at that, as you’ll see from this chilling scene before the start of a Portland Timbers match: