We already knew four of the NBA’s five Christmas games:
With the Knicks watching from home, that left the Spurs and Rockets as the most prominent unaccounted-for teams. Unsurprisingly, the Texas rivals will play each other.
Buck Harvey of the San Antonio Express-News:
Let me get this straight: The Spurs are on the road, coming off a road game after only one off day and on a back-to-back with the second game at home.
Those seem like the right ingredients for Gregg Popovich to rest his starters. Better to sit them on the road leg of a back-to-back so they’re available for San Antonio’s home fans the next day.
Tim Duncan, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw are all in their 30s and benefit from extra rest. They’re also very good, meaning the Spurs are planning for a long playoff run. This is especially not the year for them to chance injury, and it’s not as if they’ve liberally pushed their aging players previously.
Would Popovich actually do sit his stars for a nationally televised game on the NBA’s premier regular-season date? I’m not sure, but I’m also not sure why the NBA is testing his resolve.