The San Antonio Spurs, who humbly succumbed to the Phoenix Suns in the 2010 Western Conference Semifinals, will once again be led by Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker.
With Duncan and Ginobili both on the wrong side of 30 and Tony Parker coming off a season where injuries limited him to 56 games, one has to wonder how much of the load this aging trio can continue to bear. The last time they all played 70 games was 2006-2007 (when they won their last NBA Championship); and none of them has played 82 games since Tony Parker did it in their 2002-2003 championship season. With this history, it is highly likely that at least one of them will miss 10 or more games this season.
The Spurs, however, did make one addition that might help their big three carry the load. Rookie Tiago Splitter, San Antonio’s 2007 first round draft pick out of Brazil and reigning Spanish League MVP, has decided that now is the time for him to showcase his talents in the NBA. Splitter is a 6’11” big man who can rebound and score in the post. Together, Duncan and Splitter will form a formidable frontcourt tandem that will anchor the San Antonio Spurs.
Here are game-by-game predictions for the 2010-2011 San Antonio Spurs:
Game 1, Wednesday, October 27 versus Pacers- Spurs open their season with a home win over the Indiana Pacers (Record 1-0).
Game 2, Saturday, October 30 versus Hornets- Spurs defeat Chris Paul and the visiting New Orleans Hornets (Record 2-0).
Game 3, Monday, November 1 at Los Angeles Clippers- Spurs beat the Clippers for the 17th straight time (Record 3-0).
Game 4, Wednesday, November 3 at Phoenix- Spurs drop a road game to the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Arena (Record 3-1).
Game 5, Saturday, November 6 versus Rockets- Spurs get a home win over Southwest Division rival Houston Rockets (Record 4-1).
Game 6, Monday, November 8 at Charlotte- Spurs defeat the Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena (Record 5-1).
Game 7, Wednesday, November 10 versus Clippers- Spurs get another win over the Los Angeles Clippers (Record 6-1).
Game 8, Saturday, November 13 versus 76ers- Spurs close a brief two-game home stand with a victory over the Philadelphia 76ers (Record 7-1).
Game 9, Sunday, November 14 at Oklahoma City- Spurs lose to the young Oklahoma City Thunder and drop the second half of their first back-to-back of the season (Record 7-2).
Game 10, Wednesday, November 17 versus Bulls- Spurs rebound with a win over the Chicago Bulls at the AT&T Center (Record 8-2).
Game 11, Friday, November 19 at Utah- Spurs fall to the tough, disciplined Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena (Record 8-3).
Game 12, Saturday, November 20 versus Cleveland- Spurs get the second half of a back-to-back with a victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers (Record 9-3).
Game 13, Monday, November 22 versus Magic- Spurs win their 10th game of the season by defeating the Orlando Magic (Record 10-3).
Game 14, Wednesday, November 24 at Minnesota- Spurs get a double-digit victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves (Record 11-3).
Game 15, Friday, November 26 versus Mavericks- Spurs fall to the visiting Dallas Mavericks and suffer their first home loss of the season (Record 11-4).
Game 16, Sunday, November 28 at New Orleans- Spurs defeat the Hornets for the seventh consecutive time (Record 12-4).
Game 17, Tuesday, November 30 at Golden State- Spurs get a road win over the Golden State Warriors (Record 13-4).
Game 18, Wednesday, December 1 at Los Angeles Clippers- Spurs play their fourth game in five days and fall to the Clippers for the first time since March of 2006 (Record 13-5).
Game 19, Friday, December 3 versus Timberwolves- Spurs open a six-game home stand with a double-digit victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves (Record 14-5).
Game 20, Sunday, December 5 versus Hornets- Spurs defeat the New Orleans Hornets and get their 10th home win of the season (Record 15-5).
Game 21, Wednesday, December 8 versus Warriors- Spurs beat the Golden State Warriors for the 10th straight time (Record 16-5).
Game 22, Friday, December 10 versus Hawks- Spurs beat the visiting Atlanta Hawks (Record 17-5).
Game 23, Sunday, December 12 versus Trail Blazers- Spurs get their fifth straight home win with a victory over the Portland Trail Blazers (Record 18-5).
Game 24, Wednesday, December 15 versus Bucks- Spurs fall to the Milwaukee Bucks to close a 5-1 home stand (Record 18-6).
Game 25, Thursday, December 16 at Denver- Spurs lose to the Denver Nuggets and drop both halves of a back-to-back (Record 18-7).
Game 26, Saturday, December 18 versus Grizzlies- Spurs open a three-game home stand with a victory over the Memphis Grizzlies (Record 19-7).
Game 27, Monday, December 20 versus Suns- Spurs defeat the Phoenix Suns for their 20th win of the season (Record 20-7).
Game 28, Wednesday, December 22 versus Nuggets- Spurs close a perfect 3-0 home stand with a victory over the Denver Nuggets (Record 21-7).
Game 29, Thursday, December 23 at Orlando- Spurs drop a road game to the Magic at the Amway Center (Record 21-8).
Game 30, Sunday, December 26 versus Wizards- Spurs suffer a surprising home loss to the Washington Wizards (Record 21-9).
Game 31, Tuesday, December 28 versus Lakers- Spurs get right back on track with a victory over the NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers (Record 22-9).
Game 32, Thursday, December 30 at Dallas- Spurs fall to the Mavericks at the American Airlines Center (Record 22-10).
Game 33, Saturday, January 1 versus Thunder- Spurs bring in the New Year with a victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder (Record 23-10).
Game 34, Tuesday, January 4 at New York- Spurs control the pace and walk away with a win over the run-and-gun New York Knicks (Record 24-10).
Game 35, Wednesday, January 5 at Boston- Spurs defeat the Celtics and win the second half of a back-to-back (Record 25-10).
Game 36, Friday, January 7 at Indiana- Spurs close a perfect 3-0 road trip with a close win over the pesky Indiana Pacers (Record 26-10).
Game 37, Sunday, January 9 versus Timberwolves- Spurs get a double-digit victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves (Record 27-10).
Game 38, Tuesday, January 11 at Minnesota- Spurs fall to the Timberwolves at the Target Center (Record 27-11).
Game 39, Wednesday, January 12 at Milwaukee- Spurs play for the third time in four nights and drop a road game to the Milwaukee Bucks (Record 27-12).
Game 40, Friday, January 14 versus Mavericks- Spurs get back on track with a home win over the Dallas Mavericks (Record 28-12).
Game 41, Sunday, January 16 versus Denver- Spurs defeat the Nuggets and win their fifth straight home game (Record 29-12).
Game 42, Wednesday, January 19 versus Raptors- Spurs beat the Toronto Raptors (Record 30-12).
Game 43, Friday, January 21 versus Knicks- Spurs complete a perfect 4-0 home stand with a victory over the New York Knicks (Record 31-12).
Game 44, Saturday, January 22 at New Orleans- Spurs fall to the Hornets and drop the second game of a back-to-back (Record 31-13).
Game 45, Monday, January 24 at Golden State- Spurs rebound with a road win over the Warriors (Record 32-13).
Game 46, Wednesday, January 26 at Utah- Spurs win their third straight on the road with a victory over the Utah Jazz (Record 33-13).
Game 47, Saturday, January 29 versus Rockets- Spurs get a home win over the visiting Houston Rockets (Record 34-13).
Game 48, Tuesday, February 1 at Portland- Spurs begin their annual Rodeo Road Trip with a loss to the Trail Blazers (Record 34-14).
Game 49, Thursday, February 3 at Los Angeles Lakers- Spurs fall to the Lakers at the Staples Center (Record 34-15).
Game 50, Friday, February 4 at Sacramento- Spurs get back on track by beating the Sacramento Kings for the 10th straight time (Record 35-15).
Game 51, Tuesday, February 8 at Detroit- Spurs win a close game over the Detroit Pistons at the Palace (Record 36-15).
Game 52, Wednesday, February 9 at Toronto- Spurs fall to the Raptors at the Air Canada Centre for the third straight time (Record 36-16).
Game 53, Friday, February 11 at Philadelphia- Spurs lose to the 76ers in the City of Brotherly Love for the fourth consecutive time (Record 36-17).
Game 54, Saturday, February 12 at Washington- Spurs capture the second half of a back-to-back with a victory over the Washington Wizards (Record 37-17).
Game 55, Monday, February 14 at New Jersey- Spurs defeat the New Jersey Nets at the Izod Center (Record 37-18).
Game 56, Thursday, February 17 at Chicago- Spurs fall to the Chicago Bulls in the final game of the trip (Record 37-19).
Game 57, Wednesday, February 23 versus Thunder- Spurs begin the second half of the season with a home win over the Oklahoma City Thunder (Record 38-19).
Game 58, Friday, February 25 versus Nets- Spurs defeat the New Jersey Nets (Record 39-19).
Game 59, Sunday, February 27 versus Memphis- Spurs get their 40th win of the season with a victory over the visiting Memphis Grizzlies (Record 40-19).
Game 60, Tuesday, March 1 at Memphis- Spurs open March with a road loss to the Grizzlies at the FedExForum (Record 40-20).
Game 61, Wednesday, March 2 at Cleveland- Spurs defeat the Cavaliers and get the second half of a back-to-back (Record 41-20).
Game 62, Friday, March 4 versus Heat- Spurs open a four-game home stand with a victory over the Miami Heat All-Star Trio (Record 42-20).
Game 63, Sunday, March 6 versus Lakers- Spurs drop a home game to the Los Angeles Lakers (Record 42-21).
Game 64, Wednesday, March 9 versus Pistons- Spurs fall to the Detroit Pistons at the AT&T Center (Record 42-22).
Game 65, Friday, March 11 versus Kings- Spurs get back on track with a double-digit victory over the Sacramento Kings (Record 43-22).
Game66, Saturday, March 12 at Houston- Spurs begin a three-game road trip with a close loss to Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets (Record 43-23).
Game 67, Monday, March 14 at Miami-Spurs fall to the Heat at American Airlines Arena (Record 43-24).
Game 68, Friday, March 18 at Dallas- Spurs get a road win over the Mavericks to tie the season series at two games apiece (Record 44-24).
Game 69, Saturday, March 19 versus Bobcats- Spurs defeat the Charlotte Bobcats to get both halves of a back-to-back (Record 45-24).
Game 70, Monday, March 21 versus Warriors- Spurs get a home win over the high-scoring Golden State Warriors (Record 46-24).
Game 71, Wednesday, March 23 at Denver- Spurs beat the Nuggets at the Pepsi Center (Record 47-24).
Game 72, Friday, March 25 at Portland- Spurs win a road game over the Trail Blazers at the raucous Rose Garden (Record 48-24).
Game 73, Sunday, March 27 at Memphis- Spurs fall to the Grizzlies (Record 48-25).
Game 74, Monday, March 28 versus Trail Blazers- Spurs play for the third time in four nights and drop a home game to the Portland Trail Blazers (Record 48-26).
Game 75, Thursday, March 31 versus Celtics- Spurs close March with a quality win over the Eastern Division Champion Boston Celtics (Record 49-26).
Game 76, Friday, April 1 at Houston- Spurs lose to the Rockets and drop the second half of a back-to-back (Record 49-27).
Game 77, Sunday, April 3 versus Suns- Spurs fall to Steve Nash and the visiting Phoenix Suns (Record 49-28).
Game 78, Tuesday, April 5 at Atlanta- Spurs lose the Hawks and drop their third straight game since their victory over the Celtics (Record 49-29).
Game 79, Wednesday, April 6 versus Kings- Spurs continue to struggle and lose the second half of a back-to-back to the Sacramento Kings (Record 49-30).
Game 80, Saturday, April 9 versus Utah- Spurs defeat the Jazz and get their 50th win of the season (Record 50-30).
Game 81, Tuesday, April 12 at Los Angeles Lakers- Spurs fall to the Lakers and lose the season series 1-3 (Record 50-31).
Game 82, Wednesday, April 13 at Phoenix- Spurs fall to the Suns in their final game of the season (Record 50-32).
Prediction: Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and Tiago Splitter will lead the San Antonio Spurs to their 12th straight 50-win season.
More 2010-2011 Game-by-Game Predictions:
Dallas Mavericks 2010-2011 Game-by-Game Predictions
Boston Celtics 2010-2011 Game-by-Game Predictions
Los Angeles Lakers 2010-2011 Game-by-Game Predictions
Information from ESPN.com’s San Antonio Spurs Schedule, San Antonio Spurs Statistics, San Antonio Spurs sign Tiago Splitter, and NBA Universe’s San Antonio Spurs Records was used for this article.