TV: League Pass
- The two marquee names of the Spurs for the past two decades — coach Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan — both are out for San Antonio (33-11) tonight. Popovich tried to make morning shootaround but went home ill. Duncan’s left knee has flared up after a 24-point, 17-rebound performance in the Spurs’ last game, a 90-85 victory at Philadelphia on Monday.
- Kawhi Leonard also will miss tonight’s game because of the cut on his left knee he picked up from a nail sticking out of the court at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Leonard and Duncan are day-to-day.
- Mike Budenholzer, top assistant on the Spurs bench, takes over for Popovich. Duncan will be replaced in the lineup with Boris Diaw (making his 11th start this season) and Stephen Jackson gets his third start with Leonard out. “I feel like I’ve been here before,” said Budenholzer, who would take over for Popovich on the occasion the head coach was ejected from a game because of technicals. “It’s one of those unique circumstances. With Duncan, he felt it (the knee) after the other night, so we’ll always err on the side of caution.”
- It will be tempting for the Spurs to turn to Manu Ginobili, who is available foe the first time in nine days after a left hamstring strain. “He’s going to be on limited minutes,” Budenholzer said.
- Anthony Davis is ready to go for the Hornets (14-27) after a left ankle sprain limited him to 15 minutes last game against Sacramento.
- The Spurs announced the signing of big man Aron Baynes, a member of the Australian national team at the London Olympics and a former starter at Washington State. Baynes (6-10, 260) had his Euro League contract bought out at Union Olimpija in Slovenia, where he averaged 13.8 points and 9.8 rebounds. “He moves really well for a big man,” former Washington State teammate Klay Thompson said when in San Antonio last week with Golden State. “Really athletic. I knew he was ready for this when I saw how he was one of the better big men in Europe.” Baynes is available to play tonight, and he was a teammate in Australia with Spurs reserve guard Patty Mills (they both played for Spurs assistant Brett Brown, who coached the Aussie team).
– Tim Price