When the Houston Rockets visit the AT&T Center to play the San Antonio Spurs, the matchup of the game will between familiar foes: Manu Ginobili (El Contusion) and James Harden (The Beard).
This matchup will pit Houston's starting shoot guard against San Antonio's reserve two guard, but that doesn't mean Manu Ginobili doesn't play an important part on the Spurs team as he's a part of the team's "Big 3" along with Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.
This is Harden's best offensively in the league (averaging 23.6ppg and 5.4apg) while Ginobili's statistics have suffered with starting the season injured and hasn't seemed to get a rhythm going (11.6ppg, 39%FG, and 4.4apg).
The team hasn't relied on Ginobili a lot this season for long stretches during games (24.6mpg) while Harden's had the burden of staying on the floor and keeping the Rockets in the game (38.8mpg). Although the minutes aren't close between the two, they both set the pace for their respective teams with Ginobili staying on the floor when he's needed and Danny Green or Gary Neal being on the floor when the game and score is being managed to the Spurs' favor.
The last time these two players met were in last year's playoffs where Harden was a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder (who defeated the Spurs in the series 4-2). When both were on the floor at the same time, Ginobili shot 67% from the restricted area to Harden's 52%. This was more to the Spurs' style of play of pick and rolls while the Thunder were more of an isolation/1 on 1 team.
The Rockets play a more team oriented offense with Jeremy Lin at the point guard position, so Harden has different looks this year with his new teammates than he did last. On individual play, it doesn't matter how's on the floor with these two player as they tend to play a similar game with drives and step back jumpers (with lots of three pointers in between) and will make this a very exciting game.