Originally written April 12, 2013 on Project Spurs:
As the battle for the Western Conference number one seed comes to a near conclusion, the San Antonio Spurs are faced with a familiar dilemma -- play your star players and go for the top seed or rest your players to ensure they are ready for the playoffs? For knowledgeable Spurs fans, it takes you one second (two if you breathe) to know what Coach Greg Popovich choice would be.  This decision doesn’t mean the last four games are to be thrown away.  After the second unit’s performance against the Denver Nuggets, these four games are much needed as any practice the team will run. Aron Baynes should make use of anytime he gets to team with Tiago Splitter or Tim Duncan with Boris Diaw resting his back.  Baynes will be called up on to help with the boards, change shots and give another option in the pick-and-roll game.  Gary Neal needs to get his shot falling again.  Last year he was a valuable weapon from behind the three point line.  He kept the defense from clogging the lane against the driving Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. Recently Neal has been good looks but the shots have not been falling.  Against the Nuggets, it felt like he was trying to force the issue.  He can’t have another disappearance like the one versus the Thunder in last season's playoffs. Nando De Colo is showing that aggressive streak that Coach Popovich likes in his guards.  He’s now willing to the stick his nose right in there.  Now is the time for him to take the backup point guard job by the throat and not let go. Kawhi Leonard needs to take this time to assert himself on the offensive end.  With the possibility of Ginobili missing time, Leonard maybe asked to step in to the role of being the third member of the "Big Three," if he isn't a member already.   Looking back at how the 2012 NBA playoffs ended for the Spurs, the bench needs to make sure they are ready and not overwhelmed by the moment.  So now is the time for them to gain Coach Popovich’s confidence for crunch time minutes. What are your thoughts on the final games of the regular season Spurs fans?
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