Top Home Games of 2013-14: No. 9 vs. SAS

Monday, Jan. 13, 7 p.m.

Other 2013-14 games between these two teams
Monday, Nov. 25, New Orleans at San Antonio
Monday, Feb. 3, San Antonio at New Orleans
Saturday, March 29, New Orleans at San Antonio

Why it’s on the list
As the winners of four NBA titles since 1999 and the reigning Western Conference champions, the San Antonio Spurs continue to be a measuring stick for teams such as the youthful Pelicans. In many ways, New Orleans is trying to model itself after a San Antonio franchise that has created an unselfish, team-first culture en route to perennial success. That’s certainly no coincidence: Monty Williams and Dell Demps both spent time in the San Antonio organization and frequently cite Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich as a major influence. Popovich stories come up constantly during Williams’ interviews with the media.

The respect for the Spurs also carries over to the court. Hall of Fame-bound Spurs big man Tim Duncan was one of Anthony Davis’ favorite players as a youngster growing up in Chicago. Davis coincidentally made his official NBA debut in 2012-13 vs. Duncan and the Spurs, scoring 21 points and grabbing seven rebounds in a narrow defeat.

One other connection between the clubs is San Antonio shooting guard Marco Belinelli, who started for New Orleans in 2010-11, the last time the franchise reached the playoffs.

What’s new in San Antonio
Belinelli seemed like a perfect fit for a San Antonio offense that relies heavily on perimeter players who can consistently make open shots. Belinelli is likely to fill some of the role vacated by Gary Neal’s departure in free agency to Milwaukee. In the first round of the draft, San Antonio selected Livio Jean-Charles, but he’s expected to remain overseas in 2012-13. Longtime Spurs assistant coach Mike Budenholzer left to become Atlanta’s head coach, the latest of countless San Antonio coaches and executives to be hired by other NBA teams.