Friday, March 23, 2012

Spurs Update

I forgot to post about the Spurs vs. T-Wolves game Wednesday. It seems that it's the losses or the easier wins that I forget. Another reason that I fell into that trap is the entire Spurs Nation has been waiting for our first back-to-back-to-back, which started tonight. It wasn't much of a contest, but what did you expect?

This Minnesota team is just not the same without Ricky Rubio, who was lost for the season a few weeks back because of a torn ACL. They were also playing without Nikola Pekovic (ankle issues). But these things will likely help this team in the future, as it provides good game-minutes for first round
Image Source (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

pick Derrick Williams, and time for JJ Barea to mesh with this team a little more. It was never really in doubt as we jumped out to a 32-16 lead after 1-Q, and withstood a sub-par 2nd-Q to lead by 9 at the half.

Learning that Tony Parker was feeling tightness in a hamstring, the rest of the squad would have to play without him for 2½ quarters, as Pop chose to retire him for the evening. But welcoming Stephen Jackson back to SA in his first home game was easy, and Pop's challenge would be met.. quickly, as the Spurs went on a 20-8 3rd-Q run to take control for good. We would lead by as much as 27, but finished of the WIN 116-100. (Here's ESPN's boxscore..)


Just a few hours ago the Spurs began their first back-to-back-to-back of the season at home vs. the Dallas Mavericks, after having just played them in Dallas on St. Patrick's Day. Parker is in street clothes, as expected, but so is Tiago Splitter (unexpected back spasms). It was only yesterday that we learned of the signing of former Trailblazer Patty Mills, and then just today Boris Diaw was signed after being bought-out (given up on by) Charlotte. Wow!

So with this turn of events, and no "real" PGs, Manu would start the game, and Gary Neal would be his back-up at the "point". I say it that way because Manu's almost a PG anyway. That can't be said about too many shooting guards in the league. It was defense, however, by
Image Source (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

both teams that was the theme of the 1st-Q. Our youngsters were providing the home spark early in this one, as a DeJuan Blair dunk & jumper would close out the 1st 24-21.

Offenses would pick up markedly in the next stanza. Bonner would hit 3 threes, and then here comes Boris Diaw. Literally hours from being in Charlotte, the guy hits the floor for us! Gotta love Pop. Green, Kawhi and Diaw together would spark the crowd with key defensive stops, and a 52-45 halftime lead.

As is the case sometimes, Spurs came out FLAT for the 3rd. We failed to share the basketball; Mavs made key changes on offense; and there was too much standing around on offense. The 15-4 Mavs run put us behind 63-58, but after a timeout, Bonner & Neal would hit some quick easy ones after great stops, followed by Diaw's first points as a Spur. Then with the game tight and the crowd tense, both Manu and Neal would hit critical threes. 70-63 after 3-Qs. So after their 15-4 run, we ended the 3rd on a 12-0 run.

But we weren't finished. Just as soon as the 4th-Q clock went from 12:00 to 11:59, Jackson, Manu, and Green would add 10 more to Jason Terry's 2 to complete a 22-2 run, and a lead of 80-65. Both Terry's and Dirk's frustration were becoming obvious as Terry was swiping randomly at balls, and Dirk even complained about Kawhi's defense one too many time for a quick technical. We held Dirk to 5 of 21 shooting, 16 pts. and 2 boards. Nice! They would come to within 11, but it was our relentless defense, and scrappy play that led us to a wonderful 104-87 WIN. Heck, Eric Dawson even came in and recorded 6 pts. on 3-3
Image Source (Soobum Im-US PRESSWIRE)

shooting and also had a sweet block.

Six guys in double figures (two more with 8). Total team effort. Super defensive display, and a statement game that evened the season series 2-2. The biggest difference between this game and the one last Saturday was on the boards. Timmy pulled down 12, Kawhi & Jackson grabbed 8, and Manu had 7, as we out-rebounded them 54-34! Huge fix right there.. Kudos, gentlemen! Here's the ESPN boxscore..

One more thing. Last week when I learned of the Jefferson/Jackson trade, I was like "Ehh, I see that it saves us a lot of money, but ehhh...". Then I learn the deal for Patrick Mills is going through. Realizing with TJ Ford's retirement, and Cory Joseph just not taking shape yet, I was still like "Ehh - I guess that's OK". Today when I heard they pulled the trigger on grabbing Boris Diaw, with whom one of the worst teams in the league became disinterested, I was again like "Hmm... ehh.. I guess he's a big body we need. But ehh.."

It only took a game and a half for Jack. I don't miss RJ at all. You can count on Stephen to score the basketball. You can count on him to mix things up on defense, and make things happen. And he's been here before - he knows. Then Diaw does a 1-day turnaround, and I'm already impressed with his poise inside. I've been saying all along that we've needed an experienced BIG to help out. And you know what? He's also a pretty good ball player too. Then Pop finally puts Eric Dawson in to show what he can do, and what do you know. He does NOTHING BUT produce. Has anyone ever gone 3-3 with 6 pts. and a block in just over a minute?

Well done, Spurs.. Well done!

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