Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spurs Update

Sunday and Monday the Spurs played their last two home games of the season against Cleveland and Portland. Duncan dressed, but would only play if necessary Sunday, as Diaw started in his place. It's really hard to write about these games, and still try to not portray a sense of arrogance, or act as if I know what's going to happen, but things are flowing so well that they're very nearly foregone conclusions. Just as we have the last few weeks, we put up 29 against Cleveland's22 for the 1st-Q.

Just halfway through the 2nd-Q it was pretty obvious by the look of Pop's face, that Timmy may as well go bury himself in a book in the locker room. Manu, Neal, Green, and Jack were all hitting shots, and it was 43-27 before you knew it. The fiesty Cavs would, however, make a run and close to within 52-44 at the break. DeJuan Blair would then score 13 3rd-Q points, as we slowly pulled away to begin the 4th-Q at 81-70.

I think both Manu & Jackson were extra-determined, because they were huge factors in extending a late 3rd-Q 9-pt.
Manu made it clear: "I'm ready!" - Via (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

lead to 20 with 5:11 left. Jackson had 13 of his 17 in the 4th. Trying to make NBA history by winning 6 straight games by 21+, the Spurs would fall short of the record, but the 114-98 WIN was nothing to slouch about. Not our best game of the last several, but we still shot 55%, shot 40% from three, out-rebounded and out-assisted our opponent. Five players in double-figures, and ten scored 7 or more. Here is the boxscore..


The next night with Portland coming to the AT&T Center, most of us were remembering a Feb. 21 trip to Portland in which Pop rested Duncan & Parker, with Manu & Tiago both hurt. Oh, we also had an 11-game winning streak on the line, but Pop let it go by the wayside in order to have our guys rested as much as he wanted them. We lost by 40. So yeah, you bet we'd be at full-strength - at least for a while.

Danny Green started us off with two threes. The team was solid, and the Blazers weren't hitting anything. 27-10 it was with more than 2 minutes left in the first. A little Portland run closed the 1st-Q at 31-18, but Splitter & Green would come out with 6-straight (37-18), followed by 10-straight from Babbitt & Flynn (37-28)! Then Neal & Green would score 8-straight, and our lead was 45-28. It was at this point when the Blazers were already looking gassed. Tony, Timmy, Neal, & Jack kept up the aggression towards a 63-41 halftime lead.

Danny Green had a perfect night - Via (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Duncan would play sparingly from here on out, but of course, Pop still needs to keep him in "game-shape", and when he was in he dominated (26 min. 18 pts. 8 reb. 4 blk. on 8 of 13 shooting). By the end of the 3rd-Q it was obviously our game, and a little more-so (91-65). In almost back-to-back plays, a Diaw assist to James Anderson was very Globetrotter-like, followed by a sweet right-handed tip-in rebound from Manu.

Portland continued to turn it over, miss shots, relax on D, and we continued to score at will by this point. Jack hit 6, Anderson hit 5 more quick ones, and then Patty Mills entered to get some revenge on his former team - and he did so with 3 4th-Q threes. Everything was clicking as we closed out our regular-season at home with a 37-pt. beatdown WIN vs. the Trailblazers 124-89. Season-high 34 assists on 48 FGs - this with Tony playing only 22 minutes. SIX players in double-figures, and two more with 9 & 8 respectively. Oh yeah, and Manu also had 6-2-3-2 in 17 fully-charged minutes. Here's the boxscore..

With this, our 31st double-digit win of the season (NBA best), we secured the #1 Western Conference Seed. Already leading the NBA in both shooting and 3-pt. shooting, the Spurs are also now fractions of a point behind Denver for the highest-scoring team in the NBA, after averaging 116+ ppg the last eight games, and 112.3 in our last 22 wins (a 22-5 stretch), and 108.5 in our last 31 games overall (25-6). No, these are not the Spurs of old. Old? And no we're not old, either.

The last two games are at Phoenix, and at Golden State. I do not expect many - IF ANY - minutes from Tim, Tony, or Manu. They may not even travel. The #1-seed is already ours, and barring the challenge with the Bulls for the best overall record, I know Pop isn't going to go overboard in these last two games. We know he has a much larger goal in mind.

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