Stephen Jackson was a fan favorite. He was tough. He had length and could shoot. Going into last year’s postseason, although he wasn’t playing well, he presumably would be a big part of the Spurs’ run. He’d probably match up against KD or LeBron (if it came to that).
He got cut.
Essentially, the argument was that Stephen Jackson didn’t think he should have taken a back seat to Kawhi Leonard, whom the Spurs were very high on. Although KL had shown some really nice signs of his future potential, it was only evident to the coaches, apparently.
He had his breakout moment(s) in the Finals, where he showed he could guard LeBron, and had some offense. Tonight, however, we are seeing the things Pop saw in his Pop Crystal Ball last year. Leonard’s freakish length shortens the gap (somewhat) between LeBron’s otherworldly athleticism and the Spurs’ solid defense. His shooting, and ever-expanding offense were the difference tonight.
But you knew that.
Everyone wants the guy to take the next step and take over. He is doing it at his own pace. The fact that he breaks out the new stuff1 in the Finals is fine by me. The fact that he does it against the best player in the world is also perfectly okay. Lots of old-time Spurs fans remember teams that did the opposite2. His shooting and aggressiveness underpinned the Spurs unreal ball movement and overall incredible effort in that ridiculous first half3.
Normally, we’d all sit here and say “well, the Spurs can’t play like that every game.” But they can. They ripped off a 35-9 run in the fourth quarter in game one. They ripped off a quarter or three like this — though not at NBA-record setting level — throughout this playoff run. The scary thing is that LeBron can drop 35 points on his own like he did in Game 2.
And that’s the matchup. LeBron vs Spurs. It’s a rematch of 2007 again, with a significant upgrade in the cast of characters on the King’s side. The difference this game was that Miami’s best player was also their most turnover prone. If Mario Chalmer’s wasn’t busy locking up the LVP award, you could make the argument that LBJ was one of the biggest reasons that Miami lost4.
Still, this win was about desperation and returning to moving the ball. As good as the Kawhi’s game was, he isn’t a guy Pop can toss the ball to and let go to work. Tony still has a little bit of that ability, Manu in ever-decreasing-in-frequency spurts. Pop says they must move the ball or they die. That death-avoiding desperation was evident. Now it is Miami’s turn to dance with desperation.
His point total (29 points) was a career high for an NBA game - regular season or playoffs. ↩
Ask my mom about Rod Strickland ↩
75.8%!!! 71 Points!!! ↩
Aside from ridiculous shooting by the Spurs, of course. Also, Gawd. I’m sure we’ll hear a never-ending stream of LBJ hate that will be terrible to endure. Can’t wait for the next game already. ↩
I was at The Cove the other night, eating a burger and listening to some local band. They took a break and the guitarist said “I’m cramping!”. The rest of the band proceeded to carry him off the stage a la Lebron James in Game 1. It was funny. Sports is supposed to be fun and it’s hella fun to make jokes at your rival’s expense. The worst thing about the last few days between games has been not the overreaction to LeBron’s cramping, but the reaction to that. It has been the caping up for LeBron. Having some fun with the dude — a non-life threatening injury at that — isn’t the worst thing that happens on the internet. Look at the racist, sexist, homophobic stuff that goes on and then come back and tell me that the people pretending they have a LeBron cramp are the worst on the internet.
That said, tonight LeBron actually did some #LeBronning. He proceeded to drop 35 points on a Spurs team putting up a solid defensive effort. The rest of the Heat only had 3 assists (one of which was Chris Bosh’s game-sealing pass to D Wade with 9 seconds left). The heat won on the strength of LeBron James’ otherworldly talent overcoming all of the excellent execution from the Spurs.
And that is mostly it. Ten or fifteen years from now, that’ll be what people talk about. Such is the reductive nature of sports history. San Antonio played a typical Spurs game — with some incomplete quarters and missed free throws to boot — and came up short thanks to the incredible play of LeBron — with great play by the champs.
The good news? LeBron James, despite all his talent, isn’t likely to cash fadeaway three balls on incredible defense from Kawhi Leonard and well now that I think about it that is the only thing the Spurs can hope for. Next game the Heat players will presumably play outside of their minds. Danny Green called the shots LBJ made “ones we can live with.” LeBron called them “uncontested”. Basketball is a game played to the offense’s advantage. Presumably, a player can get good enough to drain half-court jumpers and there is little the defense can do about it. So when the most athletic and dangerous player on the Heat can step back and rain threes there is little in the way of hope for the Spurs.
Miami likely felt similarly when Patty Mills and company combined to drain nine (9) threes in the second half.
I say you should feel okay. The fun thing about playoff basketball is how often the Narrative gets broken or rewritten. How much talk about athleticism was there while the Spurs were winning in Oklahoma in game six? Wasn’t that the Unresolvable Problem the Spurs would have to face?
Similarly, the Spurs’ execution is praised when they win — or in quarters where they are ripping off gif-able sequences — but ignored when they put up 20+ turnovers — which has happened. That is basketball. It is a game of runs and trends and overreaction to those things. I’d say that the Spurs organization’s secret has not been some keen eye into the game, but recognizing it for what it is. They don’t overreact (like Twitter does) and they don’t stray from the process. You know those last nine or so possessions where the Heat played incredible defense and made game one’s 31-9 run look like an anomaly? Well we’ll likely see those same sets and those same plays next game. Hopefully we’ll see different outcomes.
So it goes.
So how about that AC? I had no idea what the hell was going to happen in this game beforehand. I predicted Spurs by 7, and then winning the series in 6. You can probably say this game was lost by the Heat when LeBron couldn’t continue in the fourth quarter. Maybe it wouldn’t have mattered, as Danny Green and the Spurs were … ahem …heating up in the fourth quarter on their way to a 31-9 run.
Put me in the camp that says dealing with ridiculousness is part of the game. The game includes injuries, water cannons, bats, and the AC going out. That isn’t to say that LeBron should have toughed it out or some other ridiculous bullshit. When I joke on the twitters about sports I do so fully acknowledging that I cannot and never could play at that level. From an NBA-fan standpoint it obviously is lame that the best player couldn’t perform in crunch time, with the game close. Again, that’s the game. Someone tell Derek Rose about being unlucky.
I don’t know about calling this Game 8. I do know that it wasn’t two teams feeling each other out like Game 1 of the 2013 Finals was. So maybe it is kind of Game 8. There is a decidedly different vibe going into this one, from a Spurs fan perspective. Sure, the plaudits for the team’s two-decade run were repeated, but this time there was a little bite. I like it. The Spurs’ run has been amazing compared to the Clevelands of the world but not necessarily better than the Bulls of the 90s, the Lakers of the 80s, or the Celtics of the 50s. I’m happy for the Spurs to be in that conversation.
The first half, with all of Manu’s energy and shot-making felt like a revenge movie. Everyone gave Manu a eulogy after he played 1 good game out of 7 to end the last Finals, after underwhelming in the playoffs. The Spurs’ inability to win post-2007 can in some ways be explained by Manu’s inability to be healthy in the post-season. Not only is he heather now, but he doesn’t have to do as much as Kawhi Leonard has grown offensively.
That’s a long way of saying that it was good to see him back in 2007 form. He admitted in the halftime interview that he faded a bit. Given that he was the only looking crisp offensively, that didn’t portend good things for the second half, five point lead notwithstanding.
All that said, we would have had a very different game if that air conditioning was working. LeBron said he felt like he played the entire game when he was subbed out in the middle of the third quarter. “They are trying to smoke us out.”
The only dude that was impervious to suffocating temperatures was Ray Allen, the ageless one, who finished three drives in the third that put the Heat up, including a dunk in traffic on a fast break. I let out a “WTF.” The Spurs had their 18th turnover or thereabouts at that time. The offense looked like it did vs the Mavericks. Nine TOs in the third quarter, ya’ll. Some of that was the Heat, some of it was the heat, and some was just trends. The Spurs have had some awful third periods this playoff season.
That fourth quarter belonged to Danny Green and LeBron James’ thigh cramps. Say what you will about how you would react etc, that means nothing when your leg is killing you. Still, the Spurs unleashed a fourth quarter that was reminiscent of the ones they put up against OKC and PDX. Danny Green got open, hit some shots, and even got a score in transition. The coolest thing about those shots? They were wide open ones that came from beautiful passes. Passes that weren’t so pretty in the third. Manu said they were sloppy in the first three — 20 turnovers in the first three quarters. “They are more athletic than us. Waiting 15 seconds for a pick and roll makes it harder.”
Know that this means nothing. The Spurs won game one in Miami last year. They lost the series. The Spurs jumped up on OKC in the first two games. After game four the entire fan base was ready to throw in the towel. We all know Miami will make some adjustments. We know the AC guys will make some too. LeBron likely won’t need to be carried off the floor and definitely won’t be looking for substitutions halfway into the third quarter.
This was the greatest series that I’ve seen. For ESPN talking heads and twitter NBA fans that only check the score via hashtags this counterintuitively legitimizes all the other Finals wins. The Spurs took the defending champs with the best player on the planet to seven games (and nearly squeaked out a win in six). Make no mistake, the Spurs were not the better team. San Antonio’s best player is 31, the same age as Miami’s second-best player. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are 37 and 35-going-on-36. It was through guile and savvy that they nearly stole the series in Game Six with an amazing display of basketball. That the Heat rallied and made a miraculous comeback says more about their ability than it does about any choking. Like San Antonio learned in 2012, sometimes you can’t out scheme youth, athleticism, and talent, even when spotted guts and experience. Yet the fact that the Spurs, Spartan-like, battled and earned the respect of any and everyone does more for their legacy than the sweep of LeBron’s 2007 Cavaliers ever did. Much like I will always remember that Allen Iverson dropped 48-points on the seemingly unbeatable 2001 Lakers more than I will remember that LA wen’t on to win four straight, I will remember the series where we nearly pulled out an improbable win over the favored1 Heat.
There aren’t many things I can rightfully be angry about while being a Spurs fan. It has been a great run for these last sixteen years. Before 1997, there were some solid seasons. Really, all the way back to Ice Man, the Spurs have been good-but-not-great on average. Tremendous. It hasn’t been complete and obvious glory, though. No back-to-backs that get automatic love. No great Finals series before this one against the Heat. No charismatic players to rally around. We have had to learn to love the not-so-obvious stuff: the wedge-roll, the extra-pass, the well-timed close out without fouling. That kind of thing. It isn’t sexy in the traditional sense. The defense-centric teams that won titles early in Tim’s career won respect from insiders but didn’t captivate anyone north of Waco. The NBA titles were met with begrudging acknowledgment. We both remember the slights: The asterisks, the boring label, the small market sneers, the yeah-buts. This series erased all that. It took a herculean effort from the best player in the world and a return to HOF form from the second best player on their team to eliminate our guys. Throw in a HOF last-gasp three pointer from Ray Allen to boot. The Spurs ain’t no chumps and there no one can deny that.
That kind of thing can get you really philosophical. The kind one gets when faced with non-traditional success (like losing in the NBA Finals.) To wit:
Tim has made that layup thousands of times and missed it hundreds. Narrow it down to important games and he has made that hundreds and missed it dozens. Last night, he missed it. So it goes.
Basketball is a cruel sport. It is a game of trends, of runs, of averages, of reverting to the mean. Sometimes your shot leaves you. You try to stay confident, work hard to get in position, have good form, but it doesn’t matter what you do. Your shot will come back in it’s own time. You stand in all your old favorite places waiting for her to return. For it to be like it was before, when you’d do a rain dance that would barely move the net. Ask Danny Green and Shane Battier. Shane was reunited with his shot at the most opportune time. Danny’s left him sometime in Game Six. What can you do? You do what all the great shooters know to do: keep shooting. Sometime it isn’t just your shot. Sometime it is confidence that disappears. When that is gone you feel like you just learned the game, standing in the middle of the court wondering what the hell you are supposed to do next. Conversely, sometimes you feel like Neo. You see the next five moves; you, the court, the ball, your teammates are all one thing that you can control. It’s awesome. Ask LeBron and Manu. They know.
Basketball is cruel and that’s why they play best of seven and not best of one and that’s what makes Game Six so painful. Danny Green’s run was ending, while LeBron’s and Wade’s were starting again. One more game meant one more shot, one more chance to revert to the mean. Oh you didn’t know that LeBron shot a Nowitski-like career best from midrange and three point range this season? Didn’t know that Miami shot an NBA-record 55% effective field goal percentage? They did. The Spurs’ gamble nearly worked. It was bold, it was savvy. It didn’t work.
Like most things, all you can do is your best. The rest is fate and she can be unkind. The Spurs did their best. Fate was a tiny bit unkind these last two games. So it goes.
Heat were favored by seven going into game six, and six going into game seven. ↩
There is nothing like a game seven. It is known. The NBA gets a terrible rap for being a league of loafers (it is more akin to guys running a marathon than being lazy) and so for casual folks, seeing two teams fueled by desperation and finality is enthralling. Whereas I have a higher appreciation for the Association, I empathize with these folks. I’ll pretty much watch any Championship-deciding game. Drama!
If the Spurs are anything like me1 they are feeling pretty good today. All punches-to-the-gut heal in time. That time can be a day-plus. You know this as well as I do. Any loss, to a brother, friend, HS rival, blue-haired lady at the bingo hall, puts an ugly feeling inside you that can only be completely removed by a win. Sure, time will heal that would up but it will leave a scar. These losses are like snake bites in that the only real way to guarantee a full return to mental health is to quickly act. Those mixed metaphors are meaning to say it is good that we are playing so soon after, in the same place, with the same guys.
Kenny Smith, TNT Analyst tells the story of how the Suns came back on his Rockets and erased a 20 point lead to win a playoff game twice. Houston felt terrible, were angry and disappointed. Then they remembered how easy it was to get up 20 points. Similarly, after all the self-reflection, cathartic sharing of terrible losses during late night meals, and poetry writing (wild guess), the Spurs have to be thinking to themselves “Wow, we got up 10 points (and 5 etc) in the fourth quarter in a must-win game against the best player on the planet and his sidekick with the misspelled first name.”[^2}. The question remains: can the Spurs muster the requisite physical energy to win this game? That is the big question. They may be mentally ready, but sometimes you just can’t overcome playing 40+ minutes when you are 37-years-old.
Re: The Worst Spurs Loss Ever.
I don’t consider this one the worst. Though I had a similar feeling to Game 7 vs Dallas in 2006, after Manu fouled Dirk and the Mavericks dominated OT, that was In-Their-Prime Spurs. Expectations were higher. This team was expected to limp out at the hands of Memphis/OKC/Denver. I maintain that life post-2007 has been a bowl of gravy. I don’t have nearly the same level of hate for the Heat as I did the Mavericks. No one on Miami punched any of our guys in the nads, ya’ll. No one there made fun of the River Walk. It just isn’t the same.
Re: Illegal Substitution
The fan o’ drama inside me would have loved to see them replay the final 5.2 seconds tonight with Miami’s prize being an immediate game 7. A psuedo-NBA FInals double header! If the Spurs would have won, we’d have seen all those Miami attendees got home sooo disappointed. I’m cruel. I would have loved that.
Re: Finals Ratings
People are fickle, don’t know much about basketball, and are sheep. This explains everything that is popular on television. In the same vein, this is the reason that there are unattended quality football and basketball games being played in your local area. **Ahem****UTSA**
Go Spurs Go.
Slow, rec-league-caliber desk jockey, confined to his halficle for 8 hours a day, who looks forward to Starbucks and Taco Tuesday. No? Nothing like that at all? MMkay. ↩
Everything right and everything wrong in one possession. That’s how LeBron summed up Tony Parker’s last-gasp game-winning leaning jumper. It was a great basketball play. It was a great competitor’s play. That’s basketball. Sometimes you get lucky and the ball rolls in. Sometimes it doesn’t. The great thing about the Spurs is the way in which they do so much to control the controllable. That miss wouldn’t have ended things. Timmy talked about how he was positioning himself for the rebound the entire frantic possession.
It was more than that though. They stayed in ideal striking distance throughout. Miami is more talented, more athletic, and well-coached. San Antonio hung around. They didn’t get desperate and play Timmy 48 minutes or try drastic changes in game plans. The role players didn’t shrink from the bright lights of 56 HD cameras and 8 super slow-mo setups that ABC had last night. And right at the end, like any good marathoner, the Spurs sprinted to the finish line, giving the ball to the best player on the team, running their favorite set, and let him make a play.
I’ve noticed a markedly different tone in the Spurs coverage this time around. Instead of the usual, “No really these Spurs aren’t really boring please watch this Finals OMG we are losing so much money” kind of talk we got during 2005 — remember Al Michaels called that series? — this time it’s “Wow. We should really appreciate this team.” It’s great. I’ve been in full-on nostalgia mode for a while now. I said on Air Alamo that this is all gravy post-2007. I thought we had no surprises left, after our HOFer was past his prime. We all had doubts about Tony Parker becoming a go-to player, given his wilting in the all the Finals prior to 20071. Yet here I sit, surprised. I’m sort of giddy, as well. You likely are too. We just beat the defending champs on their home floor with the best player in the world, in his prime, getting a triple-double. We know we can beat those kinds of teams. We beat KD and co. twice last season. Will the Spurs be able to overcome a hyped-up, energetic Heat squad? If the answer is ‘yes’ then the demons from OKC will be exercised. The caveats about Russ Westbrook going down can be erased, or at least reduced to footnotes.
Game Two is so far away. I have got to think that for the Spurs, it will be a good thing. For the Heat, it may be terrible. When you lose, you want to play the next one immediately. The break between games has to be a killer. Speaking of breaks, the nine-day rest for San Antonio didn’t hurt the ball movement - four turnovers! - but it may have impacted their shooting. Those threes — especially from Kawhi— coulda/woulda gone in and changed this game tremendously. Good news: those were just misses, and not scaredy-short armed threes. The ball was whipped around and shots were fired with confidence, wide open and in rhythm. That is all you can realistically ask for.
Truth be told: he wasn’t super-special against the Cavs. He was the guy scoring the most that series, but the offense ran through Timmy still (averaged 22.2 ppg in the playoffs). It was the only series where Timmy wasn’t the leading scorer. ↩
I took a break. Had to work. Both real and school. Also going to work? Klay Thompson and Steph Curry. Ballin’ out of control just like they did against the Nuggets.
Steph Curry show! I mean I’m torn. I’m a basketball fan before I’m a Spurs fan so seeing someone ballin’ like that? It’s awesome. Seeing it happen against my Spurs? Gut-wrenching.
Seriously though. The dude is doing it with quickness and shooting. He has just enough wiggle to get to the lane that keeps you honest while he unlocks that sweet jumper. An uncomfortable sense of frustration comes over the team but worse is feeling the need to match. Every non-matching shot by our guys feels desperate and inadequate. The good news is that the lead isn’t something crazy and the Warriors don’t have matching fourth quarters (usually).
Of all the scoring Steph did, the most frustrating are the driving scoops. Those represent a break-down of the defense. Harrison Barnes grabbed a missed scoop and punched it. The little mini-breakdown felt less like the Spurs stemming the tide than it did GS getting cocky.
Ginobili starts out the fourth with a nice scoop. Steph responds with some more beautiful basketball. He’s doing the driving and kicking that we need Parker to do. He’s hitting the threes we need Gary Neal to hit. This is our nightmare.
The lead, once back down to ten, is now at sixteen. Eight minutes remain. The Warriors’ last couple of misses weren’t good defense just fortunate rolls for us. Neal misses a wide open rhythm jumper. Kawhi misses a follow up one off the rebound. I refill my cup with more drink to sustain me for the rest of this game.
Aaaand Steph just won’t stop. This time another scoop. Dude has 38 points. Routinely blowing by and scoring over our best defender(s). Mama, there goes that man.
I slipped out to do some Sports Walking of my Dog. I’m checking the phone. It is 102-88. Three minutes or so left.
I walk back in and TP scoops his way to the basket. A turnover. Another basket. There is life in these gray jerseys yet! Spurs cut the lead to 104-96! Some life with two minutes left. Now a stop. Things are looking good. The ten people in the AT&T Center will go crazy if we can get another basket right here, right now.
A turnover! TP tries to kick it back instead of looking at the cutter. Dick Jefferson’s corpse looks to get some revenge as he flies into the open court. He’s fouled before he can punch it though. If he misses these … I’ll laugh.
RJ clangs both! (Of course). KAWHI HITS A THREE. 1 KAWHI BLOCKS STEPH CURRY. TONY ATTACKS THE BASKET FOR TWO. THE LEAD IS ONLY THREE POINTS.
ANOTHER STOP. The lead is now down to one after a couple of freebies from Diaw. Spurs are on a 15-0 run here. Steph gets the ball on the wing. Does his little dance. He’s toying with us. I can totally see a soul-crushing shot-clock beating three over two guys right here. A miss! He shot it too long on a fadeaway from the left baseline! But. But the Warriors got the rebound. That reminds me that when I checked the stats as I walked the dogs we were being out-rebounded and out shot. Now we need another stop … and don’t get it. Jack hits a pull-up on Tony Parker that looks like something Chauncey Billups used to do when he was good. I’m okay with it. I don’t know how many stops in a row that was just then but you can’t realistically expect to get all of them. Now down three what do we do? Quick shot? Go for the tie? Steph Curry lurks no matter what.
DANNY GREEEN YA’LLL
Clutch three. Now, just have to stop Steph Curry from getting a shot off. You know, what we couldn’t do all night until just a few minutes ago. He’s working. Dribbling. Dancing. Get’s caught up! Tosses up a prayer that rims off harmlessly. 2 OVERTIME.
As always, these things are like a completely different game. The momentum could be with us but I can’t shake the thought of the energy we expended trying to come back. It looks like we did, in fact, use it all up. Golden State looks like the team that stormed out to the 18-point lead. We look tired. It ain’t over though. The Spurs are defended and trading baskets. Diaw hits a three to tie! Danny Green flies by two guys for the lead! We get a stop!
I realize I will need more to drink for the rest of this game. Steph won’t make it easy. After a series of terrible misses, he attacks the basket off a turnover to tie it at 113. No Timmy. Do we go to TP again? Gino? Looks like Kawhi, the new star ya’ll. Turnaround fadeaway in the post to put us up two. I’m stoked.
Steph misses another. Let’s end this thing, ya’ll. One basket puts it at a two possession game. Tony is dancing. Pick and roll from the top of the key. Pull up! … Miss. No rebound. Jarrett Jack scores. It’s tied.
This won’t be easy. I hate when I’m right.
It’s last shot time. Who takes it? Kawhi feels like the right option but he needs Tony to feed him. Do we post him? Nah. He’ll get swarmed down there in that time. I don’t know if he’s ready to deal from the post in that situation. Timmy makes an appearance after a foul.
Let’s do this.
Gino gets the ball on the wing. Pulls up with two seconds left … the ball ricochets off the backboard.
More free basketball. I probably will die.
Well after that initial series of turnovers and missed shots and flubbed rebounds we know that everyone is tired. This is good as long as Steph Curry is clanging ‘em. Golden State isn’t quite a one-man team but without that bit of magic they are pretty ordinary. This is as good a time to demonstrate superior execution as any.
Tony is out here missing. Steph is out here missing. Harrison Barnes is out here cashing threes, though. Tony responds with some spin button. Trading three for two is dangerous. Fouling Draymond Green means we are back down to a three-point deficit. Tony finally hits something farther out than two feet. Harrison Barnes … clanks a wide-open three! Offensive foul on the rebound! Chance for the lead!
GS leaves Boris Diaw wide open. He throws up some silliness that goes in! A stop! A Tony Parker jumper! Spurs up three! The Shrieking Lady is SHRIEKING!
The Ws get a couple points. Spurs are up two. We need about two baskets with this much time left 3. Tony, to Kawhi, to DANNY GREEEEEEEN.
That was so money ya’ll. Some clutch baskets down the stretch by practically the whole team 4.
Welp. Speaking of clutch shots, that miss from Gino after Golden State scored was not a clutch shot. Curry scoots down the lane and fingerrolls for two. Tony tries a spin in the lane. He falls after the miss. Curry scoops up the miss. Someone stupidly tries to steal it from him there. It’s like 5-on1. Golden State scores with 3 seconds left to go up one.
Series of time outs and false starts. Trading fouls with time outs.
For some reason Golden State left Ginobili wide open on the wing. He cashed a high-arcing shot. Finger in the air. Spurs are up two. I’m still dying. This is incredible.
Now a stop. That’s all that is needed.
1.2 seconds left.
Stopped. Jarrett Jack gets the last shot and I don’t know what to say about that game except that it was awesome. Diaw was incredible, too. He blocked Curry in that incredible run. Danny Green hit two or three huge bombs late/OT/OT2.
There are a ton of things to say. The Spurs lived up to the hype. They out-executed Curry’s magical Warriors. How much of a strategy is it to wait until Steph gets tired of cashing threes? How many times can we get a come back 18-2 run to tie? How many more times this series can the Spurs overcome being out-rebounded and shoot terrible in the first half?
We’ll see. Tonight I have a paper to write.
Go Spurs Go.
I am in writing a last-minute research paper that I should have completed about three weeks ago. Such is life. Still, I have miraculously found the time and ability to live-blog-distract-myself during said writing.
Immediately (or really, during, as it began with about two-minutes left in the Heat game) after MVP Bron and co dropped game one against the Bulls, the Spurs come out and look like they’ve been chillin’ all week also. So much of basketball is rhythm. So much rhythm gets lost in scrimmages and practice. There is no way to reproduce the do-or-die rush of adrenaline that comes with playoff game. Thus far, Golden State has played more recent games than have the Spurs and it shows. Missed buckets, slow reactions. This is to be expected. Still, the spark to life came and the Spurs are back in it. The Warriors are still ahead and looking good.
I need to move to Argentina, ya’ll. Messi came in in the 60th minute and scored two goals on four shots this weekend (the other two were off the top corner and off the keeper). Gino comes in and hits a three, gets a steal, and looks 31 years old. Mark Jackson is a good-ass coach. Golden State looks scrappy. They have shooters (which are always game-changing in that infuriating way), and Mark gives them some swagger and confidence. Curry just hit a three to put the Warriors up 42-31. It is only the W’s third (Spurs have four). I’m thankful. The GS beat writer Tim Kawakami1 said that he thought the Spurs would win because we could match them three-for-three. The flaw with that is this: Curry can get his own shot, even if they look impossible or ridiculous. The Spurs have a Rube Goldberg-style of getting those shots, comparatively speaking. The Drive and Kick style is awesome in the flow of the game but it’s hardly the magic you need in the playoffs. ***More soccer references warning *** It is Barca sans Messi-magic. That is to say, it is Arsenal.
Also of note: Bogut’s big-man floater. It is stupid. I hate it. Mostly because he hit it.
The Ginobili in-traffic-dunk will forever be my favorite thing ever.
Matt Bonner playoff poor-performance will forever be my least-favorite thing ever. Beside Juwon Howard judo-chopping Derek Anderson.
After a series of embarrassing strategic fouls on Bogut 2, Mark Jackson takes the Australian out and the Warriors come out of the time out and hit a three. It’s 53-49 and I’m out of snacks.