I Love This Game!

Game 4 Phoenix @ San Antonio: Suns 104, Spurs 98 (2-2)

God, where to begin? The whole day was just weird for me. I went to the counselor's office and explained to them my situation with the Spanish class. The lady explained to me that I was mistaken. The line of demarcation for a Credit/No Credit class wasn't a "C-" after all. No, it was a straight "C."

Fuck fuckitty fuck fuck.

That meant that to improve upon my 70.7% going in and to finish at the 74% for the term I would need to get a C, I would have had to get, by my calculations, a 174 out of 200 on the final to pass the class. Friends, Beno Udrih has a better chance of winning the slam dunk contest next year than I do of earning a legitimate 174 on that test. I was screwed.

Fortunately, I was able to calmly explain my situation to the counselor and she quickly gathered that I'm not mentally imbalanced enough to want to make it harder on myself to pass the class on purpose. Actually I had a fortuitous point in my favor on my transcript. See, I took Spanish last semester for Credit/No Credit and quit the class in the middle of the semester once I realized I would need to stay in school a bit longer. This semester I applied for "Course Forgiveness" this thing we have at school where if a student takes a class they failed over again and passes, the original failure will be wiped from their GPA. The lady explained to me that me asking for course forgiveness in a class I was never punished for on my GPA for in the first place, (because all I got was a NC instead of an "F") I was showing the school I had absolutely no understanding of the C/NC concept and deserved some leniency. My absolute idiocy was actually benefiting my cause. I feel like I should play the lottery or something.

So we filed a petition and she told me that she would write a letter on my behalf and more than likely it would be approved, my grading method would change, and I would pass the class with a "D+" or whatever I got.

But then this happened.

I checked my grade late Monday night when I got the e-mail saying they'd been posted. What do you know, the S.O.B. fucking passed me. I know I didn't deserve it, but he passed me. Maybe he figured out my C/NC error for himself and realized that since I deserved a D anyway, I wasn't really cheating the system or asking for special favors. Or maybe he realized that if I had to come back here next semester I would have made his life a fucking living hell. Either way, he passed me, and the whole thing with the counselor was moot.

So I guess I'm a college graduate now. So I've got that going for me.

The last thing I had to do was write some bullshit paper (I thought I was done with these!) for History of Sexuality, and I finished that up about an hour ago. I'll probably get a "C-" on it and a "B-" in the class. Ask me if I give a shit.
And naturally the second my personal life has some semblance of calm, Spurs basketball has to ratchet up my blood pressure. Pop's boys gagged away a game they were fully in control of during the middle 24 minutes and we blew an 11 point lead in the 4th quarter, knotting the series at two and re-establishing home court for the Suns. Manu was mind-blowingly awful, Tim was turnover prone, and Tony was terrible.

Of course, my dumbshit friend Roh, who's pulling for the Suns mind you, pulled a Sean Elliott and IMed me IN THE MIDDLE OF THE 3RD QUARTER, congratulating me on the Spurs going to the Finals. What a jinxing, douchebag thing to do. I was pretty pissed at him afterward, naturally. God, I really don't want to get into that whole thing.

Pop tried every conceivable way to hand the Suns the game until finally one worked. I could not have been more livid watching the game. Not only were we playing like total ass, but the refs were giving us a Grade A screw job to boot. In one sequence both Tony and Manu drove to the cup in back-to-back plays, both were fouled, and neither foul was deemed a shooting foul. We had to take the ball out on the side. Tim got handed his fifth foul on a Raja Bell flop (the third offensive foul of the five he got) where on the other hand Nash barreled into Gino to free up Bell for a lay-up. Barbosa steam-rolled Tony on a drive and got an And-1 out of it. He missed the freebie though (BALL DON'T LIE!!! BALL DON'T LIE!!!). It was just one little thing after another. How we end the game with a 29-14 disadvantage in free throw attempts is unfathomable to me. We came into the series with less fouls committed than any team in the league and we've been whistled twelve more times than the Suns so far in four games. After both games the Suns lost they bitched about the officiating and were immediately rewarded the next game. If we had just gotten a fair whistle in Game 4, we would've won the game going away and the Horry thing would've never happened.

Not that I'm condoning Horry's actions, mind you. I think what he did was total bush and very unbecoming of a Spur. Amare and Diaw were idiots for leaving the bench, but I feel bad winning a series this way. I've already written my feelings on the matter and what I would love to see us do about it here, and there really isn't anything more I feel like saying about it. Predictably, the reaction to my idea received a lot of support on PtR and unanimous abject ridicule on Spurstalk. Like Matthew always tells me, I'd be a much happier person if I never went there. Alas.

Anywho, I'm sick over the whole thing. Between losing the opportunity to get vengeance on the Mavs, John Oliver of The Daily Show wearing the "Ginobili" jersey, and now this, the whole playoffs have been a massive disappointment for me thus far. This was supposed to be our greatest postseason triumph ever dammit.

Besides that, what did you think of the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

Pop just coached this game weird. We had 11 guys see time before the 1st quarter even ended. By placing Fab in the starting line-up, he ruined a good thing he and Gino had going together with the 2nd unit. He hardly played Manu together with Barry as well, despite the positive results that line-up had in Game 3. The two never saw the court together in that fateful 4th. Both Horry and Elson had positive showings in their brief stints, but Pop wasn't impressed by either and went with 25 minutes of tinyball. He gave Bruce 33 minutes even though it was clear that he was the worst player on the court, Nash was DESTROYING him in the second half and he wasn't scoring or rebounding anywhere near as well as he had in Game 3. It was criminal that Barry got only 19 minutes in Game 4. HE WAS OUR BEST PLAYER OUT THERE. Am I taking crazy pills here? How can anyone else not see these things?

Bowen is a liability in smallball line-ups, even his defense was shit on Monday, and Pop's insistence on relying on him, no matter who the other personnel on the court are is killing us. I cannot accept that Nash gets to rest on defense every possession and massacre us on the other end. Outside of that one knee to the balls, Bowen has been Nash's best friend all series. If we'd allowed the Parker-Nash match-up to develop on both ends of the floor, that little Hoser would be a puddle by now instead of everyone's favorite martyr.

I also dislike how the Spurstalk community is placing the sole burden of this loss on Manu's lap. Sure, he shot the ball like a blind mountain goat. That's fine. But if you ask me, there are two things a player can do wrong on offense: Miss a shot or commit a turnover. In reality a turnover is even worse than a missed shot because it cannot be offensively rebounded and usually a turnover leads to an easy fast break the other way. So add up the offensive mistakes, missed shots + turnovers, and what do you see?

Gonzo: 11 (3-14 FGs, 0 turnovers)
Timmeh: 11 (9-14 FGs, 6 turnovers)
TWaRF: 15 (9-19 FGs, 5 turnovers)

I can accept Manu playing as bad as our other two stars, particularly in the 4th, but I don't think it can reasonably be argued that he was worse. That being said, I have no idea what the hell is wrong with him. It's like I wish he and Pop could sit down together, watch regular season tape and figure out how he scored 16.5 a night. It wasn't all three pointers and the ball at the top of the key play. What I saw in Game 4 was this: Every time Manu was passed the ball, he was standing still behind the three point line. He never got it on the move, he never got it on a curl or a cut, everything was completely stationary. This has to change.

If all he's gonna run are pick and rolls, his only two options are to pass every time or to start driving right. Because he's getting doubled and overplayed to the left like crazy. I don't know why he can't figure this shit out. He's supposed to be a smart player and Pop is supposed to be a smart coach. Plus, he's openly lying to the media now. Somebody asked him about the Horry thing and Manu had the nerve to say, "I didn't see it" when the tape clearly shows him ten feet away from the incident, staring right at it as it's happening. For shame, Manu.

Ugh.

So what happens now? The refs will be on the Suns' nuts now. They'll get every call, Tim will be in foul trouble within a few minutes and Manu and Tony will be hacked to bits. I have no idea if we'll win Game 5, but I know that if everything else was equal, we would. I don't know if Pop will play a lot of smallball or what, but aside from the changes with Manu I've talked about, I hope he plays Barry more and Bowen less or at least has the good sense to let Tony take Nash. Just put Bowen on Marion and take their best remaining offensive weapon out of the game. He's perfectly suited to shut Matrix down in the first place, remember '05?

I don't have the time for adding pictures and making this thing all colorful, I'm in a huge time crunch. I won't even be able to watch the next two games live because of other commitments. Maybe Matthew will flesh this out for me and add the pics and amusing comments I'm so famous for. We'll see.

3 stars

3. Brent Barry - Had his first two non-3 pointer field goals of the playoffs.
2. Amare Stoudemire - Should be um...well rested for Game 6.
1. Steve Nash - 24 and 15. I am sufficiently annoyed with him by now, I have to say.

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