You have to understand, it is awful watching a SPURS game in Denver. I’ve never simply said that because I live here; there’s more to it than that. I’m fortunate to get to attend many games and games in Denver even surpass games in Phx for pure suckitude. The fans in CO are arrogant, entitled pricks with nothing but a 1994 NBA first round playoff upset to show for their basketball pedigree. And they hate the SPURS. It’s like most other fan bases, but more intense. Because Manu scorned them several years ago, because we always seem to bring our A game while here, because we frequently end their playoff dreams. Countless reasons why the boos you imagined so constant on the telecast were in fact, exactly as you suspected. Not to mention, as a true basketball fan and lover of the sport, watching the abortion that Denver puts on the court is sheer criminal.
Getting TO the game was fun, all the while thinking, "Which SPURS team is going to show tonight? Will it be the 2008-09 version, or a version I’m more accustomed to seeing that doesn’t suck ass and embarrass me? I hope I don’t get jumped tonight." So in lieu of a traditional recap and the fact that I'm so devoted to you morons that I actually brought a notebook to the game to take notes; I'm abandoning the traditional recap in favor of a running diary. SiMA's thoughts and observations, and some stats thrown in.
- My seats are nice, right behind the SPURS bench. If you go to a game it’s where you have to be to hear the goings on and see the body language. I like to psychoanalyze like that.
- Why is Pop spending so much time talking to Bonner? Why is Don Newman talking so much to Bonner. Oh no. Oh God no.
- Craptastic. The thugget fan behind me is loud and wants to make sure everyone in Colorado knows he’s a true fan. He’s already blowing about a 1.89.
- Yep, Bonner is starting. This ought to be comedic gold. And if thats not enough for me to ridicule in my recap, Finley’s starting on Melo. By my calculation, Melo could possibly have 137 points tonight.
- I suddenly realize something. Everyone on earth has come to the conclusion that because Billups is not a primary scorer and is more a PG than Iverson, that is the plausible explanation for the thuggets’ improvement. It occurs to me that no one has any explanation for why the thuggets still sucked ass with Andre Miller running the point.
- It sure is good that I brought my camera. It’s not working for some reason, and now I look like I’m carrying a freakin’ purse. Thank God ATS isn’t here to see this.
12:00- Thought Nene wins the tip, Manu grabs it and quickly spots up for a 16-footer. All net. I hope this continues.
11:20- Bonner with the quick and unreluctant 3. I don’t like Rocket being one of the very first to score, but I do like this strange new confidence-like thing he’s showing.
10:01- Finley jumper. San Antonio is shooting 4-4, Denver is shooting 4-4. You get dizzy watching shit like this for too long.
9:47- Matt Bonner is literally running circles on the floor. And I don’t mean ‘Pop’s play looks like circles on the hardwood.’ I mean he’s literally just running around aimlessly, like you do in a pickup game at the Y. Pop has caught on to Matt’s "offensive rotations" and is screaming.
9:28- If Pop truly is smart, he’ll go directly at Nene all 1st half. Timmy owns their bigs and they both have too much pride and insecurity to allow him in the paint without accruing 4-5 fouls apiece before half.
8:03- The pretzels at the Pepsi Center are terrible. Dry, stale and without enough salt. There’s not enough mustard in the arena to hide that hideousness, so I throw it carelessly on the ground. Rebel in a Bruce Bowen jersey, you can’t stop me.
7:45- 13-13. Tony is VERY, very rusty. You can see it in everything he does. He’s clearly out of shape, and he’s at least 1 step too slow. I have faith it will come back, but he’s not close to the same Tony we’ll need in April and May.
6:37- Cheryl Miller just walked by- I literally thought it was Rick Fox at first. She’s enormous, and I’m pretty sure I saw a bulge.
5:40- Timmy’s getting really angry with Kmart’s touch fouls. Kmart of course wants to immediately throw down. God I hate these guys.
This is seriously who he got the lips tattoo for. Insert joke here. And you wondered why I didn't correct you guys when you mistakenly thought he did it in honor of Miss Piggy.
5:02- Some Denver dancers walk by. As much as I hate the sports fans of Denver and am convinced that the city has very few redeeming qualities, the dancers certainly provide momentary redemption. Easily better than the Silver Dancers. Though this entry likely will never see the light of day on PtR.
4:00- Bruce is definitely not the same, and Melo knows it. Look for Melo to demand the ball even more than his ‘every minute usual.’
3:29- I suddenly smell hooch and look over at the scorer’s table. Coincidentally, Chris ‘Birdman’ Anderson is checking in.
3:17- "Hey Tony……Denver is playing rough. Yes, we know it’s hard playing a rough team. Get used to it. See that little guy on the bench? No, not the guy doing crosswords, that’s the JV. I’m talking about the guy paying attention and learning. He’s your backup. He relishes the fact that Denver is playing rough. Get used to it."
2:59- Well, the pick & roll D is atrocious, but the overall defensive rotations are improved. I wish I had a PtR shirt so I could wave at you guys. Wearing Bruce’s jersey IS sad, I was right.
2:00- Second shot attempts are winning this game for us. We’re simply outworking and out-hustling them.
1:34- Superfan behind me boos my sweet Manu for no apparent reason. I for a split second consider whether it would be a felony or a misdemeanor to turn around and crack him in the jaw. Maybe ATS is right, fanny packs ARE cool. If I had one right now at least I could have snuck in a taser or brass knuckles or something. Hopefully this guy will soon be too drunk to realize that you do not boo the Manu in my presense.
:04- Chris Anderson with a wide-open 3. This guy is a prime example of why I hate the thuggets. Chris Anderson would not even be allowed to rebound for our practice team. He would not even have the talent to play 3rd string with the JV in San Antonio, but yet, Coach Hairlip has decided he’s a good fit for a team already with chemistry issues. Hmm.
The quota for tattoos on the nuggets was set at 73, thus the only acceptable explanation for the acquisition.
30-26 SPURS, end of 1st.
-I’m now sold on Mace. He’s walking back to the bench and sees me. I’m staring at him as a child does when meeting a stranger, just soaking him in and trying to analyze him. He winks and gives me a head-nod. This cat is cool. I mean seriously, he’s very confident and he brings great chemistry to the team when viewed up close and interacting with the vets. Everyone likes him and he was clearly born to be a SPUR. Not saying I agree with everything he does, but I’m much more comfortable with him in black and silver now.
11:23- There are so many Argentine’s here at that game. I always wonder, if you’re Argentine, why the hell would you move to Denver, CO? Could half these people simply be frauds, jumping on the Manu/Fab bandwagon? I hate Denver even more just contemplating the injustice as I dust off my baby blue flag hanging from the railing in front of me.
You're back in, LD. This one's for you.
10:25- Holding on, 34-31 SPURS.
9:50- I think to myself, "Why aren’t we driving the paint more" as Manu flies in for the foul. Boos rain down.
9:40- Finley enters the game. The stench of death around the bench suddenly dissipates.
8:07- We’re rebounding really well, but too many stupid turnovers.
7:50- I get pissed off and take off Bruce’s jersey. Out of the corner of my eye, I catch him leaning back and watching me. I bow my head in shame as a single tear rolls down his cheek. His very, very old cheek.
7:10- Mace gets greedy and jacks another 3, Pop stares vacantly.
6:12- Hill for three and we’re up 14. I look over to see the JV doing a Sudoku. He knows whats coming.
5:21- Kmart’s quote about stopping Timmy still makes me smile. Maybe he confused TD with Bonner, cause Tim’s absolutely abusing him tonight. Again. Another graduate of the Shaq O’Neal School of Quote Reliability.
4:04- If you were judging solely by Pop’s reactions and body language and choice of words, I’d say Bruce’s time is nearly over. I love Bruce Bowen, much more than any of you clowns, and it pains me to say that. But I’ve never been more sure that Bruce is not the same and slowly on his way out. He plays a shell of the defense that once made him famous, and he simply can’t move the way he once did. Without a higher shooting percentage, there’s no reason to keep him around and it appears the coaching staff is figuring this out.
3:15- T on Melo. Well, there’s still one thing Bruce can do. The thuggets are so easy, I love playing Denver.
2:13- Melo with 3 fouls, and I’m pretty sure they’re all offensive.
2:01- Mace needs to slow down and stop shooting. It’s a long game, champ. We can put them away in the 2nd half. You don’t need to beat them in the 1st and in fact can’t. Settle down.
1:52- I’ve never seen a player more proud of making a routine basketball play than Kenyon Martin. Leading the league in post-dunk screaming and post-block posturing every year. Every game. Fortunately I was able to get a pic of Kmart before my camera died….
1:03- Holy shit we’re up 18.
:32- Holy shit we’re up 20.
:12- The thuggets fan behind me orders yet another Coors for his inbred cesspool of a wife and himself. Drink up assclown, we came to play.
- I’m starting to get that same feeling in my stomach that you get when you come home early and there’s another car next to your wifes in the driveway. Worry, doubt, confusion, paranoia for the 2nd half. Your 2008-09 San Antonio SPURS, Ladies and -Gentlemen!!
- Denver shot 55% in the 1st, 24% in the 2nd.
- The annual speech by Pop clearly worked, defense is much improved tonight.
- On the last play of the half, Bonner tried to hit Tony on the outlet pass but sailed it over his little head. Tony stood there with his arms out and said, "Come on Matt!" My blood began to boil at seeing Tony sell Bonner out to an entire arena of opposing fans. The hillbillies behind me started laughing. Then, Tony started laughing. He walked over and put his arm around Matt and Bonner started laughing too. Suddenly, no one around me was mocking them anymore. Joe Dirt behind me calmly said, "I wish we had that kind of chemistry." I love being a San Antonio SPURS fan. The whole exchange was kindof like how ATS treats me on PtR. Except for the reconciliation, it’s a perfect parallel.
- Bonner’s hair up close is frighteningly red. Like Viking red.
- 17 assists for San Antonio in the 1st half.
- JR Smith could easily be the next 6th Man of the Year, but he's a fucking lunatic.
12:00- Probably not going to take as good of notes in the 2nd half because I’m hungry and want nachos and a beer, and you bastards won’t read it anyway.
11:40- I yell "Hell No" on Kmart’s 1st free throw (don’t know if you heard him do that on one of Bruce’s shots earlier, but it was retarded. If all else fails in your NBA career, and it has, don’t hesitate to employ the ‘Hey Batter Batter’ method of defense) He misses, and I smile as I get ever closer to getting my ass kicked by 389 blind loyalists.
9:06- Parker with the finger roll and it’s 67-44.
6:31- Bruce is really getting physical with Melo, there could be another T coming here soon. A team like Denver is really Bruce’s favorite though, they’re so easy to psychologically destroy. Bruce delivers an incredible block on Melo and the destruction is almost complete.
2:34- Uh oh. The D has left the building. Terrible rotations, poor shot selection, poor shooting, too much 1 on 1. I can literally feel Pop’s anger from here.
:56- I’m not sure that if we hadn’t put together a perfect first half we wouldn’t be getting blown out right now. We’re playing completely opposite from how we played in the 1st, and we’re not penetrating the lane at all. Denver’s D is not responsible by any means, we simply get soft in the 2nd halves of games and it’s occurring now.
7:21- I realizes something for the first time watching the players this year up close in the great moments and the bad moments of a game. We don’t have our roles set just yet. Yes we’ve struggled with injuries as well, but the real problem is our identity. This is the explanation when Hill and Mason perform amazingly only until Tony and Manu’s return. This is the explanation when Bonner runs aimlessly in circles on the court. This is the problem when Tony shoots 30 times a game. Mason is settling into a ‘shoot-first’ role because that’s what we’ve needed. But we no longer need that with Manu and Tony back; they're those guys. You can see it in that often he shoots 3s with 20 on the shot clock and no SPURS back to pass to. You can see it when George looks confused and uninspired now that Tony’s back. It’s all about knowing your roles. Bowen understands he’s not going to be counted on to drop 30 points in a given night. Fab understands that he’s not an offensive option, but that he’s to do other intangible things. Once George grasps that he’s the backup PG, depended on for only stability and leadership, he’ll shake out of this funk. Once Mason understands that he’s to be an effective spot-up shooter and capable defender and not the leading man each night, we’ll see more consistency.
Timmy knows his role already. And that role is.....to.....destroy.
3:16- We’ve shot 26 threes this game. I HATE relying on the 3, but it was fun to watch.
3:00- 5th foul on Melo, courtest of Mr. Potato Head.
2:45- 5th foul on Nene as Manu gets the and-1
:00- Game. SPURS 108, thuggets 91. But it wasn’t that close.
Your three stars:
3. Matt Bonner- 6-8 for 14 and 2-2 from 3. Much needed performance from him.
2. Manu Ginobili- 7-11 for 21 points and 4-7 from 3. And he’s beautiful.
1. Tim Duncan- 21 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 blocks, 1 steal, 2 TOs and a game-high +22. Oh yeah, and he was 7-8 from the FT line. Kmart had 12 points 5 boards, 2 blocks for -15 on 4-7 shooting.
- I’m not ready to give Tony a star. When you shoot under 50% as a PG who specializes in layups, you don’t get the nod regardless of how many points you finished with.The thuggets are never going to be an upper-tier team in the George Karl era. No matter how deep offensively they get, they’re still emotionally and psychologically infants. It’s far too easy for a smart veteran team to take them out of their game and allow them to beat themselves. And it’s beautiful if you’re there, and your team is doing the mindscrewing.
Coach Hairlip in one of his most interactive and involved coaching moments.
- In the timeouts, Pop talked constantly about not trading baskets for baskets, play chess and not checkers, and getting stops. We got too tangled in this game for the 3rd quarter, and as a result were outscored 26-22. Seeing this wisdom and understanding the ‘pounding the rock’ mantra is good for the new guys.
- Our rotations and plays were brilliant in the 2nd quarter. This is when we pulled away.
- Funny thing about a player who showboats and screams a lot. Take a look at Kmart’s stats above. Maybe he is such an asshat because he’s realized that he seems like a better player when doing so. I know I never would have believed he only finished with 5 boards and 2 blocks. Huh.
- Much to my surprise, Mason played terrible. He’s still obviously figuring out the system but he’ll be alright. Pop doesn’t tolerate such unwise pull-up 3s unless your name is Manu, and I see that habit changing very soon. Considering he went 2-10 from 3, I wouldn’t worry too much about Mace’s habit of jacking as he likely heard plenty about it postgame. Mace is a great fit overall and his stroke will return.
Well, we're now 10-8 and holding firmly to the 8th seed in the West.
Next up- @ home vs. the Warriors on Saturday night. 7:30PM CST