Anybody remember the punch? No, not Kermit Washington. Not the brawl at the Palace. I mean the sissy punch that Shaq threw at Brad Miller.
You have to be a real asshole to get Shaquille O'Neal to throw a punch at you. He just has a way to get under people's skin... the way Bruce Bowen does. Does Tim Duncan, the pschology major realize this? <charles_barkley_voice>First of all, you got to realize that psychology majors are people who didn't want to take real courses in college.</charles_barkley_voice> Tim will always get the better of the exchange with Brad because he, well, has talent, I see Tim react in ways that I wouldn't expect.
First half, Duncan starts off slow. He's getting singled by Mickey Moore but misses a couple 10 footers. Eventually, he breaks the ice with a pick and roll dunk. Tony Parker was aggressive on offense... at least somebody was. Michael Finley was also on fire. Those too mostly carried the team in the first half. The Kings were down by a trickle even though the Spurs held them to 30-something percent.
The Spurs held Kevin Martin to 1 of 9 shooting, but kept putting him on the free throw line. Did he shoot more free throws than the Spurs? Maybe.
The offense was looking pretty good and the defense up until the ball became loose. Rebounds and turnovers (at least two shot clock violations) favored the Kings. That kept them in the game.
Robert Horry was injured when Francisco Garcia's knee hit his knee on an offensive foul. Bill Land thought for some reason that Horry was starting to come around.
Jack Van was playing pretty well on the offensive end with some good shots and assists - I couldn't imagine that Midge would have done as well.
Second half, Spurs came out slow. The Kings deleted the lead with early offense. Spurs went cold, or should I say that Finley went cold. Just as the team was going downhill, Manu Ginobili steps in to make things happen. He scored 2 FT's when Miller flagrantly fouled him (Kings scored a T when an official thought Ginobili pulled a Shaq-Fu on Miller in retaliation).
From that point on, the Kings started disintegrating like the Spurs' defense threw water on them. Ron Artest, who was the only King that I thought was agressive the whole game, started picking up offensive fouls, Anthony Johnson (who started in Beno Udrih's absence due to cramps) had an offensive. I noticed the lead continued to build even when there were a lot of scrubs in the game like Finley, Fabricio Oberto, Kurt Thomas and Van. Eventually, the real scrubs came in - Midge, Matt Bonner, Van, etc. - where the lead decreased from 18 down to 13. Game over.
Spurs played playoff basketball. The game was definitely physical, but the Spurs aggressiveness was solid (minus early third quarter). I was pretty happy with the effort.
They took care of the ball in the second half with one turnover (I think?). The Spurs shared the ball a lot at 27 assists - even before I looked it up I thought so.
And they got starters some rest to get ready for Sunday. Nobody played more than 32 (Tim and Tony). I was glad that Kurt got more playing time than Boner. I like his energy and that he can hit three pointers (sometimes), but overall I don't like seeing Boner play when the game is still on the line.
Third Star was Ginobili. He sparked the team when the game was close in the third quarter. I thought about Horry for missing most of the game, but I catch enough crap for not jocking Ginobili more than I do.
Second Star was Parker. He had a good offensive game and he didn't turn John Salmons into a star.
Star of the game was Tim Duncan. He played the best overall, but the team probably had the best plus/minus with him in the game. I'd have no idea where to find that, btw.