Since it is 7am here and I am too full of excitement and caffeine to sleep before work, I figured I would try my hand at a game recap. Let me know if it sucks.
Tim Duncan is a champion. Hornets fans who were hoping that the Spurs game 3 win was like Dallas' game 3 win in Round 1 have already realized their mistake. Tim Duncan is not Dirk Nowitski, he doesn't play like Dirk, he doesn't lead like Dirk, and most of all, his team doesn't fold when the games start to matter (like Dirk's).
We all knew that TD was going to come on strong tonight. He had been sick and underperforming during the first three games of this series. Maybe he was "due," maybe he had something to prove, maybe the Hornets just played him differently, but TD went off. 22pts on 10-13 shooting from the field, 15 boards, 4 blocks, and 3 assists (including a Manuesque zinger to TP underneath), and 5 Tyson Chandler fouls meant that the Spurs were going back to NO with the series all tied up.
Now he has done that which causes NO fans to tremble, he made the Hornets think. He is in their head. Scrappy-doo is pissed, West is pushing people and complaining to officials, Chandler is cussing himself out on the bench, Peja is forcing up 10 ft runners with two guys in his face. Sure, this isn't all the work of TD, but he made it possible. His defensive and offensive presence allow the lesser Spurs (read: all of them) to do what they do best instead of having to force the issue.
Because of Duncan, Thomas and Oberto can stay closer to West because they know TD has the rim protected. Because of Duncan, Parker can go under the screen because he knows TD will push Scrappy out and give him time to recover. Because of Duncan, Bowen can invade Peja's personal space because a driver will simply end in another awkward layup attempt. Because of Duncan; Bowen, Finley, Ginobili, Udoka, Horry, Barry, Parker, and Thomas can all shoot open jumpers off of New Orleans double-teams.
Tonight, once again, we are reminded that this is Duncan's team. Pop may be the front-man, Ginobili is our favorite, Parker is the flashy one, but in the end it all comes down to #21. When Duncan plays well, the Spurs win. When Duncan does not play well, the Spurs do not win.
It may just be me, but I'm really getting tired of Scrappy-doo getting the Jordan treatment. One play in the 3rd quarter illustrated this best: Paul drove into the lane, barely missed Bowen with his right elbow (which was above his own shoulder) barreled into Parker with his left forearm, threw the ball wildly at the basket, and was rewarded with 2 fts. (Please note: I'm not complaining about the calls in general today, if anything I think the reffing favored SA, but I HATE the idea that superstars are somehow entitled to get those calls).
Udoka seems to be getting more comfortable as the playoffs go on. Let's hope he continues to get playing time, as he is our best rebounding win player and is the only Spur who can match up well with a fully-functional Bonzi Wells (who, I admit, we haven't seen this series).
David West is a bitch. I know that Oberto flopped on his elbow/push underneath the basket, and I suspect TD probably did on the other end as well, but West just cannot control his frustration when he is playing poorly. The Spurs have gotten into his head in each of the last three games. His response is usually a mixture of covert violence and complaining to the refs.
Reggie Miller is an alien who is still learning the English language. I don't think this requires an explanation.
Let's Go Spurs. Take game five and really get these kids doubting themselves.