Your '08-09 MVP?
(Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
Hey there, my loyal friends and readers. I know you've grown accustomed to my sunshine and lollipops posts here the past week, but I'm afraid this one will rather be grouchy and dour as I'm feeling quite melancholy.
If you follow my writing here at all, you know I'm an Eagles fan in the NFL, and they lost in the NFC Championship game to the fucking Arizona Cardinals and their season is over. In typical Eagles fashion, they didn't just get blown out peacefully so their fans could enter the offseason with no regrets or what-ifs. No, that would've been too easy, too peaceful. Scoring 19 straight points, to turn a 24-6 deficit into a 25-24 lead, and then losing to rip our hearts out, now that's the Eagles I know and love. It's going to take me a good long while to get over it and maybe, if anyone cares, you can let me know in the comments and I'll share some of my thoughts and feelings on the game, the season, the team, the future, whatever. Or you can offer yours. Whatever. I'm not going to waste anymore time on them here in this space because it is, after all, a Spurs blog.
The problem is that I'm sad about something else as well, and believe me, this second thing bothers me just as much as the Eagles game, if not more. What I'm referring to, of course, is the angry public exchanges between our writing staff here at PtR. While I'm glad that most people enjoyed my 1984esque post in response to Matthew, and I appreciate all the compliments, I sincerely wish that it never would've had to be written.
As you probably know, the whole affair stems from my Lakers recap post, which I started off with a rant against Kobe Bryant and made references to his notorious Colorado mishaps, took a couple of shots at his wife, and suggested, graphically, some activities that Bryant could possibly enjoy with some of his more annoying teammates. I'm sure those of you that only saw the post after it was edited could use your imaginations here and in retrospect I should have let all of you do just that instead of spelling out, in detail, exactly what acts I would like to see the Kobester do.
Anyway, after a few quick short paragraphs about Kobe, the lion's share of the post was a response to a post Wayne (ATS) wrote that I felt was way too off the mark for a PtR staffer. I reacted to it similarly, I felt, to the way I reacted early in the '06-07 season when Matthew wrote that the Spurs should trade Manu for the Kings' Kevin Martin because Ginobili was struggling early in the year. I went after Matthew right away after he wrote that and teased him mercilessly after Ginobili went all YouTube on the Blazers the very next game (he would go on to have, to that point, the best regular season of his career). He took the ribbing in stride, the post was well received on PtR and the whole thing ended up being a running joke here. My post to Wayne was intended to be in a similar vain, and while I now realize it came off a bit too angry, it was just meant to be a message board smack more than anything personal.
I have to state, for the record, that I like Wayne. And I'm not saying that to be PC like when I say I like Tony. I really do like Wayne, I like the writing he does here (he works harder here than me and Matthew combined) and I'm glad he's a big part of the PtR family. Wayne really went above and beyond the call of duty last year in begging and pleading you
cheap pricks generous friends into donating whatever you could spare for me last year for writing on this blog and in the end I think he ended up donating more than anyone. I will always be grateful to him for that and will never forget the gesture. Still, I think our present situation is akin to a couple of brothers having a fight in the backyard. Sure, we could get each other kick ass Christmas presents, but still, sometimes there'll be fights, and every once in a while, they'll be in front of guests.
That's pretty much how I feel about the situation with me and him and I hope he, and all of you, believe me when I say I that I have no personal grudge or animosity with him whatsoever. I know Matthew doesn't believe me, but I know what's in my heart, and I can say with absolute certainty that I would've reacted the same way no matter who wrote the "Listen up you crack hos" post. My reaction was to the post itself, not its author.
The issue with Matthew is more complicated. I don't mind him editing the Kobe stuff. I would've taken out or replaced a couple of words here or there instead of deleting entire paragraphs if I were him, but hey whatever. The really disappointing part of it for me was his warning at the end where he basically publicly spanks me and puts me on probation at PtR. I thought that was a very poor and rash decision on his part and never imagined that would happen, and certainly not publicly. Some treatment for the supposed best Spurs writer he knows, huh?
The weirdest aspect of it is Matthew's bizarre allegation that I was trying to "bait" him at the end. What, after taking direct shots at Kobe and Wayne for 5,000 words or whatever it was, all of a sudden I'm gonna be all vague and subtle? How does that make sense? I had no issues at all with Powell and if I did I would told him so directly, either in a post or in person. I wrote "Don't talk shit about Ginobili on my blog" or whatever I wrote because I think of PtR as my blog, as much as it's Wayne's blog and Matthew's blog. Certainly when things are going well Matthew always gave me that impression. Now there's a problem, so it's just his blog again. Okay, fine.
The oddest part is where he says, "That's why you see me editing your posts instead of the other way around."
He might as well have wrote, "And that's why you see me juggling chainsaws and not you." Not only was I not aware that I didn't have the power to edit Matthew's posts, but I never would've cared to anyway. Talk about a meaningless boast.I don't censor posts I disagree with, I just respond to them. I mean it's just a sports blog. Why be so anal?
Whoops, I wasn't supposed to use that word. Sorry, boss.
What seems obvious to me is that Matthew and I (and perhaps Wayne and I as well, although again I stress that on my part there is no bitterness or animosity with him and as far as I'm concerned it's over) have some fences to mend. Until we do it's going to be awkward for me to post here. He's unhappy with me and I'm unhappy with him. We're reasonable people, and friends, so we should be able to resolve this, I think, but you never know how things will work out.
At 8-6-1 after their week 16 loss to the Redskins, I never imagined the Eagles would be playing in the NFC Championship game four weeks later. And I certainly did not imagine them losing the Arizona Cardinals when they got there.
Anyway, all apologies to all of you nice, decent, innocent people who come here for entertainment and not for me to air dirty laundry. Hopefully things will return to normal sooner rather than later and we can all make fun of Michael Finley again as one big happy family.
For the second game in a row, and I don't know, maybe the seventh, eighth, tenth time this year, Ginger was our best player. The guy has become a legitimate offensive weapon this season, due to a multitude of factors. He's more comfortable with his teammates and they with him. He's gained confidence from the playing time. There's usually a zip code between him and the nearest defender, thanks to him sharing the floor with the big three. Or maybe the secret, forbidden love affair with Tim Tebow has gotten his mojo rising. Who the hell knows?
The ironic thing about Bonner is that as well as he's playing, in real life, it just seems like he is killing us. After all, Wayne, in the same post about Manu that got my dander up, said the Spurs' biggest need is another rebounding big, and one can only presume that he didn't mean it to replace Tim or Kurt Thomas. You look at Bonner, you see the slow oafish guy who waddles up and down the court like he's got poopy drawers, you see the underwhelming rebounding numbers (though not against the Bulls) and his defensive liability in one-on-one matchups against power forwards more athletic than he (in other words, all of them) and your eyes tell you, this guy has to be benched. Has to be.
But then you look at the numbers and you see that not only is Bonner leading the team in +/- by a ton, but that defensively, the Spurs fare better with him on the floor than any rotation player save Thomas. You see that every Spur fares better with him on the floor than without him. (Whereas, with Finley, not so much). So either Bonner isn't the problem at all or Pop just has this innate sense of knowing when to bench the Red Rocket so that he won't hurt us. Sadly, he has not as of yet developed that sense with Fin, Bruce, or Kurt.
The Spurs do need to rebound more and play better defense, but I would suggest we all spend less time singling out convenient targets like Bonner and Fin (who is, without a doubt, awful) and more time scrutinizing the previously inscrutable - namely the big three. Parker, has turned into Allen Iverson. He's taken his game up a notch offensively (I can not deny it with any good conscience), but has sacrificed whatever defensive intensity he once had to do so. Manu has turned into a gambling NFL cornerback. He jumps routes and takes chances and gets the occasional interception return for a touchdown, but he also gets burned an awful lot for big plays as well. I've never seen players - perfectly average, run-of-the-mill players, score against him with such alarming regularity as much as it's happened this year. And Tim, who's notoriously slow to come around on the defensive end until post All-Star break usually, was forced to ratchet up his defense when his superstar buddies were injured, but has since returned to his hibernation upon their return.
The Spurs played pretty decent defense at Chicago, especially in light of it being a segababa, but I thought both Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich missed quite a few open looks. Also, I thought the refs were surprisingly kind to us and let a lot of physical stuff go, especially with Timmy challenging the rookie Rose on his many lay-up attempts. Offensively we cobbled together 92 unremarkable points, with no one doing anything particularly noteworthy. Bonner's seven offensive rebounds helped offset our poor three point percentage, and, as it's been a running theme all year, we kept our turnovers down.
After a one day respite, the Spurs tackle the second half of their fogafini starting with tomorrow's matinee at Charlotte against the spunky Bobcats. I can't think of anything remotely interesting to say about them, so I'll just quit here. Do not expect very long recaps from me for the next two games because I have some other real life writing assignments this week and they will be as time consuming as they'll be excruciatingly boring to write. I have to interview some dumb lady about reuniting with her ex-husband after 30 years. What am I supposed to ask her? Did she get bored with her cats or something?