After last night's game, I was really not sure of what stat to use. I considered writing about how every time the Spurs were on the verge of making a run, they gave up a three point play or an offensive rebound. This game could really be summed up by the phrase, "momentum killing." It felt like I was punched in the stomach 36 times last night. Well, when I gave more thought to what exactly was momentum killing, Matt Bonner immediately came to mind. I re-watched the game and wrote a running diary that focuses on Matt Bonner. I also kept track of his negative and positive contributions to the game. That is where -20.5 comes from. What does this mean? Continue reading to find out.
A friendly note: Kids, don't try this at home. Re-watching a Spurs' loss is painful enough. Re-watching a Spurs' loss while observing every move that Bonner makes is damn near torture.
4:41 Bonner checks into the game. I remember thinking, 'Why do we not play Blair more often?'
4:13 Bonner misses a wide open three. He will receive a -1 for that. I will be assigning values to every play he makes as we go along.
3:08 Bonner attempts to set a screen on the much smaller Wes Matthews and somehow gets manhandled. The officials make the call and Bonner goes to the line where he makes 1 of 2. He gets a +.5 for this play. While we are here, have you ever watched Bonner shoot? I mean, do not watch the ball, stay focused on his form. It is unbelievable. Who told him to shoot like that? When I was learning how to shoot, I watched Michael Jordan and tried to mimic his form. I feel that's what most people do. Find the best there is and try to be like Mike. Who the hell did Bonner copy? Bill Cartwright?
2:54 Kirilenko blows past Bonner forcing McDyess to come over and help. McDyess alters Andrei's shot but Milsap is left wide open under the basket for the offensive rebound. Bogans fouls Milsap for two free throws. Now, after Andrei blows by Bonner, Bonner is completely out of the play. It's like he disappears from the court. Get back in it, Bonner. Block someone out. Alter Milsap's shot. At the very least, Bonner should have been the one to foul Milsap. Bogans and Hill's foul trouble killed us. -1 for Bonner.
2:46 Bonner walks around aimlessly as McDyess is called for the Spurs first illegal screen of the night. -1 for Bonner because he seriously spends the majority of his time on the court wandering aimlessly. It's like he just woke up and is searching for his glasses. He is slow, somewhat clumsy and contributes nothing to society.
2:35 Kirilenko posts up Bonner on the block. There is a lot of contact but no call and the Spurs secure the rebound. +1
2:10 Bonner gets called for the Spurs' second illegal screen of the game. Alright, just 36 seconds earlier McDyess was called for the same violation. Now, if you follow basketball at all, you know that officials have a tendency to really focus on making one or two calls each night. Sometimes it's traveling, sometimes it's a blocking foul, and sometimes it's setting an illegal screen. The tip off occurred when they called an illegal screen on McDyess. They never make that call, but they made it clear early on that they were going to enforce it tonight. -3 for being incompetent, Bonner.
1:55 Finley and Bonner fight over a rebound. Bonner wins the battle. Way to go, Bonner. +.5
1:30 Bonner fakes a three, drives into the lane, and finds a wide open Finley for three. +1
:59 Bonner fakes a three, drives into the lane, and makes a horrible pass that gets picked off. Bogans commits the foul to stop the fast break. That's the second foul that Bonner caused Bogans to commit. Also, at the NBA level, you cannot make the same exact move two times in a row. The players and defenses are too gifted. How does he not know this? -2.
:03 Bonner gets the rebound and throws a JaMarcus Russell like duck over half court as time expires. +1 for getting the rebound, -.5 because, "You throw like a GIRL!" -- Sandlot
2nd Quarter 20-19, Jazz lead.
11:30 As Boozer hits another one of his funky fade-aways, Milsap beats Bonner like the red headed step child he is. -1 because Bonner was manhandled the entire night. He gets treated like a little brother out there.
10:59 Bonner fakes a three, drives into the lane, realizes he has absolutely no where to go with the ball, and flips it up and over the backboard. That's right, he shot the ball over the entire backboard. -3 for sucking at life in general.
10:38 Bonner is on the weak side as Brewer drives baseline for an uncontested layup. Thanks for the help, big guy. -1
10:10 Mason shoots a deep three that misses and the long rebound bounces right to Bonner. Bonner tips the ball back to Mason for a new possession. After watching Bonner closely, it became evident that he never fights for offensive rebounding position. Whenever he gets an offensive rebound, it's because the ball took an unlikely bounce and went right to him. He is the Bizzaro Blair. +1
9:21 Bonner drives baseline for a reverse layup. +1
9:03 When I watched this in person, I was very confused as to how Bonner managed to put himself in such a bad situation. Well, it turns out Boozer caught the ball at the top of the key and Bonner thought he was going to shoot. As Bonner attempted to block Milsap out, Milsap cut across the paint and Boozer passed him the ball. Bonner was facing the wrong direction under the basket as Milsap received the pass. Bonner managed to foul Milsap preventing the easy layup. -2 for not following one of the main rules of defense. "Always keep an eye on your man and the ball." Bonner managed to lose track of both.
8:55 Finley misses a long three from the corner and the long rebound falls into Bonner's lap. +1 At halftime, the Jazz lead 44-40.
Bonner gets benched for the entire third. Not coincidentally, this is the only quarter that the Spurs win as they tie the game at 60 to begin the fourth.
12:00 Okay, this is only somewhat Bonner related. I realize that the Spurs are experiencing foul trouble with Bogans and Hill, but we really needed to make a push to begin the fourth. We had been trailing the entire game. It was important for the Spurs to come out aggressively. Pop's lineup to begin the fourth was about as bad as it gets. Mason, Hairston, Finley, Bonner, and McDyess. Shockingly, our first possession ended with an air ball and a 24 second shot clock violation. I mean, what is the purpose of this lineup? Can they defend well? No. Can they score in bunches? No. Can they completely destroy the Spurs' momentum? Yes, and they did.
11:15 Kirilenko receives a pass at the free throw line extended, crosses Bonner over, and makes the layup as Bonner catches up just in time to commit the foul and send him to the line. Vintage Matt Bonner. -3 because this was a huge momentum killer. The crowd was begging for a defensive stop and this play completely took the air out of the building.
10:18 Pop finally subs in RJ for Bonner. The crowd was restless as the Spurs were down 66-63. Also, this lineup sucks. We just went small for no reason. Now our lineup consists of 'Showing Signs of Life' Mason, 'Mistake Prone" Hairston, '0%' Finley, 'Too short to be a 4' RJ, and 'Likes to Hide' McDyess. Again, what is the purpose of this lineup? When a team goes small, they generally do it to upgrade their offense at the expense of their defense. But this lineup is not good offensively. Maybe if Mason and Finley were red hot it could work, but Finley shot 0% from the field and Mason was cooling off at this point.
8:31 The Spurs have completely lost the momentum and Pop finally decides to put in a competent lineup. We are down by 5. Now, 5 points may not seem like a big deal, but it is. The Spurs were trailing the entire game. They battled back to tie it at the end of three, but now that group re-enters the game to find themselves once again in a hole. It's simply draining to be losing. And as the second game of a back to back, playing from behind becomes that much more tiring. We should have began the fourth with our best lineup, built a lead, and then rested players as needed. I just hate the substitution patterns. The team is in a funk and so are the coaches. It's a tug of war match and we are always either losing or tied. That's not how you win basketball games.
3:20 McDyess gives up a three point play to Boozer so Pop replaces him with Bonner. As you can imagine, I was furiously screaming at this point.
2:53 It looked as if Deron Williams pushed off as he began his drive, but no call. Williams gets into the paint and Bonner arrives just in time to give up the three point play. Vintage Bonner. -4. Oh, and great call on replacing McDyess with Bonner, Pop. That fixed everything. Pop calls a timeout and puts McDyess back in for Bonner.
:45 For reasons that could only be illogical, Pop decides we need more Bonner. We are down by 5. I told my friend, "We are still in it. All we need is a quick score, one stop, and another score to tie it." Well, Bonner delivered one last punch to the nuts. He set his second illegal screen, thereby eliminating any chance that the Spurs had of coming back. -5.
Horrible. Why did I do that to myself? I guess I wanted evidence to support my hate for Bonner. Well, adding up all of my points, we come to -20.5. Bonner is like that friend you have who always is a negative. You have friends that contribute to the group, you have friends that do not contribute one way or the other so no harm done, and then, inevitably, there is that one dude who somehow always shows up and brings the fun level down. He just sucks at life. He can't help it. You cannot even pinpoint what he could do to improve himself. He is a lost cause. The good Lord simply did not bless him with the tools necessary to be successful. This is Matt Bonner in a nutshell. Generally, the group rids itself of the negative over time. It's a process. So, what's Tonya Harding up to these days? I mean, she is capable of handling this situation. Does anyone have her contact info? I would like to speed the process up. (Just kidding, kind of.)