The Spurs have now won four in a row and seem to be evolving into the team that we thought would start the season. It's taken a while, but our defense is on its way to being respectable and the new guys are finding ways to contribute offensively. Specifically, the players just seem much more comfortable on the court together than they did even as recently as last week. I think a big part of this improvement centers around our resident glue guy, Antonio McDyess. He's very reliable, makes few mistakes, and has a high basketball IQ. He makes the game easier for Tim and spreads the floor with his deadly jumper opening lanes for Tony and RJ. After the jump, a game diary focusing on San Antonio McDyess and featuring FARS, (Fred's Arbitrary Rating System.)
12:00 Our starting lineup consists of Tony, Bogans, RJ, McDyess and Tim. This is a great starting lineup for a very simple reason; they can defend. Last year we started Tony, Mason, Finley, Bonner and Duncan, and we always got off to slow starts. Well, not necessarily slow offensively, but this group could not get stops. The only way this group could get a lead was by out-scoring the opposition. The problem with this is it allowed our opponents to get a rhythm early. And once that happens, it's an uphill battle the rest of the way. Our current starters can flat-out shut teams down with their defense and that is a very good thing.
11:25 McDyess with the defensive rebound. I can already tell this is going to be much more enjoyable for me than watching Bonner. Everything McDyess does on the court is smooth. He plays like a bigger, more physical Ray Allen. +1
11:10 McDyess attempts a fade-away but is denied by Ariza. One thing that has always bothered me is when a big man catches the ball three feet from the basket and shoots a fade-away. Especially if the big man is being defended by a smaller player. It's early though, McDyess probably is not warm yet. -1
10:01 Parker, McDyess pick and roll game. Scola and Brooks double Parker leaving McDyess open but he misses. Clearly, it's a shot he has to take and you know he will not be missing too many open looks like that. -1
8:25 Ariza is very active early with a three and a steal for a dunk, but anyone else think this guy is overrated? I mean, he used to be underrated but now I think he is overrated. He's a great glue guy and can definitely be the Scottie Pippen to a Michael Jordan, but he's no Jordan. -3 for helping the Lakers win last year.
7:36 Parker penetrates drawing a crowd and kicks it out to McDyess for his perfect jumper. I know McDyess does a lot of charity work, but I think he needs to do more. He should teach Bonner how to shoot with a respectable form; Bonner counts as a charity case, right? +1 5-10, Rockets lead early.
7:13 Chuck Hayes finds himself under the basket with the ball. Unfortunately for him, he is surrounded by Duncan and McDyess. Duncan blocks his shot up high, McDyess delivers a nice body shot down low and secures the rebound. +2 for establishing a physical presence early.
6:57 Tim makes a nice move on Scola but misses. As he was posting up, McDyess went to work establishing great offensive rebounding position underneath. He gets the board and misses his put back attempt, but Tim is there to clean it up. +2 because it reminded me of the Spurs' Twin Tower days when Duncan and Robinson made similar plays routinely.
6:32 Scola must have thought Bonner was on him because he tried to post up. McDyess stayed at home while Scola did his best to get him in the air and maneuver past him. McDyess forces Scola into missing one of those funky European up and unders and Tim gets the rebound. +1
6:00 Brooks over-penetrates and throws the ball away leading to a fast break. Bogans races down the floor but misses a contested layup. Not a problem, McDyess is there for the put-back dunk. +1
5:10 Bonner checks in for McDyess and I will now fast forward. 11-12, Rockets lead.
4:13 Bonner runs down the court like a duck in a hurry. -1
2nd Quarter, 18-23, Rockets.
6:15 McDyess replaces Blair, who picked up 3 fouls. 33-33
6:07 McDyess stays active on the offensive boards and draws a pushing foul on some random guy named Andersen, saving a possession for the Spurs. +1
5:50 McDyess gets outstanding offensive rebounding position but is bumped as he attempts to secure the ball and it goes out of bounds. +1 for the effort.
3:53 Landry puts a series of moves on McDyess and gets nowhere. He ends up shooting a fade-away that McDyess gets a piece of and it somehow goes in the basket. +1 for the defense, lucky shot.
2:05 Scola attempts to post up McDyess. McDyess again plays textbook defense and forces Scola to miss, Tim rebounds. +1 38-39, Rockets.
1:50 Tony, McDyess pick and roll game. Tony draws the defense and kicks it to McDyess for a pure jump shot. +1
1:01 Ariza, Scola pick and roll game with Bogans and McDyess defending. Ariza penetrates and is met at the height of his runner by McDyess, who gets a piece of it and then secures the rebound. Maybe it's a bad idea to attack two of the best defenders on the floor. +1
:05 McDyess is forced to take the shot with the clock expiring and misses just long. -1, but can I really assign a shot that pretty a negative number?
3rd Quarter 44-46, Rockets
10:01 McDyess with a nice box out and defensive board. The guy is just a solid contributor. +1
8:24 McDyess is really going to work on the defensive end. He got a rebound last possession and this possession he played excellent help defense forcing the miss and allowing Tim to secure the rebound. +2
8:03 McDyess is surprised to find himself so open in the corner and just misses off of the back of the rim. A shot that nice should never miss. This is a travesty. -1
7:49 More excellent defense from McDyess against Scola. He forces Scola into an awkward layup attempt and gets the board. +1
7:36 RJ drives in and misses the layup and Scola grabs the rebound. McDyess does not give up on the play and knocks it loose, saving another possession that results in two points from TIm. +1 52-46, Spurs
6:24 McDyess offers excellent help defense on an Ariza drive and forces him to shoot an air ball. +1
6:09 McDyess establishes excellent rebounding position and secures the board. +1
5:38 McDyess gets his hand on an Ariza pass and Bogans ties up Brooks for the jump ball, which he loses but the Rockets end up throwing the ball out of bounds. +1
5:08 McDyess goes to work on the offensive glass and gets a foul called on Landry in the process, saving yet another possession. +1 58-46, Spurs.
3:25 McDyess gets his hand on an offensive rebound and taps it out to Parker to save the possession. +1
1:57 McDyess with another defensive rebound. +1
1:50 The officials are making every call possible right now and McDyess draws a cheap one and goes to the line where he makes one of two. +1
:51 Bonner replaces McDyess with the score 68-55, Spurs.
7:15 McDyess checks back in with the Spurs leading 77-71.
6:43 McDyess attempts to find Bogans underneath but the pass sails on him and goes out of bounds. He should have just taken the shot. -1
6:17 McDyess challenges Ariza at the rim and forces a miss. The Spurs rebound and head the other direction. +1
5:40 McDyess cuts off the baseline and forces Lowry to step on the line for a turnover. +1 77-71, still.
5:01 Excellent defense by McDyess, better offense by Landry. -.5
4:26 Tim posts up and has the ball poked away. Parker comes up with it and finds a cutting McDyess for a strong layup. +1 79-73, Spurs.
3:37 Andersen hits a three, the Spurs miss, and Budinger misses a three that would have tied the game. McDyess blocks out and snatches the rebound with authority as a foul is called on Landry. +1
2:43 Anderson attempts another three but McDyess is there to challenge and force a miss. +1
1:45 With the Spurs only leading by 6, Tony finds McDyess in the short corner for a jumper that hits only net. How sweet it is. +1 84-76, Spurs.
1:38 The very next possession Brooks penetrates and is regected by McDyess who also grabs the rebound and is fouled. He makes both free throws to extend the lead to 10. +1
1:00 The officials make a terrible call on Tim giving Brooks a basket and a foul. Tony turns the ball over and Ariza pulls up for the three in transition to cut the lead to four in the blink of an eye.
:40 Tony turns the ball over again and on the other end, Landry follows his own miss for the put-back. Spurs lead by two, 86-84.
:33 McDyess makes a difficult pass along the sideline to RJ. RJ blows past Ariza and is fouled as he attempts a reverse layup. RJ calmly sinks both clutch free throws to give the Spurs a four point advantage. +1
:28 McDyess contests Brooks' jumper which misses. George Hill skies for the rebound and is hit hard. He converts both free throws.
:18 Brooks misses a layup, Bogans rebounds and is sent to the line where he makes both.
Antonio McDyess finished with 15 points, 14 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block and 28.5 FARS points. It's a high score! I was surprised at how involved McDyess was with the Spurs' run in the third quarter. He had a positive impact on nearly every play and was the main reason that the Rockets struggled to score. This took a lot longer than I had anticipated. I probably could have written twice as much. He is involved in nearly every play. I was also impressed with the fluidity of his movements. The game clearly comes easy to McDyess and he uses his basketball IQ to improve his teammates. His jump shot is as close to perfect as it gets. Watch it in slow motion if you get the chance. There are absolutely no flaws. It's something to behold. Well, the Spurs host the 76ers tomorrow night. Hopefully, the Spurs do not take them lightly and put them away early so we can all have a fun night celebrating the great David Robinson.