It was not a great game to be at for a Spurs fan. The late start time at least gave me a chance to show up early and, hopefully, snag a sig from my namesake. However, after leaving work a little late, needing to gas up, grab some grub, drive about an hour, park and walk maybe 3/4 mile, and pick up tickets at will call, there was no chance for an adult fanboy's dream to come true.
Was this an ominous sign for what would occur during the game?
Nah, I don't believe in that stuff.
The game, as you probably know, was competitive for a good chunk of the first quarter. The rest of the way, the lead seemed to hang in the 10-14 point range. There are some good things and some bad things that happened -- from our "Spurs fan perspective," it was mostly bad.
This is what I noticed (before looking at any box score):
Boozer was really, really good. He rebounded, hit jumpers, channeled his inner Hakeem Olajuwon with a couple of fadeaways, and maybe even showed some Duncan-like play. I say this at the risk of committing blasphemy. Oh, and speaking of Duncan, Boozer's usually much-maligned defense, combined with LOTS of help D, really helped limit Timmy.
Duncan looked like he struggled physically. Whether it's age, health, or a combination of the two, he did not look quick or sharp. There must have been five instances where he either got blocked, stripped, or tied up for a jump ball.
Parker was dominant in the first half. There were moments when he literally was a one-man fast break. A 1-on-4 fast break, even. And getting three-point plays while he was doing it. In the second half, however, things changed.
DeJuan Blair is a man. This guy was born in 1989. Nineteen eighty-nine! I was there -- at the game, not at DeBeast's birth -- with a buddy (he was rooting for the Jazz, but he's chill. By the way, I was sitting close to several Spurs fans, so that was decent), and we were looking at both teams' rosters and noticing that we were older than plenty of the players. My buddy couldn't believe he was older than all of the Jazz players except for a couple. But the number that jumped out was 1989.
Speaking of Blair, he really just manned his way around inside. Defensive rebound? Check. Offensive rebound? Check. Putback with three guys surrounding him? Check. Spin around a bigger, slower defender and use the rim to shield himself from the defense, then finish with a reverse lay-in? Check. Seriously, if you give this cat close to 35 minutes per game, he is a strong contender for Rookie of the Year.
Deron Williams is an outstanding ballplayer. But we all knew that. Still, he doesn't get the compliment of being called "otstanding."