Another night, another loss. The man on the left killed us. As did the oldest man in the NBA, who ironically isn't a Spur.
On the positive side, at least our defense kinda, sorta showed up tonight. Unfortunately, the offense didn't. Despite what Fred has told us in the past, I don't like SEGABABAs. I don't think the Spurs do either. And I'm fairly certain they aren't fond of the Northwest Division right not, either.
Here's the Boxscore. Notice the ugliness that is the Spurs' shooting percentage. We couldn't hit the broad side of a barn tonight. And even though the 3s weren't falling, we continued to chuck, to the tune of 4-21. That's below the Mendoza Line. The Spurs also got killed on the boards, allowing the Blazers way too many second chance points. Pryzbilla grabbed 13 rebounds (6 offensive) in 18 minutes. Those are Blair-like numbers.
The 1st quarter was atrocious - no energy, no defense, no nothin'. Duncan got pushed around most of the game by Oden (14 pts), and Pop insisted on not providing him with any help by playing small ball for too many minutes. We were also sloppy, with too many turnovers in the 1st half, and stupid fouls at the end of the second half (yes, Manu, I'm talking to you). Not to mention that the bad defense in the last two minutes of quarters from last season reared it's ugly head again.
For the Spurs to have a chance against good teams, the slow starts have to stop. Getting behind by double digits in the 1st quarter requires too much energy to overcome. If this isn't fixed, the Spurs will continue to rack up numbers in the "L" column.
However, unlike last night's debacle, there were some bright spots. If you throw out the 1st quarter, the Spurs were slightly better than the Blazers. The defense made an appearance in the 2nd half, spurred by our last signing of the summer, Keith Bogans. I now begin to see the wisdom of RC in inking Bogans as the defensive specialist. Brandon Roy did most of his damage against other defenders. Bogans' aggressiveness on the defensive end coming out of halftime helped change momentum.
George Hill did a good job taking over primary point guard duties after Tony got hurt. Yes, he made some mistakes, but he rebounded from his poor showing last night. RJ responded to Pop's scolding and was much more aggressive going to the basket in the 2nd half. McDyess finally showed some glimpses of what we were hoping he could be.
Your 3 stars (Slightly Different from Wayne's):
3. Antonio McDyess - He wasn't great, but he looked better than he has all year, and went 4-6 with his midrange jumper.
2. Richard Jefferson - Yes, his plus/minus is bad, but he provided points when needed, was more aggressive on the boards, and had a great dunk that overly excited many of the PtRers.
1. Keith Bogans - In a not good game, he was +4. He managed to slow down Roy, and his defensive intensity seemed to spark the rest of the team. As a bonus, he provided 5 points and 4 rebounds.
Side note: When Blair was in the game tonight, I spent some time watching his defense. Although he did lose his man a few times on backdoors, overall his pick and roll defense showed improvement. He is learning to move his feet, which is another tidbit of good news.