Well... the world needs ditch diggers too

Game 2 Spurs 105, Mavs 84 (Series tied 1-1)

As some of you, our loyal fans, may know, Sports Blog Nation recently was sucked into the Yahoo Sports umbrella. Not content to merely be a haven for unemployed sports fans who need to whittle away the hours between their thrice-daily visits to gonzo porn sites, SBN is hoping to take advantage of the completely decimated crumbling newspaper industry and gain a foothold into mainstream sports media. The crew over at Blazer's Edge, a longtime popular SBN destination, have already parlayed their gig into free game credentials and locker room access (at least that's what Powell told me once back when we were on speaking terms). While obviously not all blogs here at SBN will be as successful as Blazer's Edge, it's a fairly safe bet that in the coming months and years more teams will follow Portland's lead and eventually some SBN blog will get similar access with the Spurs, maybe even this one.

The following is why it'll be a cold day in hell before anyone with a brain lets me within a hundred yards of Gregg Popovich...

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"I don't care if you have to go through that whole team, just find a way to put the ball in the basket. But remember! Don't make this all about you."

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Stampler: Hey Pop, can you talk about Tony's spectacular Game 2 performance? What was the difference between tonight and Game 1 for him?

Pop: Well, I think the key for him was aggressive. He took 22 shots tonight whereas in Game 1 he only took 22.

Stampler: Um, that's exactly the same number.

:: Pop exaggeratedly rolls his eyes ::

Pop: It was the types of shots he took.

:: Pop looks around the room at fawning San Antonio media and points at me ::

Pop (to no one in particular): Do you believe this guy?

Stampler: Well, in Game 1, Tony attempted eleven layups, three floaters and eight jumpers. In Game 2, he attempted seven layups, five floaters and ten jumpers.

Pop (speaking really slow, as if to a child): Like I said, he was more aggressive.

Stampler: I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I don't understand. Are you saying shooting jumpshots is more aggressive than driving for layups?

Pop: No. He made more shots than Game 1, that's what made him more aggressive.

Stampler: I see. So making shots is more aggressive than missing them.

Pop: That is the standard for any team. If you are being more aggressive offensively it helps your teammates. He did a good job at staying aggressive and keeping it that way.*

Stampler: How about in Game 1, when he got called for two charging fouls against Barea and got called for a traveling violation? He wasn't being too aggressive then?

Pop: Obviously not, or else good things would have happened instead of bad things.

Stampler: But Pop, the TV cameras even caught you yelling at Tony, telling him to not to try to take the game over and try to make it a personal thing.

Pop: That never happened.

Stampler: But Pop, the cameras, we sa-

Pop: Does anyone have any questions about someone besides Tony?

Stampler: Actually Pop, since you asked, quite a few regular readers at my blog have been wondering why George Hill isn't seeing more regular playing time.

Pop: George who?

Stampler: George Hill, your rookie point guard? The guy you drafted last year out of IUPUI?

Pop: Oh, him. I think you answered your own question there, genius.

:: Pop sneers ::

Stampler: Again, I apologize but I'm confused.

Pop: Tell the readers of your "blog" (Pop pauses, does the air quotation thing with his fingers) whatever the hell that is, that the playoffs are a serious time of year and they're for experienced players.

Stampler: But how could he ever gain exp-

Pop: Do you understand how the playoffs work? You see we start out with 16 teams, eight from the West and eight from the East, and we give them seeds based on their regular season record...

Stampler: I just meant that everyone was a rookie once, Tim, Manu, Tony, and they all pla-

Pop: And then we pair them up based on those seeds and have them play a best-of-seven series against one another...

Stampler: Well I was just wondering if he doesn't play now, then what will the difference be nex-

Pop: Oh and what best-of-seven means is that the first team to four wins and then they get to advance to the next round of the playoffs against some other team that won their series. The losers go home. Their seasons are over. There. Do you think you understand why the playoffs are important now?

Stampler: Yes, I think I've got it. Thanks for explaining that to me Pop.

Pop: My pleasure. Any other questions?

Stampler: Just one more. I was hoping you'd clarify the statement you made a few days ago to Buck Harvey about Manu Ginobili...

Pop: Oh right. We're absolutely not going anywhere without Manu. He's very special and important for what we do here.

Stampler: Erm... yes. So why did you tell Buck that the guys have to forget about him then?

Pop: Because if we don't forget about him we have no chance to do anything.

Stampler: That sentence completely contradicted the previous one.

Pop: What are you some kind of idiot?

Stampler: I don't think I can tell anymore.

Pop: See, blog boy, it's real simple - If the team on the floor is thinking about Manu, if they're thinking, 'oh it's okay, he's gonna come and save us and fix everything' then we're completely screwed. He's not coming, he's not gonna save us and we have to do it on our own without him.

Stampler: Well that makes sense. So, how far can this team go, realistically speaking?

Pop (shaking head incredulously): Didn't I just tell you without Manu we don't have a chance to do anything? Are you even listening to what I'm saying after you ask your stupid questions?

Stampler: I'm just a rookie reporter Pop, please have patience with me.

Pop: Well, you seem like a nice kid. I'm sure you'll get better with experience.

Stampler: You mean like George Hill could be doing if you played him?

/ Pop storms out

Stampler: Wait, Pop! Come back! I've got a question about Manu's rehab? Was his stress reaction due to him being too aggressive or not aggressive enough?


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