Many thanks to the NBA for providing us with the best broadcast duo in the history of sports; Bob Neal and Steve Smith. For those of you who couldn't catch the game (or were forced to watch the feed via ESPN Deportes), allow me to sum up the experience of listening to these two commentary prodigies.
Take a small piece of jagged wood, shove it into one of your ear canals, and then repeatedly smash the side of your head against a wall for several hours.
Make the jump while I clean the blood out of my ears.
Although I believe the commentators were exploring the intricacies of a different universe, there was a game played at Palacio de los Deportes last night. Its just a damn shame the Spurs decided not to show up until the third quarter.
The first score for LAC, a spectacular Davis to Griffin alley-oop dunk, took roughly three seconds to manufacture. Add several more LAC highlight dunks along with some hot 3PT shooting late in the first half (6/10) and its easy to see how the Clips held a lead as high as 18 points. The Clips took advantage of a sloppy Spurs defense (slow rotations and poor communication) and stayed aggressive throughout the entire night. Fortunately for Spurs fans, Griffin and Co. became too aggressive.
The Clippers held a 17 point lead with three minute remaining in the third quarter. Errant passes, rushed shots, and other mental errors allowed the Spurs to find an offensive rhythm. The third quarter ended on a 13-2 Spurs run, 80 - 74.
Three 3PT shots helped Los Angeles slow a Spurs early 4th quarter attack lead by Jerrells and Duncan. Blair, who had a stellar game on the offensive end, came up with two jumpers to put the Spurs up 93 - 89 with about five minutes remaining. The Clippers aggressiveness at the basket, even with a few bonehead plays, tied the game up 95-95 with under two minutes remaining. A clutch Simmons 21 ft jumper from the corner put the Spurs up with just 31 seconds to go.
Then it gets a little strange.
On the Clippers next possession, Hill takes a swipe at the ball during a Gordon drive and is whistled for a shooting foul. Hill also receives a Technical for reacting in disbelief (he ran halfway across the court) to the shooting foul. Hill fouls out and Foye sinks the free throw to cut the Spurs lead to 1 point. Gordon proceeds to miss both free throws but a poor job of boxing out (or a shove by Kaman) leads to a Kaman rebound and easy layup. Neal misses a 3PT opportunity and forces the Spurs to foul in order to have another offensive possession. Gomes misses the second free throw attempt, the Spurs call a timeout, and Manu draws up the last play for the Spurs who are down 97 - 99.
The last play in detail: With Anderson sitting in the near corner, Jerrells in-bounds the ball to Neal at the top of the 3PT line. Jerrells drifts towards Anderson leaving Blair the only Spurs player on the far side of the court. Neal then lobs the pass to Simmons who is posting up at the near elbow of the free throw line. Neal then immediately cuts towards a Blair screen at the top of the key. Simmons passes the ball over and behind Blair's head to Neal who proceeds to hit an unbalanced 3PT shot.
Spurs win 100 - 99.
Spurs players of the game:
1. DeJuan Blair: 21 PTS on 10/17 shooting, 6 REB, 2 AST, and 2 STL. Pure energy. His passing has really improved.
2. Curtis Jerrells: 11 PTS on 4/6 shooting including 1-1 from 3PT. Had 3 AST, 1 STL, and was great late in the game. He had a beautiful turn-around hook/tear drop in the 4th quarter.
3. Tim Duncan: 17 PT, 13 REB, 3 BLKS, 3 AST, 2 STL. Played way too many minutes (28:38).
Honorable Mention: Manu Ginobili (great job, coach)
Other Spurs notes: Gee did not play (coach's decision) and Gist didn't even break a minute which does not bode well for either player. Simmons looked lost on offense several times but played well on the defensive end. Anderson didn't make an impact on the offensive end but showed good hustle on defense towards the end of the game. I really can't get a proper read on this kid (time will tell). Neal made his only shot in the last seconds of the game but was excellent on the defensive end. He deserved more than 9:32 minutes in this game. Cousin was solid but let several inside passes get behind him. I think we will see him called up a few times during the regular season. Dice (NWT) and Splitter (foot) had the night off.
Last note: The Clippers are a dangerous team but will most likely lose more games than they should because of their reckless aggressiveness. They will see a big jump in their win total from a year ago but will still struggle against smart defensive minded teams like the Lakers, Jazz, and Blazers. Griffin is an offensive and rebounding monster. He needs to expand his outside game a bit and focus more on post defense (pretty decent on help defense).
Sorry for the hack job. I wrote this in small segments while at work.
EDIT: I know "Juego en Mexico" is incorrect. Thus the quotations.