Game 2 Vs. Hornets: New Orleans 99-90 (Record 1-1) RAGE: -1
What a crappy day. Giants lost Game 3, which wasn't too surprising, but still. Now I'm nervous again. Then the Spurs lost a very winnable game against punkass Chris Paul, and made it even more agonizing by having a roaring fourth quarter comeback fall just short. And then I went to Benihana with a girl hot enough to be a freaking supermodel.
Only it was my goddamn step-sister. We were at dinner with my dad, his new wife, and her two kids. My step-sister is one of the five hottest women I've ever seen in my life, and I've been to *several* strip clubs. She does have Tim Lincecum teeth, but nobody's perfect.
The really annoying thing was that she hardly touched her fried rice (women who look like her usually look like her for a reason) which is the pretty much the main reason to go to Benihana. Of course I couldn't ask her for her bowl because I didn't want to be a pig, but damn that was a waste.
Every time I go to Benihana I think the same thing: If money was no object and I had no shame, I could easily blow a hundred bucks there.
Anyway, I want to introduce a new acronym/stat thingy I just came up with. The observant ones among you may have noticed that next to the team's record I wrote "RAGE -1." That stands for Record Against Great Expectations.
"Whose great expectations?" you ask. Well, mine. I'm a spoiled homer and I think the Spurs have the roster to do some big things. I expect them to win far more often than not, and certainly at home against the damn NOOCH. Right now the team is 1-1 instead of the 2-0 they should be in my mind, so their RAGE is -1. The only way they get that back to even is to win one we wouldn't expect, such as on the road at Phoenix coming up.
I can just about guarantee you that the Spurs will finish with a RAGE in the negative category, because my expectations are crazy unrealistic. For example, I would expect them to win every home game where Tim and Manu are healthy and playing. I'll probably give them only 20 or so chances to happily prove me wrong all year, which means they'll have 62 opportunities to piss me off. If the Spurs finish the year at -5 or better in RAGE, then they ill be contenders for the 'chip, you get me?
Anyway, about the game...
You might want to bookmark this one because it's not going to happen often.
I think it was crazy that Pop benched Tim and Tony, effectively singling them out for the loss, when Manu was every bit as responsible if not more so.
I know, I know, you were expecting me to rant and rave about Tim and Tony and write something like, "If the two of them combined had half the testicular mass of Manu, we'd have won this going away," or something like that, but I actually watched the game, so I can't in good conscience do it.
As I understand it, Tim and Tony were benched because they were soft on both ends. Not willing to go hard to the rim on offense and to pliant on defense. How was Manu any different? Dude jacked 11 three pointers.
The way I see it, there were two major differences between Manu's shitty game and Tim and Tony's shitty games:
1) Manu wasn't getting torched on defense.
This, I think, was mainly a coincidence. The Hornets stars' CP3 and David West happen to play the same positions as Tim and Tony. They are relatively weak at two guard. Giving Manu plaudits for defense in this game would be akin to benching Tim, Gino and RJ for allowing 30 each to LeBron, Bosh and Wade while giving Parker and Blair kudos for totally shutting Joel Anthony and Mario Chalmers down.
2) Manu fights harder against lost causes.
I believe this point has more relevance. Manu has proven time and again he will fight to the bitter end as long as he's in the game. If the deficit is 15+ points in the fourth, TP will concede defeat like the little surrender monkey he is and coast. Tim is probably somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.
Still, Ginobili, who has been a sub for half of his career, is far more experienced at playing with four lesser players than the other two guys are. I believe this game was lost in the last few minutes of the third, when Pop let a six point deficit grow to 16 without calling a time out. He had Tony out there NEKKID with Blair, McDeyess, Neal and RJ. As I've said a million times before, the one guy of the big three you never want to leave alone if you can help it is Tony, especially if he's not on his game.
Did Tim and Tony play poorly? Absolutely. Did they settle for too many jumpers and allow people to take whatever shots they wanted on defense? No question. But Manu played pretty crappy himself the second and third quarters and shot way too many threes when his shot just wasn't on. If the Spurs were able to complete the comeback, it would've been like one of those classic Brett Favre games, where announcers kiss his butt for bringing the team back from a two touchdown fourth quarter deficit and gloss over the fact that his team was only down by 14 in the first place because of three interceptions earlier in the game.
I get so annoyed at Pop when he does this stubborn coaching for the long term bullshit and preoccupies himself more with teaching a lesson to his stars than winning the damn game. I don't care how badly they were playing and how well Blair and Neal played in the fourth quarter run. Once the Spurs cut it to 93-86 with three minutes to go, Pop should've closed the game with a lineup of Tim-RJ-Manu-Hill-Tony.
And don't give me the "Pop genuinely thought those were his five best players, he wasn't trying to teach any lessons" argument because he sent in Duncan back into the game down 97-90 with 27 seconds to go just to fuck with him. The Wee Rapping Frenchman was so happy with Pop, just a few hours after signing a four-year extension, that he left after the game without speaking to reporters.
I'm pretty pissed with Pop for a variety of reasons. There's really no rhyme or reason why he benched Anderson in the second half. He wasn't playing any worse than Neal did. He never properly explained to his team that they should be more aggressive taking it to the rim and quit jacking threes. We made six of them, the Hornets made seven. We had 15 more attempts. That's your game right there.
Mostly I'm mad because like a moron he played Manu 37 minutes. If you're gonna try to win, Pop, then try to win. If you want to lose, then lose. But don't do this half-ass shit where you just burn out one guy and make an example of the other two. That's bush league, college stuff. You've got veteran players, treat them like men.
Your Three Stars:
3. Gary Neal. Did he play better than Manu, no. But I'm not about to reward Ginobili for this mess. Neal knocked down a couple jumpers, but again, he wasn't any better or worse than Anderson and I don't think you can put him out there against any team with a decent scoring guard.
2. George Hill. Seven assists, which is an amazing total considering how poorly everyone shot. Hill played far tougher defense on Paul than Tony did and really he did everything well except shoot. He can't throw it into the ocean right now. I think he, Gino and RJ missed about twelve wide open threes.
1. Richard Jefferson. Again, I don't say this often, but he should've played more. If there's one bright spot two games in, it's that RJ is finally looking like the player we thought we traded for. Five more free throw attempts and he made pretty much everything that wasn't a three. If he plays like this consistently and the Big Three stay healthy, the Spurs will win 55+ games.
Up Next: Our first road game of the season at the Clips (0-2) on Monday. You would think we'd have an edge since it will be a SEGABABA for them, but tonight's loss was one for the NOOCH and it didn't hurt them any, so who knows? Griffin is a guy that could seriously hurt us. He's too spry for Tim and too big for Blair. Hopefully we'll pack the lane against him and make him settle for jumpers. Supposedly Tiago will make his debut in this one and his size should help, but I figure the refs will call him for four fouls within six minutes. Still we have definite advantages in the back court, so I would think a bounce back win would be in order, provided we can actually shoot the ball.