Game #2 Recap: Spurs 90, Hornets 99 - The Storm Before The Calm

Win the opener, lose the next. Feels a lot like last year. Or maybe not.

Jump in for a quick-hitting recap that will hopefully ease the early loser wounds a bit. And as always, some tremendous in-game photos from janieannie.

A Tale of A Half, A Disaster, and A Silver (and Black) Lining

33474_1624731988661_1547353210_1531759_5269108_n_medium

via janieannie (sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net)


1st Half Highlights - Multiple Choice

Let me give you three views on what the 1st half looked like:

a) Spurs defense is baaaack - We held the Hornets to 43 points in the half, compared to the 66 we gave up against the pace-crazed Pacers.

b) No, it's not back. Or maybe for one quarter - The Hornets were limited to 17 in the 1st quarter, but got hot for 26 in the 2nd, so yeah... so much for defense.

c) It was just a sloppy game - The teams turned over the ball way too much (7 TOs each in the 1st quarter) and just missed a ton of usually makeable shots.


I hope the team doesn't even think about option (A) to make themselves feel good. Strictly speaking, we stunk up the joint. The only thing that saved us from having a bigger deficit was our free throw parade in the the first quarter, and effective slashing by Manu and Tony.

And then the NOOCH slowly started to take that away, along with Marcus Thornton hitting some crippling fadeaway jumpers -- the kind that makes you think if this keeps on going, we might as well hire a sniper to take the guy out. Damn Thornton shoots lights out everytime against the Spurs, you'd think he was God disguised as Marcus Thornton or something.

Bird1_medium
Actually, it was Larry Legend in the guise of Marcus Thornton.

Yeah, Larry, God doesn't only suit up as Michael Jordan - occassionally he dresses up as Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, LeBron James, Channing Frye, Jason Richardson, and Goran Dragic. But on this special Halloween, he thought of donning an ugly mask and went with Thornton instead.

And oh yeah, David West ate up DeJuan Blair this game. West shot jumper after jumper in Blair's face and the poor sophie couldn't do anything. To be fair to The Beast, D-West is also another one of those players that feel like it's Christmas whenever he plays the Spurs. Makes me hate Christmas, sometimes. If only the belief that "bad people don't get any presents" is true, the Spurs would've won a championship every year David Robinson AND Tim Duncan were in the league. And Michael Jordan would've had no rings, so... scrap that idea.

Hello, Third Quarter Collapse a.k.a. Scare Tactics

72417_1624732868683_1547353210_1531766_4444868_n_medium
Pop: "You gotta eject whoever that Mbenga guy is for wearing a Halloween mask while playing. That's illegal!"

Ref: "Uhh... coach, that's not a mask."

Pop: "Then what's that? Something he was born with?

Ref: "Mmm... yeah, I guess you could say that."

via janieannie (sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net)

Just when you thought, after seeing that first Suns-like game against the Pacers, that we'd have no problems at all on offense, we got a heat check this quarter. Honestly, I'm quite disappointed about the lack of adjustments after the half. Somebody should've pointed out that NOLA was heating up with those 26 second quarter points, and formulated a plan to put punk-a _ _ CP3 and his merry band of jumpshooters on their collective behinds. Instead, what happened was a parade of points that I think started with an all-too easy Thornton steal after an inbounds pass. Manu practically gave him the ball as if to dare the little man if he could dunk. Ouch.

A couple of Thornton jumpers here, some David West mid-range shots there, and a sprinkling of Scrappy Doo long range buckets and we were staring at a 33-point third quarter Hornets explosion. The Spurs' defense had a little something to do with it, too, allowing most of these shots to be fired unmolested. I'm thinking of giving everyone in Texas a free pass since the Rangers needed to win that Game 3 of the World Series, and the Spurs players probably were thinking about that, too. I'm most likely saying BS, but I don't know, somebody give me a reason to think why the D crumbled like that.

69869_1624735748755_1547353210_1531784_2341962_n_medium
Visual representation of how the Hornets "flew" away with this one.

via janieannie (sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net)

How about the offense? For starters, we didn't score in the last four minutes of the quarter. I'm having a hard time remembering that lineup but I think it was Parker-Neal-Jefferson-McDyess-Blair. I remember Tony the most because it seemed like he was back to his dribbling nowhere, jacking up shots mode. Kinda makes you wonder if he got his extension too soon, but I don't really wanna go there and start another litany of "Trade Tony" or "Worst Extension Ever" posts. Dice and Blair also missed a few chippies, and allowed Jason Smith to blossom into a superstar for all of four minutes.

Pride

91266_hornets_spurs_basketball_medium
When all else fails, cram that chit down.

Early morning, April 4
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride


If it feels like I'm all furious about the loss, I feel the exact opposite, actually. In a world where wins and losses are the only measuring sticks, there are no moral victories. BUT, that being said, it's still hard not to find good things about this loss, considering that it's just the second game of the season.

The sample sizes are still inconclusive, but Rage is starting to finally pump some much-needed blood into the heart of this ex-champion team looking for a last shot at glory. Two games in and he looks like a different player, one who's out to regain some lost pride, one that was beaten to death a season ago.

The guy refuse to gave up, and it lifted his teammates. I think he scored only two points in the first half but went berserk for 16 in the second half, most of those points in the fourth. He did miss that wide open three that would've tied the game and tore the batcave living atop the AT&T Center, but the missed threes were practically one of the recurring themes of our offense this game, so you could argue that he just kept in step.

I particularly liked one stretch where he FINALLY got to realize that he had to score or just do something to wake his teammates up. A made up RJ train of thought: "Hmm... wait, no Timmy, no Tony. Okay... there's Manu, and then George who's not really shooting the ball well. Neal's a rookie and Blair's having a bad day, and then there's me. Wait, what the hell am I doing? I"M THE SECOND OPTION NOW AND I HAVE TO SCORE!"

And score he did - with two surprisingly confident pull up jumpers (one off a broken play that was all net) and a jump-out-of-your-seat up-and-under slam over Trevor Ariza. Defensively, I thought he did a decent job, not that Trevor's an offensive juggernaut anyway, but he kept Ariza from getting into the flow of the game where he'll wreak havoc on both ends.

73509_1624736188766_1547353210_1531786_5169669_n_medium
One of a million ways NBA players say hi to their family in the stands.

via janieannie (sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net)

Of course, you can take that all away from Jefferson and say he just benefited from Manu being there, owner of the never-say-die gene that just refuses to lose. I'm happy that BatManu tried his darn best to rally the troops and show Pop that we're not throwing the white flag too early like we used to. What I'm not too excited about was the atrocious gunslinging from distance, where at one point he missed seven straight. Ended up 2-11, and that one open three in the fourth he also missed. Our players are officially scared of open shots. It's a frickin' disease, people.

After Anderson's welcome last game, it's now "Welcome to the NBA, Gary Neal!" He was instrumental in that comeback as well, and it's good to know that he won't be a smaller Roger Mason, Jr. At least not yet. I liked his pitbull defense -- chased Thornton around and cooled him down a bit. He even looks the part, too. Hopefully he can shoot it consistently and that this showing earned him a few more minutes.

I'm also quite glad that this didn't turn out to be that Bulls game last season when the team went to Chicago after that rousing opening day win, then proceeded to get their butts whupped by double-digits.

The (S)Hit List, or players I just want to call out

74146_1624731628652_1547353210_1531757_3005805_n_medium
Blair has a sad.

via janieannie (sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net)

DeJuan Blair - I got my ear bleeding after hearing Sean Elliot say a million times for Blair to calm down and work patiently. Which reminds me, he really does seem to be wired like Manu -- players who thrive under chaos. He was at his rebounding best in that dizzying rally, and had some monster glass-eating boards. Now only if that translated to some offense.

Tony Parker - "The Extension" or $50 million Man got extended time on the bench after some poor second half play.

Tim Duncan - Not a good night for Timmeh, going 2-10 and missing a number of easy shots. Law of averages after going 10-12 the other night.

George Hill's shot - Still MIA. The two straight missed OCEAN-WIDE open corner threes in the first half was shocking. If you can't hit your bread and butter spot, it may be a concern. Liked his defense on Paul in the second half though and the 7 assists, so keep your head up, kiddo.



Your Three Stars, even though I don't feel like giving them

(3) Gary Neal -- 8 points with 2 3FGs, 2 rebounds, 2 assists in nearly 19 quality minutes

(2) Richard Jefferson -- 18 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Take LeBron's usual stats and halve it, and that's where Rage was at. A half-LeBron. I'll take it.

(1) Spurs Front Office -- Much rejoicing with the crafty and well-timed Tony Parker extension.

Finally, a few bonus goodies from our jolly good leader, jollyrogerwilco, who was at the game:

Manu talks post-game -

Manu Interview 10-31-2010

Timmeh at shootaround -

Photo_medium

Blake Griffin and the Clips await on Monday. Oh yeah, finally some Tiago Splitter action, too.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Pounding The Rock

You must be a member of Pounding The Rock to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Pounding The Rock. You should read them.

Join Pounding The Rock

You must be a member of Pounding The Rock to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Pounding The Rock. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker