So we finally saw some extended minutes from the Brazilian Wonder against the Cavs. And boy, Tiago didn't disappoint! Splitter's BBIQ for a rookie is high, and he's showed the proficiency with the pick-and-roll that we had all heard so much about. An enjoyable game to watch - very enjoyable, indeed.
I think we all know that this season's Spurs are strange - no one can quite explain how the Spurs have turned into such an offensive juggernaut. Stampler and davis have expressed brillian theories of this phenomenon in their recent recaps, but the prevailing vibe on PtR still seems to be one of happy disbelief.
This season, I've been inspired by SiMA's exhortation on DeJuan Blair to relish the now. I'm relishing Duncan's bank shot, Parker's one-man fast breaks, Manu's improvisational genius, Pop's mind-bending lineups, and even Bonner's effort. We, as fans, may never have the opportunity to follow such a team again. So, for once, I'm going to set aside my cynical nature and enjoy the trip that this team is taking us on. I don't know how long I'll be able to keep this up, as we all know I tend towards the cranky and pessimistic. But join me today in sitting back and enjoying the ride, not caring when it might end, but just knowing that the journey is worth it.
Since we're playing the Magic, I feel the need to resurrect a certain song from the 70s for everyone's listening pleasure. Enjoy one of the best female rock voices of all time (and no, don't try to argue with me about this):
And now for my usual hack preview (although I tried to do actual research this time):
San Antonio Spurs vs
Where: AT&T Center
When: November 22, 2010, 7:30 p.m. Spurs Time - Timezone Converter
Watch: FSSW, NBATV
By the Numbers
Data source: basketball-reference.com
PG: Parker is playing at an extremely high level this season and the numbers back it up. The Spurs' new style of play is a perfect fit for The Wee Frenchman's game. Nelson is a good point guard, but he's going to have trouble staying in from of the Blur. Tony should be able to continue to pad his assist stats (7.7 per game) driving and dishing tonight.
SG: If Tony is the accelerator for the offense, Manu is the turbo-charger. His ability to change the nature of the game in the span of minutes is unrivaled. I know that Vinc Carte has the name cache, but Carter's reputation as an "All-Star" isn't going to help him when TMWNS either bombs from outside or performs yet another behind-the-back manuever while driving to the hole.
SF: RJ had another offensively efficient game against the Cavs and combined that with some stellar defense on the other end. QRich is the opposite of offensive efficiency, shooting 36% from the field and only 29% from 3-land, evidence of the Magic's issues from behind the arc this year. Not good.
PF: This is an interesting matchup of opposites. In Blair, the Spurs have a fireplug of energy and physicality that hasn't quite been harnessed yet.. In Lewis, the Magic have a stretch 4 who makes his living outside of the paint. Can DeJuan chase Lewis around the court? Does Lewis have any chance against DeBeast in the paint? And DeJuan, please pass the ball when you're up against Howard. Thanks.
C: It's a beautiful sight when you see Timmeh only played 17 minutes in a win. He should be well-rested going against the physical specimen that is Howard. I got yelled out for my last preview, where I had Timmeh and Al Jefferson tied. Well, Orlando fans could yell at me this time for having Timmeh and Dwight tied. Yes, Howard has superior stats, but in two areas he's still woefully deficient: FT% and A/TO ratio. With as many issues as the Magic are having shooting the ball, I can see Pop instituting Hack-a-Howard.
BANANAS! We finally saw extended minutes from Splitter, and he didn't disappoint. I'm very interested in seeing how he performs against Howard. Hill continues to improve, and Neal's overall game has been impressive. However, Bass, Pietrus, Redick, Duhon and Gortat are not a scrub second unit. Which bench will be able to impose its will?
Apparently, SVG has changed his shtick a little this year, forgoing the constant yelling. All I know is that we have Pop, and despite some complaints from the PtR faithful about minutes for a certain Brazilian, he's done a masterful job this year.
We won both games of the BABA. There is no one person an opposing team can key on to stop the offensive juggernaut. It's weird, but I'm enjoying it.
Spurs are off to their best start EVER. Hugs for everyone!
Orlando has struggled on offense this year compared to last season. The Spurs need to chase their shooters on defense and wreak havoc with their pinpoint passing on the offensive end to combat the Magic's defensive prowess. This should be a good test of the Spurs ability to shut down an opponent, but since they're at home, I'm giving them the advantage.
Orlando Pinstriped Post (SB Nation)
WOAI 1200AM; Audio League Pass[streaming]
As always, NBA league pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Almost every Spurs game will be broadcast there, which is especially helpful for those of us who aren't in the San Antonio area.
Please don't post links to illegal game feeds in the game thread. Links to illegal feeds are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate. You can also shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org (IMPORTANT: Please include your PtR username in the email for reference) for further assistance.