Game 15, Vs. Dallas: Mavericks 103-94 (Record 13-2) RAGE: +2
Q: Pop, Did your team learn any lessons learned from the Minnesota game?
Q: Tony, what happened to your commitment to passing?
A: "Commitment eez not a big strength of mine."
Q: Richard, what's today's date?
A: "November 26th."
Q: What year?
Carry on then.
If only we had as much fight as these pussies.
Well fuck. The streak had to come to an end sometime, but did it have to happen against those pricks? I'd have rather lost to Minnesota. What a crappy way to start the weekend. Crappy defense. Stupid shot selection. Careless passing. Two of your best players completely M.I.A. Terrible fourth quarter. Dumb coaching.
Any way you slice it, just a wretched, awful ballgame.
Let's start with defense. What were we doing out there? All that needless doubling and switching. The Mavs have ONE REAL SCORER. All we needed to do was play straight up, protect the paint like we nominally do, and let Dirk take 50 shots if he wants. Yeah, so he'll probably make 48 of them, but it's better than seeing people like Tyson Chandler, Shawn Marion and Ian Mahinmi score.
And Jason Terry. GODDAMMIT SPURS YOU KNOW HOW I FEEL ABOUT JASON EFFING TERRY.
With all that needless, completely ineffective scrambling we did, all it produced was plenty of wide open baseline shots for Dallas, a lot of plays where Marion had a step on a backpedaling Rocket and a lot of desperate hacks on Chandler right under the rim. It's just stupid strategy and I don't know why we keep doing against these guys game after game. Just. Play. Straight. Up. Please. The Mavs hardly switched or doubled anyone all night, they stayed home on our shooters and we finished with like 49 points on 12 % shooting and -3 assists with 79 turnovers or whatever our stats were.
Also... where was the transition defense? It was shitty off misses, shittier off makes, and only kinda shitty off turnovers considering that most of them were balls thrown out of bounds or traveling calls. I remember that one play in the fourth where George got that steal and lay-up to put us up two and in the blink of an eye, Marion had an and-1 for them on the other end. That's just lazy and sloppy and fucking amateur right there. You can't do anything with amateurs!
Then there was the defense on Dirk (or lack thereof). I swear, I've given up with this guy. You can take Kobe, LeBron, Durant, whomever. There is NOBODY in the NBA who terrifies me more with the ball in his hands than this sneering, snarling, Aryan mongoloid. Every shot he takes looks like it's going in. We tried guarding him with Blair. Didn't work. Tried Dice. Didn't work. Tried various smalls during switches. Didn't work. Went small at the end of the game and tried Richard (anytime you ask the guy who's been your worst player all game to guard their best player with the game on the line, you know that's going to work; that's just science). DID. NOT. WORK.
I think Pop made a mistake having Dice on him and Bonner on Marion. Dice has more lateral quickness than Rocket, so he should've been guarding the quicker guy. Put Bonner on Dirk. All he does is stand outside and shoot in people's faces anyway, so it's not like having Dice on him makes a difference. Besides, Marion was the one in the paint. His man should be someone who can bother his shot and get boards instead of Rocket.
Again, I don't know what to do with Dirk. Really the only thing you can do is foul the shit out of him and make him think about it or really get up underneath him on jump shots and make him think about where his feet are going to have to land to not sprain his ankles and throw off his concentration. Either that or just play straight up like I said and hope his arm gets tired by that 48th shot attempt or so. All I know is he only took 14 shots and zero free throws, while the rest of the team had quality looks all night and 31 freebies, so we definitely did something wrong.
Offensively it was even worse. Pop said a few people were "out to lunch" and there's no doubt he was talking about Tony and RJ. Let's start with Jefferson first. It seems like he's regressing back to last year's apparition.
Here's his FGA from games 2-10: 11, 11, 13, 13, 9, 12, 6, 11, 10.
Average: 10.7 per game.
Here's his FGA from games 11-15: 8, 7, 7, 15, 4.
Average: 8.2 per game.
That means the ball movement is slipping, our guards are taking too many shots and the transition game hasn't been there as much. It's true that RJ has lost some touches because Bonner's come back from injury and also Hill has resumed his big role from last year, but he's got to be more aggressive - meaning either catch and rise up to shoot or catch, pump-fake and drive by (and for the love of the FSM dribble before taking that first step) - and we've got to look for him more.
What we don't need from his is to be passing the ball on the wing, trying to make clumsy post entries or to be trying 40-foot passes from the backcourt to initiate the break. I swear I wanted to punch him through my TV after that second one in the first quarter. It was like gamblers got to him he was so awful.
Then there was Tony, who played crummy against the Mavs as usual. Something about these guys have always given him trouble. I think it's that whole "they wanted Jason Kidd instead of me" thing. For whatever reason Tony has more turnovers, less assists and a more difficult time getting to the rim against these guys than any other good team in the league and it's been the case for years and years. There was just something off about Parker the whole game, like he was in a fog, and admit it, you wouldn't be surprised if during the day he had some kind of personal distraction like a meeting with a lawyer or some such thing. He allowed J.J. Barea to get seven assists! He just didn't look focused at all to me and was incredibly indecisive. His passes were lazy and purposeless, and there was so much dribblingdribblingdribbling.
Or maybe he was just thrown off by how insanely hot Manu started off, and then Hill. Gino started 6-of-7, with 16 points in the first and then Hill got hot late in the first/early in the second, and I think it may have affected Tony and the offense as a whole. He didn't seem to be as aggressive and kept deferring, thinking the other guys were going to take over. It was just a big, sloppy, uncommunicative mess, like two drunk teenagers losing their V-cards. There was some awkward penetration, too much pain, not a whole lot of fun, and really you just wanted to get the thing over with.
The Philandering Frenchman has been tres bien all season, so he's allowed a mulligan of course. I just wish it wasn't against these guys. ANYBODY BUT THESE GUYS, YOU MIMBO.
Rocket? Sucked. Still hasn't hit made a shot after putting the ball on the ground all season. Neal? Sucked. He should never, ever dribble in the half court and that 29-footer he tried was right out of the Roger Mason playbook. I'm starting to worry about him. Blair? Didn't do a thing to help us on either end. Dice? Ditto. Probably not a good idea to play him after sitting him almost the whole first half. He was stiff as hell. Splitter? Might as well have tried him on Dirk, Pop, you tried everyone else.
Ah whatever. Crappy game. It was wishful thinking to hope that these guys would've learned anything from their miracle comeback against the T-Pups. If anything it probably just emboldened them, increased their hubris to LeBronian levels and gave them the false sense of security that any amount of carelessness and first half timidness can be overcome by some late threes. In Popspeak they didn't have the "appropriate fear" and they tried to "skip steps."
Maybe they'll wake up now. Maybe.
Your Three Stars:
3. Tim Duncan - Had a nice stretch there in the third quarter. In this game, where almost nobody compete, it's that easy to get the third star. I almost gave it to Blotch.
2. Manu Ginobili - 16 points in the first? I know, let's get him one shot in the second quarter. Keep that momentum. Manu took another shot in the beak from Dirk. The guy has never snapped in his NBA career, but if he ever does, you get the feeling it'll come against Dallas, right? They cheap shot him more than anyone. For some reason (fatigue?) Manu kept leaning back on his three attempts in that fourth quarter, shooting like fadeaways, and they were all short. Especially that one late on the baseline where he rushed it because a guy was coming. He should've pump-faked and drawn the foul and three freebies.
1. George Hill - The antithesis of Tony, he has his best games against Dallas. It was nice to see him driving to the basket and getting to the line. Imagine if he could ever figure out the P&R. That'd be something. Still, I didn't like Pop going to a nekkid lineup in the second quarter. Not at all.
Up Next: Sunday, @ New Orleans (12-3). The NOOCH already beat us on our home floor and just annihilated Portland on the road. They're the third good defensive team we're going to face in a four game stretch, but they like to sag in the paint, meaning we're going to get a lot of three attempts (especially Manu). The Mavs game was the second straight where both the PF AND the C went off on us. Once is a fluke. Twice is a trend. The Hornets have West and Okafor, so it very well could be a full-fledged pattern if our bigs don't toughen the hell up. It's gonna be an early game - never a good sign for us - too, so all signs point to an "L."
However, because of this loss I'm more optimistic than I would've been if we'd beaten Dallas. The guys will want to come out and redeem themselves, especially Tony. It's worth noting that Parker's two worst games of the year have come in the losses, so we'll see if he bounces back against CP3 and co. Also, Tim and Blair both played poorly in the first meeting and we shot 6-of-26 (23%) from downtown. A definite opportunity to regain that RAGE point. C'mon Spurs, you're only allowed one loss per month.