Game 19, Vs. Minnesota: Spurs 107-101 (Record 16-3) RAGE: +3
Gonna try something new and just do a play-by-play diary. It's not very good, and too long, like all my other recaps. I gotta get back to work. Enjoy.
I... don't know what to do with this.
Gylne Tider - Let It Be (via MartyTE)
We come to you LIVE from the AT&T Center, where my NBA League Pass was nice enough to give me the Spurs broadcast team of Bill Land and Sean Elliott, who's got a look on his face like, "Uh-oh, Malik Rose is pretty good at this, I better step my game up with even more Manu ass kissing."
Sean makes a good point about an 18-year-old Darko having to deal with having Larry Brown as a head coach while he was a rookie. He makes it sound like the two of them have a shared history storming the beaches of Normandy.
Bill Land just mentioned that MIchael Beasley is one of Minnesota's three best players. He seems to have forgotten last week he was one of San Antonio's three best players too.
Ric Benner and his awful toupee points out that everything tonight points to an easy Spurs win. He says the Spurs are fourth in the league in scoring (106.6 per night), tied for the top three point shooting (40.7%) and that the T-Pups are allowing the second most points (109.6) and have the worst points differential (-9.39 per game). He also said they're 1-9 on the road. What he didn't say: The Spurs just lost to the Clippers and were a miracle away from losing to these guys up in Minny.
Ric encourages people to text Sean a question. I can't decide between, "How soon before Malik replaces you full time?" and "How could you miss both of those free throws against Houston in Game 1 in 1995?"
Minnesota's Starters: Beasley, K-Love, Darko, Syracuse rookie Wes Johnson and Luke Ridnour. Yes, instead of Stephen Curry, Jonny Flynn or Ricky Rubio, we've got Luke Ridnour as the starting point guard. Is there a more unlikely starter in the NBA?
San Antonio Starters: RJ, Tim, Blair, Manu, Tony. (Yawn).
Land notes their last game was the loss to the Clippers and it was their worst shooting night of the year and proposes to Sean that they never bring it up again. Elliott says it was his third biggest disappointment of the past two days, behind playing a bad round of golf and watching Arizona lose a meaningless college football game. At least I think that's what he said.
11:42 Duncan over Darko and he's already got one less field goal than Wednesday. We got this.
10:47 Beasley's already taken two questionable shots, Love's gotten an offensive board, and Manu has a steal. It's like we never left Minnesota.
10:45 Tony gets swatted by Darko. That was ugly. Tim saves a fast break layup by bothering Johnson on a dunk attempt.
9:58 Manu passes behind his head to nobody. Still 2-0, lots of turnovers already.
9:13 Another block by Timmy. He's very active early.
9:02 RJ with an unnecessary pass to Tony on a 2-on-1, Parker blows the layup. I don't know which of them to yell at.
8:33 Manu with almost another turnover on behind the back move, picks up the ball, crazy pass ricochets to Blair, RJ winds up with and this ball he tries to dunk through four people, instead of the last one where Ridnour's shadow intimidated him enough to pass it to Tony. Makes one of two free throws. 4-3 T-Pups.
8:10 Matthews, trying to prove he can be even a bigger spaz than Beasley, passes it right to Timmy. Manu badly misses a three.
7:50 Love nails a three on a pick and pop. That's not fair. 7-3.
7:43 Manu suckers Johnson into fouling him on a three. Christ is Johnson having a terrible start. Makes all three.
7:15 That was new. RJ tried a high-arching jump shot, from five feet away. Looked like a video game glitch. He missed it and committed a loose ball foul.
6:50 Beasley baseline jumper, RJ layup, Beasley long two. They seem to be the two participants most interested in shooting early. 13-8 T-Pups, Pop calls time out. Parker still M.I.A.
Bill informs us that the rebounding so far is 10-0 Minnesota, saying, "I don't know if I've ever seen that before," before they show a mandatory positive graphic to balance out the commentary, which says the Spurs are the top point differential team in the second half at 8.2. Elliot chimes in, "They've got no assists as well."
Hill and Rocket in for Tony and Blair.
6:07 Manu to Tim for a jumper.
5:40 Another offensive rebound for Love, over Bonner (of course). But Rocket totally swats his ass.
5:33 Sean just said that Hill "can get baseline to baseline as quick as anybody in this league." He's taking his crazy pills again.
5:09 RJ swats Darko on one end and nails an open corner three on the other end. He's come to play tonight. 14-13 Spurs.
4:51 Beasley hits the corner of the backboard on a baseline shot. He's in the NBA and everything.
4:02 A possession that had about ten passes too many ends with Hill sinking a fadeaway free throw over Darko. 16-13.
3:43 Hey, Timmy with a defensive board! All right!
3:30 Tony in for Manu. Tim swishes a pair of freebies. 18-13.
2:50 Rocket chases down a rebound, saves it to Tony who promptly passes it to Corey Brewer. Oh Tony.
2:45 Darko just impersonated a mime trying to dunk. Forgot the ball. Nice rebound by RJ over Love. Layup for Tony in transition where the paint was completely vacated for Minnesota. No wonder Kurt Rambis is balding.
1:48 Rocket misses another three. Sean says he didn't "get very many good looks at LA." Apparently Bonner has to be alone in the gym to qualify as open in Elliott-World.
1:20 And-1 layup for Tony with no bigs in the paint in the half court. Boy you can get healthy against Minnesota. Tiago in for Timmy. Tiago-Bonner 4-5 trying to rebound against Love? Ruh roh.
1:10 Love goes right at Leg and scores on a P&R.
0:48 Fucking hell. Tony stripped, Beasley easy layup with only Hill guarding the rim, Rocket lazy inbounds pass to Tony picked off and dunked by Brewer, soliciting a sad, "Wow," from Sean. Amazingly Pop doesn't call time. 23-23. "Our guys aren't here mentally," declares Elliott.
0:23 Bonner turns it over on an inbound AGAIN. Beasley scores on a runner. Why is he still in there?
0:03 Tony gets to the line. Somehow it's 25-25 after one. Feels like we should be down 10. Udoka in for RJ. "I don't know if I'd want to be in that huddle," says Land. Parker with 7, Jefferson with 6, Tim with 6.
12:00 Udoka was in for three seconds, replaced by Manu. Beasley goes right by him in the three guard lineup and scores.
11:25 Nice Tony reverse on an inside feed from Tiago.
11:18 You won't believe this, but Bonner gave up an offensive rebound. Tolliver missed the putback though.
11:08 Dumb charge by Tony. At least he's being aggressive again. Elliott disagrees with the call. Beasley scores on Manu again and has 14 out of nowhere.
10:33 Ugly Hill runner swatted by Kosta Koufos, who gets an offensive board on the other end, misses the shot, gets the rebound again and scores. Saying Rocket-Leg are having issues inside would be an understatement. Where's Dice? 8-1 edge offensive boards for Minny.
9:50 Hill makes a floater. Looked like Splitter tipped it, but the refs gave it to Hill.
9:30 Brewer's been good off the bench, scores on a turnaround banker against Hill. He'll crumble sooner or later like he usually does though. Not worried.
9:15 Manu swishes an open three off a nice pass from Tiago. Beasley with a long two on the other end.
8:38 Yup. Brewer misses a runner, fouls Manu on the other end. Makes both. 35-34 T-Pups. RJ in for Tony.
Elliott credits Beasley hair for his scorching start, calls it a "half-Predator, not a full-Predator like Ronny Turiaf used to have."
8:23 On cue, Half-Predator misses a baseline shot, Tiago with the board. 7:58 Hill gets a corner three to roll in (from a Manu pass) as the shot-clock expires.
7:30 Bonner bricks another three. "Cannot catch a break," Lind says. "He was right on." Uh, no. If it was right on, it would've swished. What was there, a gust of wind when he shot it?
7:13 Love, gets an offensive board over Manu and Hill. And-1. Elliott said Ginobili was "working his tail off" to box him out, but it just looked like he was standing there. Tim and Tony in for Manu and Tiago.
6:48 Another Tony layup. Nice up and under from Koufos against Timmy. Parker drive and dish to Tim for a layup.
5:57 Tim allowing more offensive boards, but gets a couple of swats against Tolliver and Brewer. Tony with another charge. Both of our starting guards are doing some dumb shit out there. Elliott not sure about the call.
Blotch, Blair and Neal in for RJ, Rocket and Tony. Timmeh playing nekkid. I can't believe Bonner played 12 straight minutes.
5:30 Tim throws up a prayer for an and-1. 44-40 Spurs. He's about the only Spur playing well.
5:13 More second chance points created by Love. They're getting like every rebound. Pathetic.
4:46 Tim draws another foul against Darko, who hasn't done anything tonight. Makes one.
4:07 Tim gets an offensive board, scores on a banker. Feeling it now.
3:32 Turnaround baseline J over Darko, and Timmeh has 16 now. Holy shit. Manu in for Neal, RJ for Udoka.
2:52 Hill baseline layup from Manu pass. Udoka in for Blair.
1:54 Love banker over Tim. Ime travel. Why are we letting him dribble?
1:19 Hill to the line. Neal in for Blotch.
42.1 Love to the line again on P&R. Blair in for Timmy. Manu with a wild shot, looking for a foul. Beasley over Hill and it's 54-53 T-Pups after a less than inspiring first half. Worst game of the season for the starting backcourt so far.
11:38 Tony with a nice and-1 floater against Ridnour. With a start like that, I'm positive that nothing bad can possibly happen in this quarter.
11:22 Minnesota turnover. Oh yeah, this is gonna be easy.
10:05 Two freebies for Ridnour, Parker comes right back at him with a jumper. This is gonna be a runaway, I can feel it.
8:51 Darko tosses in a hook. Minny up 61-60. RJ with a breakaway dunk after Blair steal. 62-61.
8:05 Dice in for Blair. Beasley rebounds over him and scores.
7:32 Tim blocks Darko's weak scoop attempt, gets a layup on the other end. Love answers with hook over Dice.
6:29 Love swishes open 15-footer. 67-64 Minny. Manu short-rims back to back corner threes.
5:09 Beasley runner over Jefferson 71-64. Time out Pop. What the hell is going on? Spurs settling for jumpers and not making them. Manu doesn't have it tonight, not taking anything to the basket, looking tired.
4:48 Hill in for Manu. Timmy banks in running hook. Ridnour backdoor layup the other way. Tim and Dice both miss layups.
3:45 Tim called for an offensive foul on Darko. For once I agree with Sean. Bad call. Tony drives blindly into traffic and turns it over.
2:42 Dice nails long jumper. Spurs being outrebounded by 19, 18-4 on offensive glass.
2:20 Another jumper by Ridnour over Parker. This is what I get for insulting him. 75-68 Minny.
1:56 RJ hits a three from Dice pass. Fouls Beasley on other end. Tiago in for Tim.
1:22 RJ gets dunk attempt denied by Koufos. He misunderstimated him. Beasley seems surrounded by double team at the baseline, somehow gets ball all the way out to Brewer at the top of the key, who nails a three as Pop screams for a travel. Ugh. And he gets two T's and the door.
Didn't need that Pop, but he wanted to send a message to the team for the lack of effort. 82-71 Minny.
0:52 Parker airballs a baseline J, Brewer pops in a long two at the other end. Hill clanks a jumper, doesn't get back in transition and Brewer gets an easy layup. This is terrible. They're so shitty right now I can't believe it.
0:17 11 straight points for Minnesota. "They're playing with so much more energy than our guys," says Land. Elliott says the ball movement has been terrible and guys are passing up open shots, which seems like contradictory statements. 86-71. It's gonna take one heckuva fourth quarter to come back from this shit pile.
Hey let's keep track of Minnesota's field goals and turnovers this quarter, just for kicks. Oh, btw, It's Blair, Dice, Neal, Manu, Hill).
11:30 Land notes that the season-high for rebounds by a Spurs opponent this year is 53 (these same T-Wolves in an overtime game) and they have 46 through three quarters. Spurs have 24. "That's astounding," says Elliott. Not outstanding. Astounding. The fans are booing pretty good for a 15-3 team not facing the Lakers or Heat.
11: 18 Brewer misses contested baseline three at shotclock, Manu all over him. (0-1 FG).
11:03 McDyess stops 11-0 run with a pick and pop from Hill.
10:50 Beasley clanks long two with Hill on him (0-2 FG).
10:36 Brewer to the line in transition. Beasley turns his ankle landing on Blair's foot. Warrants mentioning. Brewer makes one free throw , Koufos gets the rebound over Blair. "It summarizes the night," says Sean. Koufos loses ball to Blair (1 turnover).
10:02 Hill banks in a ridiculous runner. 87-75. Beasley gingerly walking to locker room. Telfair long baseline two over Hill. (1-3 FG).
9:18 Manu bricks another three, Spurs get a break when Blair isn't called for an over-the-back on the rebound, he gets to the line and makes both. 89-77.
9:00 Telfair clanks jumper (1-4), Darko gets rebound, but his over the shoulder pass is stolen by Dice (2 turnovers). Manu to Neal for a corner three..... good! 89-80 and Rambis calls time!
8:30 Rocket in for Dice. Tony for Hill. Ellington slips and loses the ball (3 turnovers), Manu bangs his knee on foul by Brewer in transition. Ouch. Just what he needs. Bonner misses another three, but Blair gets the board. Bonner tries another three.... BOOM. 89-83.
7:50 Love misses a hook over Bonner (1-5) and refs make an awful call on Darko, calling him for over the back on Blair when he had an easy tip in. Blair just wasn't in position for the board and leaped out of the way and sold it. Payback for the offensive call on Timmeh? Even Elliott thinks it's a bad call.
7:32 Manu loses the ball, Blair fouls Brewer. Looked like a bad call. Tim for Blair. RJ for Manu, who's had a night to forget. Brewer makes both freebies.
7:05 Love travels with Bonner on him (4 turnovers). Brewer takes a terrible foul on Hill who gets an and-1 on baseline drive. Big demonstrative yell and fist pump for a guy who's usually so quiet. He misses a three on the offensive rebound that would've brought the house down. 91-85.
6:30 Brewer misses floater (of course), but Koufos tips it in (of course). (2-7 FGs). Tony gets to the line, makes both. He's got 20. 93-87. Beasley checks back in for Minny. RJ in for Neal.
6:00 Koufos misses turnaround hook over Duncan (2-8 FGs), Hill blocked by Beasley on other end. Beasley air balls baseline floater (2-9 FGs). Does anyone shoot more air balls than Michael Beasley? RJ clanks three. Spurs 6-of-22 from downtown. Ridnour somehow hits a floater. 95-87, time out Spurs. (3-10 FGs for Wolves).
Spurs dancer in chaps. I think we've got our highlight of the night. Manu in for Bonner. "He's 1-of-10 from the floor, but with 5:50 to go, you can throw those numbers out," says Land. Actually you can't. If he'd made a few shots, we'd be winning right now.
5:00 Nice inside feed from RJ to Tim. 95-89. Beasley short with a floater, Spurs get rebound kind of. (3-11 FG). Manu drives - finally - and gets fouled. Almost and-1 but not quite. Hits both. 95-91. Getting interesting.
4:15 Ridnour long two over Timmy. 97-91 (4-12 FG). RJ draws blocking foul on Beasley. Makes both! 97-93.
3:38 Ridnour out of control and throws ball away (5 turnovers) in desperation before dribbling over baseline, Hill intercepts and gets the layup. 97-95! Timeout T-Wolves.
3:15 Beasley gets fouled, makes both. Manu fouls out Milicic 25 feet from basket, on exactly the same play he fouled him out in Minnesota. Makes both. 99-97.
2:56 Beasley loses ball to Tim (6 turnovers), Hill fouled on break. Makes first and ... makes second! Spurs all the way back at 99-99.
2:22 Johnson bricks desperation three as the shotclock buzzer (4-13 FGs), RJ gets the board and bricks a long two in transition, so close.
2:06 Beasley throws the ball away on the baseline (7 turnovers). Tony misses desperation three of his own on shotclock buzzer after Manu nearly turns it over. RJ comes up with the loose ball! Tony blocked by Beasley. Don't force it Frenchy! Time out Minnesota.
1:20 Tie game.
Ridnour takes a quick three and I have no idea why. (4-14 FGs). Manu fouled by Love on the rebound and he's going to the line for the lead. Makes both. Of course he does. 101-99. Gino's first board with 1:13 to go in the game?
0:57 Brewer misses long two (4-15 FGs), Hill dives on loose ball and calls time before he can get tied up for a jump ball. Holy shit they're gonna win this game.
0:45 Minnesota's entire defense thinks Tim is gonna swing it to Manu, instead he backdoors it RJ all alone in the paint for a dunk. Ball game. 103-99.
0:30 Beasley misses three (4-16 FGs). Brewer gets rebound, gets it to Love who gets fouled. Misses both! Manu fouled. Makes both. 105-99. Nice line by Manu. 1-10 FGs, 13-13 FTs.
0:10 Love fouled. Makes both. Dice uncovered after the free throws, Tim hits him down the court for a layup. 107-101, final.
Well, what do we take from this game?
For one, we had even less business winning it than the one up at Minnesota. Despite all the free throws, Manu was awful and looked exhausted. Tony showed flashes of his old self but still had too many lapses in concentration, especially on defense. He's either too passive, or hyper aggressive, and he can't seem to find a happy medium. None of the bigs helped Duncan at all on the glass, and the Spurs got outrebounded by 22.
22! Teams that get outrebounded by 22 aren't supposed to win. About the only thing the Spurs did well all night was make their free throws (33-of-37, 89.2%). They got a boost from Hill and RJ but for the most part they were a step slow and lackadaisical. I don't know if they were arrogant, just assuming they'd play well when they had to, or just plain lazy, but I'm not too happy with this win, are you?
Comebacks are nice and all, but good teams don't win close games. Good teams win blowouts. It's an embarrassment we were down 15 to these guys, it was embarrassing how they abused us on the glass and it was embarrassing that we didn't play with the proper mindset on defense until the fourth quarter. I don't want to hear about "they match up well with us." Teams like this don't belong on the floor with the Spurs and our starters should've sat entire fourth quarter enjoying a laugher, not furiously competing to pull the game out. Boston would've won this game by 30. Look at the Lakers. They're up 72-42 on Sacramento right now. There's no excuse for being so soft for three quarters.
We've got five games left on this homestand, and they're all gonna be tougher than this. The fans pay good money to watch the Spurs and they deserve better than one good quarter from them, even if it is the fourth.
Your Three Stars:
3. Richard Jefferson - His outside shot wasn't too sharp and at times his defense on Beasley left a lot to be desired, but he chipped in with ten boards and he was at best late. Generally if he takes 13 shots, it's a good thing for us.
2. Tim Duncan - 22-10-5-3-4, kept the Spurs in the game for a half. Got murdered on the boards. Made a lot of smart passes in the fourth quarter. Good D on Darko and the other centers.
1. George Hill - Has been our best player this past few games, playing as well as he ever has. Pressures the ball well and less passive on defense. Right now the only hole in his game is not being able to run the P&R, but his drive and kick game is improving.
Up Next: Sunday, Vs. Hornets (13-6). What the hell, did the NBA contract 20 teams and not tell me? We keep playing the same people over and over. By now we should know everything about the NOOCH and they should know everything about us. Tony showed signs of snapping out of his funk but he's not all the way back, while Manu's at his lowest point of the year. We need both to be at their best to win this one and something from the reserve bigs, who've been crummy of late. Outside of Neal and Hill, we're not getting much from the bench. The Hornets like to suck inside, so a lot of threes should be available.