When the Spurs lost to the Cavs on a last second miss on a fairly open 3 by Mason, Popovich was too smart. When the Spurs got killed on the defensive glass last night against the Hawks, it was because Popovich messed up and didn't play McDyess enough. Monday night against the Thunder Popovich was just dumb enough to allow his team to win. Thank you for losing some brain cells on the flight West, Coach.
The Spurs really gutted one out. They were coming off an overtime loss in Atlanta. They fell behind early. Kevin Durant got the super-duper-don't-even-think-about-breathing-near-me-star treatment. Manu wasn't super-human. Tim Duncan managed a whopping 14 points. Yet, they scraped their way back into it at the end of the second quarter, took the lead in the third, and made just enough plays to hold on to a 99-96 win. Oh, and Coach Popovich's big brain didn't get in the way. That too. Here's what he was dumb enough to let happen.
Durant Gets the Star Treatment
My wife and I always laugh at businesses that are named things like "Just Pets Plus". Or "Just Hair and More". The ridiculousness should be self evident. Last night, Durant go the "Just Superstar Plus" treatment. Wow. Just wow plus. He got so many ticky-tack touch fouls I didn't know if the Spurs were allowed to guard him. It really bordered on the absurd.
However, Ed F Rush was calling the game. He wasn't making any of the touch calls. It was the other two chuckleheads, Eli Roe and Pat Fraher, who were making the calls. When Rush calls a game, I expect lots of banging and very few calls. I think when the last 3 minutes came around he told the chuckleheads they better voluntarily swallow their whistles or he would involuntarily make them swallow them. The refs didn't call squat at the end. Either way. It was old school knock the crap out of the guy basketball.
3 -- Roger Mason: RMJ got hot at the end of the second quarter and pumped in a handful of shots that got the Spurs back into striking distance.
2 -- George Hill: A career high 27. He really carried the team in the third quarter and stepped up as a scorer when the team needed him.
1 -- Manu Ginobili: He was just short of super human. He made big plays all over the court. He got the steal from Jeff Green that led to RJ's dunk. He got the charge on Green. He forced the U-G-L-Y Westbrook turnover with 30 seconds left. He played like a winner.
The defensive rebounding against Atlanta was bad. Really bad. The thing in the box score that stood out to me was that George and Manu combined to grab 1 rebound in 86 minutes. That's embarrassing. Tonight, they had 10 total.