With their 5th straight win, the Spurs gained a 2-1 edge in the season series against their Texas rivals, and upped their league-leading record to 34 wins and 6 losses.
Have at this while reading - a song which I loved during high school days (some Scott Pilgrim love in there as well).
The events during the past week in this part of the Spurs blogosphere have been somewhat pretty controversial, considering suggestions of a new blog name together with a new logo. I'd say the Spurs making minced meat of most teams in the league this season has coincided with the lack of trolls, as PtR has not seen a lot of these unpleasant Internet gnomes and has managed to exist as a blog as tranquil and efficient as the team that it represents.
So while we Spurs fans have been enjoying this winning ride, the appearance of that rare troll has actually increased the enjoyment, with people pouncing on the hapless self-proclaimed Photoshop expert and trashing his masterpiece with gusto, much to the chagrin, perhaps, of poultry owners around the world. How dare you disrespect chickens by comparing them to a burning spur!
I took my amusement a step further and asked myself, has that time come? While PtR has changed leadership more times than the Spurs have changed coaches in the past decade, the blog has been a shining paragon of consistency in the SB Nation roster in terms of name and logo. Having thought of this, I hopped onto the hot tub time machine and attempted to look for Matthew Powell's (a.k.a. sungo) old blog, the one where it all started, where the One Ring was forged followed by the nicknames and quotes that have been immortalized in Spurs internet lore.
What did I find? To quote one of my favorite members' signatures:
I did a lot of soul searching. I didn't find anything.
While it wasn't exactly a soul searching exercise, I didn't find anything... new. Or any earth-shattering realizations for that matter. Matthew is still (and will no doubt forever be) one of my favorite web writers, the layout of his blog looks older than Dice's wrinkles, and its comments were not quite as bursting and intelligent as the ones you see on here today. Heck, it made me sad that the last entry, the "Farewell to Youth" post of a true Spurs fan, was fraught with spam comments including an asshat complaining about having to sign up in the new address to be able to comment. Not exactly how you want to go out, but hey. We're here safe and sound, and that's what matters, right?
I may not have found anything new from this mini web sojourn to share to the world, but I guess it did reinforce something that's been on my mind all along. Speaking of soul searching, new URL, new logo or not, the soul of this Spurs blog remains the same. We could all change the logo to be as cool and exciting as the Spurs' offense, or rename to something as cutting edge as "San Antonio Spurs Blog" and yet the very soul of this little nook in the world wide web will_not_change. It just so happens that right now, Pounding the Rock captures everything we want our team to be, and the logo pretty much fits the name to a T. Heck, Popovich, in all his infinite CIA wisdom, can decide to tear down Jacob Riis' quote at some point, and whoever's handling the blog that time might feel like an idiot and change things up.
But does it change who we are as fans, not just of the Spurs, but of this site?
I don't think so. And with that, I put my fascination for names, logos and flaming chickens to rest. Also, I gotta stop yapping about A blog and start talking about THE game or there will be no stars on blog reviews for me (I'm sorry for running this joke to the ground... I'm in love with it like how girls slobber over sparkling boys).
On To Basketball, and Why the World is a Better Place Without Mark Jackson
Let me start a short account of the game with this Jeff Van Gundy quote during the broadcast:
I'll tell you what's sexy: winning
That quote concluded the first JVG Understatement of the Game (JVGUOTG, #1), where he said that, "I've always felt the Spurs never get their due." We know it, Jeff, and it's up to you smart folks to get it done. Not that we care a lot about attention, we'd rather continue to fly under the radar, Timmeh DUNK-you-very-much.
So yes, another game against the rivals and despite whatever stuff Pop might say about this win feeling as hollow as the "Nets closing in on Carmelo Anthony" rumors or Pop announcing his dinner plans, a win over your division rivals is still miles better than, say, winning 50+ points over a seriously D-League level Cleveland Cavaliers. Make no mistake about it, the Mavs absolutely toyed with us, celebrated on our home floor, coasted like paper planes in front of our fans, and nutpunched aging vets during those seasons when one or two of our Big Three were injured and our supporting cast withering away in the sunset. In sum, back then they really didn't care if we were shorthanded or not.
That's why I enjoyed this win so much, even without Dirk and Butler. It's a small measure of revenge for those times when The Jet continued to show too much class even when we were down and out. Hey Jason, how about you try what we've been through the last couple of years? How does it feel, huh? So you said pre-game "Watch the little man beat the giant"? Just... STFU.
Alright, I think I'm done releasing some of that vitriol now. Luckily, the Spurs weren't like that at all in this contest, not caring if the Mavs made the score look a little more respectable at the end. They knew their opponents were stuck in a rut, and they did just enough to notch the win and get something more important -- ending the game early so that the starters get plenty of rest. It's these little long-term goals, littered strategically in a roomful of short-term targets that make me fall in love with this team over and over. Jacob Riis effect, ladies and gents.
The End Where I Begin
Simply put, the game was over by the time the first half ended. Parker started aggressively, slipping, sliding, pirouetting, teardropping and getting his teammates into attack mode as well. The defense made sure to deny Jason Kidd from getting a rhythm early on his passes, as Tony, Manu, Hill and RJ shadowed him extremely well one-on-one, while the others stayed home on their man to keep Kidd from assisting to his teammates. It also helped that Ason Kidd is missing his J, shooting only 33% from the field this. Now that's ugly.
Enter JVGUOTG #2: "I think Parker sometimes gets overlooked in the discussion of top PGs in this league."
Yeah, you know, because all he does is win, win and win some more. He doesn't rack up assists like Stockton or Rondo, but for a scoring point guard, he shoots a pretty damn decent percentage compared to the Baron Davises, Deron Williamses and Derrick Roses of the world. Did I also mention he's a three-time NBA champion? Does anyone in the Top Three PGs list have a ring? Yep, I thought so.
Going back to the game, a telling 15-3 run to start the second quarter practically won the contest for us as the Spurs built a 20-point lead. The run included a three each from Neal, Bonner and Jefferson, six points from Manu Ginobili, and a Dice putback. It was fun to watch our offense kick into such high gear and put a game out of reach after only a few minutes.
The highlight of the first half would probably be Jason Terry's hockey check of Manu, as Gino was hurtling like a cannonball towards the basket and the whistle for a timeout sounding. Sure Jet, deck a man and then reach out your hand to "help"? Glad Manu had none of it and stood up on his own -- we don't need no stinkin' paper plane touchin' the Manu! Pop also comes storming out of the sidelines to defend his guy, and basically harassed the refs into calling a tech on Terry. Good times.
Halftime JVG overstatement of the night (paraphrased): Roddy Beabouis is one of the top three players in this Dallas Mavericks team.
What? I mean, seriously, Beaubs (you can't imagine how much I restrained myself from spelling it another way) is a player and is heckuva fast, but come on! And you tell us that people are underrating Tony. Seriously, even though they call him Buckets, he sucked during the last Summer League before getting injured. Did I say he sucked in Summer League? Yeah, he sucked in Summer League. Summer. League. 'Nuff said.
Instead of Roaring, Why Not LOLing To A Victory?
I don't have much to say about the second half other than DeJuan Blair's interior passing has been impressive, he made two mid-range Js, Shawn Marion's jumper is still the ugliest, Quinn and Barea waged an epic battle for control of The Shire, and that Timmay Tomahawk slam just replaced sliced bread as the best thing in the history of man. Also, fun fact: Brendan Haywood gets paid millions of dollars to shoot 30% on his free throws, which is worst in the league. That is your second half in a nutshell, people.
I also found it funny that Tyson Chandler picked up his 5th foul in the third quarter. I mean, wow, Coach Jim Carrey, that is not funny. At all. Either way, Chandler was sick and it was probably for the best. Look at me, I just showed pity to a Dallas Maverick! I'm getting soft. That's what he said.
Did you see that very awkward lineup of Dice-Blair-Splitter? By virtue of his height, Blair should be the small forward in that one, easy. I also loved that SAM dived into several rows at one play, probably making a case that HE should be the SF in that group. Hey RJ, hear that sound? Those are footsteps of the one who's going to take your starting job! But seriously, Rage, even if you just scored seven, you're alright and played good defense.
The game ended with a Yawn Mahinmi garbage time dunk. Thanks for the memories, and the Triple Bumble, Ian. Pop and Carlisle also had a nice quick chat after the buzzer sounded, which made me smile. I thought it was great of Popovich to have demonstrated that kind of class even if his alcohol levels were above the standard for games. "Nice game, Jim... sorry we had to beat you like this without the Big Germ. Good luck next game. Now, Get The Eff Off My Lawn."
Today's Game Photo With Meme Potential (GPWMP) - submit your captions in the comments
Your Three Stars:
3. DeJuan Blair - 18 points, 13 rebounds (4 off), 4 assists, 3 TOs. After consecutive subpar games, I'm glad Blair bounced back. He's not yet as consistent as we'd like him to be, but he made the most out of Chandler being sick and Ajinca just being his light post self out there.
2. Tony Parker - 18 points (8-12 FG), 6 assists, 1 steal, 1 TO. No regrets here on why we never signed Kidd back in the day. TP simply dominated the old man.
1. Tim Duncan - 16 points, 12 rebounds (3 off), 3 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks. The GOATPUFF still got it. He was solid on both ends of the floor, and summoned memories of a young TD with that rim-rocking slam in the 3rd quarter. In case you were keeping score, he had TWO dunks this game. That's like, ten times more than his season average.
Up Next: vs. Denver Nuggets. Whaaat, a third meeting again? The Nuggets have their full complement of players this time, and are looking to avenge their past two losses this season to our Spurs. The rest that the starters got from the Mavs game should come in handy.