Tonight was a rare night at the Wilco household. Not only were all five of the jrwlings in bed before game time, but Mrs. Wilco (who had a very busy week) retired early as well, leaving yours truly all alone, and able to completely focus on the game, for the whole game. This does NOT happen very often, so I decided to commemorate it with my very own Game Chatdiary. I IM'd with Jordan Leithart. Texted with SpursFanSteve. Then finished up the night by chatting with CapHill and Hirschof. What follows is a record of the excellence that occurred off the court, while the Spurs were conducting excellence on the court to the tune of a 30 point win over the Miami Heat. Tallyho!
We pick up our evening just after the beginning of the 2nd quarter.
jollyrogerwilco: Jordan, you were dead on about the Key to the game: good ball movement.
Jordan Leithart: Stats never lie. Funny thing is all us spurs fans have been waiting for the Spurs to show their potential. Still 3 quarters to go though.
JRW: Absolutely -- no doubt about that - Miami can testify, and I'm sure Spoelstra is yelling it at them, "Teams can come back from this. It happened against us JUST LAST NIGHT!" That dunk was the first play that the Heat offense WON in the entire game. All of the rest of the points they made were either the shots we LET them have (long range jumpers) or individual plays where a man beat his man
JL: Yep... that's exactly right. Spurs defense at its best this year. If we play this well for 2 quarters every game, we never lose.
JRW: That ball movement by the Spurs for the BeastSlam is a gorgeous thing - 43-23.
Blair with the fake pass handoff to Manu, quick dribble and easy layup -- gorgeous. THAT was an individual play that he just didn't have in his repertoire last year, and early this year. Two 3's from Miller. I'm surprised that Pop didn't call time.
JL: Yeah me too. I was also expecting POP to have Timmy on a shorter minute leash.
JRW: Why wouldn't he? Our team defense is doing a great job of keeping them out of the lane. And if our defensive rebounding keeps Miami to one-and-done, then we won't need him on the boards.
JL: The Refs finally got sterns memo.
JRW: Stop that. Halfway through the 2nd and S.A. has it's first TO.
JL: This isn't even the best the Spurs have played this year. The second Hornets game we were up by 30-40 in the first half.
JRW: Is there a single move in basketball more enjoyable to watch than Mr. James attempting to bull his way to the basket to draw a whistle, only to miss the shot, and giving the ref his shoulder shrug while the other team takes the ball the other way for a score?
JRW: That was sloppy board work from Duncan. James got a free 2 because of it.
JL: Refs have missed 2 travels by James. Ball movement is still excellent. Really nice to have Tony back.
JRW: You said a mouthful right there, my friend.
JL: James actually trying? :o I love how the announcers keep telling me, "The Heat will be the first team to blow a 24 point lead and then come back from 24 down". Though, to be fair, they are on a TRANS-SEGABABA
JRW: Those announcers are just doing their job. Trying to keep people from leaving this game in droves on a Friday night. "Don't leave. History might be made tonight. You could miss HISTORY being made!"
That was a really impressive bit of physicality from Mr. James controlling himself while Bonner grabbed him trying to prevent the easy fastbreak bucket. Now he has a shot at the And1.
Texting with SFS:
SFS: Are they playing this bad or us this good?
JRW: Before I answer, put on your analyst hat and you tell me.
SFS: I'd say yes. We're executing perfectly, but their defense isnt looking elite. Call it 50/50?
JRW: Four parts to the game. Their O, their D. Our O, our D. Our O is hitting EVERYTHING which is not gonna happen all the time. But their D isn't preventing us from getting a SINGLE SHOT we want. On the other end, by my count so far, they have just 5 plays (besides FB points) that their Offense won. The shots they're scoring on are, for the most part, the ones we're giving them. So, I'd say 75/25.
And we are getting back on D on just about every shot as soon as it's up. That's called commitment to transition D, and it's the way we used to play the Suns. Trading any chance for Off rebounds in exchange for slowing down their transition offense. Wow. Was that a long winded answer or what?
SFS: I think you stole my analyst hat.
JRW: Turns out that I had one of my own.
End Text Conversation
JL: We need to stop biting on up fakes. James has been trying the hardest I've seen him try since the all star game.
JRW: ANY of our plays is working -- we get an open looks from whatever we run. Their defense is supposed to be so good. I'm not seeing it. They're so on their heels. Miami's playing timid. Like a bully that got popped in the mouth before he could finish winding up.
JL: Yeah. And now they're trying to swing back. So far it's working. Manu is just so smart. We are lucky to have him with POP.
JL: Here's the question, should I switch jerseys or stick with the one that gave us a 12 point lead?
JRW: it's up to you -- ultimately, this game doesn't matter. So you're free to go with your heart. Hannah Storm says, "[The Heat] have bounced back in a BIG way?" That's just hyperbole right there.
JL: Haha. Superstition makes me feel like I am a part of the team.
JRW: You are, Jordan. It's just that you're part of the PtR team!
JRW: Duncan with about as efficient a tip-in as I've ever seen. We're really getting out and running tonight. And Blair makes BOTH of his freebies.
JL: Duncan always hustles so smartly. He doesn't take stupid risks, but he will get down and dirty.
JRW: He certainly will do that. Wade really does an excellent of controlling his body while in the air. No way Duncan could block that shot, and it was all Wade's body control.
JL: Do you think that POP plays the HVCs?
JRW: OK, it's an 18 pt lead with 8 left in the 3rd. A bit too early for that question. But I'll say that he'll follow Spoelstra's lead. If James, Wade and Bosh come out, so will our guys. But prolly not us first.
JL: I realize that question is too early, but I'm already curious.
JRW: It took a lot out of me to answer it. Lemme tell ya. =] One of the very few players that actually means what he says in those NBA Cares spots -- Wade. He's not just mouthing words that have been written for him. He's engaged and seems to WANT to help out. I respect that.
And coming out of that time out, Pop draws up a gorgeous play to get Manu a huge lane to drive for a score. 74-58
JRW: Announcer just called Mr. James 33% from 3pt range "solid". Blech. Wait, what are Manu's numbers for this year? .343 behind the ark - ok.
Parker's spinning drive in transition ends with him leaving Bibby eating his dust and no one between him and the basket. He barely jumps, and just stretches out his right hand and, with the tiniest flip, sends the ball into the basket. After the spin, it started to look pretty ugly; then suddenly the ball was going through the hoop, and it's a 20 pt lead again. 78-58
Our defense is still disrupting their sets and causing turnovers. Our offense continues to get whatever it wants. Even when Bonner drives, he can dish to RJ for an uncontested layup because RJ is cutting to the middle of an empty lane. Beautiful offense. 82-58
I'm surprised that Breem didn't just say, "And after that 3, the Heat have cut the lead down to 19." Well, they're talking about the Mavericks, and I hardly blame them b/c my attention was starting to wander a bit as Wade navigates his way through the lane, for an easy two.
Tony's two freebies get the lead back to 17, and Wade lays it HIGH off the glass while going away from the bucket. Pretty.
Tony with the AND1, now it's back to 18, and there are 7 Spurs in double figures.
JL: In the Heat's starting lineup, only Bosh is a spot up shooter. Isn't that weird? With all those creators, shouldn't you have shooters surrounding?
JRW: About Miami's starters, it's a really weird team. You'd never draw up a team like this, but they've tried to fill in the blanks as best as they could.
Parker in transition, gets to the rim and Dampier gives him a two-handed push in the back and Tony goes flying. Ends up sliding to goes to the ground. At first it looked a bit bad for Tony, especially the way he stays on the ground after stuff like that. Dampier is tossed and the replays show that Tony worked the refs. It was a dirty play, but Parker was never in danger of being really hurt. He was in control.
JL: Just saw the flagrant foul. I've never liked Dampier. Excellent work by Parker. Plus it gets the crowd back into it.Can't tell if that should have been a Flagrant 1 or 2.
JRW: It wasn't a 2 in my opinion. But Tony stayed on the floor so long, that the refs went ahead and tossed him.
JL: BTW, this game is the first time Hill has been able to fight over screens.
JRW: Hill is definitely continuing to find ways to improve. On both sides of the ball.
JL: Miami just ran the exact same play twice.
JRW: Neal makes a nifty grab of the rebound (kind of snatched it out of the air) and goes coast to coast -- albeit through a slower than usual process. Is that Mr James' 3rd missed freebie? Make it his 4th.
JL: Best part of the night, POP motioning to Hill to calm Tony down. Hill has turned into an extension of POP on the court.
JRW: He really has. When he called Hill his favorite player at the beginning of last season, it was about SO much more than a joke about his play. It's more about the fact that George is always ready to do just what Pop tells him. That's hard to find.
JL: James has faked falling into the lane for the second time. Bush league in my opinion.
JRW: I didn't know that working the refs for calls had become such a large a part of his game.
Manu plus any San Antonio big on the pickenroll is a hugely dangerous option for our second unit.
JRW: Coach B used his left hand to dribble into the lane on that last possession, and on this one, he drills a 25 ft 3. That's his fifth.
JL: 2:03 left in the 3rd. Killer lineup.
JRW: Manu driving through the lane with multiple ball fakes, freezing defenders right and left to drop the layup in off the glass -- it's one of my favorite things. Get a memo to Rodgers and Hammerstein.
Looks like Tiago has reduced the hitch in his free throw stroke a bit more. Both of those freebies drew iron, but he made each of them.
Another textbook offensive possession leads to a Hill corner pocket 3 with no one near him. And after another Miami turnover, same thing, only it's Bonner from deep for his 6th. Lead is now 29 and there's no question the rest of the game will be garbage time.
CapHill: I hope you're enjoying the game as much as I am.
JRW: Now why would you want me to decrease my joy like that! I'm enjoying it FAR MORE than you because everyone in my house is asleep and I haven't been distracted even once. For an 8:30pm start, that's exceptional.
Cap: This is beautimous.
JRW: Fantabuloso, even. Who was that with the 3? Novak with back to back 3's.
Cap: Kim. Franchise record - 17 threes.
JRW: Breem says that "this game is so non-competitive that we're resorting to Jeff Van Gundy jokes." Funny. Right after the eighth Spur made it into double figures, Mark Jackson actually made a really good point. He said that, as a coach, there are some games that you simply say, "I'm not going to even watch that tape. It's just too embarrassing and we are not going to learn anything from it." Then he surprised me by saying, "But this isn't one of those games. This was a clinic" And then he went on about how the Spurs had just taken Miami apart.
Cap: This was a clinic, and I'm sure that Pop will find something to yell about.
JRW: Of course he will. "If we'd really played defense in the 2nd, it would have been 35!" Or more likely, he'll simply shift focus to Sunday's game against LA.
Cap: Tonight just added to the CIA Pop mystique.
JRW: Tell me how.
Cap: Tony playing. The Spurs were all "Tony's going to be out 2-4 weeks". HQ!
JRW: Yeah, well, for whatever reason, I felt like there was some sandbagging involved with that particular press release. It was just a bruise. On his calf. But they had to call it a contusion. On his soleus? Whatever.
Hirschof: Talked to Jeffers after game. Post won't be up till late tomorrow.
JRW: That's great! Got any cool tidbits to share from tonight?
Hirschof: Yes. A comparison of preparation, body language, and mental state between the teams.
Simple bit from observation: LeBron's pre-game workout looks like a playground shoot-around. Want to know why he made that circus shot against Bonner?
JRW: Tell me.
Hirschof: Because he spent the pre-game goofing around making silly shots. He couldn't hit a three to save his life so he stopped, made a dunk, and just goofed off.
JRW: So, what was their body language was like?
Hirschof: During the game, for Miami: eyes up, head jerk down, slap legs, too frustrated to even argue with officials. Wade was the worst.
Pre-game was extremely relaxed and care free. I didn't see anyone sweating like the Spurs players do. There were no set drills. Players just shooting around the court.
JRW: Since the Spurs players were all I've ever watched, that never ceases to amaze me.