Here's the thing about sports; sometimes you get lucky. Tonight, Minnesota was lucky.
I thought we played as well as necessary. Any other night, the Spurs would have won that game by 15. Minnesota simply made more shots than they should have tonight, and that will happen several times this season. It's why, in my Spurs' season win total prediction formula, I gave the Spurs an 85% chance of winning games that had an FSOGS of lower than 3. You never know when this will happen, you just know that it will.
But who really cares about the outcome? @ManuGinobili just tweeted, "I have the 5th Metacarpral of my my left hand fractured. I guess I'll miss a few weeks. Sad day 4 me." No Manu, it's a sad day for basketball. Manu was off to an incredible start. Before this game, I put the team stats for the teams I find interesting into a spreadsheet: Heat, Celtics, Lakers, Grizzlies, Thunder, Mavericks, Nuggets, Clippers, Pacers, Spurs, Bulls, Pacers, Knicks, Magic, and Hawks. I wanted to derive the top players' Points per Minute because I assumed Manu would be up there. (This is what I do when I'm bored. I think of ways to statistically make my favorite players stand out.) Here are the results, with the constraint of more than 20 minutes played per game:
|Rank||PLAYER||Min/ Game||Pts / Min|
Manu was on pace to be even more ridiculous than we could have expected. He was in shape. He was healthy. He was Manu at this best. Now, (cue the sad violin music), he's out.
The Spurs will have to find a way to win. I believe in this team. I think this is a championship caliber team. A champion would find a way, and I think the Spurs will.
Here's the silver lining; Pop will be forced to play Danny Green. Before the season began, I asked Dale, JRW, if he thought Danny Green was for real. Every time I've seen this guy play I left impressed. He's a gamer. He has athletic ability, is a great defender, and can shoot. Why haven't we heard the Spurs' coaching staff gush about this guy as they do every other up and comer? Tonight, my man beat the Golden Boy, Ricky Rubio, down. He gave the rookie as tough a time as the current rules allow. Every time Rubio caught the ball, Green was hounding him. I liked it. Keep an eye on Green; with this opportunity, I expect him to create some ripples.
Your Three Enemies:
3.) Michael Beasley
The epitome of Bill Simmons' "Irrational Confidence Guy." When he gets hot, he gets hot, and it sucks. It doesn't suck because he scores, we can live with that. It sucks because he puts forth effort in every aspect of the game. Suddenly, he's rebounding, defending, and hustling. When he's missing, he essentially checks out. When he's hot, he plays to his full potential, and that's what the Spurs encountered.
2.) Kevin Love
He's like Matt Bonner, except good. He hits the three, defends, and rebounds. He is a match-up nightmare. Tim and Tiago are too slow, Blair is too small, Bonner is too slow and too small. I keep thinking that Kawhi may be a good option, but Pop wouldn't roll those dice. Kevin Love is a beast, and he's our enemy.
1.) Lady Luck
Lady Luck really had it out for us. Manu does something he's done 20,000 times in his career, and this time it results in a fractured bone. The Timberwolves shot 43.7% from the field and 34.5% from three point land in their four previous games this season. Last year, they shot 44.1% from the field and 37.6% from three. Tonight? 57.7% and 57.1%. And that's understated. They cooled off when the game was out of reach. Hopefully, Lady Luck wanted to hit us when it would hurt the least; at the beginning of the season. Manu, may Lady Luck grant you a swift recovery.