J.R. Wilco: I'll bet there's much rejoicing amongst certain portions of the Spurs faithful tonight.
JRW: Oh, you don't know?
CapHill: Didn't watch the game.
JRW: DeJuan Blair started. Both the 1st and the 3rd, so it wasn't just a mistake Pop made with the lineup, it was "A DECISION."
CapHill: So Boris came off the bench? Interesting. Why?
JRW: Well, it was an away game, and I don't have any audio from Pop's pregame presser. So, I've no idea.
CapHill: Come on - you could have made up a reason. You're the one with a right brain. I just brought up the boxscore. Timmeh had yet another crappy game. I don't see how the Spurs are going to do well this year if he only averages 20 & 10.
JRW: You're preaching to the choir. When's he gonna start caring?
CapHill: It's pathetic. At least Pop might have finally figured out Patty should be the backup PG.
JRW: Now that you're being serious, I think that move is on the way.
CapHill: DNP for Bonner makes me happy.
JRW: Well, it was a FIGABABA, so don't get TOO happy. He might have been saving him for Portland.
CapHill: I just don't see the point of him playing, with the other shooters we have. Love the balance in the minutes tonight.
JRW: We had the same balance in the Clips game, and maybe in the game before. I'm not sure, but I'm not going to check.
CapHill: You and your "facts". Timmeh has a stellar line. He may not actually be old.
JRW: I'm of the opinion that he's found a way to age in reverse, Benjamin Button-style.
CapHill: Well if anyone could figure it out, it'd be Timmeh. I can just see him in the basement lab.
JRW: Lab coated up?
CapHill: Of course, and with the proper eye protection. His per 36 numbers are redonkulous.
JRW: That's the word for it. And he'd certainly have donned all of the appropriate safety equipment. That's a given! Unfortunately, Manu's not quite back up to speed yet. But then again, those back spasms robbed him of his rhythm, as well as the end of his training camp.
CapHill: Manu doesn't need to be up to speed until April. He just needs to stay healthy.
JRW: That's certainly true. It's just that I really like it when I can look at his stats and see efficiency numbers that every player in the league would envy. And when I don't, I get a little sad inside.
CapHill: They'll get there. Fortunately, we don't need Manu to be Manu at this point in the season. And that's a good thing, when considering his age and health issues.
JRW: I know we don't need Manu at his finest during the first 82 games; last year taught us that for sure. But that's not my point. Actually I have two points. First, I always want Manu to be Manu: full stop. Second, as I'm fond of saying, last year was the first postseason since 2007 that he was healthy in the playoffs. And (surprise, surprise!) they made it to the WCF. So, I'm more than willing to trade the beginning of the season (and even a good portion of the middle) to have him at his healthiest come the postseason.
CapHill: The roster is strong enough to maintain without Manu. In fact, I would say this is the first year that I don't absolutely feel that Manu is the key to a deep playoff run. Not that he isn't a key, but not THE key.
JRW: You're only saying that because Timmeh's playing so well, right?
CapHill: Yes and no. Timmeh is always the #1 guy, but with the addition of Jax, the iciness of Neal, and the improvements of Green and Leonard, I just don't think that Manu has to be at 100% for the Spurs to win in the playoffs. In fact, I think it's more important that Tony play well.
JRW: Tony laid an egg for the second game in a row. That doesn't happen often. Must be the flu. And Manu might not have to be 100% for the Spurs to win in the playoffs, but he would if they have a prayer of beating the Heat.
CapHill: Yes, Manu has to be Manu to beat the Heat. But I'll worry about the bridge when we get there. If Patty truly becomes the backup PG, then there won't be as much pressure on Tony.
JRW: Hmm. That's an interesting theory. Want to spin that one out for me?
CapHill: Neal is serviceable, but he's not a PG. His value is in his shooting. Manu could be the primary ball handler, but it takes away from his offensive creativity. Patty has a similar game to Tony's with his speed, plus he can handle the ball. So, the opponent still has to worry about Parker-like penetrations into the paint, which then frees up Manu to be himself, cutting off screens. And that allows Neal to park himself outside to shoot daggers. Finally, Tony doesn't have to play > 36 mpg.
JRW: And that last part is what I was looking for, the way it takes pressure off Tony. I thought you were saying that Tony felt like he had to do more with his minutes, but I can see that you're talking about how many minutes he has to play. He's over thirty now, do you think he will start seeing Pop manage his playing time more closely?
CapHill: I do think that at times last season during LWM, Tony did feel he had to do more with his minutes. But he also has a lot of wear on his tires, and for a guy whose game is predicated on his speed, it would be nice if his minutes could be reduced a little. Also, a true backup PG enables the 2nd unit to maximize their talents, further reducing the pressure on the starters.
JRW: Well, I'm really looking forward to Manu being able to play more off the ball even with the 2nd unit, as he already does when he's closing games with Tim and Tony.
CapHill: Yeppers. Manu playing off the ball is a beautiful thing. As long as the big man rotation gets figured out, I really like the balance of this team.
JRW: Speaking of big men, Tiago played fine tonight. He even got the benefit of a foul call once. I can't remember the last time I saw that happen.
CapHill: Replacement refs?
JRW: Maybe even further back. Say, from his days in Europe.
CapHill: Wow. If he and Blair can continue to contribute, I will be an uncranky fan.
JRW: I didn't even know that was in your repertoire!
CapHill: I have many facets!
JRW: I just might have to agree with that. In fact, I will agree if you can tell me how many facets a dodecagon has.
CapHill: I is good at geometry. BTW, the Lakers mess makes me giggle.
JRW: No joke! Tell me what you think their best case and worst case is at this point.
CapHill: Assuming no injuries, they could win a championship with that starting 5. Floor - first round exit in the playoffs. Their bench sucks, but I just don't see them missing the playoffs. Really depends on who they hire as coach.
JRW: Wanna make a guess as to whom they choose?
CapHill: If PJax doesn't come back, it'll probably be D'Antoni. PJax = good choice; D'Antoni = disaster.
JRW: Always remember that there is no "D" in 'Antoni. And that's their real problem, seeing as how they're actually scoring pretty well.
CapHill: I should start thinking about a Christmas post though. Any thoughts on a subject?
JRW: Not yet. We should ask the £ers to chime in with their ideas.
CapHill: Anything that helps up keep up the PTR tradition of having a Christmas-theme