The Return of the
Jedi Argentine, opened on the third game of the RRT to rave reviews (and in nonsensical, faux-retro duds.)
And just like that, the Spurs find themselves in the midst of a seven game winning streak while holding the 3rd spot in the Western Conference. 22 games ago, Manu Ginobili broke his hand and the Spurs were left in an undesirable position; a rigorous schedule and injuries were sure to test the Spurs. Rather than sulk, this team took control of their destiny and recorded 15 wins and only 7 losses without their best player. Tonight, the Spurs were reunited with Manu and were able to cruise to their third victory on the Rodeo Road Trip. Such an event as the return of Manu demands FARS (Fred's Arbitrary Rating System) and thus shall have it.
Manu checks in! He looks bald, way bald. I've said this before, but we need to start the 'Manu Needs Hair And We Should Give Him the Money for the Cure' foundation: Rogaine, weird Chinese Medicine, whatever might work. We need to find the cure for him. Manu looked dynamic with long hair. He used his long hair as a weapon as he whipped it against his defender's face to create an exploitable seam in the defense. He looked great. We need long hair Manu back. Bald Manu = Contender. Long-Hair Manu = Favorite. FACT. Fred Silva +20, For expert analysis.
Spurs 12, Nets 5 1st 6:28
The Nets clearly know who Manu is as they attempt to keep him out of the play. Tony takes advantage of the defense on the opposite side of the floor as he drives to find an open Tim who draws the foul. "Chaps." We are wearing "Chaps" jerseys tonight. While I understand the history, I think it is one that everyone would like to forget. Yes, for a brief time the Spurs were the Dallas Chapparals. It did happen. But who cares? I hate Dallas. You hate Dallas. Who wants to relive this nightmare? Why do we have to do this every year? Exceptions should be made, David Stern. I blame Lebron, he sucks. Lebron -5
Tim slaps the ball away from Shelden Williams and Manu tips the ball forward so that he is able to recover it before anyone reacts. He races down the court and finishes a difficult fast break in traffic. He's so smart. He's so good. Manu +5
Shawne Williams drives down the lane and Manu reaches in. Manu gets a piece of the ball and it ricochets off Williams. The officials miss it and award the ball to the Nets. This is insignificant. Manu just reached. This is essentially the same play that happened 22 games ago. Five games into the season he reached and broke his hand. His first game back he reaches without hesitation. He wants to win. He wants the steal. He wants to defend. He lives for basketball. Many players would have played cautiously tonight, if they were in his shoes. But Manu is different and that's why we love him. He plays to win, always. It's great to have him back.
Manu and Splitter play pick and roll. Manu draws the attention of the defense and throws a no-look pass to Kawhi who drills the three pointer. Manu is the reason that Kawhi was able to hit the shot. This is one of those plays that deserves much more credit than the box score is capable of giving. Without Manu, this never develops. The respect that Manu demands created this opportunity. The assist credit does not fully give Manu the praise he truly deserves. Manu +5
Manu checks back in and is looking spry. First play, Deron WIlliams gives a shot-fake and jumps into DeJuan Blair for a shooting foul. Can we get this worked out? I thought jumping into the defender was supposed to be a no-call now. It seems the officials are not responding to the (S)stern mandate. Come on now; how hard is this? I know our players use this move, too, I just want it to be consistent. Officials -10
Manu receives the pass from Tim and initiates the fast-break. He drops a no-look dime to DeJuan who connects for the and one. Sean Elliott makes the comment, "You think DeJuan Blair is happy about having Manu Ginobili back?" He's not the only one, Sean. Manu +7
Spurs 55, Nets 40; 2nd 0:10.5
RJ inbounds the ball to Manu. Ginobili takes one dribble to his left and finishes with an impressive lefty layup. Oh man, It's so pretty.
Manu checks in for Danny "Big" Green. So, what's up with the soon to be Brooklyn Nets? Their owner has clearly been mixed up in foul play throughout his career. Is anyone else concerned about this? He obtained his fortune greatly through blackmail and bribery. I'm not making this up. How is the NBA pretending this never happened? David Stern -10, +100 (wink, wink).
Manu and Tim run the pick and roll. Manu attracts the defense for just the right amount of time and dishes the ball to Tim who makes the wide-open layup. Manu is such a great player. Manu +5, David Stern +10 (wink wink),
Splitter has the ball on the right block and squares up. Manu sets a back screen on Farmar, and then dives into the paint; Splitter hits Manu for a wide-open layup. It's simply great basketball. It's a play that never culminates without a guy like Splitter and Manu. It takes two players with high IQs to pull this off and we are extremely fortunate to witness such grace. Tiago +5, Manu +5.
Manu glances at the shot clock and sees 7 seconds. He dribbles backwards, egging Kris Kardashian on. He takes a dribble right, crosses left, and hits a one-handed floater in the paint. This is what we have been missing. The low percentage shot that always seems to drop when we need it most. Manu +10.
Well, that's it for Manu. The Spurs put it in cruise-control and secured their third victory on the the Rodeo Road Trip. Comfortably, just like we like it.
Manu looked like Manu. My only fear was that he would come back in a passive form; this he did not. Manu does not know passive, and he never will. Manu +Infinity
In his somewhat brief appearance, Tony played well. He controlled the defense and kept our guys in line. A very admirable game by Parker.
Tim is an All Star. His minutes and the national bias kept him out of the conversation, but have no doubt. Tim is playing better than most at his position. It always seems insane to me that dudes that get paid to follow the NBA somehow do not catch any Spurs games, yet it happens every year. If we had the LA spotlight, Tim would be the one featured in those awkward Kia ads, and there would be peace in the Middle East. Oh well, GO SPURS!
My man was on fire; as he nearly always is. His shot is so pure, Brita is suing him. His shot is incapable of missing . And for this, we thank you. -- Tosh.0