I don't do this often, but there were a few things that I wanted to add to Edg5's excellent recap (that he did on extremely short notice, I must point out) on this game. First, even if you watched the entire contest, you owe it to yourself to watch these highlights. Deserving special recognition are:
- The successful Tony/RJ alley-oop connection - one of this year's few successful conversions of this play. Things to notice: a) Watch Duncan setting the back pick on Aminu. He's not to the spot in time because he's tied up with his man, but this play's chances of success take a huge nose dive if TD's not able to slip out of that bear hug and get a (somewhat illegal?) hand on RJ's man so that RJ is all alone to grab Parker's pass. b) Also, RJ really skies to get to that pass. The guy's still got hops.
- Timmeh's banker - We've all become familiar with it over the years, like an imminently comfortable pair of perfectly broken in shoes that are still holding up despite the fact that you wear them practically every day, but notice where it kisses off the backboard on the shot at :45 -- that's both above AND to the left of the square on the backboard. I shoot bank shots all the time (I literally wasn't able to shoot straight at the basket with any kind of accuracy until high school) but that's just crazy.
- Getting back on defense after Tony's turnover - As I watched this play develop last night, my eyes were stuck on Bonner as he tried to catch up to Vasquez on the breakaway, but watch Danny Green. It's possible that he would've actually been able to make a play for a block if Ginger hadn't been hopelessly trailing the play. How about that? Now Fred can gripe out Matty for actually hustling back on defense! (Not that Silva ever needs an EXCUSE to bust on Bonner. I'm just saying...)
- The Front-Buster - The first highlight of the 3rd quarter is one of my absolute favorite plays that the Spurs run. But it's a rare one. You don't get to see if very often because they can only run it when the opponents' defense is fronting Tim to deny him the ball in the post. But whenever they do run it, it's a thing of beauty. Things to Notice: a) How patiently Duncan waits and seals his man, who thinks he's sealing Duncan, as RJ watches Parker clear on his way to the baseline. Duncan doesn't move his head until RJ's already made the pass to Blair, and he's pushing off, spinning into the empty lane. Which is empty because of Blair pulling his man off the baseline b) How late Carl Landry is to react to Blair breaking to the free throw line to receive the pass that all the Hornets are expecting to go to Duncan. c) How quickly Blair receives RJ's pass and how accurately his own bounce pass to Tim is -- it hits him RIGHT at the waist, where Big Fun's hands are already there, waiting for it. d) Four guys have to perfectly coordinate to bust the fronting defense (Neal gets to take this play off), and the Spurs make this play look as effortless as it is beautiful.
- Danny Green makes something out of nothing - This was a tough possession for the Spurs last night, and the shot clock is winding down as the game's tied, when Cory Joseph realizes that he's going nowhere and turns to pass back out to Green who's acting as what my dad would always call the "safety valve" on the play. Mean Joe briefly pauses (I dunno what he's doing - maybe checking the time on the shot clock) before taking a single quick dribble-step in to the 3pt line and drains the three. Very pretty to watch. I love Danny Green.
- Green's backside block - I know we bring up Bruce Bowen's name all the time, but this is a play that he used to make all the time, and it's just not something that many Spurs, besides Ginobili, do with any kind of regularity. Great defense is a joy to behold, and it often leads to easy points. Have I mentioned how much I love Danny Green? I thought I had.
- The Tony Parker show - Surrounding the highlight of a pretty Duncan block, are four plays that show off just how special our diminutive poing guard is. A layup in traffic. A behind-the-back pass to Bonner for a trey. A baseline drive through the trees to pass to an open Duncan at the top of the key for a jumper. And a jaw-dropping how'd-he-make-that layup/scoop shot/double handed heave/banker that he dropped in off the break. If I broke down each one of these plays, I'd literally double the size of this piece. So just watch these 4th quarter plays and marvel at the physical genius of the Baguette of the Riverwalk since Manu isn't around to make these kinds of plays right now.
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Here are a few links from terrific Spurs-related stories from around the web, and over the past week. If you've seen these already, consider yourself lucky. If you're one of those £ers who brags about how you never go to any sports sites except for Pounding the Rock, then here's a reason for you to do so. All of these articles have received a JTU, so you can click with confidence.
- The Metamorphosis: Our own LatinD recently did a piece for another website? Yes he did, and it's awesome.
- If you liked the breakdown I did, then you'll love this film study on NBA.com.
- Sebastian Pruiti (who used to run the excellent NBAplaybook.com) really likes Kawhi Leonard and has written about him in each of his last three rookie reports.
- Expert surgeon talks Ginobili and hand injuries, from Dime Magazine.
- Here's a little ditty on Hardwood Paroxysm on the blossoming of our Tiago Splitter
- Doc Funk makes me laugh.
- Here's the most recent Lexicon candidate I've seen. What do you think of FOV? Should it make the cut?