Continuted from here.
As we look forward to game 2 of the WCF, there are a few things that are pretty much universally accepted by every commentator. Zach is expected to play better, and score more than two points, the Spurs are not expected to get 14 3’s again or to shoot as high a percentage from the field, and we all expect to see adjustments on offense and defense for the Griz, and to a lesser extent, the Spurs as well. That being said, what does that mean in terms of Z-Bo production? What’s a bounce back game from him look like? Are we talking a return to the averages, or a monster game? And what does a Z-Bo monster game look like? What are you expecting?
I can’t remember where I saw this stat—somewhere on Twitter, but I don’t know who to credit it to—but Z-Bo has had single-digit playoff scoring performances three times. In the three games he’s played after scoring single digits, he averages 26 points and has never lost before.
A truly monster Z-Bo game looks like this game against the Suns from earlier in the season: 38 points on 22 shots, 22 rebounds, zero assists. I don’t know that Z-Bo is going to be able to do that against the Spurs since the Spurs don’t have Luis Scola and Marcin Gortat, who Z-Bo annihilated in that game. But you know he has it in him.
I’m not expecting a "monster" game from Z-Bo, just because the Spurs are a good team that’s going to focus on keeping him from having a monster game against them. But I wouldn’t be surprised in the least to see him get 20 and 10. A "just another normal basketball game" game for Z-Bo.
Ok, so I have a confession to make. I’m not superstitious. Really, I’m not. But I’m a little afraid of making the confession lest some rabid Griz fan track me down, strap me into a chair in front of the games, and force feed me nachos. Actually, that doesn’t sound too bad. Come get me Griz fans!! Bring child care. Worse, would be a Spurs fan tracking me down and breaking my TV.
Anyway, the confession is that I’ve long suspected that I might be a jinx to the Spurs. Back during ’04-’05 was when the suspicion started. It seemed like when I didn’t watch a game, the Spurs ALWAYS won, convincingly. When I watched, they often lost or barely pulled one out. My brother and I actually discussed, and occasionally practiced, not watching some important games, just so the Spurs would do better. Yeah, we were that sacrificial. Not that we are superstitious mind you. A couple of more recent examples would be, the first game against the Warriors in round. I shut the game off in disgust some time in the fourth. I checked in on the score periodically, and all of us a sudden, boom, the Spurs were back. So I turned the game on again, and saw an amazing finish. In this last game, I couldn’t join until midway through the first quarter. Spurs were already up by 10 or so. I have two small children and a wife on bed rest, so uninterrupted ANYTHING is an impossibility. I remember a night a few years ago when I slept for 6 solid hours - all in a row, all without waking. That was glorious. But I diverge. Where was I? Interruptions, right. I had to come and go throughout the course of the game. One time I came back and Pondexter scored 8 points in a row as part of a 10–0 run during the few minutes that I was able to sit down. Ugh. Anyway, all of that is a long lead into my question. Over on PtR, folks do a lot of different things to build "mojo" for the game. They can elaborate in the comments if they wan. Do you as an individual, or you all as a group over there, have any pregame, postgame, or game time rituals that you perform, or any full-blown superstitions, or maybe a complex like mine? Not that we’re superstitious at all…
I understand rituals. It feels like I’m developing more of them this playoffs than in the past. So here are a few that I’ve picked up this year:
- Never, ever wear my O.J. Mayo jersey on game day. I wore it to Game 1 against the Clippers last year, and the Grizzlies blew a 27-point lead and lost.
- I’m on the Grizzlies press release email list, and on game days they send out an email with satellite receiver information so TV stations can pick up the satellite feed of the postgame press conferences. For some reason, I started forwarding those to my friend David, and the one time I didn’t, the Grizzlies lost by 20 to the Spurs. So I’ll be doing that again for this game.
- Before Clippers Game 1 this year, I made a prediction in that game’s Grind Prophecies contest thread. The Grizzlies lost by 20. The next game, I posted in the thread but did not make a prediction: Griz only lost by 2. So I’ve been doing that every game. (Again, the one time I forgot, the Griz lost by 20 to the Spurs.)
- I refuse to talk about the Grizzlies being in the Finals. Just… won’t do it. I went on the radio and made a prediction (that I won’t talk about here because I don’t want to jinx anything) and even that was outside my comfort zone. I don’t like predicting.
- I sacrifice goats on an altar in the attic to the ghost of Shareef Abdur-Rahim. (He’s not dead, but one never knows how to properly judge the efficacy of such things.)
One of those rituals is false. You guess which one.
I have a question for you now. One that you may not want to talk about or answer, but I’m interested to hear a Spurs fan’s take on it. How many years is Tim Duncan going to play? Is there something about Pop’s system that’s enabled him to age more gracefully than most? If so, what is it?
Continued ... here.