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Game 4 Final: SA 104 @ CHI 95 (OT)

My thoughts on Monday's game:

-Michael Finley went 0-37 in the first half but some how finished the game 3-14. He's shooting 33% for the year and has 2 FTA in 107 minutes. I asked my company's receptionist what his problem was. Unfortunately she had no idea who he was. And, apparently, this prevents her from "knowing his problem."

-Nazr Mohammed had a good offensive game off the bench, scoring 15 points on 8 FGA. However he still occasionally gets lost on the defensive end, and at one point some how found himself at an upper deck concession stand ordering nachos with extra jalapenos.

-The game was tied with about 1:45 left when Timmeh! attempted penetration and was met with turgid resistance in the form of a triple team. He was lustily stripped of the ball which ended up lost in a tangle of sweaty man-legs. Tim's Afro, using it's well documented telekenetic powers, guided the rock into Nazr's waiting arms where it was man-handled through the rim.

-SA called time out after a Ben Gordon jumper tied the game with 16 seconds left. Pop drew up an iso play for Manu on the right wing. Or maybe, in lieu of drawing he just told everybody else to "Get the hell out da way." Whatever the case, the foolishness of Pop's decision was exceeded by the lameness of Manu's attempt. He drove baseline where he met a double team from Chandler; the best Manu could do was an underhanded flip from behind the backboard. Ugh. Why not go inside to Duncan? Or isolate Tim on the wing? Ginobili is clearly not himself. Or they could have given it to Parker and watched him leave 6 seconds on the clock; he's gotta learn clock management some time.

-TP took over in OT, outscoring the Bulls by himself, 8-4. Two of those points came on an uncontested layup after Pop called for timeout. Tony was leisuring dribbling towards the sideline; CHI fell asleep and The Wee Frenchman totally took advantage of them. The French are like that.

-Parker and Duncan were a combined 16-18 from the free throw line. Much has been made about Tony's shooting coach, but there is a more marked difference in Tim's results (69% career / 88% this year) than in Parker's (70% career / 72% this year). Duncan is finally getting some arc in his free throws, but the real test will come in the playoffs when every attempt is amplified. I swear his shot was flattening in the 4th quarter.

Parker has certainly changed his approach. He's taking more time and not cocking his wrist to the right as much. But he's still not following through all the way and I'm afraid this will prevent any real improvement. His eFG% on jump shots is 42.9% this year compared to 40.5% last year. Don't get me wrong, Parker is playing at a very high level and is a joy to watch. But has a long way to go before convincing me he can make sagging defenses pay in the playoffs. Because things change in the playoffs. Allow me to elaborate.

For the most part coaches stick to the defensive basics during the regular season. You don't see as many double teams. You don't see hack-a-Shaq or grab-a-Bowen or multiple flagrant fouls directed at one player (enjoy the 06 lottery pick Seattle). And you don't see opposing head coaches telling their PG to play 6' off Parker. That's like a football coach asking his team to "just cover the spread."

Having said that, I would struggle finding more than a handful of PGs I would rather have long term, especially when you consider Tony is only 14 years old. Maybe Gilbert Arenas?

-Manu pulled down 13 rebounds. He has 27 for the season. That's 1 less than Kenyon Martin and 22 more than Jerome James. Nice pickup Isiah.

-Last thing. I knew The Sickness had a thigh bruise, but did anybody notice the thigh pads he's wearing? Them's football pads! And he's wearing them on both legs! Let's just enclose him in bubble wrap and wait for the playoffs. Eesh.