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Game 18 Final: MIA 84 @ SA 98

[Update: Check out the poll I posted in the diary section.]

Game Flow | Box Score

Thoughts about tonight's game:

-Was ESPN using espionage-grade microphones tonight? And does Tim always talk that much while on the court? At one point you could hear him on the defensive end: "Same play, same play! .... No, different play!" All that communication combined with Antoine Walker's stellar play had me thinking I was watching the WNBA.

-God, Antoine Walker is the last player I would want on my team, and I'm not even exaggerating all that much. It wasn't so much that he shot 3-15; some of the shots he took were feeble and awkward. My favorite Awesome Moment of Extreme Antoine Walker Suckage involved The Solid Slovenian. Antoine had Rasho isolated at the top of the key. He drove down the left side of the lane and spun back into the middle of the paint (right into Nesterovic) and threw up a 5 foot hook shot that was off about 16 inches to the left. Missed the rim entirely. Made me giggle like a school girl.

-Speaking of Nesterovic, the guy is playing really well this year but I doubt there's anything he can do (short of ripping off Shaq's member and beating him with it) to remove his designation as Official Whipping Boy of the Typical Spurs Fan. The most common criticism I read on message boards is that he's "not aggressive enough of the offensive end." This never made much sense to me. The guy is in the starting lineup with Duncan, Parker and The Sickness and 2 of those 3 are on the court ~85% of the time. Call me crazy, but I would rather have 1 of those guys shooting the ball. Rasho's job on the offensive end is to be an effective screener (which involves more than just setting a good screen), grab some offensive boards and shoot the ball when open inside 18 feet. And that's exactly what he's doing, to the tune of 56% from the field.

Now's a good time to direct you over to a page filled with enough Spurs stats to occupy an hour of your time. I hope to explore this info more in the future, but for now I just want to point out the difference between Rasho and Nazr.

Tim Duncan has played a total of 97 minutes with Nazr Mohammed. During that time SA scored 96.6 PTS per 100 possessions, allowed 100.1 PTS per 100 possessions and was outscored 7 points.

Tim Duncan has played a total of 276 minutes with Rasho Nesterovic. During that time SA scored 100.4 PTS per 100 possessions, allowed 85.7 PTS per 100 possessions and outscored their opponent by 85 points.

I am not saying those numbers tell the whole story. Nazr, as a backup, plays with other backups more than Rasho. For example, Nazr has played 39% of his minutes with the defensively challenged Van Exel while Rasho has played with Nick only 31% of the time. But that, nor anything else I can find, changes the obvious conclusion that Rasho, at this time, is better for this team than Nazr. And THAT is what matters; not athleticism or dunk attempts.

-Brent Musberger mentioned that the Marlins executives were in town to discuss moving the team to SA (probably solely as a threat to the people of southern Florida). Uh... they do know the Alamodome roof isn't high enough for baseball, right?

-Tom Tolbert compared Parker's quickness and penetrating ability to Allen Iverson. I don't know if that supports or undermines my previous claims. By the way, The French Layup Machine is leading the league in points in the paint.

-Michael Doleac got thrown out for a flagrant foul on Parker. I thought the ejection was excessive; he didn't appear to be trying to hurt anybody. Just sorta reached out to grab Tony and ended up elbowing him in the face. Tim Duncan's afro, as sensitive as ever, took offense and challenged Doleac to "pistols at dawn."

-Uh oh. Not this again. Bruce Bowen got called for a foul late in the game for slightly undercutting Wade. It looked like Dwyane's left foot came down on one of Bowen's, causing a slight turn that was easily walked off. I watch Bruce pretty closely, and he does slide into jump shooters quite often. I just can't tell if he's doing it purposely. He's built his career around being a great defender and I would hate to see his reputation further tarnished by what could honestly be accidental contact. The sad look on Bowen's face after the incident made me wonder if he was thinking the same thing.