Timmeh! TIMMEH! Overwhelming performance from The Cornerstone tonight. 35 points on 17 FGA, 14 rebounds (7 offensive) and only 2 turnovers, all in only 31 minutes. He physically overpowered the Kings all night, earning multiple "and ones." Announcers love to talk about his mastery of the fundamentals, but tonight he displayed his talent for making off-balance shots. He doesn't have to face up to make a shot in the lane and often gets rid of the ball before his defender is expecting it. It's an aspect of his game not discussed much.
Kudos to Mike Bibby for really locking down on defense. He shut down the mighty Bruce Bowen, who went 3-11 from the field. Bibby is another player I love to strongly dislike. I should keep a list: Bibby, Brevin Knight, Jerry Stackhouse, Earl Boykins, Kenyon Martin, Chris Webber, Raja Bell, Derek Fisher and of course Ray Allen.
Tonight's game featured a number of on court injuries. First Kenny Thomas got an inadvertent elbow from Duncan and had to get a couple stitches in his lip. Then, during a scramble, Ronnie Price ran full steam and chin-first into Brent Barry's head. Barry had to get ten stitches but still made a brief appearance in the second half. Brent's been playing terrifically as of late, but part of me was hoping he would miss a couple games... I really want to see James "Flight" White get some time.
Ron Artest also jammed his finger while swiping at Tony Parker. One of the Kings color guys made an interesting comment, more or less saying Ron Ron was a drama queen and you could not be sure how hurt he really was. Then, later, the same guy said that Artest needed to "not shoot the Kings out of this game." Ouch.
Which leads right to Kevin Martin, who is the Kings best player. Artest should be, but he takes way too many bad shots. Bibby is a great offensive talent but couldn't guard an immovable object. That leaves Kevin Martin, who, well, I know I shouldn't say this, because it's just going to piss people off... I would trade Manu for him. Right now. Seriously. It would kill me to do it, and I would check the Kings box score every day, but Martin is a 23 year old 6'-7" SG who can penetrate, shoot off the dribble, shoot the three and defend.
Is it just me, or does Oberto seem to always find the open man? He played very well tonight; good thing, because Elson was Mr. Butterfingers and didn't get any meaningful time in the second half as a result.
Tony played good defense on Bibby, especially in the first half. He pulled one of those "fake like we're calling a timeout but instead go to the basket" moves. I wish I could have seen Pop's face, because it happened with less than 3 minutes to go in the game with the Spurs up 15. And Tony had to cross Bibby over and split him and another guy on the way to the basket. Silly Frenchie.
I would be remiss not to mention the excellent play call to end the first half. The Spurs had the ball under SAC's basket with 3.2 seconds left and Pop drew up the perfect play. It involved three passes and Finley setting two different screens, in the end freeing Duncan for a wide open 15-footer. Beautiful to watch.
Excellent game from the Spurs tonight. Took care of the ball (9 TOs), found the open man (22 ASTs and numerous possessions with great ball movement) and forced the Kings into a lot of one-on-one play (only 9 ASTs).
Record: 8-2 Streak: W-2
Next up: Monday @ Portland