Game 5: vs. Phoenix: Spurs 111, Suns 106 OT
What a frickin' ballgame! The Spurs let the Suns can open jumper after open jumper (they shot 49.5% from the field), gave them enough good looks to attempt 23 3-pointers (and bury 10), and even botched their transition defense to the tune of 20 fast break points allowed.
Just looking at the box score, it looks like they played as poor a game on defense as a club with their talent and coaching could possibly play. However, it wasn't quite as bad as it looks. Consider that...
A) They did a decent job on the glass, allowing only eight offensive rebs all night
B) They forced 16 Phoenix turnovers
C) The Suns almost never ventured into the paint, as they had only six free throw attempts for the game
Still, offense ruled the day here and what won the game for us was more 4th quarter clutchosity from Frenchie McWonderbutt and a fabulous all-around game from Timmeh the Golden God. Oh and more inept coaching/execution in the last five minutes by the D'Antoni coached Suns.
But those aren't surprises.
What is a bit of a stunner is that the one center on our roster was nobody was talking about coming into the year is shooing 88% so far and that Bones Barry has gone from DNP-CD to indispensable sixth man playing 30 mins a night in a span of four games.
Oh and we nailed 22 of our first 23 freebies. I hope you enjoyed that, because it's never gonna fucking happen again. And I wouldn't expect too many more wins when everyone besides Duncan, TP, and Oberto combine to shoot 10 of 46.
A few notes...
I'm not really a Suns fan, but I was kinda happy to see Amare throw down a couple of hellacious dunks. 16 points in 15 minutes is an encouraging sign that maybe one day soon he can come all the way back to what he was in 2004. I always want the Spurs to win, but I'd rather beat the competition at their best so their whiny fans have no excuses.
Unlike Stoudemire, The Hustlemaker doesn't appear as if he's going to cram one on anybody in the near future. Manu had an awful shooting game and left way too many shooters open on defense, but at least he another sharp passing night and threw his body into the lane aggressively on the other end of the floor to snatch some boards in traffic.
The two teams that constantly get us to switch on defense and have horrible mismatches are the Suns and Mavs. If I saw Oberto playing Nash one more time I was gonna hurl. And Nash is so good at always giving himself just enough room to not get his shot blocked, no matter who's on him.
We got a total gift on that one no shotclock violation call. It was pretty shaky to for the refs to say that Amare got a clean rebound and that the Suns' possession had already started when Tony slapped it away from him. I've seen games where the other team was halfway down the court on a break the other way when the refs blew the whistle and made 'em take it out of bounds.
Horry's game is still in a deep freeze. He's basically crossed over into Van Exel territory now, where everyone in the building knows a guy should be retired, by force if necessary, except the head coach. I would have rather seen his 17 minutes of useless floor time go to Elson.
I see that Bruce played 26 minutes, including OT. Sounds about right to me. His defense is no longer good enough to merit him being on the floor as a full time starter. I'd rather take my chances with Findog or Bones vs. the good Western teams.
Beno's biggest weakness going into the year (besides an inability to stay healthy) was turnovers, and so far he's been pretty good at that, with just two in 73 minutes, but his J has deserted him. If he doesn't find it soon, Pop is going to give Vaughn a chance. You know he is...
Anyway, I was really bored so I charted the game, hockey style. This took way more time than I anticipated...
Player Time on Floor +/- Shifts Longest Shift
Parker 41:00 +15 4 12:10
Barry 30:50 +13 4 17:00
Duncan 40:30 +12 4 14:30
Oberto 39:00 +4 5 17:00
Ginobili 32:40 +2 6 7:40
Bowen 26:40 +1 5 8:30
Horry 16:50 -1 3 10:40
Elson 6:30 -6 1 6:30
Finley 14:50 -7 2 8:50
Udrih 16:00 -8 3 6:30
Pop used 14 different lineups, and here were the five that played the most...
Line-up Time Score
Oberto-Duncan-Bowen-Ginobili-Parker 16:50 39-33 Suns
Oberto-Duncan-Barry-Ginobili-Parker 4:40 19-8 Spurs
Oberto-Duncan-Bowen-Barry-Parker 4:30 8-7 Spurs
Duncan-Horry-Bowen-Barry-Parker 4:00 10-6 Spurs
Oberto-Duncan-Barry-Udrih-Parker 4:00 11-9 Spurs
That's consecutive games now Pop's gone to the Tony-Beno backcourt. Can't say I'm a fan of it. He didn't break out the Oberto-Elson tandem tonight though. We went smallball for a three minute stretch spanning the end of the 3rd quarter and the beginning of the 4th. First with Robert as our five and then Fabricio. Oddly we never used it with Duncan. For some reason Pop benched all five starters for the last four minutes of the 1st quarter. As one might expect, it didn't go well. He usually brings Manu back into the game when Tim and Tony take a seat or just lets Tony play the whole quarter. My beloved Gino-Bones-Beno pale triangle saw the floor together for a five minute stretch to begin the 4th, but sadly weren't as productive as I'd hoped, getting outscored 13-11.
Your 3 Stars
3. Tim Duncan - Finally got his rebounding on track tonight and hit a couple of big shots late in the 4th to bring us back from a late nine point deficit. The best part of his night was the six dimes. He constantly found Oberto for easy layups when doubled. Had a great free throw night ruined by a couple of late bricks that almost cost us the game.
2. Tony Parker - Predictably, he had a monster game against Steve Olé Nash with 29 and 6. Still, you have to hand it to him -he came up biggest when we needed it most, with two baskets, three free throws, an assist, and two steals in the last four minutes of regulation. My only worry is that he took three 3s tonight. I do not like this trend. Hopefully Pop will put a stop to it before he turns into Baron Davis on us.
1. Fabricio Oberto- Basically pitched a perfect game on offense, going a ludicrous 11 for 11. He played a jaw dropping 39 minutes (including the last 17 straight) and finished the night with 22 and 10. His best play of the night was a gorgeous feed to a wide open Duncan underneath the basket for and-1 that we thought iced the game at 101-97. The two of them are starting to really work well together. Oberto's D still needs some work, but why quibble?
Record: 4-1 Streak: W-3
Up Next: Vs. Knicks
Already people are calling for Isiah's head and he's ranting and raving about benching anyone at anytime. I am looking forward to administrating our first thorough asswhoopin' of the year. Maybe even a James White sighting if we play our cards right...