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Game Thread # 19 -- @ Charlotte

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Is it too early to start thinking about the playoffs? At some point in the regular season a serious fan has to assess his team's chances to progress far into the playoffs. What are your team's weak spots? Who needs to improve? Whose health is imperative to your team?

I've been thinking about the playoffs, and I don't think the Spurs can win it all with Finley playing significant minutes. You may be thinking that's easy to say when Finley is sporting a 32.8% FG%, and you may be remembering Finley's somewhat inspired play during last year's playoffs. Let's do a bullet point summary, without bullet points:

-Finley is an old 33. We're talking about a guy who played over 40 MPG for four straight years. He's logged 31299 minutes. Barry, who's a year older, has played only 20968. Players can deteriorate extremely quickly when playing against the best players in the world.

-Pop has showed a disturbing reluctance to bench "proven veterans." I hate to speak his name, but I must: Nick Van Exel. Let's just move on.

-I think we can all agree that the Spurs ain't winning shit without a healthy Ginobili. And when I say "healthy" I mean somewhere between the 2005 playoffs and 2006 playoffs versions. A healthy Duncan and Parker are musts, too (unless you're comfortable with Jacque Vaughn getting important minutes). Those three guys can all create offense for themselves and others. Parker and Manu can drive and kick (yeah, Parker maybe should kick a tad more often) and Duncan often demands a double team. The problem with Finley is his role and the fact he can no longer fill it at a level anywhere close to the Big Three. He's supposed to "create offense" and instead he takes a couple of dribbles, throws in a couple of headfakes and then takes a horrible fade away jumper. The man is averaging 1.34 assists per 40 minutes. How bad is that? Barry's at 3.50 and Francisco Freaking Elson's at 2.70. 1.34 is beyond horrid. He's absolutely killing the offense:

eFG% while he's on the court: 47.5%
eFG% while he's off the court: 54.7%

We need him to take lessons from Brent Barry: shoot wide open shots and move the ball. But that's not his game, and I don't have much confidence that Pop will force him to change.

-(Free The Flight. At least he'll be too afraid to shoot the ball.)

Contest standings haven't been updated since the Paleolithic Era. Tonight's lines:

Toronto @ Cleveland: CLE -8.5
San Antonio @ Charlotte: SA -8

Comments, fake wagers, reactions to my over reactions? Post away.