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Game Thread # 55 -- @ Atlanta

The Spurs journey to basketball hotbed Atlanta tonight, for a segababa against Joe Johnson and his team of wily 2/3 tweeners. And Zaza Pachulia. Let's not forget Zaza.

Tomorrow is the trading deadline and all is quiet. The Spurs, of course, already made one move in acquiring Ely, who was in street clothes against DEN. I find it hard to believe the Spurs would just throw away a second round pick and cash for a guy who's going to sit on the bench in a suit.

A couple of interesting things in today's Ludden article. First, a snippet that The Beard found most displeasing.

It's little secret the Spurs have tried to move center Jackie Butler, who has appeared in only six games. Butler did little to improve his case for minutes Tuesday morning when he showed up at the practice facility after the team had already finished shootaround.

Butler was extremely apologetic and stayed for extra work, but arriving an hour late on the morning of the team's first game after the All-Star break isn't going to help him earn the respect of his coaches and teammates.

It may be "little secret" to Mr. Ludden, but this is the first I've heard of it. How lazy/bad does Butler have to be in practice for the Spurs to contemplate trading a young guy who's put up decent per minute numbers (in the past, not this year) while keeping a virtual total nothing like Fabricio Oberto?

Also, an intriguing development regarding the conundrum that is Bruce Bowen:

"He hasn't played great basketball by his own admission, but he believes it's just because he hasn't played well," Popovich said. "If that's the case, I'm fine with it, and we'll stick with him. But if it continues and I sense that it is more his back than he's willing to believe, then I have to limit him in some way, shape or form."

You should really follow the link and read the whole thing, because it seems like Pop is looking for a diplomatic reason to limit Bowen's minutes. But who would those minutes go to? Hmm. If only the Spurs had a young, quick, athletic guy on the bench who was willing to only play defense and get the occasional fast break or second chance basket...

He's still with the team, you know. I thought they were going to send him back down to the D-League after the RRT. But they didn't. Our plan is working my PtR brethren. Stay on course. Be diligent. The wheels are in motion. Stampler, implement Phase 4b and call me on a secured line when the chick leaves the nest.

Tonight's lines:

SA @ ATL -- ATL +8
MIA @ HOU -- HOU -2.5

Post away brethren.