(Just random thoughts, don't expect a coherent narrative).
Not upset, nope, nope, nope. I'm too old, too mature, too much of a "professional media person" to get grouchy at something as relatively unimportant as Game 2 of the second most unimportant regular season in professional sports after hockey.
To me this was simply a scheduled loss, nothing more. Too many things were stacked against us.
Old veteran team + Nobody is in shape yet + Too many new guys who don't know how to play together + Young, hungry, energetic opponent + Their home opener = Very predictable loss.
Not really mad at anybody. Manu had no jump after the first quarter, and McDyess and Finley were toast as well.
I would've expected a bit more energy from the younger guys like Bonner and Mason, but it's hardly surprising for them to struggle more on the road than at home.
A bit disappointed with Hill. You think he'd come with a lot more energy and really show his stuff in a game like this.
Ordinarily I'd be livid with Tony (he was awful), but he's not in shape yet either. This is two straight teams we've played where their top priority was to deny his penetration and when the three's aren't going, it looks pretty ugly. The team is going to have to come up with a "Plan C" and I'm thinking that'll be pick-and-rolls with Manu/RJ to Tim/DeJuan.
Bottom line is I'm not so sure we lose this game if it was a SEGABABA in February. Sure, the fatigue would still be an issue, but at least by then the guys will be in shape and used to playing with one another. Right now everyone is feeling each other out and it's awkward, especially when it's not working.
Right now RJ has no idea how to fit into the offense and he's struggling. We don't seem to have any idea how to use him and either the coaches aren't asking what he likes or he's not offering. We've got to start getting him a couple of easy buckets before he starts jacking threes. He's pressing.
For the second straight game the defense stunk in the second half. It was cute in the first game because we had such a big lead and the offense was coming easy, but today it was a let down. Chicago literally could not miss a shot in that 3rd quarter and their guards were getting to the basket way too easily, even against Hill.
Like I said in my season preview, I'm highly skeptical that this team will be the defensive juggernaut that Pop fantasizes about. The personnel just doesn't dictate it. The offense will have to carry them, and I'm confident it will, once the guys get some rhythm and chemistry. They'll need about 15-20 games together for it to click.
One thing I'd like to take back from my Game 1 recap: Now that I had some time to think about it, I don't like Pop's idea to play Manu the last seven minutes of each quarter. The idea should be play at least two of the "Big Four" at all times. Under the current set up, in the beginning of the 2nd and 4th quarters we'll play either just RJ, or none of them at all, and that's just stupid.
I'd take Jefferson out at the 6:00 mark, wait until there was 5:00 or 4:30 left in the first quarter to check Manu in, play him the first three minutes of the second quarter (along with RJ), and then eventually Tim and Tony would check back in and all four of them would play together the final four or five minutes of the half.
Figure it out, Pop.
Speaking of Pop, in SEGABABAS he really has no excuse for not activating Hairston and Mahinmi and benching Finley and either McDyess or Ratliff. Use the youngsters man, that's what they're here for.
Anyway, one piece of good news that doesn't have much to do with the game: I think this Tim Donaghy controversy is going to be excellent for us. Every year people accuse the NBA of being totally rigged in favor of the stars, the Spurs win it all.
In 2006 everyone thought the Finals between Dallas and Miami (ugh) was a sham that favored D-Wade, so in 2007 the boring milquetoast Spurs got all the breaks over the more "TV-friendly" teams.
Now after this scandal Stern is going to bend over backwards to make sure the league doesn't favor the Lakers or Cavs and again the innocent, old-school team-first Spurs will benefit.
Not my craziest theorgy, right?
3. Matt Bonner: Somehow, in this mess, he was +11. We clown on the guy, but he seems to do quite well for himself in +/-, doesn't he?
2. DeJuan Blair: At least, unlike most rooks, he doesn't take shots he can't make. Should've played more.
1. Tim Duncan: So much for that brace limiting him. He was really, really, super neato awesome tonight. Too bad nobody felt like playing with him.