The most important national "gauchesco" poem in Argentina is "Martín Fierro". It tells the story of a "gaucho" (a far manlier cowboy) called Martín Fierro as he's drafted, fights against the aborigines, defects, is chased by the military, fights in knife bouts, sings in improv battles, rescues damsels in distress and has a series of adventures John Wayne could only dream of. (Here's the original book in Spanish, and a complete English translation, in case you're curious.)
A halfhearted translation of the most famous stanza would be:
Brothers should stand by each other
because that is the first law;
Keep a true bond between you
always, at every time
because if you fight among yourselves
you'll be devoured by those outside.
As the season winds down and here at Pounding the Rock we debate whether barbed realism or dim hopefulness are the right attitudes to maintain for this year's postseason struggles, I decided to reflect a little on the site itself and put off the Spurs until the real preview, further down. Bear with me, please.
It sure has been an eventful year for Pounding the Rock, and the Spurs blogosphere in general. First and foremost, Matthew Powell, the blog's creator and the main author in previous seasons, left us, so Wayne had to valiantly take over. I'm not sure what will happen in the future, but I expect nothing but good things from Wayne. Michael is still around doing that amazing thing he does so well, and now rikiddo's taking an active role in the previews and recaps. All in all, a fine crew that keeps this site running, and as a reader I sincerely appreciate their daily effort.
What I truly didn't expect was the creation of 48 Minutes of Hell, and its rapid metamorphosis into one of the best NBA blogs in the Web. Us Spurs fans are incredibly lucky to have talented writers like Graydon Gordian and Tim Varner gifting us with quality articles day in and day out. As always, if somehow you haven't visited 48MoH yet, you're doing yourselves a great disservice.
But first and foremost I'm thankful for the many regulars (you know who you are) that participate in PTR with their comments, FanPosts and FanShots. I've said this before, but to me "watching the Spurs" and "commenting on the game thread" have practically become synonyms. You guys are what keeps me coming back every day, and if when all is said and done everything that was accomplished this season is just to form this group - well, I say it wasn't a complete waste, not at all. So chin up, fellows, and let's enjoy what could very well be the final game of the season with an old-fashioned PTR game thread.
After the jump, I actually talk about the Spurs. Yay?
What else could we possibly ask of Parker? He's performing at the highest level in his career, and it simply hasn't been enough. If we lose this series, it won't be Parker's fault. I urge you to read Hardwood Paroxysm's analysis of the the Spurs' series to get an idea of how much we've leaned on him lately.
This isn't a matchup I expect to see materialized on court. Finley can't possibly keep up with Barea, so he'll be assigned to Howard instead. Unfortunately, Finley can't keep up with Howard, either. That said, if there's one guy in this roster I would bet on making a big shot tonight, that's Finley. For all the criticisms he receives every day, he can always be trusted to play him game, limited as it may be, regardless of perceived pressure.
Duncan says he's feeling as healthy as he's been this season. I believe him. I also think that the news of his decline have been greatly exaggerated, and that he still has many good seasons left on him. I can't imagine Tim not having a strong game on a win-or-go-home situation.
This is, I believe, Pop's biggest mistake. Bonner simply can't keep up with the Mavericks, and he's been dinosaur dung ever since Gooden joined the team. But people are quick to forget that a few months ago he was considered his biggest success, and we were all grateful that he'd stuck with him. At some point we need to stop blaming the coaches for the player's shortcomings.
Bruce is another guy who has proven he still has it. I expect him to return next year and play spot minutes against the young stars of this league. Even today, there're not many one-on-one defenders as skilled as him. I expect him to harrass Barea into some timely turnovers.
Keys To The Game
Some other reading
Other things of possible interest
Check this game thead at gametime for specific links to good quality feeds. If you arrive late in the game, there game feed links are usually among the first 50 posts of the thread.
Spurs audio feed - You can use it to replace a foreign feed's audio - simply pause to synchronize it.
Recap: Quick caps were a good idea. It only took us (Wayne) a season to come up with it. Stampler? Where art thou?