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Look To The Stars For Answers. And Problems.

Why isn't this working? Why are we a middling Western Conference team instead of an NBA powerhouse? I don't think it is RJ. I don't think it is McDyess. We brought them in to be our 4th and 5th starters to complement our Big 3. Maybe they haven't provided as much as we like, but we aren't as good as last year. Or the year before. Or the year before. That's got to be on the Big 3. Not on RJ and Antonio. I think we aren't as good because our Big 3 aren't as good. We have 3 supposed all-star caliber guys who aren't playing like all-stars, who aren't getting it done on the defensive end, and who aren't making plays at the end of games.

RJ and McDyess can't look like successful free agent signings when the Big 3 are playing poorly. But the blame has to go to the Big 3. Not on the new guys.

What are the differences between last year and this year? RJ instead of FinDog. McDyess and Blair instead of Fab and KT? I have to see those as upgrades. George Hill is undoubtedly better than last year and certainly more effective than The JV. RJ and Antonio may not be playing great, but you can't tell me they are that bad. Jeff McDonald says RJ is "underachieving", but is he really? Underachieving on what expectations? If you want underachieving, you need to look at Manu, Tony, and Tim. They are the all-stars of the team. They are the corporate knowledge. They are the leaders.

I'd like to visit this quote from Pop (via 48MoH) talking about his defense, "It looks like the effort and all that sort of thing is great, but way too many mistakes…not enough focus…not enough execution. We’re scoring enough points to win games. We’re scoring more points than we’ve ever scored in our lives, but our defense is really sub-par and it’s killing us."

Too many mistakes. Not enough focus. Not enough execution. Those are mistakes of leadership. Throw Pop in there with Tim, Tony, and Manu. Leadership starts at the top, but let's just talk about the guys on the court because they are Pop by extension. Tony, Tim, and Manu aren't working their collective asses off. They aren't dominating. They aren't locking guys down defensively. They aren't staying focused. I mean it as a group. Individually, they all bring some of these things, but they all don't bring all of them. Tim is playing to stay healthy. Tony is playing to get people involved. Manu is playing to get his confidence back. Whatever. They need to be playing their asses off. They need to be playing as if each possession matters on every play. It is that attention to detail and drive for perfection that drives the people around you. Our big three aren't fighting for everything. They are making too many mistakes. They aren't focused enough. They aren't executing enough.

If we are going to make a run this year, it will be on the backs of the big three. RJ and Dyess are just here to make that ride smoother. They aren't here to be the guys that carry us. Yes, I wish those two guys were playing better, but that would only help to cover up the fact that our Big 3 aren't getting it done. Can they get it done? Ah, that is the question.

Random Bits From the Rockets Game

I went to the Rockets game on Friday with Mrs ATS. We had a good time despite the loss. But, seriously, is Dos XX the best beer a man get for $7.75? Ughh!!!

I got to see/hear the Yucky Stew kid and his step-sister sing the national anthem. That was kind of cool. There were quite a few Rockets fans in the arena and when "the Rockets red glare" was sung they started yelling. That's WAY uncool. That is embarrassing. They need to check that shit at the city limits next time.

Tim hitting his 20,000th point was more special than I thought. I had the slight tug of a tear in my eye. The crowd was really into it and Tim actually acknowledged the crowd.

If you go down the stairs to the charter level, you have three options. One, go back upstairs. Two, turn to the left and show your ticket to the usher and be allowed to enter the nice bar areas where the people with good tickets get good beer. Three, turn to the right and walk down a hallway. We went with option 3. As it turns out, this is where the Spurs offices are. Down this hallway is this really funky pimpy section where it is metallic orange and hollowed out like you are walking through a basketball or something. Very strange. You should check it out.

Part of the reason we had a great time is because we sat next to some fun fans. We had an older couple, mid-60's or so, to our right and in front of them were a couple of Rockets fans. The Rockets guys were pretty loud, but they kept it fun. Would discuss the calls rationally. And after the game, they thanked all of us. That was cool.

Random Bits From Saturday With LatinD

We picked him up at the airport with a minimal amount of drama and delay. Just enough delay, that I know he was starting to think "What the hell am I going to do? I don't know anybody in this town. I don't know where I am staying. I don't even have a phone."

We dropped off his bags at his place, managed to get him a phone, and went to dinner. I'll be very curious to get LD's impression of the dinner. We went to a place called "The Cove" which I heard about from Mike Monroe of the Express News/ It could best be described as Bar/Restaurant/Car Wash/Coin Laundry/Live Music Venue rolled into one. The drunk, homeless guy sleeping under the table in the coin laundry with his 32 oz beer was a sight. The only tables are outside. They had some teenage bands playing and the place was busy and crowded with teenagers at 5:30. But, it's not your standard bar food restaurant. I had a lamb burger with sweet potato fries and Mrs ATS had the fish and shrimp taco combo plate. LD had a "real burger". I'd highly recommend The Cove.