I didn't know that I was going to have recap duties tonight, so I didn't take many notes (read: none). I did watch the game though, so I will do this off of memory. Follow me past the jump for a trip down my short-term-memory lane!
I'd rather think that we're lucky to have the record (25-4). If we want to take advantage of that good record, we better get our acts together at the defensive end. Otherwise we've squandered what the basketball gods have given to us so far
- Gregg Popovich, after tonight's game.
Many would think that the odds were against the Spurs tonight--what, the game being the SEGABABA away, in a different uniform than what we are accustomed to seeing. But those odds are valid only for previous Spurs seasons. I mean, you could practically pencil in losses last year and the year before on back-to-back games. But not this year's Spurs. Everything we once knew about the Spurs is changed. Tim Duncan is throwing outlet passes, running fast breaks, and the Spurs are nearly dead last (and they might become last after tonight) in 3-point% defense. Fast break points used to have to be written in quotation marks when you talked about the Spurs. Now they are a common sighting, sometimes netting nearly 20 fast break points a night. The problem with the run-and-gun, risk-taking, no-perimeter-defense playing Spurs was exhibited tonight due to fatigue.
12:00 Jumpball: Tim Duncan vs. Dwight Howard (Tony Parker gains possession)
11:48 DeJuan Blair 3 second
That's basically when the game started to go down hill. The Spurs had 6 or so turnovers, and missed a ton of shots they regularly make. After they settled down, they started driving to the rim more, and overcome they're initial 5 - 12 deficit. At the 2:24 mark after an Orlando full timeout, Hedo Turkeyglue and Arenas enter the game. Some boring things happend, and then at the end of the quarter we were somehow only down two.
The second quarter was pretty bad. Look at how it started:
12:00 Start of the 2nd Quarter
11:41 26-31 Ryan Anderson makes 25-foot three point jumper (Gilbert Arenas assists)
11:18 Manu Ginobili misses 25-foot three point jumper 26-31
11:18 26-31 Dwight Howard defensive rebound
11:04 26-31 Dwight Howard turnover
10:47 Matt Bonner misses 25-foot three point jumper 26-31
10:47 Antonio McDyess offensive rebound 26-31
10:42 Antonio McDyess backcourt 26-31
10:33 26-31 Gilbert Arenas misses 18-foot two point shot
10:29 Matt Bonner defensive rebound 26-31
10:03 Gary Neal misses 26-foot three point jumper 26-31
I'm all for the whole law of statistics thing, but three consecutive possessions the Spurs took really uncharacteristic three point attempts. There was no good ball rotation. To me that looks like one thing. Fatigue.
The game wasn't out of reach just yet, the score was only 31-35 at the 8:42 mark. Then:
Howard dunks, draws the foul, misses the FT. 31-37
Neal makes a three. 34-37
Arenas makes a jumper. 34-39
Dice bricks against the glass, Howard draws the foul on the other end, makes one of two. 34-40
Bonner makes a three. 37-40
After this point, the back and forth stops. The Spurs fail to make stops and convert on the offensive end. At the half, the Magic lead grows to 9.
A good stat (I thought) coming out of halftime was that the Spurs were 8-2 after trailing at the half. That's actually not a bad stat to have! Or so we thought.
But the Spurs came out of the half with an absolutely dreadful combination: poor defense and poor offense.
Jameer Nelson makes 25-foot three point jumper
On the first possession of the second half. Great.
At that point, the game was 51-71, Orlando.
Enjoy it now, fellas. If you play the Spurs again, it wont be a SEGABABA.
Third and fourth quarter don't matter because we never saw anything significant after that. One thing we did see was that we all miss James Anderson and George Hill. We also realized that the NBA is a piece of garbage for putting a back-to-back like this in the schedule.
You can also argue that Pop went CIA and decided not to "try" to win this game. Whatever. I just think that he didn't want to play his starters for extended minutes in a game that probably wouldn't have ended up in our favor anyway and risk an injury. One thing I remember Pop distinctly saying last year was that injuries come when players are tired.
Oh well, can't win them all. Especially after getting to the opponents city at 2:30 AM local time, in the hotel at around 3 or 3:30 AM local AFTER playing an intense game the night before. Whatever. Screw this loss. It doesn't matter until June. Except in June, you can expect two or more days off in between games.
1. Tim Duncan - For shooting above 50% and 6 rebounds. Oh and he's probably one of few that actually put effort into this game.
2. Tiago Splitter - For effort every second he was on the floor
3. DeJuan Blair - 4-11 shooting, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. Solid game by the Beast
Ultra-fast recap bullet points, courtesy of NBA.com:
After scoring seven points in the first quarter, Ginobili made only one shot and finished 3-for-10
The Magic shot better than 50 percent in each of the first three quarters including 14-for-17 (82 percent) in the second quarter, and 50-for-84 (.595) for the game.
The Spurs had scored the last five points of the first half, reducing Orlando's lead to nine in spite of 66 percent shooting by the Magic. But Nelson opened the second half with a 3-pointer, setting off a 35-point quarter in which the Magic stretched their lead to 21.