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Gary Neal and the dog days of winter

This is what you call 'the dog days' right now. Guys are a little tired. Our schedule is a little tough, but we're working through it. We're winning games. We're fighting. We're not playing as well as we want to, but we're trying to get back to where we feel like we have a good rhythm.
- Tim Duncan, after the Spurs recent win over the Timberwolves

Gary Neal has not been himself this season; at least not the self that we've come to know as Spurs fans over the last two and a half years. The dead-eye shooter that we've taken to calling The Nailgun and Zod is currently mired in his worst shooting season since he's come to the NBA. After having averaged .419 from behind the line over his first two years, he's making only 36.4% of this three-pointers so far. January has been his best long distance month so far (38.2%) but even so, that's not up to his standard.

The thing about Neal is that he's a shooter. But as much as he's a shooter, he's even more of a maker. And with him not making, it points to something being wrong. The easiest thing to point to is fatigue. Look at how Duncan seemed to be regressing until Pop gave him a night off. Let's see what happens after the team has three days off in a row this coming Sunday through Tuesday. If we don't see Neal making the nets sing come next Wednesday's game against the Wiz, which is also the last game before the Rodeo Road Trip, then we'll have something to really keep an eye on during the Attack of the @'s.