Sorry folks, no opening hash today due to time restrictions (hey, some of us work for a living) but still plenty of content below to gripe about. Have had it. - Aaron
Quickie Game Hash
Tim Duncan will be kicking himself even more after the next film session. With the Big Three on the court in closing minutes of the game, the San Antonio Spurs offense was running beautifully through Tony Parker. Parker scored 12 straight points in a near 5-minute stretch. But instead of going back to the guard who was 7 of 13 FG for 23 points, the Spurs tried to run a high pick-and-roll through Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan. The Rockets trapped Manu on the arc, forcing Manu to pass down to Duncan late in the shot clock. Duncan felt forced to put up a contested floater from the free throw line with 4 seconds left on the shot clock, even though he had an easy pass to a wide open Danny Green out on the arc.
The next possession would have likely been run through Parker had it not been a jump ball scenario after the Duncan floater miss. But because of the need of reach for the tipped ball, the Spurs kept Parker towards the baseline. In a repeat of the last play, Ginobili did a good job getting the ball out of the double team down to Tim who then immediately lobbed the ball out to an open Danny Green. The pass was nearly out of Green's reach, allowing the defense to rotate and forcing the ball to the corner. Kawhi's rushed corner three-ball was heavily contested by James Harden and the shot ended up hitting the side edge of the backboard.
My Game Boss
Regardless of whether you agree with the foul calls or not, James Harden's aggression was the reason the Houston Rockets squeaked out the win. The Spurs defending Harden well on the high pick and roll but they were helpless once Beardenstein got any half-decent look at the basket... but not because he was knocking them down (James finished 6-16 FG). Harden has 701 free throw attempts so far this season, the most in the league by a margin of 34.
My Game Runt
Defensively, Danny Green had a good game and showed great hustle on both ends and on loose balls. Green also had a very impressive chase down block on a James Harden fast break. But you can't go for 2 of 6 from deep and 2 of 11 overall and not get the Game Runt title. Just to let you know, I waffled between Danny Green and Manu Ginobili.
By the Numbers
- 4 - The difference in free throw attempts the Spurs took as a team compared to James Harden.
- 21 - Total turnovers between both teams in the first half.
- 11 - Total turnovers between both teams in the second half.
- 21 - Total lead changes in the game.
- +11 - Second chance points for the Houston Rockets off 12 offensive rebounds.
- +11 - Advantage in fast break points for the the Houston Rockets.
- 10 - Number of the Spurs' 17 losses that have come on the road against Western Conference teams.
- 19 - Total number of assists for the San Antonio Spurs, an incredibly low number for the team.
- 40 - The Houston Rockets shooting percentage for the game.
Odds & Ends
- James Harden, like nearly all NBA guards, flops any chance he gets. Difference is he makes the contact look realistic rather than ridiculously flamboyant (Tony...).
- Omer Asik will never need to develop an offensive game as long as he can play defense like that. Good addition by Houston.
- It was nice to see improvement in Stephen Jackson's shooting.
- From starter to "DNP- Coach's Decision." Cory Joseph rode the pine the entire game last night.
- I'm not sure how Popovich didn't get a technical last night. Coach Pop was practically living inside the ear of official Kevin Fehr at a late point in the game.
- Nando De Colo played a solid defensive game. De Colo is always hustling and always lurking.
- I had to look up the last time Boris Diaw hit two 3-pointers in one game. It was February 10th.
- Tim Duncan this month: 19.7 points, 11.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.7 blocks, 1.5 personal fouls, 2.5 turnovers, and all just in 31.7 minutes per game.
- For as much contact the officials allowed in the early portion of the game, the questionable calls later on (made on both ends) seems even more ridiculous.
- Should the Rockets and Thunder meet up in the playoffs, God help the fans watching. Not because of the former player story arc but because it would contain 3 of the 5 league-leading players in free throw attempts. Those games would be nearly as long as NFL games.
Bird is the Word
*looks at Rockets roster* So, Tim Ohlbrecht is a made up name, right?— Andrew A. McNeill (@drew_48moh) March 25, 2013
Yet another example in a long line of them: the Spurs are unaware in what capacity alley-oop exists in nature.— Matthew R Tynan (@Matthew_Tynan) March 24, 2013
No soup for Lin. The Land Walrus just ate it.— dan mccarney (@danmccarneysaen) March 25, 2013
Going into the Next Game, the Spurs Need to...
...strap on their @$#-kicking boots because the third-seeded Denver Nuggets, winners of currently 15-straight, are coming to town on Wednesday, March 27th. Like the Spurs, the Denver Nuggets are one of the best offensive squads in the league. Although the rank near the bottom in points allowed (a sometimes deceiving statistic), the Nuggets are the best NBA team in offensive rebounding and second best in overall rebounding - a great bane to the San Antonio Spurs. San Antonio will need to pull themselves out of the muck of mediocre play and put out a performance similar to the Oklahoma City match-up a few weeks ago.