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Morning Rehash: Better Late Than Never

The San Antonio Spurs held home court against the young Golden State Warriors last night in what was one of the most memorable battles in Spurs playoff history.

Ronald Martinez

Opening Hash

Are you ****ing kidding me?!

- Fred Silva

This is what rang in my right ear as I was rocked off-balanced towards an equally stunned Golden State beat-writer. Manu Ginobili's final three-pointer had just sank through the bottom of the net and the true Spurs faithful at AT&T Center were going ballistic. Fred latched onto my shoulders, shaking and yelling as any true fan does - embroiled in the emotion of the game. The beat writer left in a puff of anger. I'm still not sure whether he was perturbed by the end result of the game or by the reactions of the two emotional idiots to his starboard.

I couldn't help but think about that reaction even though I believe it was more connected to the game. I've been given the evil eye in the past for thumping the table or quietly applauding a good play. It's an unwritten rule at sporting events that members of the media are not allowed to cheer. At least not in any way noticeable to the adjacent homosapiens wearing a similar badge of credentials around their gullet. It is deemed "unprofessional."

But I'm an unpaid blogger, not a professional journalist, even though I've been granted access into a professional world. Prior to this gig, I had zero background in journalism of any sort. I can't even pump out the generic paragraph-laden articles that fill up so many newspapers and websites. With the way my brain operates, it takes two-season's and a Matt Bonner fast break for me just to conjure up a section. This is why I write the Rehash - a spattering of thoughts, notes, and quotes. Just like the ol' noodle residing upstairs. Anyways, I'm not professional material. At least not yet.

I moved to San Antonio in the same autumn that witnessed David Robinson stepping out onto an NBA court for the first time. I've spent nearly 70% of my life in the Alamo City and I've been linked to this team as a fan for nearly the same amount of time. So its a bit difficult for me to just shut off the emotional connections I have with the Silver and Black. I also have zero interest in doing so. I'd rather have that emotional charge that immediately fires words and from my brain and recalls the feelings attached with phenomenal win or a heart-breaking loss. These are things that I will try to better myself in conveying though all the splotches of metrics and observations.

I'm a fan first - and I won't let anything change that.

Standard Pre-Game Pop Quote

That's a lot there. You might want to be more specific...

-Popovich on his "thoughts about the match-up with Golden State."

Shoot-Around Notes

  • Mark Jackson is the first coach I've seen out on the floor during the pregame shoot-around. Coach was just shooting the breeze with his assistants and some folks from the media.
  • Aron Baynes spent most of his shoot-around working on spacing with the screen sets.
  • Cory Joseph had a great workout with Chad Forcier. Joseph worked on a variety of pick and pops mixed with some situational bail-out / give-and-go's. Cory was nailing some beautiful looks off curl screens around the baseline.
  • Saw a painfully familiar sight- Richard Jefferson was missing almost everything during his warm-up.
  • There was little to zero pause between DeJuan Blair's shots. It was hard to get a read on Blair's workout plan since he was consistently mixing in the ridiculous 30 foot floaters.
  • Kawhi Leonard had an excellent workout, probably the best he's looked shooting the ball (in practice).
  • When Stephen Curry shoots the ball, it hits the net so soft it looks like a whip of long hair. That's... the only way I can explain.
  • Tony Parker's workout is almost zero energy but spends his time working on developing a rhythm with his mechanics.
  • Jarrett Jack has excellent balance in his shot - especially considering how close together his feet are.
  • Klay Thompson spent quite a bit of time looking at either the middle finger or index finger on his left hand. His shooting was rough, at best.

The Essential Hash

Be sure to read Fred Silva's recap of last night's game if you haven't already.

This sentence was written at 3:56 AM Central Standard Time. Forgive me if this section is a bit... stunted.

In the opening series against the Los Angeles Lakers, Matt Bonner finally stood tall and answered to the critics and naysayers about his ability to contribute in the post-season. Along side Matty-boy, taking an almost equal amount of fire, was Danny Green. Unlike, Bonner, Green failed to leave a strong positive mark in the opening round and many people began to point at the young guard's disappearing act in the Western Conference Finals.

Danny Green may have finally broken through the playoff ice to join the Red Mamba. Green scored 22 points on 8 of 14 shooting, including several crucial shots in the fourth quarter and overtime periods (a combined 4-5 FG for 10 points). Green was solid defensively (even though he struggled one-on-one with Curry) for the most part, grabbing three steals -two big ones in the second overtime- without earning a single foul call against him.

Green also rotated over for an incredible block on Curry late in the second overtime.

Game Boss

18 7 11 3 9 2 1 41:01

Kawhi Leonard got off to a rough start when he was asked to slow down Stephen Curry. Curry was able to blow by Leonard for two of the easiest layups you'll ever see but Kawhi was eventually able to limit the guard's looks in the fourth quarter and both overtime periods. Kawhi essentially became the man in the fourth quarter - scoring 9 points (3-4 FG), grabbing four boards, and forcing two turnovers (one steal and a Curry travel). The Spurs needed a miracle and Kawhi led the charge while playing 19:13 minutes of the possible 22 in the last three periods.

And Kawhi made that bullet pass to Manu over Richard Jefferson for the game winning shot. That should probably count for something.

Game Runt

0 0 12 0 2 0 0 2:43

Trailing by eight points, San Antonio had just turned the ball over with less than two minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Jefferson had just received the ball off a Draymond Green steal but was fouled by Gary Neal. In the bonus, Jefferson found himself at the line for a chance at his first points in the game and a chance to bury the team that traded him away in the middle of last season.

Jefferson clanked both attempts and later complimented that with a defensive let-down that helped lead to 5 straight San Antonio points.

(Note: Jarrett Jack is, honestly, the Game Runt for his terrible defense late in the game but I couldn't pass this up.)

By the Numbers

  • 22 - Third quarter points by Stephen Curry.
  • 75% - Stephen Curry's shooting percentage in the third quarter.
  • 7.2% - The final advantage in field goal percentage held by Golden State.
  • 7 - Number of times this entire season (regular/post) the Spurs have been able to overcome a negative shooting percentage margin (7-19).
  • 29.2% - Golden State's three-point percentage outside of the third quarter.
  • 32.5% - The combined shooting percentage of both teams in the fourth quarter.
  • 14 - Fourth quarter points in the paint for the Spurs.
  • 1 - San Antonio turnovers in the fourth quarter.
  • 58.8% - Shooting percentage for San Antonio in the ten minutes of total overtime.
  • 40.9% - Shooting percentage for San Antonio by the end of the fourth quarter.
  • 100% - Spurs shooting in the final 3:57 of the fourth quarter (6-6 FG).
  • 5:04 - Minutes and seconds of Golden State's made-field goal drought before Jarrett Jack hit a jumper with 29 seconds left in the game.

Bird is the Word

Leftover Hash

  • Spurs went on an 18-2 run in the final 3:57 of the fourth quarter. You know when Richard Jefferson checked into the game for the first time? 3:57 remaining in the fourth quarter.
  • Stephen Curry went from untouchable deity to tired kid with too much workload. Stephen only sat out 4 seconds of the first 48 minutes. Curry was 3 of 7 in the fourth quarter.
  • The officiating crew was goofy on both ends of the floor. Missed calls, make-up calls, and no-contact fouls. Both teams were burned at critical points in the game.
  • It feels like the Spurs shot 46 three-point attempts, not 26.
  • Something else that was huge for San Antonio? The Golden State Warriors leaving 10 points at the charity stripe (14-24).
  • Coach Popovich was jumping and screaming at his team to push the pace more than a few times. And I completely agree with Pop. San Antonio needed to get their offense and the ball moving before the Golden State defense could get set.
  • Late in the game, Jarrett Jack had Gary Neal in a rear-naked choke. Jack then spent the next minute complaining about the foul call.
  • The AT&T Center set-up a band called the "Sound of the Spurs" up on the mezzanine. It was a terrible. The audio was off and the musicians sounded like they had never played with each other before. Great idea, terrible execution.
  • When Steph Curry was going nuts in the third quarter, players sitting on the Golden State bench were acting like middle-school kids. Some of them were even still standing on the edge of the court when the Spurs had the ball down at their end.
  • Folks... Please - If you're out and have had too much to drink, catch another ride home. I watched a truck smash into a parking lot gate, run over at least 20 traffic cones, and then just swerve out of the way of an on-coming car.

Going into Game Two, the Spurs Need to...

...figure out both the offensive and defensive schemes for the Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combination. I joked about the Richard Jefferson effect at 3:57 remaining in the game but Thompson's 6th foul was a major key in the Spurs comeback. If Klay had remained in the game, the Spurs comeback would have likely never have happened and fans would be spending a bit more time freaking out over game two.