"It’s St. Paddy’s Day, which means drunk people, our nation’s most visible celebration of a racial stereotype, and the city of San Antonio skipping its daily chlorine dosage to show the (most-likely) green color of the river. Oh, and St. Patrick Mills.
The Spurs avenged a heartbreaker against the Cavs by crushing the Timberwolves, and the winners of 8-out-of-9 showed no signs of slowing down against the New York Knicks. In the spirit of the day, the Spurs St. Patty handled most of the ball with Manu out and an early 31-point lead..."
That--or some more clever iteration--is how this Rehash should have opened. He even had the green shoes! The story wrote itself.
Some variation of a similarly amused opening was already typed by countless beat writers, hoping for respite from yet another late night. This was OBVIOUSLY a win for the Spurs. Definitely an easy one too...
So the Spurs kicked ass angle I cranked out 100 lines on to get a head start for deadline isn't exactly panning out.— Dan McCarney (@danmccarneySAEN) March 18, 2015
But instead, Patty played only 6 minutes and the game was tied at 94 with one minute to play. No one would've imagined that the Spurs would field nearly the same crew in the final minute against the Knicks that they did against the Cavaliers! No preemptive column would have called the Alexey Shved/Lou Amundson pick and roll to send it to overtime.
None would've called yet another Kawhi free-throw miss at the end of regulation or a Tim Duncan miss in overtime. None still would've predicted the Spurs needing instant replay on two nail-biting calls in overtime, and surely they would be able to capitalize on those (or any other) chances. There was no way to predict Parker hitting the Spurs only OT field goal 15 seconds into the period.
Even in retrospect, this loss only makes sense if...wait. It couldn't be? Popovich is sticking it to former nemesis Phil Jackson and...Tony must dominate Fisher (even as Head Coach)...by untanking the Knicks and keeping them from getting better for years? I take it all back you sly fox...
Quote of the Night
...so much for that "Untank the Tankers" theory.
The Big 4 of the...Knicks. You know, the Twin Towers of Bargnani and Amundson and the unstoppable backcourt of Galloway and Shved. A career high 17 rebounds for Amundson, a career high 22 points for Langston Galloway. Exactly like we all predicted.
It wasn't just "one of those games" where the Spurs were simply outplayed. They looked like they had no proclivity for playing basketball and delivered an entirely uninterested, blasé performance. They actually matched the Knicks. The boxscores are even. With one of, if not THE worst team in the league. I think being even is actually worse than being soundly beaten, as there is no chalking this one up.
Odds and Ends
This game confirmed the worst fears about this Spurs team:
- A hyperactive, not necessarily skilled big man dominated them on the boards (especially offensive rebounds)
- The bench was terrible, with the starters having to log playoff minutes. That included Marco
- A quick point guard gave the Spurs defense fits, again to the tune of a season or career high
- They cannot win when shooting poorly from beyond the arc
- Late game free throws have been San Antonio’s nemesis.
- The Spurs are not a great road team, as they’ve been in past championship-caliber seasons
R.I.P. Jack Haley
The former Spur and Bull best known as the friend/keeper to Dennis Rodman passed away yesterday. An interesting footnote to those wild Spurs teams and the winningest team in NBA history, he was by all accounts a great character and great player to have on the roster.
He is noted for being a kind of towel-waver's towel-waver, the absolute last guy off the bench, but the loudest supporter. He was also something of a NBA bookkeeper, keeping the in-game stats and updating some of the game's best (David Robinson, Magic, Jordan, Rodman, etc.)
"How could I not know? I was close with the bench and the stat crew. Every time I came to the bench, (backup center) Jack (Haley) would tell me how many more blocks I needed." (Robinson on his quadruple double)
I'll always remember the 211 minutes he played for the San Antonio Spurs. As a 7-year old, he may have inadvertently introduced me to my favorite thing in the world: irony. I remember asking my dad why the crowd was cheering so loudly and chanting for the guy who came in when David Robinson came OUT. I remember explaining this years later to even die-hard NBA fans who didn't really know who he was but "maybe, kinda remembered" his name.
But I'll never forget it.
May you log eternal minutes on the gold-paved courts of Heaven, Jack.
-14. In the 2nd half and OT, the Spurs were outscored by the nominally professional basketball team that calls MSG home. A collapse for the ages.
2.99. Marco made only two field goals while absorbing Manu's (especially late game) minutes, but hit the would've-been winner had his toe not inched over the three-point line. He was awarded two and the game went into overtime.
7. There are seven Hall of Famers standing between Duncan and the most rebounds in NBA history. He probably only needs 10-12 more seasons to catch Wilt.
7. The number of overtime games the Spurs have played (1-6 in those games).
9. The Spurs have now held double digit leads against their last 9 opponents (7-2 in that stretch).
5th. The Spurs have only the 5th toughest remaining schedule according to John Schuhmann.
108. Far too many minutes for the Non-Manu "Big 3" before a SEGABABA against an athletic Bucks team.
Spurs locker room bumping Kendrick's new album. Just kidding, I was hoping that would be the case. There's no music.— alex (@steven_lebron) March 17, 2015
That experience wasn't worth a thing tonight:
They airbrushed the photo to make him look older: pic.twitter.com/Il1HSJoXbB— ESPN SA (@ESPN_SA) March 17, 2015
Clyde Frazier on Patty Mills' shoes: "Those look like something I might wear." Big compliment, I think.— Jesus Gomez (@JejeGomez_PtR) March 18, 2015
Shved as last player introduced has to be a Knicks lowpoint. Wish we had laws to force a team sale when something like that happens— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) March 18, 2015
At halftime, double-digit points for the #Spurs Big 3: Tony, Tim, and...Tiago? At least it's alliterative.— Kyle Carpenter (@KyleCarpenter) March 18, 2015
Spurs are playing around like they don't believe there's any way they can lose. Like Tyson against Buster Douglas that one time.— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) March 18, 2015
Kinda wish I would've turned to:
Greek Freak guarding Anthony Davis is what League Pass was made for— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) March 18, 2015
This is just rude, Anthony Davis. https://t.co/Wucb0a0vmj— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) March 18, 2015
Watching Jeff Ayres try to catch the basketball remains one of the most exciting plays the NBA has to offer.— Dan McCarney (@danmccarneySAEN) March 18, 2015
Tonight alone, Clyde has called Alexey Shved: - Alexis - Shed - Sped - Shred - Shell - Shep - Shakira - Herman— Seth Rosenthal (@seth_rosenthal) March 18, 2015
Red Shved Redemption— Pounding the Rock (@poundingtherock) March 18, 2015
A 16 seed taking out a, what, 6?
Just FYI, w/o the samurai ponytail, Lou Amundsojn looks like one of the West Memphis Three.— Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta) March 18, 2015
"Lay lady lay / Lay across my big brass Shved" —@steventurous— Pounding the Rock (@poundingtherock) March 17, 2015
The Knicks just used an Alexey Shved-Lou Amundson two-man game to tie the Spurs with five seconds left. THIS MOLLY KICKS, BOY!— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) March 18, 2015
That one year the Nets won 12 games, one of them was vs Spurs. So this sort of thing does happen. Just thought Spurs would show up better.— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) March 18, 2015
Pop has now called out his team in Manhattan and Brooklyn this season. Next stop, Staten Island!— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) March 18, 2015
The basic must've rubbed off on the whole team: