The Spurs Beat the Hornets
Though(as you’ll see in the bullets) there were some things that made me pretty hot during the game, I don’t really feel this was a bad loss. The Hornets missed Tyson badly as Parker and Ginobili made it to the hoop at will and had no trouble finishing, Posey continued to slump and the wing shooters we rely on to keep spacing open on the floor were consistently run off their spots and contributed little.
- Spurs fans like to act like a mid-season game doesn’t matter to the Spurs because the team is so superior to those around it. That casual arrogance may play for the fans, but don’t believe it for a second for Popovich, Timmy and company. Popovich was animated, on his feet screaming at his players all game long. Every time there was a time out he stalked far out onto the court, yelled at his guys to gather around, and frequently laid into at least one of them. Ginobili and Duncan also got on teammates repeatedly, and there was some real intensity out there. They wanted this game.
- While Popovich was getting after it, Byron made a blunder that had me spitting in fury. I like Byron. I like his rotations more than 99% of the people who post here. I like the way he handles most of our players. But when Chris Paul is hitting every god damn shot he’s taking, even the impossible ones, and he’s causing enough havoc on the defensive end to help the Hornets chip away at the Spurs lead, you don’t take him out of the game. You just . . . don’t. He sat for 5 minutes, and the lead had grown by another five, leaving Paul just too big of a hole to come back from.
- West’s jumpers weren’t falling. Almost every one drew front iron. In the third, when he picked up his technical, he was clearly furious and had about a 10-posession stretch where he worked hard and drove that ball into the paint with good effect. Then he took an inadvertant forearm from Mason in the back going for an offensive rebound and he started settling for jumpers again. Typically I don’t blame a single player, but he pretty much killed us with all the misses, despite his good work on the boards.
- Speaking of killing us, Posey was terrible. Dumb fouls, bad shots, a technical that drove me to tell him to shut the F up. I have a feeling he didn’t hear me though. I could have gone for about 6 minutes less of Posey, with those minutes going to Bowen for some much needed energy and hustle. We need Posey to snap out of it and get back to Champagne-and-Bacon James.
- One of the things we miss most about Tyson most is his ability to set a wide-bodied, strong pick. West, Posey and Marks are too absorbed in their next move to get open offensively, and frequently slip the pick too early. Paul suffers more pressure on his drives into the paint because of this – and his turnovers are up as a result. I may have said this before, but I’d love a strong, bruising rebounder who likes to set picks.
- Hilton Armstrong did everything we could have asked of him defending Tim Duncan. He contested shots, and he even sacrificed his pride trying to contest that crushing dunk by Ginobili. Yes, as always I would have loved some rebounds, but he gave everything he could – and he also got tagged by a trio of terrible fouls that had no basis in reality.
- I’d comment on Peja if he had an impact on the game. I don’t blame the Hornets for going away from him – when he did catch the ball he almost always gave it back up or was worked into a tough shot.
- Devin Brown did well. Thanks, Devin.
- Julian Wright had a scattered game again. Nice rebounding work, okay defense, bad decisions on offense. He made one particularly bad decision when he passed open two open shots to whip the ball to . . . Sean Marks deep in the corner. Julian, we are trying to stop him from taking that shot. At least Marks realized that too and he tried to drive it. Too bad he traveled.
Anyways, I’m off to bed. Have a good night.
Oh and everyone tell Dariusz how much his game-day banners rock. They are always slick – but this one was especially nice.