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Allahu Akbar! or, Nazr "The Prophet" Mohammed causes extreme curvature of spacetime as Suns collapse

By Daniel Strickland on March 18, 2006.

My man Nazr went for 30 points and 16 boards, and was unstoppable on the offensive glass, as the Spurs beat the Suns 108-102.

I hope this image of the Prophet throwing it down won’t result in the burning of any KFC franchises in the Middle East.

Hmmm…on second thought, maybe that wouldn’t be so bad. Damn factory-farm-supporting infidel bastards. Colonel Sanders hates Islam!

(By the way, please, dear readers, don’t hesitate to let the guy who runs know what you think. This guy sorely needs a dose of reality. But then, some people don’t want reality – they’re satisfied with truthiness.)

Another highlight of the game: once again, the Suns’ defense was predicated on packing the middle and giving Tony Parker the outside shot. And once again, Le Roi* made them pay, knocking down a number of open jumpers in crunch time, off passes from Manu. A year ago, who could have imagined the Spurs purposefully running an offensive set like that in the fourth quarter of a tight game? Unbelievable. That’s how much confidence Pop has in TP’s outside shot.

The Spurs’ game plan tonight was interesting, and quite different from the strategy they usually employ against the Suns. Instead of concentrating on giving help defense when Nash penetrated (usually, it’s the consistency and quality of their help defense that sets the Spurs apart from other NBA teams) , they chose to protect the passing lanes to prevent Nash from passing out to shooters on the perimeter for open 3-pointers. At first, I was frustrated at what I saw as a failure of the Spurs to make proper defensive rotations – and to Suns coach Mike D’Antoni’s credit, the Suns were smartly pulling the Spurs’ big men out above the wings to make their normal rotations more difficult. But Sean Elliott’s insightful commentary set me straight, as he pointed out that the Spurs’ defenders were intentionally staying with their men away from the ball. As a result, the Suns only hit 7 3-pointers against the Spurs, as opposed to 16 (!) in their 126-95 decommissioning of the rudderless Clippers on Wednesday. (That’s a difference of 27 points, for the math-challenged among you – I used a calculator, myself.**) Another aspect of the Spurs’ strategy was focusing more heavily on offensive rebounding. Normally, especially against a team like the Suns, the Spurs will do everything possible to shut down their opponent’s transition offense, at the expense of offensive rebounding. But since Phoenix had no one in the middle capable of holding off Nazr and TD, they feasted on a smorgasbord of easy putbacks, which more than made up for the 18 fast break points the Spurs gave up. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team outrebound its opponent as badly as the Spurs did on the offensive glass – the Spurs had 26 offensive boards to the Suns’ 8.

Mike D’Antoni has won my respect for what he’s accomplished this year without Amare Stoudemire. But as the Spurs’ strategy befuddled the Suns, who were no doubt caught off guard, Pop once again showed D’Antoni who’s really the daddy among NBA coaches.

The bunny is D’Antoni, if you weren’t sure what to make of this.

And once again, the Spurs showed that they can adjust to any style that the opposition plays, and take advantage of whatever weaknesses a team has. It was breathtaking to watch…for a Spurs fan, of course.

* warning: arbitrary self-promotion

** Not really.

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  1. Dingo March 19, 2006

    The Spurs have not lost when Nazr has scored at least 19 points, and when he’s had 10 or more rebounds, they’re 5-2.

    I see more big games for Nazr in the coming months.

    Allahu Akbar!


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