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Almost Choked on The Big Apple

By Michael Erler on November 7, 2006.

Game 4: @ New York: Spurs 105, Knicks 93

Already this back-to-back junk is getting real old. We just played one of the three or four worst teams in the league -and barely won. We made ten more three pointers than them -and barely won. We shot 83% from the FT line –and barely won. Our point guard matched his season total in assists in this one game –and barely won. Our starting backcourt combined for 60% shooting and 17 dimes –and barely won. Robert Horry mercifully didn’t play, not even for a second-and still, we barely won.

Is anyone else troubled by this? As my noted colleague
Screamin A. puts it,

AP Photo Stephen A. Smith/by Aaron Stampler


This does not bode well for the fifteen other second nights of B2B’s we’ve got this season, methinks. Oh well, a win’s a win I guess. It’s not like I’m foolishly gambling on the point spread or anything. (I save that idiocy for the NFL.)

Anyway, some news and notes from this one:

Spurs’ biggest lead: 23 points, 52-29, 3:33 left in the 2nd quarter.
Spurs’ narrowest lead: 1 point, 92-91, 4:05 left in the 4th quarter.

Spurs turnovers the first 22 minutes: 0
Spurs turnovers the last 26 minutes: 15

Findog: 1-8 for the game, 6-29 (.207 FG%) for the season.

Our two centers, Fabcisco Elerto and Franricio Obson combined for 8 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 assist, 3 turnovers, and 11 fouls in 41 minutes. Yech.

Isiah Thomas benched the entire starting lineup to start the 2nd half. To his dismay Pop didn’t reciprocate.

AP Photo Eddy Curry/by Aaron Stampler Eddy Curry tried to pass it to a teammate in the post with four Spurs in the way between him and his (I’m assuming) intended target. Shockingly, it didn’t work out for him.

Games Manu Has Gone Without An Injury: 4
(But yesterday was a close call)

Beno Udrih had another decent night with eight points, one assist, and most importantly, ZERO turnovers in 16 minutes, but it has to be noted that a large chunk of the Knicks 20-2 4th quarter came with him on the floor running our offense.

I won’t even comment on Tim and Bruce because they were boring and par for the course.

Oh and one last thing…

Dude, the color guy isn’t supposed to talk three times more than the play-by-play guy. You don’t have to offer your opinion on what happened or what should have happened after every…single…play. God was that painful to have to listen to. (But still better than the MNF dopes.)

Your 3 Stars

3) Manu Ginobili – 15 points, 7 dimes, 4 rebounds in his customary third wheel role. Coulda had a double double if Finley and Bonner could knock down some shots. I particularly enjoyed three sequences of his last night…

a) Mercilessly drills a wide open three while Stevie Franchise was rolling around on the other end of the floor in agony (the victim of another “Bruce Bowen Special”) and the Knicks were too dumb to stop play with a foul.
b) A 40 foot bounce pass on the run to a streaking Beno for a lay-up. Just sweet.
c) Near the end of the game, the Knicks have no idea whether to foul or not, there’s a lot of confusion on the floor, Clyde Frazier is going nuts on the TV, and Gino runs the shotclock to two before canning a jumper while being fouled. And one.

2) Brent Barry- Drilled five more threes off the bench, including a hellacious one from 30 feet in the 4th quarter. Unless I miss my guess, his combined 35 points in back-to-back games has to be a Spurs high for him. I think that James White signing might of lit a fire under his butt to either play well or find a real estate agent. For the season Barry is now 10 of 12 on threes and 0 of 2 on layups. The most fun I ever have watching the Spurs is when he, Manu, and Beno are all on the court at once. The Pale Triangle is Maravich-like hotdogging at its finest.

1) Tony Parker- The wee Frenchman must have had a pregame lecture from Pop that went something like, “Yo French fry, if I wanted a point guard who can’t pass I’d coach the Knicks. Start finding the open man or I’m giving Eva Manu’s phone number. He speaks Spanish you know…” Tony responded with by far his best game of the season with 24 points (on 11-16 shooting) and 10 helpers. A couple of the dazzlers were an alley-oop that Duncan finished nicely and a behind the back flick to Brent for a corner three. Most of his eleven bucks came on jumpers too, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. That he made his first two three point attempts of the season has me concerned.

Record: 3-1 Streak: W-2
Up Next: Vs. Phoenix

Tony has an excellent chance to repeat his 1st Star effort since the Suns collectively and Steve Nash in particular play no defense. He’s going to be able to do whatever he wants all game. The key to beating them will be the same as always, stop their transition buckets and limit their open looks from deep. Pop will probably try to establish Tim and Elson early and try to take take advantage inside, especially when Kurt Thomas is off the floor. Wouldn’t kill us to get some offensive boards in this one either, but it’ll have to come solely from the bigs as the other guys will have to race back to limit the Suns’ break.

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  1. Bramlet Abercrombie November 13, 2006

    I know that as a (fellow) rider of Manu’s jock, you feel the need to nurse a latent antipathy toward TP that’s just waiting for a chance to emerge, Michael, but as a Spurs fan you have to be excited about the growth of his offensive game this season. The book on TP has always been that you go under screens to defend him, but this season he’s killing everyone who defends him that way. That means not only that he’s even more dangerous, but also that he’ll be able to spare himself a lot of wear and tear on his body and avoid injuries (just as Manu is apparently trying to do this season). TP’s process of development has been truly amazing to watch.

    I totally agree with you about the “Pale Triangle.” That is some exciting shit that five years ago I thought I would never see from a Spurs team.

    Jesus, yeah, both Frazier and the Knicks’ play-by-play guy are hard to listen to, and we had to listen to them for both games this season. Thank the gods it’s over now. Clyde seems like a nice guy, but he had obviously been smoking something somewhere in the bowels of Madison Square Garden right before that game. His vocal patterns were so dopey that I almost thought he was intentionally trying to do an impression of a pothead. And some of his takes on individual Spurs players were so inaccurate that I couldn’t help sensing a little contempt on his part for the small-market Spurs. In the second game, the play-by-play guy annoyed the hell out of me with his constant whining about how Bruce is such a great defender and that he clearly didn’t mean to injure Steve Francis. Hell, apart from his habit of stepping under shooters, I’m a huge FAN of Bruce’s, and that whiny shit got old really quickly. I will give him props, however, in the unintentional (I think) comedy department. When he said “And here come the first [emphasis mine] boos of the night!” during the MSG game I almost shat myself laughing. How hellish must it be to be a Knicks fan right now? Or to be a player on that team who actually gives a shit about winning, like ‘Liki Rose, and to come to expect boos from the home crowd? Things like that remind me how great it is to be a Spurs fan. In the second game, the play-by-play guy made a slightly patronizing comment about the crowd at the AT&T Center cheering the Spurs even after bad plays, and my reaction was, “Yeah, that’s how it’s supposed to be, asshole – we can encourage our players after they fuck up because we know that they’re true professionals and that their fuckups aren’t a result of a lack of effort or hard work.” But I guess it’s easy to forget how things are supposed to be when you’re around the Knicks all the time.


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