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We Were All Witnesses… to a Royal Beatdown

By Michael Erler on November 4, 2006.

Well, there goes the dream of an undefeated season. The Spurs got whupped on by Cleveland up, down, and sideways. How thorough was the beating? Well, the Cavs shot it better from the field, from downtown, and from the line. I think they even had more dunks. In fact I’m sure of it.

Also, they out rebounded us, both offensively and overall, had more steals, more blocks, fewer turnovers, and even managed to outscore our bench despite getting only a paltry 16 points from their reserves.

(We got an even paltrier 15.)

So in short, it was fugly out there.

I was going to point out how the “I’m a witness” catchphrase was perfectly fitting here for the ballgame since “Witness” was a movie about rape and Bowen got unmercifully abused by BronBron on national television all game, but it turns out that I got my Kelly McGillis movies confused. “The Accused” was the rape one while “Witness” was the Amish murder one with Harrison Ford.

So I’m not that clever.

What does this loss mean in the long run? Not a damn thing. If the game was in Cleveland on the second night of a back-to-back, I wouldn’t have given the Spurs a shot going in, but because it was the home opener, and because the fans were going to be stoked about the opening night win at _allas, I thought maybe the energy of the crowd would’ve inspired the boys to give a better effort.


They won the one they wanted to win and treated their first home game like it was just another contest in the middle of February.

Culprits? There were plenty.

Piling on the Pylon

Not only was the spectacularly overrated Bruce helpless against the chiseled James, but unlike the Mavs game he couldn’t give us anything on offense either, shooting only 1 of 5 for two points. So far our Defensive Player of the Year hopeful has given up 56 points combined in his two individual matchups to Bronie and Josh Howard aka “The Big Bug.”

Looks like they signed James White just in time because Bruce Bowen has turned into Bruce Pylon.

Also, Robert Horry’s jumper is still in deep hibernation, Michael Finley couldn’t find the range, and Game 1 standout Francisco Elson was in too much foul trouble the whole night to be much of a factor.

The real goathorns belong to Coach Wino. Once again, I have no idea what he was doing out there. How come every time Manu hits a couple of shots, Popovich yanks him from the game right away? I mean god forbid we go on a run or anything. Gino was 5 of 7 for 13 points in the first half, pretty much our only guy who had any semblance of life, and somehow he didn’t get off his next field goal attempt until less than a minute remained in the 3rd quarter. That’s just bad coaching, pure and simple. Of course Manu finished 5 of 11 with 14 points. Pop completely took him out of his rhythm.

And what’s up with his use of Bones Barry? One night the guy doesn’t get off the bench, the next he doesn’t play until halfway through the 3rd. What is this Doc Rivers bullshit? Can we make have kind of rotation please? Brent didn’t get a shot off in 12 minutes.

It also wouldn’t have been a bad idea to put Bowen on their second best guy Hughes, double team LeBron at all times, and make Eric Snow beat them. Just a thought. It’s not a good sign when the coach looks just as disinterested in the proceedings as the players.

Your 3 Stars (Such as they were)… Pretty boring today, just the big three. Expect that to be the case, in some combination or another, a lot this year.

3. Manu Ginobili – As I said, he singlehandedly kept the team in it in the first half, but he couldn’t get anything going in the second. Either his legs weren’t there, or they didn’t look for him. Probably a little of Column A, a little of Column B.

2. Tony Parker – Another gutty effort on his sprained ankle, and he totally dominated his matchup with Snow, as expected. He made a couple of mistakes overpenetrating, as always, but his assist numbers would have looked better if anybody could’ve knocked down a shot.

1. Tim Duncan – Struggled for most of the game, but had that one heroic five minute stretch late in the 4th to almost bring us all the way back. While 25-12-5 looks good on the surface, he did have five turnovers (including a couple of gruesome passes) and was a horrid 11-19 from the line. The Cavs had no answers for him, just like we had no answers for James. The difference is that they went to LeBron the whole game instead of the very end.

Season Record: 1-1 Streak: L – 1
Up Next: @ Toronto Raptors

This could’ve been a loss for us if we came out on top vs. Cleveland, but I think a grouchy bunch of mofos will be taking the floor in Toronto. Duncan especially will be pissed because of the ridiculous noon starting time.

I would not want to be the Raptors on Sunday.

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  1. Bramlet Abercrombie November 6, 2006

    That was a tough game to swallow, and an even tougher one to watch. But I still have a couple of things to say in your whipping boys’ defense.

    While I agree that Bruce probably isn’t quite the defender he once was, I think LeBron would have made anyone look silly that night. The man was just monstrous.

    As for Coach Wino, I don’t agree with all of his decisions, but one thing he can never be accused of is being disinterested. And I always temper my outrage at what I feel are his fuckups, because I know that Pop is always thinking about long-term success and building the foundation for a championship. Early-season victories against teams we probably won’t face in the playoffs don’t matter as much to him as learning about matchups and the abilities of individual players and different combinations of players. And he’s stubborn sometimes because he’s trying to develop his team’s ability to handle certain situations – e.g., defending teams like the Cavs without overreliance on double-teaming. Having said that, I agree about one thing – go to Manu more often, Pop! He’s looked good when he’s actually taken shots. Once again, however, I think Pop is trying to get other things going offensively and saving Manu for big games later in the season and the playoffs.

    At least you can be happy that Pop let Bones off the bench early in the Toronto game and that he made the most of the opportunity. He and Fabri saved our asses.

  2. Dingo November 7, 2006

    I’m with you, Michael. Why wouldn’t Pop let Manu play more minutes, especially when he was shooting the lights out? As you pointed out, Manu was 5 for 7 in the first half, including 3 for 4 from behind the arc. That’s sick!

    Then again, I always give Pop the benefit of the doubt. He has three more championship rings than I do.

    Maybe Manu shooting the 3 wasn’t in Pop’s game plan?

    Or maybe Pop is more concerned, so early in the season, about getting quality minutes and offense from Bowen (1-5), Finley (1-7), Udrih (2-7) and Horry (0-4)?

    He’ll need more from those guys next spring, and he knows he can count on his big three.


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