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Manu Wrote This Blog For Me

By Michael Erler on December 6, 2006.

Game 18 vs. Golden State: Spurs 129, Warriors 89

Wowzers. That’s more like it. Running, ball movement, not too many careless turnovers, and most importantly, the ball going IN the basket. It’s important to not put too much stock into a runaway like this because let’s face it, we played about as well as we can possibly play against a miserable defensive team. Is it an encouraging sign? Absolutely. But ultimately it’s nothing to be too excited about unless they manage to sustain it going forward.

I mean seriously, what’s there to analyze? We had 75 freakin’ bench points, and I’ll be surprised if anybody in the league puts up a higher number in that category the rest of this season. And no, I have no way of checking that. Homework assignment for Dingo or Bramlet, I guess.

How many different ways are there to state that the team ran on all cylinders?

  • We had 37 assists on 49 made baskets.
  • We shot a blistering 56.5% from three, hitting 13 of 23.
  • Sank 18 of 19 freebies, usually our biggest bugaboo (Tim only had four attempts).
  • Just to put the 75 bench points in perspective, our whole team got only 75 in Utah.
  • We had eight guys in double figures, and Manu wasn’t even one of them. Or Bruce.
  • No starter played more than 28 minutes, and everyone in uniform got at least ten.
  • Heck, even Horry and Finley combined for 24 points on 8 of 13 from the field.

Of course the biggest development of the evening was the return to action of one Emanuel David Ginobili. He only played 16 minutes — coming off the bench no less — but managed to leave an indelible mark on the game by dishing out nine dimes to go with his three buckets. Call me crazy, but I don’t find it to be a coincedence that the ball movement for the team improved as a whole with his return. Passing is contagious folks, and once you get one or two guys making the fancy pass to get the fans going, the rest of the team will want to get in on the act. Or perhaps you didn’t notice Elson’s five assists.

The number of helpers Ginobili had might look impressive on the box score, but really, trust me when I say this, he didn’t play any differently than he usually does. Manu always sets people up with wide open looks the whole game. How many assists he finishes with is dependent solely on how many shots his teammates knock down. Last night nobody missed. I firmly believe that if Pop let him play point guard, he could average 11 assists a game easily.

The reasons he doesn’t do this are because A) Manu can’t guard opposing points, B) he’d be too exhausted to play more than 25 minutes a night if he always had the ball, and C) he’d probably average a half dozen turnovers a game. But as a playmaker, Gino wouldn’t leave any teammates wanting, that’s for sure. I don’t know how many more games, if any, Manu will continue to come off the bench, but as long as he gets 30 minutes a night, I don’t really care if he starts or not to tell you the truth. What I do know is that I love the chemistry of the pale triangle and I’d love to see those three guys play together as much as possible; at least ten minutes per game.

In either case, I can think of a couple guys who’d like for him to play a lot.

In all seriousness it looks like the two old-timers are starting to slowly get themselves into the season mentally, and I am hopeful that they’ll both be more productive as we go along. It was also good to see Brent get his stroke back and for Elson to get some big minutes again. Now the only question is what they’ll do for an encore at Charlotte.

Your 3 Stars:

3) Francisco Elson – The big guy finally got some run tonight, playing 25 minutes. Is he finally out of the doghouse for good? Time will tell. He ran the floor well, was very active on both ends of the floor, and his passing was excellent.

2) Manu Ginobili – He gets extra credit for playing very well in his return from injury. Nine assists is a pretty neat trick in only fifteen minutes of playing time, and he took it to the basket more than he gave himself credit for afterward, with all three makes inside of five feet.

1) Tony Parker – What’s this? A pass first point guard? Tres bien Tony. Seven dimes, zero turnovers, and he hit six of nine shots to boot. Got the team off to an excellent start in the first quarter and we never looked back.

Record: 13-5 Streak: W-2
Up Next: @ Charlotte Bobcats

Our first must-win game of the season looms on Wednesday. I’m being serious here! I think it’d be a totally cool accomplishment for the Spurs to beat everyone at least once this season. I don’t believe they’ve ever done it before, as one or two Eastern teams always seem to have their number in any given season. I’m not sure how many times the feat has been accomplished by any team. Probably the ’96 72 win Bulls pulled it off last. Yet another homework assignment for the fellas at Spursdynasty. Anyway, we’re gonna kick their ass.

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