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Elson-less Spurs Halt Skid

By Daniel Strickland on January 8, 2007.

The SpursDynasty staff had a rare opportunity to watch a game together Wednesday night, game 33 against the Timberwolves, and the Spurs lost. It was their second consecutive loss, and they went on to lose a third against the Mavericks on Friday night.

The Spurs led by three going into the fourth, and then things unravelled. I’ll leave the post-game analysis to Michael, but it was hard to watch the game without recalling the Spurs-Mavs playoff series last May. That was the last time the Spurs lost three straight.

The Mavs lead the series 2-1 this season, and while it’s easy to make excuses for the two Spurs losses, it’s not satisfying. Yes, Elson was sorely missed Friday night, but the Mavs beat the Spurs in November when Elson was healthy. Elson had a big game in the season opener, and the Spurs won.

How important can Francisco Elson possibly be? After all, he’s averaging just 5.3 points and 5.1 rebounds a game this season. Well, those 5 points might have made the difference against the Mavericks Friday night — the Spurs lost by 5. When Elson scored just 2 points against Dallas on Nov 24, the Spurs lost by 3. When he scored 12 to go along with 6 boards and 2 blocks on Nov 2, the Spurs won by 6.

Bottom line: the Spurs will need Elson back in the lineup if they’re going to get past the Mavs and have a chance at another ring this year. The bad news is that the Mavericks are the best team in the league right now. The Spurs don’t match up as well against the Mavs as many of us had hoped they would with Elson, and the Spurs will be without Elson for at least two, and as many as six more games.

Game 35 vs. Memphis: Spurs 110, Grizzlies 96
Record: 24-11 Last 10: 5-5

Bowen was back tonight against the Grizzlies, after having been missing in action for the past two weeks. Horry and Finley also had breakout games. But against the league’s doormat? And without Tony Parker in the lineup? I’m not enthusiastic about this win, but at least the Elson-less Spurs ended their three-game skid.

The rest of January will speak volumes about the Spurs capabilities, with or without Elson. Seven out of 12 games will be against likely playoff teams, including the Lakers twice, the Jazz and the Rockets. The Spurs won’t play the Mavs again until April 15. Here’s hoping for Francisco’s speedy recovery.

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