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How Low Can We Go? (Michael flips out).

By Michael Erler on January 18, 2007.

Game 40 Vs. Los Angeles: Lakers 100, Spurs 96

Okay. I’ve tried to be nice. I’ve tried to be patient. I’ve tried to be understanding. But how much more of this sloppy stinky crap are we supposed to take? How many more times will a slightly above average team bitchslap us across our proverbial faces while we just smile and reply, “Thank you kind sirs, may we have another?”

Is there anyone on this team anymore who can play two consecutive games without letting you down in some fashion? I submit that there is not. If you don’t believe me, let’s run down the list, just to twist the knife a bit more. What can I say, I’m a masochist.

We’ll start right at the top with Coach Wino Zitface. Once again he had his ass tactically handed to him by Big Chief Triangle. If you add up Tim’s, Fab’s and RoHo’s minutes, it comes out to 69. My math skillz tell me that comes out to 27 minutes out of 48 where we were in full Tinyball mode (48 x 2 – 69 = 27). I can understand this strategy if perhaps Fin and Bones and Bruce were all playing fabulously well, but that was simply not the case. Hell for a stretch there in the 2nd half we played Beno and Tony together, and after that JACQUE FREAKIN’ VAUGHN and Tony when the Lakers knew there was no way the former would ever touch the ball. Mayhaps it is time the Coach checks himself into AA, hmmm?

Duncan. You heard of Jimmy the Greek? I give you Timmy the Meek. The crappy free throws you can handle. He’s done it for years and years and that just how he rolls. But what’s with this new fangled passivity on defense? It’s one thing for Kobe to cram it in his grill repeatedly, but when Rony Turiaf can go in there without fear, something is seriously wrong with the big fella. Where is his aggression on defense? Is it a subtle protest on his part to Pop that he can’t block shots AND be expected to gobble up every rebound? Is he nursing an undisclosed injury? Is he simply getting old? I wish I knew what the deal was because right now Richard Simmons could take it to the hole against us. No, not that way you pervs.

Timmy can’t handle this.

Tony. Okay, how can I say this diplomatically? I despise Tony. I can’t watch one stinkin’ game without him doing something to make me scream at him. I can’t stand the fact that every year the only part of his game that ever improves is his scoring, but that as a point guard he’s still basically the same guy that he was as a rookie. How he can’t average six dimes a game with the plethora of scoring options around him is a joke.

The guy can’t stand that Manu is more popular with the fans than he is. It doesn’t sink in for him that he is playing in San Fucking Antonio and that the people will naturally gravitate more for the guy who can speak the espanol. Also, fans tend to like players who come up huge in playoffs and 4th quarters and things like that. People who know the game tend to like players who can come up with clutch plays on both ends of the court, maybe take the occasional charge for the good of the team, make good unselfish yet crowd-pleasing decisions on the open floor and generally look like the “W” is their only priority.

Does that sound like Tony to you? We all knew he’d come out of the gates aggressively after the garbage Chicago game, but of course as the game got tighter and later, Tony’s play and decision making deteorated like it always does. On one 3 on 1 break in the third quarter he had Brent to one side of him and Bowen to the other side and does he pass it to the more athletic guy, the more natural finisher who also happens to be leading the league in free throw shooting? No. He passes it to Bruce. Brilliant!

Then in the fourth, we’re in the middle of a 10-2 run and up one with 2:35 left when Bowen comes up with another steal. A 2-on-1 break with Tony and Manu, the guy who’s triggered the comeback with eight fourth quarter points, including the last six. All Tony has to do is pass the ball and we’re going to get at minimum two more free throw attempts out of it from a guy who’s nailed his last seven. We’d have a 3 point lead and the crowd would be going bonkers. Or imagine if we got an and-1 out of it? Game fucking over my friends. But Tony doesn’t pass it to Manu and instead gets it stolen from behind when he tries to slow it up. The Lakers score on the other end and the Spurs never lead again. This was the last of at least a half dozen times where Tony had a wide open Manu on a break and refused to pass the ball.

It would be one thing if his selfishness or insecurities ever led to a positive result, but inevitably when Tony takes it inside against multiple defenders the result is a blocked lay-up, a missed lay-up, or most often a turnover. If guys are open in the perimeter, they’re open for a reason, because the defenders are IN THE PAINT. I am sick and tired of “attack mode” Tony. You are not a fucking Go-Bot, you’re a point guard. Would it kill him to watch some tapes of Steve Nash? Is there another point guard in the league that pouts when being told to pass the ball to the shooting guard?

And I’m getting VERY tired of hearing the same old crap about “Manu doing nothing for the first three quarters.” Manu cannot pass himself the ball. And Manu surely doesn’t call the plays. How many shots Manu gets is largely a result of the decision making of Pop and Tony. I don’t think it’s a coincedence that Manu took five of his six 1st half attempts when Tony was on the bench. All this stuff about Pop conserving Manu’s energy for the fourth is a bunch of hogwash. The guy can score whenever he wants to. Manu’s had a bunch of games this season where he’s scored the bulk of his points early. But what happens is that Tony’s ego is so fragile that much like Josh Howard of the Mavs, we have to get him going early or he’s worthless for the rest of the game.

Something has to be done about this. I know it’ll never be public because Pop is too smart for that, but one of these days he has to pull Tony aside and ask him what his deal is with Manu. He’ll pass the ball to Fin or Barry or even Bowen, but not to the one guy who can do something with it. Is he afraid if Gino scores a lot he’ll get to the All-Star game and he won’t? All I know is that it’s becoming more noticable than ever that the two of them cannot play together. We might as well bring Manu off the bench right now because he’s nothing but a decoy when both Tim and Tony are on the floor with him to start the game. The sad thing is Beno is playing so terrible that we can’t have him on the floor for more than 10 minutes either. I don’t know what the solution is. Maybe Brent at backup PG. Hell, maybe Manu at backup PG. But I’m not crazy. Even my friend Manolis, who is not a Spurs fan by any stretch noticed it yesterday watching the game. It’s painfully obvious to anyone who’s watching that Tony has problems passing the ball in general and passing it to Manu in particular.

As far as I’m concerned that botched fast break cost us the game and his ongoing selfishness is hurting the team’s chances in the big picture. The one game where Tony “tried to make a point” Kobe-style about how valuable his scoring is by not taking a shot in the entire first half against the Clips, we had 65 points in the first 24 minutes and he had 12 dimes. And since that object lesson worked so well, he decided to shoot it 9 times in the 3rd quarter of that game and we only scored 25 that quarter, so there you are. This selfishness will undermine the team but Pop doesn’t see it. I think he gives Tony credit for being more mature than he really is. If he thinks he can ride Parker to ca
rry the team in the regular season to save Tim and Manu and than have Tony gracefully and seamlessly slide over to the 3rd banana role come May, he’s in for a rude awakening.

For one, Tony proved last year he has no intention of taking a back seat to Manu in May (until the 4th quarter of course) and forced the issue to the point that he played like complete crap against the Mavs, trying to make things happen (or perhaps you all forget the dazzling statline of 25 assists, 25 turnovers in the 7 games). For another, our team is no longer good enough to cruise through the regular season without Manu and Tim busting their ass every night. We’re so weak right now 4 through 12, that we need the big three all playing well to win unless we play crappy-ass teams.

But whatever. Enjoy your scoring obsessed point guard folks. Enjoy 14 assists on 34 made baskets. Enjoy watching a team that used to take pride in outsmarting its opponents and would be above petty narcissistic “I’m the Man” quarrels spiral toward oblivion thanks mainly to a stubborn front office and a diva at quarterback with a Hollywood starlet at his side, always reminding him that she’s not about to brag to her friends that her man is only the 3rd best player on a championship team. Fucking Yoko Ono.

You, yeah you. Why don’t you set me a screen or something?

Manu. Just because I spent 2,000 words ripping Tony, don’t think you’re blameless in all of this, Schnozzo. A part of why you don’t get the ball until the fourth is because you’re too damn nice. Unselfish. The perfect teammate. Oh you’ll scream at Nazr or Elson or somebody if they miss a defensive rotation or don’t screen when they’re supposed to, but you’ll never tell the coaches or Tony to pass you the fucking ball.

Mayhaps if you made them aware of the fact that you’re getting a bit ticked at having to be “Mr. Savior” all the time they wouldn’t use you that way. Or maybe you get off on it, I don’t know. All you have to do is play hard for one quarter and everybody loves you.

Well guess what? I know you can’t jump like you used to. After yesterday, I know that old Manu will never return for sure. There was this play in the 2nd quarter where you put this move on the right side of the lane and planted your left foot hard on the floor, I mean really drove it down hard trying to explode off the floor as high as possible because you were going to cram it on two Lakers, risk of sprained ankle be damned. I’ve seen this foot plant before countless times, but not too much lately. This time you meant it though.

Except you couldn’t do it. As high as you got, it wasn’t high enough, and you sensed you were about to get swatted at the rim so at the last moment you kind of faded back and tried to float a lay-up from three feet away, like that’s what you were going for the whole time. It rimmed out, but even if it went in, it’d be irrelevant. I knew you were trying to dunk on them and you couldn’t.

You’re my favorite player of all time dude, but we both know you only have two, maybe three years left as a star. If you don’t press the issue with your teammates now and take the reins of this flawed team, you’re going to regret it when your career is all said and done. Sure you’ll be remembered as a hell of a nice guy by everyone, but you’ll also be known as a guy who won his last ring in 2005. You need to start being an active leader on this team and kicking some ass in the locker room. Let people know you want the ball. Take it to the press if you have to. Something on this team has to change because neither you or the team is good enough to win when you’re just playing for one quarter.

Also, six turnovers is fucking ridiculous and your 3 pointer attempt at the end was pathetic. You barely hit the rim. It’d be nice if you could make one of these in the last two minutes of a game.

You know your humble author is upset when even Manu cannot escape my wrath.

Bruce. God, what more needs to be said about this? Kobe had him for a between meal protein snack and none of us were surprised in the slightest. Remember when he used to deny penetration and make people take contested jump shots? What happened to that guy? Now he’s… well you know.

I don’t understand why Pop hasn’t tried to bring him off the bench with Finley as a starter. In my mind it would kill two birds with one stone. Findog is more used to starting anyway and is obviously uncomfortable in a bench role. We can start him without having to bench Manu, necessarily and this way it doesn’t affect Brent’s role. Plus if Bowen plays only 20 minutes, we can use him in crunch-time in the 2nd and 4th quarters where the other team’s stars really try to take over and he doesn’t have to worry about pacing himself. I’m amazed Pop hasn’t tried this. How long will it take before he realizes that Fin and Bruce cannot play together in a small-ball alignment or otherwise?

And finally…

Beno. You suck. You suck. You suck. You suck. You really, really, really, really, really, really suck. As much as I dislike Tony – and I dislike him probably more than any non-Argentinian Spurs fan on the planet – I don’t want him to ever be off the floor because of how much you fucking suck.

I can’t defend you anymore. I just can’t. Even Hollinger refuses to, so that should tell you something. It is impossible for you to play one five minute stretch without either passing, shooting, ballhandling, or defending like a complete fucktard. I can’t stand that our point guard position is like the Atlanta Falcons quarterbacks where one guy can run fast and do nothing else and the other guy just freaking sucks. Thanks to you, not only does Tony look like the better option at all times, but I’m actually daydreaming of how the team would do with Barry as the backup point – and he can’t guard me right now.

In summation, you suck and I no longer care if you get traded or what you get traded for. I’m fed up with you. I’m fed up with pretty much anybody who plays for us right now.

P.S. No really, you suck.

3 Stars…. No 3 Stars today. Everyone who played yesterday was garbage in some form or another except for Brent, and he was terrible against the Bulls. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh.

Record: 27-13 Streak: L-2
Up Next: Vs. New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets

The beat-up Nooch have been our patsies twice already this year and I suppose the third is around the corner. Why, we might win by as many as six, even seven points. It changes nothing. Wake me up when we beat somebody decent again. I shudder to think of what the rodeo road trip will be like. Have you SEEN that schedule? Oy vey.

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  1. Michael January 20, 2007

    This is the greatest blog posting ever.


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