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Winning a Championship MIGHT make it up to me.

By Michael Erler on January 4, 2007.

Game 32 @ Cleveland: Cavaliers 82, Spurs 78

Dammit. Only 32 games, and already the dream is dead. As you may know, it was my very ambitious goal for this club to beat everybody in the regular season at least once, but now it’s not going to happen. One would think that the feat wouldn’t be that hard for a team of the Spurs caliber, especially since everyone in the Eastern conference sucks out loud.

Yet somehow, someway, the freakin’ wine and gold uniformed Cavs have gotten the better of us not once but twice this year. How a team as talented offensively as the Spurs can only score 50 points in three quarters is mind boggling, is it not? The main problem, as I saw it was Tony was the only person who was mentally into the game last night. Maybe everyone else partied too much during New Year’s, maybe a road game against a crummy Eastern team didn’t sufficiently get their dander up, or maybe it was the new (old) ball.

Maybe Tony just gave a shit because he wanted to play well for Eva. Perhaps for future road trips the front office should insist on all the significant others coming to the games. Just gonna throw that idea out there. (It wouldn’t make everyone a turnover prone ballhog would it? Nah, nobody else’s wife is a Hollywood diva floozy.)

I know three things hurt the Spurs for sure.

1. If the team got anything from Bruce or Manu, they would have won.

2. Pop’s over the top antics to defend Tim’s incessant whining cost the team big time. Three technical free throws are kind of a big deal when you go on to lose by a mere four points. I love Duncan, he’s the best player in Spurs history and the best power forward in NBA history, but his antics are getting embarrassing. If he wanted the refs to respect him more he should have made more rap albums and movies and Nike and Gatorade commercials instead of hiding at his house and spending time with the wife.

3. Drew Gooden’s ridiculous “hairstyle” had to distract the guys a little bit. He’s completely shaved except for a square patch ON THE BACK OF HIS HEAD RIGHT ABOVE THE NECK. This thing has to be seen to be believed. It’s amazing we ever made a basket when he was on the court. Have you ever tried shooting a basketball while laughing? Not easy.

Anyway, believe it or not, overall I’m not that upset about the game. I think it’s important to note that our defense was quite good and that’s the most important thing. Sure, the Cavs went off in the fourth, but they hit an awful lot of tough shots to do it. I think the defense has been pretty strong since the Bucks game. I’m not quite sure if it’s at championship level, but it’s a lot better and more consistent than it had been. And Elson is still out (hopefully this is just a coincidence).

Offense on the other hand was a complete nightmare. Pop had his hat handed to him by a guy who looks like Al Roker.

Somehow the Cavs, an ordinary defensive club any other night completely shut us down because their coach knows us so well and we’re so damn predictable. Has Manu ever been guarded so well before in his career? They always trapped him with a second guy no matter where he was on the key with the ball. They harassed Timmy just as well and somehow still found the manpower to limit Bones Barry to just four shot attempts in 24 minutes. The ball movement just wasn’t there. Only 14 assists in 28 field goals? Weak.

In the Hawks game we had an excuse in that their interior defense was garbage so we could just drive to the hole all game long, but that wasn’t the case here. Sorry, but Tony has to bear some of the responsibility for this trainwreck. Three assists in 36 minutes for an NBA point guard is pretty pathetic. I don’t care how bad his teammates were shooting it, Tony should be able to get five dimes a night playing with four streetlamps. And no matter how awful Manu was out there, something must be wrong with the offense and the point guard’s execution of said offense if the starting two guard only gets eight shot attempts in 29 minutes, and five of those were jacks from way out.

That brings me to my next point. Manu sucked, okay? Not even a little bit either. This was a “suckiest suck who ever sucked” kinda peformance. Happy? I said it, so there. For whatever reason he just wasn’t into the game mentally from the beginning and was content to drift from one end of the floor to the other without ever touching the ball or wanting to do anything with it if it happened to come his way. However, everyone is entitled to one terrible game now and then, so I think all this “Manu has been crap” this year that I’ve been seeing on Spurstalk is totally unfair and shortsighted. Gino had an absolute kick ass December, in limited minutes, and his Hollinger PER rating before the Cleveland game was a career high 23.60. That placed him 3rd in the NBA for shooting guards, behind only Wade and Kobe and a tick behind Redd. See? Ginobili isn’t listed in Hollinger’s listings with the other players, because he missed a couple games, but trust me, his rating does exist, and even after the Cleveland debacle, it’s still his career best. I’m not lying dammit!

What I don’t understand is why when Manu’s playing well Coach Wino Zitface
plays him only 25 minutes, but when he’s playing like total ass he gets 29. Pop needed 29 minutes of evidence to see that Manu didn’t have it on this night? He should have never gotten more than 15. And if Pop was looking to get him going, why not run some actual plays for him instead of having him camp out in Dayton every play and shooting only eight times? Why not chew his ass out on the bench about taking it to the rim or calling a pick and roll or give and go or some such shit? It blows my mind that Finley can shoot 2 of 3 in 8 minutes in the first half but not see any floor time in the 2nd half but Manu can practically beg to be benched and he’s left on the floor. THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE OF THIS HAS HAPPENED THE WHOLE FUCKING SEASON!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!


Um… sorry. Lost it there for a second. Good thing I said this game didn’t upset me much.

The Pop-Manu rant has kind of taken all the wind out of me for the Bowen bitching I had planned on doing, but fear not, I predict I will get the opportunity for that in the extreme near future. Let’s just say I wasn’t overly impressed with Bruce “holding” LeBron to 19 points, since he had double team help every single time James had the ball in a half court situation. Kind of a waste of a defensive specialist if he needs help on the perimeter AND a tall dude to protect the rim, no? Couple that with Bowen’s outstanding 0 for 6 performance from the field, and y
ou can imagine how I felt with him getting 33 minutes against Cleveland.

God. Whatev.

Your 3 Stars (Such as they were).

3. Michael Finley- Shoulda played more. I can’t wait til he gets 32 minutes in a game he shoots 1 of 13.

2. Tim Duncan– Quit being such a weenie and just play. It’s unbecoming. You’re not playing for Mark Cuban, you big dork.

1. Tony Parker– Had more field goals than the rest of the starters combined. This works about as well as Vick leading the Falcons in rushing. (Sigh).

Record: 23-9 Up Next: @ Minnesota Timberwolves
I don’t think we’ll have to worry about Tim being excited for this one. I expect the team to play a lot faster on offense and with much crisper ball movement. The question will be whether they can do that and still maintain their defensive effort. I would think we’ll see a much better game out of Manu too since he gets a little thrill of driving Garnett batshit every time he scores. I actually read Garnett’s lips when he screamed “I HATE THAT MOTHERFUCKER!!!!” in a game on TV last year when Manu got an and-1. And we all know how he feels about Wally. What’s with KG and white ballers? If you put him on the floor with Oberto, Barry, Manu, and Udrih, would he punch somebody? At least then he’d be in the playoffs again.

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