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No Artest, no Charles, but plenty of Manu

By Michael Erler on March 11, 2007.

Game 62 @ Sacramento: Spurs 100, Kings 93

What. The. Fuck.

We had the perfect set-up.

A) A Thursday night game on TNT.
B) Charles Barkley’s the biggest Ginobili fan on the planet who isn’t gay, an Argentine, a gay Argentine or me.
C) Manu’s having the best sustained stretch of his career outside of the otherwordly ’05 Playoffs.
D) Ron “Boom Boom” Artest wasn’t going to be in the building. He’s the only King who can remotely check Gonzo.

Artest couldn’t make it, he was all tied up.

All the makings for a night of hilarity and merriment, right?


Of all the nights for The Chuckster to take a vacation, he picked this night. Why not take off last week’s dreadful Clips-Supersonicahs skirmish instead? I mean, I understand everyone deserves some time off and I can only imagine how grueling it must be to work for 45 minutes once a week, but I am severely pissed at Charles. Yeah yeah, they played the recording of him yelling “GIN-OOOOOOOH-BLI!!!!” a few times, but it just wasn’t the same. Plus the underrated glue of the whole operation, Ernie Johnson, was missing as well, and his replacement was a total no talent dweeb. In my opinion Kenny “the xenophobe” Smith is by far the least valuable of the much heralded “Inside the NBA” trio, not Ernie. If they were “The Three Amigos” Kenny would be Martin Short. Very disappointing.

Kiss my ass, Chuck.

As for the game, the first half was a bit of a slog. Defensively we suffered because Ron Ron wasn’t around to take any terrible shots and Corlis Williamson had his way with us inside during the 2nd quarter, making his first six attempts and scoring 15 points despite us playing with two bigs the entire period. Meanwhile on offense we never could take advantage of Bibby with Bruce like we did the last time we played these guys. The scoring was pretty spread out for us and even though Manu got off to a good start, he couldn’t play too long because of foul trouble. Still, when he told Cheryl Miller during the halftime interview that he wasn’t worried about the fouls because he won’t play that many second half minutes, (“15 maximum”) I knew something unusual was about to happen.

Speaking of unusual, not to sound catty or anytning, but did anybody see Eva at this game? What the hell has happened to this gal? Did you see how much make-up she had caked on her mug? She’s aging in dog years. Tony, my man, are you sure you know what you’re getting yourself into? There are literally thousands of young models, actresses and wannabe models or actresses who’d love to make your acquaintance.

I swear to God, the caption for this picture on felt the need to point out that the mascot was the one on the left and Eva was the one on the right. Not a good sign.

The third quarter was just a mess. Nobody could make a damn shot and the quarter ended 17-17. The Kings actually shot it way better, but were done in by seven turnovers in the period. Still a four point game and the win streak was in peril.

Luckily we’ve got Emanuel “White Jesus” Ginobili. The Hustlemaker blitzed the Kings to the tune of 16 fourth quarter points (5 of 7, three bombs, three FTs) and two helpers and we managed to outlast Sacto despite some Martin’s own hot streak there in the final period. The Spurs didn’t recapture the lead for good until Parker, who had been a miserable 3 of 13 in his first full game back from that hip flexor injury, made consecutive driving lay-ups with less than three minutes to go, the second of which was highlight worthy. Again, the field goal defense wasn’t good, but the Kings had five more giveaways.

Manu, bracing for the Artest clothesline that would never come.

All in all, a “C+” game at best, but it was the fifth in seven nights so the guys deserve a lot of credit. Pop’s substitution patterns remain as bizarre as ever. In one memorable third quarter sequence he replaced Elson with Fab, but then seemingly changed his mind as he replaced Oberto with Horry thirty seconds later. Beno didn’t get any run at all even though he’s been shooting great of late and Tony was laboring badly. Bonner checked into the game for the first time with four minutes to go in the 3rd and never checked out. And Manu “15 Minutes Maximum” Ginobili played the final 3/4 of the half (18 mins) without a rest, something I’m almost certain has never happened before in his Spurs career.

Tony: “Damn Pop ees going to Manu more and more lately. You steel like me the most, right Team?” Tim (to himself): ::Just smile and nod, smile and nod.::

Eleven in a row, by hook or by crook, and home sweet home we go.

Your 3 Stars… (sorry this one goes to the usual suspects. Bonner brought some good energy, but just didn’t do anything in the fourth quarter box score wise to deserve a spot).

3. Tony Parker – 5 of 17 is pretty gross, but his best quarter was the 4th and he made some clutch plays. Passed the ball to Manu an’ everything…

2. Tim Duncan – Eight more rebounds then next closest Spur. Not his best shooting night, but solid as always.

1. Manu Ginobili – Fell in love with the three a bit much there in the fourth, but he was probably too pooped to drive. Another MVP performance if for no other reason than he doesn’t hum Hasselhoff songs at the free throw line.

Record: 44-18 Streak: W-11
Up Next: Vs. New Jersey Nets

Ahhh, the team that started it all off. They’ll be significantly healthier than the last time as both Kidd and Jefferson are back in the fold. However this will be a segababa for them and we’re just an awful matchup for them, especially on the inside with Tim. Plus, Tony always seems to get up for _ason Kidd because he’s got a chip on his shoulder for the hardon Pop had for Mr. Husband of the Year once upon a time.

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