Whatever Happens, Happens
Geez, it’s been a long time since I’ve recapped a game, if you would call it that. Michael coaxed me out of semi-retirement and asked me to handle the duties for Game 18, and, following his lead, I’m only four days late. So here goes nothing.
Game 18: Spurs 100, Trailblazers 79
Tim Duncan was injured. (But not seriously, thank god.) Robert Horry made his season debut. The Spurs won.
Games like these say a lot about a team. We know that the Spurs are capable of playing well even without their franchise player. But could the Spurs without Duncan hold on to a small lead and win this game?
“It looked bad at first,” said Parker, who scored 27 points and dished out eight assists. “There were still like eight minutes left in the second quarter, so we just had to keep playing, keep playing and then whatever happens, happens.”
The answer was a resounding “YES.”
When Duncan fell to the court clutching his knee, the Spurs were up by six, 34-28. Without Duncan, the Spurs outscored the Blazers 66-51. Impressive. But what does beating up on the Blazers prove?
While the Blazers may be better than their 5-11 record, they’re a very young team and were winless on the road going into San Antonio. By contrast, the Spurs have the oldest roster in the league, are undefeated at home and have tied the best start in franchise history, even with Duncan “putting up relatively modest numbers.” So if this win proved anything, it proved that the Spurs, without Duncan, are still the better team.
I haven’t a doubt that Tim, and others, will miss games this season. Duncan missed two games last season and missed 16 games when the Spurs won their third title in 2005. Manu Ginobili missed seven and eight games in those seasons, while Tony Parker missed five and two.
What concerns me more than injuries is how the Spurs play when they happen. Playing without Tim, Manu or Tony gives Pop a chance to play his bench, tweak rotations and in the case of this game, still win. To prove, I guess, that game 18 wasn’t a fluke, the Spurs beat the Mavericks three nights later. Hell, our Spurs may even beat the Jazz tonight. With or without Duncan.
Whatever happens, happens.
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