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Chocolate Bunnies and Michael Finley 3s with the Shot Clock Expired That Still Miraculously Count

By Jeff Koch on April 13, 2009.

Those are the two best gifts I got this Easter.

What a frustrating game. And I didn’t even watch the first half, as I was driving down I-5 coming back from Easter with my girlfriend’s family in Seattle. I can only imagine I’d be even more enraged (and more relieved) if I’d seen us fall behind by 16 to the Sacramento Kings without their best player.

Because I missed the first half, I won’t dive into the numbers or do my usual recaps. I don’t feel I can fully appreciate what the numbers mean if I don’t get to watch the game unfold. From my untrained, naked eye, it appeared that we were settling for too many 3s and long jump shots; that when we did drive to the hoop, it was reckless and rarely resulted in anything good; and that we were playing too much one-on-one and not relying on ball movement and spacing. Kurt Thomas was an offensive rebounding machine, and it was nice to see us turn the tables on a team in that department for once.

The game was close, we probably didn’t play our best, but a win is a win, and we move on to Golden State tomorrow. Just two more points I want to touch on: resting Duncan, and Finley’s game winning shot.

I’m glad that Pop rested Duncan in this game. If we’re going to rest Duncan for one game in a back-to-back, why not make it the first? Why not play him in the game he is better suited for and/or the game that we need him for the most? Both of these opponents are playing out the string, and neither really have a dominating inside presence (Spencer Hawes great game notwithstanding). But as Popovich correctly notes, Duncan usually has big games against Golden State, and can help us get that win. It’s a gamble for sure, but I like the decision.

Kings fans have a reason to be angry. It’s fairly clear that Finley’s shot did not beat the shot clock. As the rules stand, it is a non-reviewable play. The ironic thing is, if the game clock had expired during the shot, they could have reviewed it and made the correct call. But since a second and some change was left, they could not go look at it. This rule seems silly to me, and I hope that they can amend it in the future. Obviously, I don’t think that every potential shot clock violation should be reviewable; but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to make a rule that says any clock situation within the last minute or thirty seconds of either half can be reviewable. Small little errors happen all game long, and it’s easy to look back and play the ‘what if’ game. But these moments are compounded when they happen in the waning seconds of a close game, and it’d be nice to have some way to ensure that things are as accurate–and fair–as possible. I’ll take the lucky break, and I’ll take the win. But I won’t begrudge the Kings fans their ire.

We have a Monta Ellis-less Warriors team tomorrow night with a fresh Tim Duncan. I expect good things.

Happy Easter. Go Spurs Go.

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