I Can’t Promise I’ll Try, But I’ll Try to Try
Spurs 107, Timberwolves 101 // Record: 16-3 // 1st in the West
Giving up offensive rebounds makes me angrier than Pop after a phantom travel that was never called. The most important aspect of a successful defensive possession is ending it, and the only ways to do that are by turnover or rebound. If you can’t rebound, you can’t be a good defensive team. Or a championship team. When you lose the rebounding edge by 22 (59-37), you usually lose the game. When you collect 29 defensive rebounds to the opponent’s 24 offensive rebounds (meaning that on most TImberwolves misses, it was a 50-50 proposition as to who was going to get the rebound), you usually lose.
And we had every right to lose this game, and we deserved to lose this game. But when you play young, inexperienced teams, sometimes 12 minutes of inspired basketball can wipe away 36 minutes of junk. When the game tightens and the possessions magnify, teams with the experience and the mettle will almost always win out. And what are the Spurs if not experienced? What is an early December game at home against the Timberwolves when you’ve won overtime games in the playoffs? To the Timberwolves, this would have been a big win, and it showed in their execution and tightness coming down the stretch. Not that we executed particularly well in the end game, either. But we did enough. And in a long, 82-game season, there will be nights when that is about all you can ask or hope for.
George Hill and Tim Duncan were our two best players tonight (and the numbers bear this out, as they were +16 and +19 respectively, far and away the best on the team) . Duncan with his rock-steady excellence, Hill with his energy and tenacity off the bench. I’ve never seen Hill this fired up in-game, and his emotion helped carry the rest of the team to the win. After a slow start to the season, Hill has been a monster the last few games, and he seems to have rediscovered his confidence and grown comfortable in his 6th man role.
And let’s not forget to credit Pop for getting thrown out. If you don’t think he knew exactly what he was doing in getting ejected in the hopes that it would light a fire under the teams collective ass, then you just don’t know the man. Either that, or he had a nice bottle of wine to open.
The New Orleans Hornets come to town for the third meeting between the two teams already in this young season. We’ve split the first two games, with each team taking one on the other team’s home floor. After two pretty bad games, I’m expecting the team to come out sharp and energetic.
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