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The Battle and The War

By Jeff Koch on January 24, 2011.

San Antonio 113, Golden State 102  //  38-7  //  1st in the West

The Spurs easily won the battle tonight, but almost suffered a huge setback in the war.

Playing the Warriors is usually an exercise in enjoyable offensive basketball, but can usually tell us little about the team in a broader context. The Spurs dispatched Golden State by making lots of wide open jump shots and leading a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day-like parade to the free throw line. Also credit our bench for chipping in 46 points to their bench’s 14 points, and giving us 105 minutes of solid play to their 54. That’s right, our bench almost doubled them up in minutes played, and more than tripled them up in production.

But when Tim Duncan went down late in the 2nd quarter holding his bad knee, every Spurs fan probably threw up a little in their mouth, wondering if the fairy tale season was rapidly approaching midnight. It can’t be overstated how much health has helped the team out this year, especially as most every other contender has battled some form of injury already this season. Our time will come when we lose a top player for some time, and how we weather that adversity will say as much about the team as our gaudy 38-7 start.

But not Duncan’s knee. Anything but that. The last two seasons have come to a disappointing end not from a catastrophic injury, but to the slow erosion of Duncan’s knees. His condition is degenerative and continual, and we can only hope that rest, conditioning, a space age knee brace, a top notch training staff and some luck can keep him in superstar form. But one wrong misstep, one awkwardly landed foot, one clumsy collision, and it could all be gone. Duncan is still the foundation upon which any championship will be built, and the health of his knee is the keystone.

We won a mostly insignificant battle Monday night; more importantly, we didn’t irrevocably damage our chances in the war.

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