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Not on MJ’s Birthday

By Jeff Koch on February 17, 2011.

San Antonio 99, Chicago 109  //  46-10  //  1st in the West

As much as I would have loved to win this game, this loss could be expected. A letdown is natural on the last game heading into the all-star break and the last game of a long, nine game road trip. Couple that with the Bulls clearly viewing this as a “statement” game, and the ingredients are all there for a loss. Follow the recipe just right, stir them all together, and then bake them in the magnificence of Derrick Rose, and, voila, a nice, steaming hot loss.

I don’t want to dwell too much on the game. To actually be able to keep the game close for so long might be a victory of sorts in and of itself. This Bulls team is very good. I would not want to face them in the playoffs. They play extraordinary defense, have tremendous length, great shooting, and a world class superstar and closer in Rose, who completely tore Parker and the Spurs apart tonight.

Don’t let Parker’s numbers kind of deceive you: this was as lopsided a point guard match-up the Spurs have seen this year. Parker was helpless in defense in against Rose, who got anywhere and everywhere he wanted.

Gary Dineen/NBAE/Getty Images

On offense, Rose completely stifled Parker. Sure, Parker scored some points, but at the expense of the flow of the Spurs’ offense. That’s not to put too much blame on Parker; Rose played a near-perfect game and deserves all of the credit in the world.

Gary Dineen/NBAE/Getty Images

The Bulls kicked our butts and deserved to win. End of story.

Taken as a whole, the Rodeo Road Trip was mostly successful. 6-3 is a very good record for a 9 game road trip. The win against the Lakers was obviously the signature moment of the trip. The losses against the Blazers and the Bulls were probably to be expected, though it would have been nice to get one of those. If any game should be looked back upon wistfully, it’s probably that Sixers loss; we had every chance to take that game, but our offense completely let us down. Such is life.

In years past, as the myth goes, the Rodeo Road Trip has been the start of the turning point of the Spurs season, when the team bands together and starts its ascent into greatness. The thing is, this year, we don’t really need that. At least not in the same way as year’s past. So we can’t really diagnose the RRT in the same way, and it’s hard to know what it actually means, other than 6 more wins and 3 more losses. We’re already a top tier team with the best record in the league, and as long as we maintain a modicum of consistency, we’ll most likely end the regular season that way. There is still ‘ramping up’ to do, but we’ve spent most of the first half of the season already at RRT level, so, short of going 9-0, I’m not really sure how the trip could have kickstarted anything.

So let’s enjoy the almost-week off with the rest of the team, and prepare for the stretch run. We’ve got some great basketball ahead of us.

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