No Bucks Gets Stopped Here…At All
In yesterday’s post, I talked about how the average scoring margin across the NBA in the early going is right around 12 ppg. One probable reason for this is that if a coach feels his team doesn’t have it, he is probably more prone to throw in the towel and rest his top players, as there is most surely another game right around the corner. A smart move. On the flip side, the drawback of getting caught in a close game is that if you go for the win, you’re doubling down and risking not only that evening’s game, but possibly the next game, too. So losing tonight’s game against the Bucks could actually end up costing us two games, as we now have to fly back to San Antonio and play Houston on Wednesday night.
Obviously we had to go for the win as close as the game was throughout. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Duncan didn’t even suit up against Houston. And Jefferson and Parker also both played big minutes, so who knows what their availability will be for tomorrow, though I do expect both to play.
In this early season, the whole rotation has been kind of wacky between allotting minutes and covering for injuries. A few games after seemingly breaking out, Green could barely sniff the court tonight. Was Pop hedging a bet or two for the Houston game? Leonard got big minutes tonight and looked great, even though he was torched by Stephen Jackson. I don’t think a lot of that was his fault, as Jackson just had it going. He played good and active defense, and looked a lot more comfortable on offense. Most encouraging, he looked as if he might actually have an NBA jump shot, which is a relief.
Some other thoughts from tonight’s game:
–Both Parker and Duncan started out hot tonight, but very few other Spurs seemed to be involved early. I’m encouraged by Duncan’s game, and his outside shooting continues to impress and support my theories from yesterday. Parker, on the other hand, played a sneaky bad game. Sure, he scored. But I didn’t like the way he ran the offense, and I felt like he was pressing too much at the end of the game.
–Let’s hope the TJ Ford injury isn’t serious. I’ve already gotten spoiled having a real back-up PG. Without Manu or Ford, we really have no other player (besides Parker, obviously) who can handle the ball at an above-average level. Neal did an admirable job, and I think his offensive game is pretty diverse (and he’s clearly stolen Parker’s teardrop). But he lacks any sort of creativity with the ball, much like George Hill. Parker can’t play the entire game, and with no real back-up PG, our second unit bogs down immensely. What has been a positive will quickly turn into a negative.
–Again, Pop made some interesting rotation choices in the second half. I don’t begin to understand his decisions, but I trust them. Still, I’m surprised we didn’t see more of Anderson and Green in the second half, especially with Ford out, forcing Neal into PG minutes. Seemed to be a lot of available time at the 2 and the 3. Leonard played great, but I’m sure he was tired by the end of the game.