The Ugly Ones Count, Too
I was all set to entitle this post ‘Freight Train’ and talk about how our offense was an unstoppable juggernaut. We had 55 points with 4 minutes to play in the 2nd quarter. We were on a roll; the game was ours.
Over the next 28 minutes we scored 32 points.
We still won, and for that, I’m quite happy. And this game had the feel of one of those grueling, ugly playoff games that we’ll have to win to advance. But man, did our offense fall off of a cliff. A big part of that was the Celtics defense, which was swarming and disruptive and came up with lots of deflections and steals and blocks. An equally sizable part of it was just an entire team going cold at once. We still got lots of open looks, we just didn’t make them. Particularly from 3-point land. It happens. However, what got us the 55 points in the first 20 minutes of the game was by going into the paint and making things happen. That well completely dried up in the second half.
This was a Stephen Jackson game. People in the national media seem to think that he won’t play much for the team. The way I see it, we have two legitimate small forwards on the team: Jackson and Leonard. Both will get plenty of playing time. Leonard didn’t play bad, but didn’t shine, either. Jackson made things happen. He got some key buckets, tons of rebounds, and was just a catalyst making good things happen. Leonard generally does the same. Between the two, we have a very potent small forward.
The most interesting thing to me was that in the end game, Pop pulled Parker and went with a Neal/Manu backcourt. This isn’t particularly noteworthy for that. What makes it so interesting to me is that Parker and Ginobili both had horrible games; yet when it came down to winning time, Pop still went with Manu. I actually thought Manu had the worst game between the two, and it wasn’t even close. Parker was ineffective, but mostly neutral; Ginobili was actually hurting the team on many possessions, offensively and defensively. Still, it might indicate that when push comes to shove, Pop still trusts Ginobili just a bit more.
I’ll be happy to never play that team again this season.
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