Worst. Win. Ever.
Not much about this game matters beyond the extent of Duncan’s injuries, but we’ll discuss it just the same.
The first half was incredibly efficient and beautiful Spurs’ basketball, even after the injury. In fact, the team went on a tear after the injury. Scoring 51 points and holding the other team to 26 is just incredible. Everybody was playing hard, the defense was completely locked in, and we were doing whatever we wanted everywhere on the court.
The second half was probably the worst half of Spurs’ basketball this season. The 60-45 edge is damning, but only tells part of the story. The team had no life, no energy. If not for the dominant first half, this is a game we would have lost handily. The defense was particularly horrible. Twice a Wizards player made it all the way to the hoop uncontested in a half court set. That is not something a Popovich team ever does. Washington was getting wide-open 3 after wide-open 3. The only reason we won the game was that they missed most of them, until the final minutes. Offensive rebounds were leading to second chance points. Errant passes and sloppy ball handling were leading to fast break points. It was a train wreck.
The offense wasn’t much better. Luckily, we have Tony Parker, who did just enough in the 4th quarter to maintain the lead and give us the win. Parker had some beautiful plays with Tiago to steady the ship. But even Parker was doing too much, not playing within the system, and trying a bit too much of “hero ball”, trying to win the game himself with bad jump shots and wild forays to the basket. But can you blame him? Nobody else on the team was showing any inclination of playing well or stepping up.
In the end, our first half was too dominant for their second half. And it’ll go down as a win. But man, what a horrible win.
A few more notes from tonight’s game:
–Danny Green must be studying Ginobili film, stealing the opening tip and taking it in. He’s been coming close for a while now, so it was great to see him finally get it. And then to dunk it was even better to see. Green has a tendency to go up soft and get his shot blocked. More dunking, please.
–Gary Neal can dunk? Yes, yes he can.
–One wrinkle to the offense I’ve been enjoying is Stephen Jackson in the post. He’s a big body, and not afraid to go hard, and it’s a nice option to have, especially in the second unit without a dominant ball-handler on the floor.
–Blair is a complete train wreck (there’s that phrase again), and I’ll be happy to see his minutes cut in critical games.
–Likewise, Bonner has been shooting very poorly lately. I don’t think he does well under pressure, and this whole “Let Bonner Shoot” campaign has stuck a fork in his shot.
–Pop always seems to pull the starters a bit soon, in wins and losses. I thought, with about 2 minutes left, he went to the bench too soon. And wouldn’t you know it, the Wizards got a stop or two, hit a couple of 3s, and cut the lead to single digits. Granted, it would’ve taken a lot more to lose the game, but one or two more possessions for Parker and the starters probably would’ve salted the game away a lot quicker.
This is the last game before the start of the Rodeo Road Trip. We’re off until Wednesday, when the team plays in Minnesota. Obviously, the big news will be Duncan and his injury. Here’s hoping for just a sprain. The team can afford a few more weeks of Duncan rest; it might even serve him and the team well, ensuring his freshness come playoff time. But anything major or–God forbid–season-ending would be completely heartbreaking. It looked bad in the moment, but after being helped off the floor, he did seem to walk under his own power, so let’s hope for the best.
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