Atlanta 100, San Antonio 102
If you ever wondered what it would like for the Spurs to play a younger, less talented version of themselves, last night was your answer.
The result: pretty blah.
The game was interesting in that it was close and the teams were mostly competing. But Coach Bud brought so much of the Spurs’ system with him to Atlanta, that both teams had each other’s numbers for pretty much the entire game. Everybody knew every set being called out by both teams, and the Spurs in particular seemed to be flustered more than usual by their stuff not working. Sean Elliott commented during the game (and many post-game quotes echo this sentiment) that it was like a intra-squad scrimmage.
But while the Hawks might run our stuff and do a passable facsimile of it, they don’t have Parker, they don’t have Manu, and most importantly last night, they don’t have 21, Tim Duncan. In a game of system vs. system, talent will eventually out.
What a night for Duncan. With the choppiness of the game and the way the two teams seemed to bring out the worst in each other, his numbers kind of innocuously crept up. Suddenly, with the game on the line there he was at 20-20. His game winner will be remembered, obviously; and it looks like his jumper is rounding into form. But I’ll remember what he did defensively, protecting that rim like he has for nearly 2 decades in San Antonio. We needed every second of his 35 minutes last night.
There’s not much else to take away from last night’s game. It was blah. Parker seemed out of sorts, but every player on the Hawks also seemed to know exactly where he wanted to go at all times, probably because they’ve been practicing and playing with his counterpart all season. (Teague is not yet Parker, but he has the game and abilities to be. If he keeps working hard, he could run this offense for the Hawks as fluidly as Parker does for the Spurs.) Tiago continued to quietly be a rock for us; Kawhi and Green continued to quietly struggle on offense. Boris and Marco were their usual surprisingly wonderful selves. But the game was just kind of blah.
Except for Mr. Duncan. It saddens me to know that there will soon be a day that I no longer get to root for him in the silver and black.
But that’s for another day. The Spurs take on the Timberwolves in Mexico City on Wednesday night. Minnesota is the home team. I know.
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