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Posts Tagged ‘Tim Duncan’

The Spurs Aren’t Done Yet

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Richard Jefferson

Just when you thought it was safe to enjoy professional basketball without all that San Antonio boredom, guess what? The Spurs have heard your complaints and have responded with a hearty, “We don’t care. We are improving our team to make another title run (or two) and you just have to deal with our ‘boring’ style of play.” This particular announcement was made when the Spurs acquired Richard Jefferson from the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for every expiring contract they had, apparently. While the move does leave the San Antonio front line a little sparse, the move immediately improves the talent level of the starters.

A celebratory gif jump >>

Roger Mason Ends a Great NBA Game


As San Antonio and Los Angeles threw down last night, they provided us basketball watchers with a great regular season NBA game, something that doesn’t exist, provided you ask the wrong people. It was a back and forth affair with both teams getting sterling performances from their stars–Kobe went for 29, 7 and 10 while Duncan and Parker had 20. Ginobili chipped in with 27 huge points and this nifty long bomb as the third quarter expired.

After the jump >>

NBA Playoffs: Kobe Powers Lakers To The NBA Finals

LA Wins

Now maybe all this fuss about the Spurs being a boring basketball team can finally be silenced as the Lakers made many wishes come true last night by dispatching San Antonio — and ending the defense of their title, 100 – 92. Leading the way for the Lakers was that Kobe fellow who had 39 points including 17 in the final quarter.

Rounding out the Lakers attack was, of course, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, who had 12 and 13 points, respectively. Gasol also had 19 rebounds, ten of which on the offensive end.

But this game was all Bryant. Playing like the MVP he is AND as a player dying to get back to the NBA Finals, Kobe showed why he’s considered the best player in the league today as he hit an assortment of twisting jump shots, driving layups and did pretty much anything he wanted to do when he had the ball. As indicated, the MVP finished with 39 points while only going to the free throw line five times. Unlike the Utah series, Bryant didn’t get fat at the free throw line against the Spurs, making his performance all the more impressive.

The Spurs, led by Tim Duncan’s 19, 15, and 10 triple-double, were once again done in by a poor game from Manu Ginobili and now they face the specter of “what now?” Do they make wholesale changes to the team in a effort to build a good supporting cast around Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Ginobili or do they keep what they have and try to make another title run in an odd numbered year (next season)?

Tim Duncan

Pounding the Rock has some ideas:

I feel bad for Tim, Manu and Tony. They were good enough this year to repeat as champions. They dragged a bunch of scrubs deep into the Western Conference playoffs, carrying 98% of the workload between the three of them. They deserved a better chance than the front office gave them.

As for next year, it’s obviously time to reload, and in a big way.

As for the Lakers; well, they’ll be resting and waiting on their next opponent. Will it be Detroit or Boston? If the conspiracy theories have any merit, expect to see the Boston Celtics. However, it would be foolish to count out the Pistons, a team that loves being a thorn in the side of league-wide plans.

NBA Playoffs: Close Out Special?

Kobe, Lamar Odom

Is tonight the night the Spurs championship defense comes to an end? With the Lakers holding a 3-1 edge in the series and the game taking place in LA, there’s a very real sense it’s time for the Larry O’Brien trophy to change hands. While NBA Playoff leads of this size are rarely overcome, there are number of Lakers who were apart of the team when they collapsed against Phoenix in 2006.

Those Lakers also had a 3-1 lead.

But these Lakers seem to be a different breed. First off, there’s the Pau Gasol factor. He wasn’t apart of the Lakers then and neither were any of the things he brings to the table. With Gasol, Kobe has a definitive number two guy, making Lamar Odom one of the most versatile and dangerous third options in the NBA.

Then, of course, there is the Kobe factor. When he’s not jumping cars and snakes, Bryant has been playing like the MVP he is and no one on the Spurs looks like they can even slow him down, let alone stop him.

And despite some grumbling rumors, we all know of Kobe’s ability to compartmentalize.

So what does this mean for the Spurs? More than likely, it probably means the end of their season and their reign as NBA Champs, their fourth since 1999. However, if Ginobili can rediscover his shooting stroke and the Spurs can get some help from their bench that extends past the services of just one player — Brent Barry in Game 4 — they may be able to prolong the series.

They’ve already proven Tim Duncan can’t really be matched by the Lakers so if the Spurs do get hot from outside, LA will definitely have to earn their advancement to the NBA Finals.

Game time is at 9/8 Central.

Oh yeah, does the fact that the Spurs have never repeated lessen their impact as a dynasty franchise?

NBA Playoffs: One Win Away

Kobe Bryant

Do you hear that? It sounds like the death knell is ringing for the San Antonio Spurs and their NBA World Championship designation. After an odd ending that saw two potential blown calls — both involving Derek Fisher — the Lakers beat the Spurs, 93-91, taking a commanding 3-1 series lead back to Los Angeles for Game 5.

While the ending of the game is what everyone will be talking about, the Spurs aren’t putting this loss on the refs, at least in the view of the public. To say they’ve squandered opportunities to win in two of the three games they’ve lost is an understatement. In Game 1, the Spurs blew a 20-point lead and last night, they gave the Lakers a number of second-chance opportunities by giving up 13 offensive rebounds.

So while these missed calls at the end did play a part, the Spurs were losing to the Lakers for a reason, and it wasn’t just Kobe. Yes, Bryant was his normally-brilliant self, but the Spurs did a good job of making him earn his points from the floor instead of the free-throw line. Another reason for the Spurs loss — ZERO points from Michael Finley, Fabricio Oberto, Ime Udoka, while only getting 7 points from Manu Ginobili.

Add all of the above together and this is what you get — the Los Angeles Lakers with a hard-to-overcome 3-1 lead over the defending champs. Game 5 is Thursday night. Will it be the last game of the season for the Spurs? When you consider this stat from ESPN Research:

The Spurs have lost seven of eight and 17 of their last 25 playoff games against the Lakers.

It does seem like the end is near. Too bad the Spurs wasted such mighty performances from Tim Duncan, who’s averaging 23 points and 18 rebounds for the series.

NBA Playoffs: Letting Game One Slip Away

Tony Parker

Another way you could title this post is, “Kobe Takes The First Half Off, Lakers Get Down By 20, Still Win” and it would capture pretty much what went on last night in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final. After finishing the first half with only two more points than I scored, Kobe came alive in the third quarter as the Spurs pushed a halftime lead out to 20 points. Apparently, that was the key to getting his attention as he led his team back to beat the Spurs, 89-85.

Bryant finished with 27 points, 25 coming in the second half, including the go-ahead basket.

Kobe’s first half was surreal enough — Bryant only took three shots — to make Phil Jackson wonder if his star had been on vacation. Of course, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was having none of that as he offered his assessment of Kobe’s game:

“Kobe, he was doing a trust-his-teammates thing in the first half. That’s why he had five assists, and he was checking it all out and see where his territory was going to be. In the second half, he went to work. Obviously a difficult loss and we had a great opportunity. We didn’t take advantage of it. Hurts like hell.”

For the Spurs, they were led by Tim Duncan, who had a monster game with 30 points, 18 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. However, if the Spurs are going to win this series, they are going to need more from Manu Ginobili, who finished with 10 points after shooting 3-13 from the floor.

Ginobili also missed a wide-open 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter. Had that gone in, the Spurs would have taken a 1-point lead with 8 seconds left. Of course, that’s plenty of time for the Kobe Bryants of the world, but the point remains. You can’t miss wide-open shots down the stretch. In the NBA Playoffs, made baskets are an incredibly valuable commodity.

NBA Playoffs: Questions About Playing Seven

Chris Paul and Tim Duncan

After a much-needed hiatus, the Spurs and the Hornets are set to resume their playoff series tonight and this time, it’s for all the marbles… or the whole shebang… or perhaps we’re going for a “last man standing” approach. Whatever the case, Game 7 between the Spurs of San Antonio and New Orleans Hornets is tonight. Who ya got?

Are you sticking with the experienced champs or do the upstart Hornets catch your fancy? Tim Duncan or Chris Paul? David West or Manu Ginobili? Tony Parker or Eva Longoria?

Eva Longoria
Yeah, I’d take Eva too

Will the home team continue to be the dominant one or will the Spurs actually buck the series-long trend of the away teams getting beat handily? Will Big Shot Bob further his legend with another, well, big shot? Will Tony Parker and Chris Paul continue to demonstrate how the point guard position should be played or will one of these two dominate the other?

How healthy is David West’s back? What about Tyson Chandler’s foot? Will Peja Stojakovic be able to free himself from the likes of Bruce Bowen and become an effective scorer again? Will the Spurs continue to knock down their wide-open 3-point shots? Which Tim Duncan will show up? The one who played pedestrian-like on the road or the one that looked like the MVP Duncan at home?

And finally:

Why did we have to wait until today for this game? Game 6 was THURSDAY night for goodness’ sakes.

NBA Playoffs: Spurs Are Still Champs

Spurs

After facing watching them face their first elimination game in over a season, we learned something about the San Antonio Spurs — they aren’t giving up their World Championship designation without a fight. In a series where the home team has had the undisputed upper-hand, the Spurs held serve in what could be their last home game of the 2007-08 NBA season.

Now we head back to New Orleans for Game 7, and if you’ve been watching, you already know how much each team has struggled on their away trips. Home team victories in the Spurs/Hornets series have been so lopsided, the average margin of victory is 13.5 points. Can we expect more of the same on Monday (MONDAY? The NBA is making fans wait until MONDAY to see this series decided? WTH kind of schedule is that?) or will the Spurs be the first road team to break through, keeping their hard-earned “World Champions” designation alive?

While continuing their successful defense of their title and keeping their season alive for one more game, the Spurs were being led by Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili who had posted scoring totals of 20 and 25 points, respectively. Duncan also finished with 15 rebounds and 2 blocked shots.

As for the Hornets, they might want to inquire about the whereabouts of Peja Stojakovic. After jumping out of the gates with 9 quick points, the Hornets gunner finished with only 13, meaning he only scored 4 points after the 6:40 mark of the first quarter. If the Hornets really expect to end the Spurs’ reign as World Champs, they are going to need a little more from their designated shooter.

OK, let’s talk about scheduling and the NBA Playoffs: why do Spurs and Hornets (and potentially the Lakers/Jazz — played tonight) series have to wait until Monday to play their Game 7? If the Cavaliers can’t hold off Boston tonight, the two teams will play again on Sunday. Why do the Western Conference teams have this longer-than-usual wait to deal with?

Granted, the delay benefits the Hornets because of issues with David West’s back but that wasn’t part of the equation when these schedules were made. Is there something wrong with Saturday night for the Spurs/Hornets and Sunday for Jazz/Lakers (provided it’s necessary)? What the hell good does it do having TWO Western Conference Game 7s on the same night?

Are we going for the late-game-followed-by-an-even-later-game presentation or did the NBA simply favor the Western side of their league when they were making these schedules up? Whatever the case, it’s a bad idea and doesn’t help a league that’s trying to shed the perception of showing favoritism.