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10 April 2005

It's Just a Dream He Keeps Having...

This Wilco lyric, from the title track of "Summerteeth," is dedicated to Spurs fans in general. These last couple weeks have been, for the most part, a nightmare. But a weekend such as the one now ending is something unexpected and, quite frankly, damn-near unbelievable. More on that later; I want to cover previous games and tie up loose ends.

Lately I have been having all sorts of problems with Blogger. Despite numerous tries I couldn't edit my previous post regarding (mostly) the Denver Nuggets. The main thing I wanted to add/clarify is that, after seeing more evidence (specifically Denver's schedule), I would rather play Denver than Houston. I initially marked that decision a "toss-up."

Now for some quick words about past games.

LA Lakers 94 @ San Antonio 95

I watched the NBATV broadcast of this game on TiVo. It was the worst NBA on television experience I've ever had. I would rather watch a Pat Riley era Knick team play a Pat Riley era Heat team with commentary by Marv Albert and Mike Fratello than go through that Laker game again. Here's what NBATV did.

First off, instead of playing the audio from the game, they had a panel of three guys in the studio blabbing about all sorts of crap, but rarely the actual game itself. They sat in a semi-circle in front of a large screen television. The panel consisted of a couple of NBA old-timers and the token "I didn't play in the NBA, but I can actually put together sentences with polysyllabic words and I also can adequately listen to my earpiece and interrupt for the commercial break" guy.

The worst part was that the video feed would occasionally switch to a view from behind the panel. So the viewer would see three heads in front of a screen showing the game. Unbelievable. Who could possibly think this was a good idea? The producer's last name has to be, Stern-Bavetta, right?

Even with the banal audio turned off I couldn't focus on the game, so I don't remember all that much. My recollections are as follows: Ginobili played dreadfully (7 TOs and 8 points on 12 FGA), Barry hit a runner to give the Spurs the lead and Bryant inexplicably didn't take Horry to the hole and instead missed a 20-footer at the buzzer. It was the perfect ending for a surreal experience.

LA Clippers 82 @ San Antonio 91

Easy, easy win for the Spurs. Parker and Ginobili only played a combined 47 minutes. Glenn Robinson made his debut and looked a lot better than I expected. I always pictured him as one of those players who played 10 pounds overweight. Not in the Oliver Miller realm, but it was always clear he was a repeat offender at the buffet. So I was surprised to see a normally-weighted Big Dog. He clearly wasn't in playing shape, but it was obvious he hadn't let himself go, either. It was clear he was trying to mesh well from the very beginning: during an early timeout he gave a Tim Duncan patented head caress to Tony Parker. On the floor Glenn contributed 7 points in 13 minutes. He's not a plus defender, and he did look lost at times at both ends of the court. That's to be expected, though.

Man, Corey Maggette is good. He's effin' ripped, too. Imagine if both the Clippers and the Warriors are healthy next year. The TWolves will be on the outside looking in again unless they can sign some people that don't fucking suck.

The biggest story of the game had to be Mamadou N'Dyiae. Mainly because I thought Mamadou was Makhtar. I had no idea there was another N'Dyiae in the league, and for some reason that really bothered me. Are these guys related? They have to be, right? And why don't they have a reality show, or at least a weekly comedy hour? The Queer Eye fellows definitely have time for them, no? They could release a series of movies like Mary-Kate and Ashley: Mamadou and Makhtar in Milan or Makha and Mama in America. The alliterative possibilities are plentiful and undoubtedly pleasingly prurient.

(For the purposes of full disclosure I must admit that I am pretty sure "Makhtar" is a word in Klingon. However, I have no idea what it would mean. If that makes any difference. It probably doesn't. I should just stop typing now.)

I am not fit for this blogging thing. The Spurs win consecutive double overtime games on the road and I spend 100 words on two big men from Senegal who have a combined 499 points in the NBA.

San Antonio 68 @ Dallas 104

The rest of today's Wilco lyric is "...And it doesn't seem to mean anything" and it goes out to Jerry Stackhouse and the Dallas Mavericks. This past Thursday they won the NBA Championship in decisive fashion, crushing the Spurs by 36 points. Oh wait, that's not it. This past Thursday the Mavericks earned a trip to the NBA finals by sweeping the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. No, that's not right either. The Mavericks, in resounding fashion, locked up a division title by bludgeoning a rival Spurs team. Hmm, that's wrong, too.

On Thursday, the Mavericks beat a Spurs team without its best player on the second game of a back to back. Ginobili and Parker played a combined 40 minutes. The Spurs shot 0-12 from three. For some reason the entire Dallas team whooped it up the whole second half. Darrell Armstrong was waving towels, the bench was standing up most of the time and Stackhouse was talking trash. Afterwards he said, regarding Duncan: "He would've made a difference," Stackhouse said, smiling, "but I don't think he would've made a 40-point difference." He continued on with "I think we were able to put them on their heels with our defense," Stackhouse said and culminated with the following:

"About the only thing that went wrong for the Mavericks was letting Mike Wilks hit a short jumper with 13.3 seconds left, preventing them from giving up their fewest points. Team owner Mark Cuban told the players on the bench how close they were, so they were all standing up and rooting for one last defensive stand.

"They just got a lucky little putback," Stackhouse said."

I just don't get it. This game meant nothing. The only thing the Mavericks could be happy about is not embarassing themselves. They weren't even playing for playoff positioning. San Antonio was without their best player, intentionally limiting the minutes of their other two best players and clearly threw in the towel (in terms of who was playing) with 18 minutes to go. What is Dallas so happy about? And why would they do anything to piss off the Spurs? Which they clearly did: sometime in the second half Duncan ripped up a stat sheet one of the coaches was holding and said "This means nothing."

The Spurs were in a similar position a couple of weeks ago; they played a depleted Sonics team at the SBC center and crushed them. The Sonics never even had a lead. And the game actually meant something in the sense that the #2 seed was in doubt at the time and this particular game determined the tie-breaker. It was just another game to the Spurs. No laughing it up or spouting off inciteful quotes to the reporters afterword.

Needless to say, a post season series between these two teams would have a little something extra.

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Tomorrow or Tuesday I'll spend some time talking about the incredible weekend and review the playoff positioning situation, which has gotten interesting thanks to Shaq's illness and Phoenix's shoddy play.

San Antonio Spurs Blog is not affiliated with the Spurs organization or any major publication.
All content copyright Matthew Powell 2005.