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21 June 2005

Uno Mas

The big NBA news of the day is that there will be no lockout. ESPN is reporting that a new CBA will be announced later today. "I bring you tidings of great joy that will be for all people..." The media will no doubt give credit to Billy Hunter and David Stern, but the lion's share of praise should go to the Spurs and Pistons. Their horrible display of non-competitve basketball on the biggest stage forced the powers that be to hammer out a deal. David Stern probably saw the following in a dream:

-NBA Finals, filled with bad games and lacking any real marketable superstar, end with the lowest ratings in history.
-A tall, semi-athletic white big man from Australia goes number 1 in the draft.
-Cleveland announces that Larry Brown will be the new team president. Lebron James immediately announces he refuses to play under him and will instead take the season off to work on his modeling career.
-NBA owners lock out players. ESPN then dedicates 5 hours a day to talk about how ridiculous the lockout is. Bill Walton calls it "the most shameful event in the history of mankind." Greg Anthony says "negotiating CBAs is all about matchups" and Steven A. screams incoherently.

That's not a good off season, folks. Kudos to everyone involved for getting something done before the season is even over. That's good business.

*****

I, like everyone else, noted Tim Duncan's poor performance in the fourth quarter and overtime. I wanted to revisit game 5 and point out that the man did have 19 rebounds, more than the Wallaces combined. He certainly brought great effort and took it upon himself to control the defensive glass (though he did get good help from Bowen and Manu).

I probably don't say this enough, but he's definitely a great, great player and the Spurs would have 0 titles without him. That's obvoius of course; but I am saying it to ensure I do not come across as a irrational Duncan hater. Having said that...

Watching this series has lead me to the conclusion that Rasheed Wallace has more talent than Tim Duncan. He has a better jumper. He's faster and quicker. He's a better leaper. He has scores of post moves. His fall away jumper is unguardable (Timmeh said so himself). And yet he's about 2/3 the player that Duncan is. In a way it's a little sad; the wasted gifts, lost time.

*****

Here are some things to look for tonight:

-I expect to see Bowen spending more time guarding Chauncey. He's causing the most problems for SA's defense and Bruce should do a better job of getting around screens. Also, this will encourage Detroit to force the ball to Rip who will have a size advantage over Parker. I hope Hamilton shoots the ball 80 times tonight; I had no idea I would have so much fun disliking the guy.

-Hopefully the Spurs will isolate Manu early. They cannot expect Horry to go for 21 points again; that production has to come from somewhere and The Sickness is the best candidate. Early success may numb the pain in his thigh.

Predictions are dumb:

SA 90
DET 80
The Sickness: 24/7/7
Timmeh: 26/20
Hamilton gets the MVP

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All content copyright Matthew Powell 2005.