Posts Tagged ‘Tim Duncan’

What it’s all about …

December 19, 2008

Those who are able to watch this video clip and then try to blame the Captain of the Toronto Raptors for the current state of affairs with this team simply indicate their own lack of basketball acumen and sophistication: 

Although this young man can definitely score the ball, in this League, he is not a Prime Time scorer, per se.

What he is, at 24 years of age, in his 5th NBA season, is wise beyond his years, and made of championship material.

1. Find him the right teammates to play beside … like Jose Calderon, for example;

2. Use him at his best position, which is CENTER;

3. Make him focus on his individual strengths, as a person and a player … which include his intelligence, his imagination, his curiousity, his sense of team, his Rebounding, his off-the-ball Defense, his Shot-blocking, his transition game, his quickness and his agility;

4. Help him to better understand his place within the history of the game, and where it is he fits today within the panoramic landscape of Big Men … like Russell, Reed, Cowens, Hayes, Walton, Sikma, Abdul-Jabbar, Moses, Parrish, Laimbeer, Olajuwon, Robinson and Duncan … each one an unique center-piece for a championship team;

and what you will end up with is an extended run in the upper echelon of the NBA … if you really do know what you’re doing, in terms of building a TOP NOTCH organization, from the gound floor up, in the world’s best professional basketball league.

Fail to heed these words, however … and, instead, ask/demand/expect of him to be something which he is not … and it will simply be Just Another Lost Opportunity for the Toronto Raptors Basketball Club.

Players like this … with this sort of ability, stability and strength of character … only come around every so often Where Amazing Happens!

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Where the Tonight Show meets multiple sets of Big Threes

December 18, 2008

Let’s play a quick game of Classic Concentration.

What do you end up with when add together …

The Tohight Show

Karnac the Magnificent

                                                           +
Steve, Chevy & Martin

Steve, Chevy & Martin

                                                           +
Where Amazing Happens

Where Amazing Happens

                                                          =
                                                         ???
—————————————————————————

Hilarity & Hoops all wrapped up into one. 🙂

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Courtesy of BDL

One-on-One: Ernie johnson talks TV, being press secretary

Ernie Johnson is hilarious. It may not come across that way all the time on “Inside the NBA,” but when you sit down and talk to him, it’s easy to see why he has become one of the most popular broadcasters on television. Johnson has a wicked sense of humor and doesn’t take himself too seriously, which are both reasons why the show continues to have success.

This is the final Q and A in a series of interviews I conducted with the show’s personalities (Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith) during my behind the scenes look at the “Inside” set in Atlanta.

Ball Don’t Lie: TNT says that basketball’s biggest night is on Thursday. How can basketball’s biggest night only have two games?

Ernie Johnson: Well, sometimes it’s three. (Laughs) Because it’s exclusive, that’s why it’s the biggest. It may appear to be a misnomer … but no, it’s basketball’s biggest night because it’s the only night that has Charles and Kenny.

BDL: Do you think there is any part of “Inside the NBA” that could be better?

EJ: (Pauses) So, you’re asking what would I change about the show?

BDL: Yeah.

EJ: Nothing. I really wouldn’t. I’m older than these other guys, so I grew up watching Carson, they’re totally different shows, but one of the great things I liked about Johnny Carson when I was growing up was the fact that while he was funny, he was really great when some of his stuff wasn’t funny, or the jokes didn’t go over, and he played it off so well, he wasn’t afraid to [say], “We’ll take a shot at this and see what happens.”

And I think that’s kind of [the same attitude] with Tim Kiely the [Inside] producer and all of us. It’s like, “Yeah, we’ll try something.” And if it’s not funny, fine, but we’re not just gonna sit there and do a cookie-cutter show, that you know what’s coming if you watch it once, you say, “I know what’s gonna happen next Thursday, this is the way they do things.” You never know …

BDL: You never know what’s going to happen around here.

EJ: No, and that’s the beauty of the show. A lot of times even when something doesn’t work it’s like, “That was bad, that didn’t work at all,” but it was funny because we didn’t play it off seriously like, “Oh, well that wasn’t funny, we’re sorry. Is it funny that we weren’t funny … yeah. Not everything has to be hit out of the park; it’s just great sometimes the guys react.

==========================================

Bar none … this corner’s favourite show on television today:

Ernie, Kenny & Charles

Ernie, Kenny & Charles

by a country mile.

——————————————————–

“What he really meant … “ 🙂

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For Everything Else there’s Mastercard!

Best ‘Quality’ win of the season …

November 15, 2008

… occurred last night, in the NBA.

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* The 76ers coming back from way down in the 1st quarter, on the road, to edge the Pacers, [Phi 94, IND 92]?

* The Bobcats home-court W over the under-manned Jazz [CHA 104, Uta 96]?

* The Knicks moving to 6-3 [.667] with their home-court victory over The Thunder [NYK 116, Okl 106]?

* The Nets home-court W over the surging Hawks [NJN 115, Atl 108]?

* The Bucks road victory, in OT, over the Grizzlies [Mlw 101, MEM 96]?

* The Magic’s road win, coming back from an 8-pt deficit, in the 4th Quarter, vs the Mavericks [Orl 102, DAL 100]?

* The Suns’ road victory, in OT, without the services of Steve Nash vs the Kings [Pho 97, SAC 95]?

* The Pistons’ stunning road win vs the Lakers, the NBA’s last-remaining undefeated team [Det 106, LAL 95]?

* The Nuggets gut-check W over the Celtics, in Beantown [Den 94, BOS 85]?

——————————————-

No … actually … it was none of these terrific games, which pale in comparison to …

—————————

When your team is …

* Without its best Wing Player for the first 3 months of the regular season, due to off-season ankle surgery, and then

* Loses its Starting Point Guard for the next 2-4 weeks, due to a high ankle sprain, and then

* Gets off to a 2-5 start, overall

… with a next opponent perceived to be one of the elite level outfits in the League, and then

* Falls behind by 14 pts, at home, in the 4th Quarter [at the 07:37 mark], and then

* Holds its opponent without a Point for the final 4:44 of the contest, and then

* Scores the final 12 points of the game …

taking the lead, by 1 point, with 0:59 on the game clock, on a Layup by your All-star Center, and then

* Sees that Center shot-block away the potential game-winner, in the final seconds of play, on a hard & fast driving layup attempt at the rim by the opponent’s ultra-quick PG

to preserve a much-needed victory [SAS 77, Hou 75] over an opponent with each of its own ‘Big 3’ players … i.e. Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady and Ron Artest … in the line-up last night. 

—————————

THAT … ^^^ … right there, goes down in this space as the type of never-to-be forgotten Victory which will form the basis of the Legacy of the Spurs two NBA immortals, Tim Duncan & Gregg Popovich.

To wit:

Duncan scores 22 points, Spurs beat Rockets
“What can you say about Tim Duncan that hasn’t already been said,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “He provides the leadership on this team. He is the center of the program.”

—————————

He is ‘The BIG Fundamental’ … and this

The Force is With Us.

The Force is With Us.

 

 

his Jedi Master.

What happens when you’re young stays with you forever

November 4, 2008

In the early 1970’s, the fact is, ‘Mr. Clutch’ was the first favourite NBA player of this corner …

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Jerry West still is a reluctant sports hero
West can best be described as one of the most conflicted legendary sports heroes of our time. He is a man who has had a lifetime of success in nearly all facets and has never been comfortable with that.

Part of that might hark back to the third nickname, the one he likes the least: “Zeke from Cabin Creek.” That was placed on him by other players from bigger cities when he arrived in the NBA in 1960, the second pick of the draft and perhaps a comparative hick. He had been an All-American at West Virginia, and nobody questioned his basketball credentials. Nobody but him, that is.

“I didn’t think I was good enough to play in the pros,” he said back then.

As the second-youngest of six children growing up in the relative poverty of Cheylan, W.Va., and learning his basketball craft mostly alone on muddy outdoor courts with cheap hoops, West couldn’t have been less prepared for something like Los Angeles.

“Cabin Creek was about a mile away,” he said, elaborating with a snapshot of life in the ’50s in a coal mining state. “That’s where we got our mail. I’d run there and back. Maybe that’s why I was in such good shape to play basketball. I remember running past Wade’s Pool Hall on a Saturday morning. You could tell how wild a time the coal miners had had the night before by how many of the windows were broken out.”

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While time and increased maturity have succeeded in developing an increased appreciation for the outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the game of terrific players like, e.g. The Great Bill Russell, the ‘Big O’, Kareem, Dr. J, the ‘Moutain Man’, Magic & Bird [because they will forever be linked together], Isiah, MJ, Hakeem, Duncan, etc., it can never overshadow what it meant to these young eyes, late at night, watching on a grainy black & white TV a certain player, wearing #44, who just kept hitting big shot after big shot, in an effort to help his team win a rather silly game, played the Right Way, in short pants with a round ball and an elevated basket.

Although time marches on … you can never ever replace THAT.

Taking on all comers

September 25, 2008

Reading this specific blog entry … precipitated the following thought:

If you could construct your ideal 12-man team of current NBA players, who would you select?

==================

Hmmmmmmm …

From that many possibilities, there would be some exceptionally difficult choices to make … and a lot of supremely talented and valuable players left out in the cold.

Regardless … according to these eyes,

these are the Dirtiest Dozen, in the NBA today:

[listed by position & role]

Starters
PG – Lebron James … far and away his best and most natural position
G/F – Dwyane Wade … the best, taking it to the rack, in the half-court
G/F – Kobe Bryant … Samarai Warrior
PF – Kevin Garnett … Rebounding & Energy are thy true names
C – Greg Oden [my, oh, my] … that’s right, before he’s played a game 

Key Bench Subs
PG – Deron Williams … well-balanced in every respect
G/F – Manu Ginobili … the best 6th Man in existence
PF/C – Tim Duncan … the best combo Big in existence

Reserves
PG – Steve Nash … still the best facilitaor in the business, bar none
G/F – Tracy McGrady … multi-purpose player
PF/C – Amare Stoudemire … multi-purpose player
PF/C – Rasheed Wallace … multi-purpose player

Coach – Philip Patrick Jackson Riley … ‘The Sacred Winner Hoops Within’

“Train them … Excite them … and, Turn them Loose … “

==================

There you go!

Now … Which 12 players would you choose for your team?

[PLEASE NOTE: Who you choose, in what positions & roles, and who you leave out, says a lot about your unique vision of the game.]

Shaq’s all-time ranking, as a dominant player

September 17, 2008

In his weekly chat, David Thorpe [ESPN NBA Insider/Analyst] provides his succinct assessment of Shaquille O’Neal’s legacy, as an NBA player, when all is said and done:

======================

Christopher, Germany: Hi David, love your chats. After they ended their carreers, who ranks higher on the all-time list: Shaq or Kobe?

SportsNation David Thorpe: Shaq.

Nate (New Haven): David, no way shaq ends up higher. Kobe’s got 3 rings, 5 finals appearences, same number of all nba teams and 8 more defensive team appearences. What planet are you living on?

SportsNation David Thorpe: Shaq is top 3 all time in terms of pure dominance. His stats are unreal. Here on earth, we consider such things.

Christopher, Germany: who are the other two all-time-best in pure dominance?

SportsNation David Thorpe: I’d suggest Wilt and Kareem, in totally different ways.

======================

Well … this corner of the blogosphere does NOT concur with Mr. Thorpe’s opinion … in regard to the ‘Big Aristotle’, as a once dominant NBA player.

Speaking strictly as a Center … Shaq doesn’t place in the Top 5 all-time … amongst those I would choose to anchor the middle for a Dream Team.

1. Bill Russell [11 NBA titles in 13 years … nuff, said]
2. Kareem Abdul Jabbar [the greatest offensive force in hoops’ history]
3. Hakeem Olajuwon [the most skilful Post Player of all-time]
4. Wilt Chamberlain [the most physically dominant player in any era]
5. Tim Duncan [the Big Fundamental … nuff, said]

When considering other players, as well, who’ve played other positions … at least, the following individuals would also rank well above ‘the Diesel’, in terms of their all-time dominance … 

1. Michael Jordan
2. Oscar Robertson
3. Magic Johnson
4. Larry Bird
5. Kobe Bryant

at the height of their physical prowess.

There’s no doubt whatsoever that Shaquille O’Neal is the single Most Powerful Force [of Nature] in the history of the game … i.e. combining Size, Strength, Speed, Agility, Quickness, Explosivity and Intelligence.

This FACT is a given.

BUT[T] … and, it’s a rather LARGE One, at this point … there is simply NO WAY, SHAPE or FORM, he should legitimately be listed amongst the MOST EFFECTIVE [i.e. ‘the Greatest’, or ‘the Best’, or ‘the Most Dominant’] players of all-time.

Whether your are ranking by (i) most championships won, (ii) most all-star appearances, (iii) most prolific individual statistics, or (iv) most combined areas of standard productivity/efficiency measures … including overall skill level and/or competitive will, etc., … neither Shaq’s actual performance nor his crunched numbers [associated with his overall body of work] stack up well, in comparison with the greatest players in the history of the game.

Chris Bosh should be starting for Team USA

August 15, 2008

This is the answer which was given in this space [August 4, 2008]  to the following question:

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5. Carlos Boozer and Chris Bosh will be fighting for the back-up Center minutes; who should win the job?

This is a silly question.

If Team USA wanted to dominate the international competition this year … the most potent line-up it could put on the floor would see Carlos Boozer at the 4/Power Forward AND Chris Bosh at the 5/Center positions, not ‘fighting for the back-up Center minutes.

For further explanation, see the link provided in the answer to Question #3. -)

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that was asked by the good folks at Upside and Motor, in their Team USA Blogger Roundtable [to which this corner had not received an invite 🙂 ].

10 days later …

Raptors’ Chris Bosh emerging as a leader for the U.S. team: Draws rave reviews from coach, teammates with strong showing on defense

and it is somewhat gratifying to see that one or two others in the basketball community [at-large] have at last begun to ‘see’ what this corner has known about this young man [Chris Bosh], as a Center in the NBA, for a VERY LONG TIME …

De-constructing the mystery that is Chris Bosh [April 21, 2008]

It never ceases to amaze what some so-called ‘NBA experts’ think they understand about the game.

This is a special team

May 30, 2008

The defending NBA champions were dethroned last night by the Los Angeles Lakers, who were tabbed by this corner on Dec 25/07 as the “Sleeper Pick” to win the title this season.

In turn, earlier this morning, the following is what yours truly wrote on another blog, 20 second time-out … which, btw, is highly recommended reading for those in search of insight into how the NBA game actually works …

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On December 25, 2007 I identified this year’s Lakers team as my “Sleeper Pick” to WIN THE NBA CHAMPIONSHIP THIS SEASON, when LA was still in arears of Phoenix in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference and BEFORE they acquired Pau Gasol … THAT’S HOW GOOD I knew these Lakers were this season.

The only team in the West that could have beaten them this year was the Spurs, if San Antonio was completely healthy, which was clearly not the case given the injury to Manu Ginobili (their most dynamic scorer).

Whichever one of Boston or Detroit comes out of the Eastern Conference is going to have its hands full with this Lakers team in the NBA Finals as, right now, this squad is very, very good.

However, of even more interest to me (and, possibly, other astute NBA historians), at the moment, is where their team is going to go NEXT SEASON … when they fully re-integrate ANDREW BYNUM + TREVOR ARIZA into their line-up.

From my perspective, others would do well to carve in stone the forecast I made earlier this spring [’08] that says,

“The 2008-2009 LA LAKERS WILL WIN 70+ games enroute to capturing another of what will eventually be several more NBA championships … if their team remains relatively injury-free.”

What Phil Jackson & Co. have constructed in LA, right now, is a team that will one day go down in NBA history beside the Chicago Bulls (of Michael Jordan) and the old Boston Celtics (of Bill Russell) as arguably the greatest of all-time.

One of the differences between me and other NBA observers is that frequently I can tell you in advance what is going to happen, with a high degree of accuracy, before it does NOT just after-the-fact.

Enjoy the moment for what it is …

Life is fast and things happen quickly.” – Derek Fisher

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May 19, 2008 … Charles Barkley actually had it right, but was just afraid to step that far out on a limb, in advance, vs Chris Webber & Co.

Fortunately, this corner has no such trepidation.

As was said earlier this week, in this space … it will take a special team to eliminate this group of San Antonio Spurs from the title hunt.

This Lakers’ squad is now that team.

Kudos to Air Force One, the Big Fundamental, TP, GINOBILI!, etc. … the better team won this Western Conference Final (watch ’til the end of the vid-clip).

Now … just as it was told to you, in advance, earlier this season, on Feb 9, 2008, what would eventually happen in the Pacific Division and the Western Conference …

And so It Begins, again … as Phil Jackson now heads toward what will eventually be his (legendary) 10th NBA Championship, as an NBA head coach.

The King is dead. Long live the King.

How the Spurs lost Game 1

May 22, 2008

Winning and Losing playoff games in the NBA … against a top notch, high calibre opponent … does NOT happen on account of:

* Good/bad Offensive Efficiency
* Good/bad Defensive Field Goal Percentage (True or otherwise)
* Ast:Turnover
* 3Pt Field Goal Percentage
* Free Throw Attempts
* Points Scored Per 100 Possessions (PSPHP)

or, any other current Game Stat (‘old school’ or ‘new-age’) you, or any Sabermetrician might care to mention.

Terrific, closely contested battles between two quality opponents, like last night’s Game 1, are decided by specific, individual plays/decisions (made or not made) by specific individuals (players or coaches) engaged in specific individual match-ups, AND the Momentum created/stopped/reversed/etc. by said plays/decisions, at Key (i.e. Fulchrum Possessions) Points in said game. FULL STOP.

Season ‘averages’ are irrelevant.
Relative ‘performance stats’ … are irrelevant.
Statistics, in general … are irrelevant.

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4th Q
Sas 81, LAL 77

6:56 Sas/Finley subbed out for Udoka; Oberto subbed out for Duncan

which produced the following individual player match-ups:

PG – Fisher (6-1, 210) vs Parker (6-2, 180)
OG – Vujacic (6-7, 205) vs Ginobili (6-6, 205)
SF – Bryant (6-6, 205) vs Bowen (6-6, 200)
PF – Odom (6-10, 230) vs Udoka (6-5, 220)
C – Gasol (7-0, 250) vs Duncan (6-11, 260)

and the ensuing series of possessions

6:38 Sas/Udoka Turnover: Bad Pass (1 TO) … Gasol Steal
6:32 LAL/Fisher: Jump Shot: Missed (open/Ginobili) … Ginobil Rebound
6:09 Sas/Parker: 3Pt Shot: Missed (open/Fisher); Duncan Rebound
5:51 Sas/Udoka: Jump Shot: Missed (shot fake semi-contested/Fisher)
5:50 Sas/Duncan Off Foul: Loose Ball (3 PF)

5:50 LAL/Team Time-out: Regular

5:30 LAL/Bryant Jump Shot: Missed (contested/Bowen) … Parker Rebound
5:25 Sas/Parker Fouled [Fisher: Personal (4 PF)]  
5:06 Sas/Parker Jump Shot: Missed (fumbled pass, contested/Vujacic) … LAL Team Rebound
4:57 LAL/Gasol Fouled [Bowen: Personal (4 PF)]
4:48 LAL/Vujacic 3Pt Shot: Missed (open/Ginobili) … Duncan Rebound
4:35 Sas/Ginobili Turnover: Bad Pass (4 TO) … Fisher Steal
4:32 LAL/Fisher Fouled [Parker: Shooting (2 PF)]; Free Throw Made (1 & 2) … Sas 81, LAL 79

4:32 Sas/Udoka subbed out for Finley

which produced the following individual match-ups:

PG – Fisher vs Parker [same]
OG – Vujacic vs Ginobili [same]
SF – Bryant vs Bowen ([ame]
PF – Odom vs Finley (6-7, 225) [new]
C – Gasol vs Duncan [same]

and the ensuing series of possessions

4:13 Sas/Ginobili Layup Shot: Missed (contested/Gasol [Blocked Shot]); Sas Team Rebound
4:10 Sas/Duncan Jump Shot: Missed (open/Gasol) … Fisher Rebound
4:03 LAL/Odom Layup Shot: Missed (contested/Duncan) … Finley Rebound
3:40 Sas/Duncan Jump Hook: Missed (contested/Gasol & Odom) … Odom Rebound
3:39 LAL/Odom Turnover: Lost Ball Out of Bounds (3 TO)
3:34 Sas/Finley 3Pt Shot: Missed (open/Odom) … Vujacic Rebound
3:18 LAL/Odom Layup Shot: Made (contested/Finley) … Sas 81, LAL 81

3:11 Sas/Team Time-out: Regular

3:11 Sas/Finley subbed out for Udoka

which produced the following individual match-ups:

PG – Fisher vs Parker [same]
OG – Vujacic vs Ginobili [same]
SF – Bryant vs Bowen [same]
PF – Odom vs Udoka [new]
C – Gasol vs Duncan [same]

and the ensuing series of possessions

2:57 Sas/Parker Turnover: Lost Ball (2 TO) … Fisher Steal
2:42 LAL/Bryant Fouled (Bowen: Personal [5 PF]); Free Throw Made (1 & 2) … LAL 83, Sas 81
2:28 Sas/Udoka 3Pt Shot: Missed (contested/Odom) … Gasol Rebound 
2:17 LAL/Bryant Jump Shot: Made (contested/Duncan & Bowen) … LAL 85, Sas 81
1:58 Sas/Udoka Jump Shot: Missed (contested/Fisher & Odom); Parker Rebound
1:55 Sas/Parker Layup Shot: Missed (contested/Gasol [Blocked Shot]) … Bryant Rebound
1:32 LAL/Fisher Jump Shot: Missed (contested/Udoka) … Sas Team Rebound
1:22 Sas/Ginobili Fouled (Fisher: Personal [PF 5]); Free Throw Made (1 & 2) … LAL 85, Sas 83
1:05 LAL/Odom Floating Jump Shot: Missed (contested/Udoka & Bowen) … Duncan Rebound
1:04 Sas/Duncan Turnover: Lost Ball Out of Bounds (TO 4) … NO FOUL CALL by Official [Bob Delaney/Center, not in correct position], Duncan Fouled [Gasol hack]

1:04 LAL/Team Time-out: Short

0:56 LAL/Gasol Dunk Shot: Missed (contested/Duncan [Blocked Shot]) … Sas Team Rebound

0:55 Sas/Udoka subbed out for Finley

which produced the following individual player match-ups:

PG – Fisher vs Parker [same]
OG – Vujacic vs Ginobili [same]
SF – Bryant vs Bowen [same]
PF – Odom vs Finley [new]
C – Gasol vs Duncan [same]

and the ensuing series of possessions

0:41 Sas/Duncan Jump Shot: Missed (contested/Gasol) … tipped in by Bryant & Odom … LAL 85, Sas 85
0:23 LAL/Bryant Jump Shot: Made (contested/Bowen) … Bryant Off Foul/NOT CALLED (ala MJ vs Russell-B … ‘MVP No-call’) … LAL 87, Sas 85

PLEASE NOTE:
Key ‘Fulchrum’ Play  in the game … Lakers ran a High Middle/Elbow Pick & Roll with Bryant & Gasol; Spurs responded with Trap/Double-team (Duncan & Bowen); Bryant reversed his direction, kept his dribble alive & STRUNG OUT the Double Team to the Left Sideline, forced Duncan to LEAVE, retreating back to the Key, and making Finley rotate out to find Gasol (open in the Left Corner); Isolated Bryant vs Bowen, for the Middle Drive … PUSH OFF & Pull-up Jump Shot: MADE.

0:20 Sas/Team Time-out: Regular

0:20 Sas/Bowen subbed out for Horry

which produced the following individual player match-ups:

PG – Fisher vs Parker [same]
OG – Vujacic vs Ginobili [same]
SF – Bryant vs Finley [new]
PF – Odom vs Horry [new]
C – Gasol vs Duncan [same]

and the ensuing series of possessions

0:09 Sas/Ginobili 3Pt Shot: Missed (contested/Vujacic) … Vujacic Rebound
0:07 LAL/Vujacic Fouled (Finley: Personal [PF 1]); Free Throw Made (1 & 2) … LAL 89, Sas 85

0:07 Sas/Team Tim-out: Short

0:07 Sas/Parker subbed out for Udoka

whiche produced the following individual player match-ups:

PG – Fisher vs Udoka [new]
OG – Vujacic vs Ginobili [same]
SF – Bryant vs Finley [same]
PF – Odom vs Horry [same]
C – Gasol vs Duncan [same]

and the ensuing series of possessions

0:02 Sas/Finley 3Pt Shot: Missed (open/Bryant) … Odom Rebound
END OF GAME

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WHAT IS RELEVANT in situations/games like these … are:

* A Brialliant play/decision by Kobe Bryant (a Superstar player)
* Good/bad coaching maneuvers/decisions by Phil Jackson (i.e. down-sizing to his ‘small’ line-up with 1/Fisher, 2/Vujacic, 3/Bryant, 4/Odom & 5/Gasol, and sticking with it) & Gregg Popovich (i.e. failing to respond properly to the shift of Odom to the 4-spot and repeatedly substituting with Udoka & Finley INSTEAD OF Robert Horry, until the Moment of Truth HAD PASSED and it was too late for the Spurs)
* 1 crucial Turnover & 3 untimely Missed Shots by Ime Udoka (an inexperienced player for the Spurs)
* Two crucial NO CALLS by NBA OFFICIALS
* The Spurs No. 1 Scorer, Manu GINOBILI!, missing a contested 3Pt Shot with 7 seconds left in Regulation Time … which would have given the Spurs a 1-pt lead

The Lakers were better than the Spurs, in Game 1 … of what promises to be an outstanding Western Conference Finals.

Will Pop figure it out?
Or, will PJ be able to stay one-step ahead of him?

Now … it’s on to Game 2.

 

The champs are … still the champs

May 20, 2008

Everything that is the San Antonio Spurs was on full display in yesterday’s Game 7 vs the New Orleans Hornets … 

* The steadfastness of their unflappable head coach, Gregg Popovich
* The stellar work of their Superstar … ‘The Big Fundamental’, Tim Duncan
* The big game readiness of their important role players, off the bench … Michael Finley (11 MP; 2-2, FGA; 2-2, 3FGA; 4 Rebs), Robert Horry (14+ MP; 2-4, FGA; 2-4, 3FGA; 4 Rebs), Kurt Thomas (7+ MP; 1-2, FGA; 6 Rebs), Ime Udoka (21 MP; 3-7, FGA; 2-5, 3FGA; 4 Rebs)
* The glue guy contributions of their two ‘lesser light’ starters, ‘the Karate Kid‘ (28 MP; 2-5, 3 FGA; lockdown D vs Stojakovic) and ‘l’Hombre‘ (32 MP; 2-2, FGA; 9 Rebs)
* The courageous play of the 2007 NBA Finals MVP, Tony Parker … who took and made the biggest shot of the Spurs’ season, thus far, with the game on the line

and … last but NOT least …

* GINOBILI!!!

When you play ‘the game’ The Way the Spurs do …

(post-game interview last night)

Craig Sager (TNT’s Sideline Reporter): You lost the first two games of this series, then your coach made a big change, he put the Sixth Man of The Year, yourself, in the starting line-up, you won 4 of the next 5 … are you comfortable with starting now against the Lakers this next series?

GINOBILI: I’m just comfortable winning

and

… as long as you understand the game, and you want to get better, and you want to win …” – Manu Ginobili

see the following vid-clips for further details …

(1)

(2)

it is going to take a very special team to dethrone the reigning NBA Champions.

The LA Lakers await … in what promises to be a fantastic playoff series!