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  1. #1
    So Very Close timvp's Avatar
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    In the first 15 minutes of the game, the Spurs looked like a well oiled machine. The defense was active, the offensive execution was precise and the chemistry was undeniable. But then the wheels of the machine came off and the Blazers dominated the rest of the contest on their was to a 95-86 victory.

    The Spurs were able to get out to a 39-20 lead in the beginning of the second quarter by using one basic strategy: attack Greg Oden. When San Antonio had the ball, all they did was run pick-and-rolls with the big who Oden was defending. The result was either an open jumper or a clear path to the basket literally every time down the court.

    However, the Blazers adjusted by going to a zone defense and the Spurs never recovered. The open looks disappeared and combined with an elevation of energy from Portland, doom was spelled for San Antonio. In the final 33 minutes of the game, the Spurs were only able to score 44 points.

    Though the loss wasn't too surprising considering that the Spurs are without Manu Ginobili and the team was playing on the second night of a back-to-back, it definitely was painful in terms of the Western Conference standings. The Spurs now face the very real possibility of beginning the postseason on the road.

    -Tim Duncan begged Pop to play. In retrospect, the right decision would have been to sit him. Duncan looked decent early on but he looked progressively worse as the game went along. After being reinserted into the game in the fourth quarter, Duncan moved so slowly and so uncomfortably to a loose ball that I saw the team's championship era flash before my eyes. Apparently Pop saw the same thing and quickly benched Duncan for the rest of the game. At this point, Duncan isn't anywhere near healthy enough for the Spurs to have hopes of winning two playoff games -- much less two playoff series.

    -Tony Parker played well to begin the game but then just totally ran out of gas. By the end of the night, he was cramping up. I thought his effort was commendable even though he didn't produce at an overly high level. Like the rest of his game, his defense started strong and then faded as the contest progressed. If Parker is wearing down too, that would be the final nail.

    -His statistics aren't amazing but I like what I'm seeing out of Roger Mason, Jr. He's being very aggressive with his offense and seems to realize that the Spurs need him to constantly look for his shots. Defensively, I thought this was a step in the right direction. His ability to chase when going around screens was much better than usual and his attentiveness on defense was good to see. Perhaps most importantly, Mason played decently well as the backup point guard for the second straight game.

    -Michael Finley wasn't a part of the problem on this night. He defended adequately well and gave great effort on the offensive end. He ran the court hard and even cut to the basket a few times. The Spurs really need one of Finley's hot streaks right now if they have any hope of surviving without Ginobili and with a hobbled Duncan.

    -Matt Bonner was a little bit better. His rebounding was still sub par but he at least was active on the glass. He also helped out on the offensive end with both his shooting and his movement off the dribble. Going forward, the improvement he's made this season in being able to put the ball on the floor makes him a much more complete offensive player. Now if only he could rebound . . .

    -Ime Udoka led the bench in minutes and I'm still trying to figure out why. Perhaps Pop was being nice in letting Udoka go up against his hometown team. He had one stretch where his defense against Travis Outlaw was very good but outside of those few minutes, Udoka was mostly a liability. He was much too impatient on the offensive end and his defense wasn't too heady.

    -Drew Gooden followed up his best game as a member of the Spurs with perhaps his worst game. He played well early and had a few nice moves but he totally lost his confidence by the end of the game. He started forcing shots even more than usual and was continually out of position defensively. I'm not sure if he's taking lessons from Bonner but Gooden's rebounding has been horrible as of late. There was at least a half dozen times where his man leaped over him for a rebound. No defensive rebounds and only one total rebound in 20 minutes simply will not get it done. In his last 117 minutes, he only has 16 rebounds. To begin his Spurs career, he had 16 rebounds in his first 40 minutes.

    -Kurt Thomas provided his usual good effort. He got into a bit of foul trouble which ended up limiting his aggressiveness. Thomas also struggled at times trying to keep up with the young athletes on Portland. And as can be expected, he doesn't look too comfortable in this current four-man bigman rotation.

    -Pop once again went with Bruce Bowen earlier on and Bowen responded with some very good defense to begin the night. But then he seemed to get out of rhythm on the defensive end and started trying to do too much and ended up hurting the team. Hopefully Bowen can find his role and his rhythm before the playoffs begin.

    -George Hill played eight minutes but didn't do much of anything. He got a late garbage bucket and that about sums up what he did on the night. He couldn't have been more invisible if he tried.

    -Marcus Williams, San Antonio's former second round pick who they signed earlier in the day, played the last few minutes and I was actually impressed compared to what I've previously seen out of him. His jumper is still ugly but his elbow seems to be more under the ball now and as a result his hitch isn't as noticeable. He also had some rotation on the ball on his two buckets, which was a big improvement over the knuckleballs he previously shot. Defensively, he looked a little bit quicker and not as lead-footed. Granted, it was a short glimpse but the signs of improvement were obvious.

    -There wasn't much Pop could have done on this night. Duncan and Parker had nothing in the final three quarters and the Blazers were playing very well. I thought sitting Duncan when he did in the fourth quarter was the correct move. I also liked that he gave Mason extended minutes. My one point of contention with Pop on the night was his use of Udoka. When Udoka isn't playing under control, it's best for everyone involved if he takes a seat on the bench.

    Next up is a Friday match against the Utah Jazz. Not only do the Spurs need a win, they need Duncan to show signs that he's healing and Parker to show signs that he has enough gas in the tank to make a final push.

    Four Rings.
    Last edited by timvp; 04-09-2009 at 03:47 AM.

  2. #2
    Ruffy RuffnReadyOzStyle's Avatar
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    Nailed it.

    Thought Mason was great for the first time in a while - even his handle and playmaking were great.

    Poor Tim. I've been seeing this: "...the team's championship era flash before my eyes..." quite a bit lately watching Tim too. Those knees are robbing him of his game most of the time, and as I understand it tendonosis is a degenerative condition with no real cure. Tim might not have the slow, graceful slide towards retirement in 2012 with most of his basketball faculties intact that I'm sure we were all hoping for. Let's cross our fingers and hope (or pray if that's your thing) that a long off-season of rest will help him heal properly.

    Oh, and CUT THE BENOPHOBIA, POP!!! Get our man Hill out of storage - KID CAN PLAY!
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  3. #3
    Best Nuggets Troll Ever NuGGeTs-FaN's Avatar
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    Just out of curiosity, when was the last time the Spurs started the playoffs on the road?

  4. #4
    Believe. crc21209's Avatar
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    Spurs should still be able to get the 3 seed.

    Spurs have Jazz, Kings, Warriors, Hornets left.

    Blazers have Lakers, Clippers, Thunder, and Nuggets left.

    Rockets have Kings, Warriors, Hornets, and Mavs left.

    So pretty much the Spurs need to win out and have Portland and Houston lose 1 game each to secure the 3 seed. Or the Spurs can afford to lose a game..but need Portland and Houston to then lose 2 a piece.
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  5. #5
    Believe. crc21209's Avatar
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    Tonight was a big, big loss. It hurt. Seeing the team up 19 in the 1st half I knew it was only a matter of time before the lead was lost. It sucked, but hey the team ran outta gas. Especially now with Manu out. Like I've been saying though there are no back 2 backs in the playoffs so Timmy should be fine. And I have great confidence in Pop, TD, TP, and Bowen to step their games up in the playoffs and make adjustments when needed to. I do not ever doubt this team in a 7-game series. A team can win a game or two sure...but it takes four to win a series.

  6. #6
    Shutty.. Bukefal's Avatar
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    They started so good, it was very very dissapointing to see the game fall like that. Anyway, we must not give up. Spurs are possible to win these last games, and i think they can easily. GSG!
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  7. #7
    PRICELESS SPURS FAN polandprzem's Avatar
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    IMO it always was a big mistake not using zone defense by Pop.
    Now Lj wrote that Blazer went on a zone defense which made spurs players disoriented. And wow to that is that the spurs were one of the best 3poitn shooting team in the first half of a season.

    All in all - let's just hope we won't get much worse in injuries department when the playoffs ends for the spurs.


    4
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  8. #8
    Sean Marks > Manu AussieFanKurt's Avatar
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    the collapse wasnt fun to witness
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  9. #9
    Govt, stay away!
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    Yeah can't fault these guys. Effort was there.
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  10. #10
    Govt, stay away!
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    also George hill had a great chance to probobly get back in the rotation and blew it. Ala against Indiana.

  11. #11
    "The ball don't lie." dbestpro's Avatar
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    I went to the game. My perspective is slightly different. I give everyone one of the Spurs players an incomplete grade past the first quarter and I give Pop an F.

    I have been going to Spurs games since the 70's and this game was as close to a tank job as any Spur's game ever. The first quarter showed what we could do. Gooden and Duncan on the floor at the same time opened up a lot of shots for everyone. Then Pop went small for the next three quarters as we had to sit and watch the Spurs get out rebounded 41-27.

    Gooden, Duncan and Thomas were left alone one at a time in the game to roll against the bigs of Portland. By doing this Pop hung each one of these guys out to dry.
    I would have preferred he sit Tim for the whole game and let Thomas and Gooden have at it. I can live with the injuries. I can live with an early playoff exit. what I can't live with is the failure to compete by the coach. The players played hard and they deserve better.

    Pop has taken this to a point where the integrity of the game is at stake. If you watched the game on TV you might say, "Oh, its just another game for the Spurs to prepare for the playoffs."

    Tell that to all the people who paid to watch Pop tank the game live and in person. I love the Spurs and always will, but I love the game of basketball more. A failure to compete is just not acceptable.

  12. #12
    Focused Chaos benefactor's Avatar
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    I'm not really taking this loss to heart. We all know what to expect from this team with our current situation being what it is. That being said, anything good that happens...whether it be winning out for home court in the first round and/or somehow managing to win a playoff series...is a positive in my mind.
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  13. #13
    Veteran WalterBenitez's Avatar
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    Nice recap, sad to be honest, I think time to rebuild around TP is coming.

    TD's era will be over in 2010/2011, I asume that Manu won't last more than that.

    How to replace them?
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  14. #14
    Believe. Old School 44's Avatar
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    A tale of two halfs, unfortunately summed up how I think the playoffs will be for the Spurs. If our jump shots are falling, we'll blow teams out. If not, we will see more of the second half Spurs.

  15. #15
    Big Mo MoSpur's Avatar
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    I love Gooden's aggressiveness on the offensive end, but I think a big part of signing him was because of his rebounding. As of late, he hasn't done too much of that like LJ mentioned. I don't know what it is. I thought he would come in here off the bench and really clean the glass. He did that early on when he first got here, but hasn't shown that since. I hope its just a slump.

    I liked how Finley looked last night. That's the first time in a long time that I've said something nice about Finley.
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  16. #16
    The OL' Perfessor wildbill2u's Avatar
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    Spurs should still be able to get the 3 seed.

    Spurs have Jazz, Kings, Warriors, Hornets left.

    Blazers have Lakers, Clippers, Thunder, and Nuggets left.

    Rockets have Kings, Warriors, Hornets, and Mavs left.

    So pretty much the Spurs need to win out and have Portland and Houston lose 1 game each to secure the 3 seed. Or the Spurs can afford to lose a game..but need Portland and Houston to then lose 2 a piece.
    What we really need is to fall to the 8th seed so we can play the Lakers first. If we can't beat them when we're as fresh as we're gonna be, then we have no chance in the WC finals anyway. But I can't see any way we can fall that far. Caught right in the middle.

  17. #17
    Veteran Mel_13's Avatar
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    I went to the game. My perspective is slightly different. I give everyone one of the Spurs players an incomplete grade past the first quarter and I give Pop an F.

    I have been going to Spurs games since the 70's and this game was as close to a tank job as any Spur's game ever. The first quarter showed what we could do. Gooden and Duncan on the floor at the same time opened up a lot of shots for everyone. Then Pop went small for the next three quarters as we had to sit and watch the Spurs get out rebounded 41-27.

    Gooden, Duncan and Thomas were left alone one at a time in the game to roll against the bigs of Portland. By doing this Pop hung each one of these guys out to dry.
    I would have preferred he sit Tim for the whole game and let Thomas and Gooden have at it. I can live with the injuries. I can live with an early playoff exit. what I can't live with is the failure to compete by the coach. The players played hard and they deserve better.

    Pop has taken this to a point where the integrity of the game is at stake. If you watched the game on TV you might say, "Oh, its just another game for the Spurs to prepare for the playoffs."

    Tell that to all the people who paid to watch Pop tank the game live and in person. I love the Spurs and always will, but I love the game of basketball more. A failure to compete is just not acceptable.
    Wow, I know that's what you think you saw, but that's just not what happened. The Spurs were not outrebounded because the Blazers had more bigs on the court. The Blazers won that battle because their bigs were better rebounders. Their 3 bigs played a combined 86 minutes and had 31 rebounds including 9 offensive boards. In a combined 82 minutes our 4 bigs had 14 and 4. 31-14 bigs against bigs in similar minutes.

    They played small for about 10 minutes, we played small for about 14. Most of it to deal with a lineup with Travis Outlaw at PF.

    You saw a tank job, I saw a team on an empty tank. That's debatable. But saying the Spurs went small against a 2-big line-up for most of three quarters just doesn't matchup to the facts.

  18. #18
    "The ball don't lie." dbestpro's Avatar
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    Wow, I know that's what you think you saw, but that's just not what happened. The Spurs were not outrebounded because the Blazers had more bigs on the court. The Blazers won that battle because their bigs were better rebounders. Their 3 bigs played a combined 86 minutes and had 31 rebounds including 9 offensive boards. In a combined 82 minutes our 4 bigs had 14 and 4. 31-14 bigs against bigs in similar minutes.

    They played small for about 10 minutes, we played small for about 14. Most of it to deal with a lineup with Travis Outlaw at PF.

    You saw a tank job, I saw a team on an empty tank. That's debatable. But saying the Spurs went small against a 2-big line-up for most of three quarters just doesn't matchup to the facts.
    Using numbers for 4 quarters is skewed. Look at the numbers for quarters 2,3 and 4. The numbers you quote do not reflect the period of the game sllipping away and Pop's refusal to put two big men on the floor. Outlaw can play PF he is 6-9. Udoka at PF is 6-5.

  19. #19
    Veteran Mel_13's Avatar
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    Using numbers for 4 quarters is skewed. Look at the numbers for quarters 2,3 and 4. The numbers you quote do not reflect the period of the game sllipping away and Pop's refusal to put two big men on the floor. Outlaw can play PF he is 6-9. Udoka at PF is 6-5.

    OK, let's look at the facts and numbers when the game slipped away

    With 5:58 to go in the first half the Spurs were up 15. Duncan and Gooden were subbed in for Udoka and Thomas. Gooden immediately picks up his third foul and is replaced by Bowen. Bowen is replaced by Bonner one minute later. The lead was down to 2 by halftime. The Spurs played ZERO minutes of small ball in third quarter. So in 18 minutes of gametime from midway in the second to the end of the third, the Spurs played smallball for exactly 1:01. During that time a 15 point lead turned into 3 point deficit.

    Again, one minute and one second of smallball during an 18 minute stretch in which we were outscored by 18 points. We were also outrebounded 20-9 during those 18 minutes. Outscored by 18 and outrebounded by 11, smallball not to blame.

    The Spurs had many problems last night, but smallball did not lose the lead, the rebounding battle, or the game. Give some credit to the Blazers for going to a zone that Spurs couldn't penetrate or shoot over with enough accuracy. The Spurs built their lead because the lane was open early and they were making shots. The Blazers packed the lane and the Spurs couldn't shoot 71% for 4 quarters.

  20. #20
    Chunky Brazil's Avatar
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    Sorry but I hate the Four Rings.

    I prefer the Believe.

  21. #21
    Govt, stay away!
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    tanking a game?

    Bullshit.

    Out and out bullshit.

  22. #22
    Ghost of Mr. K SenorSpur's Avatar
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    I just hate watching my team get embarrassed.

  23. #23
    It's a process... mexicanjunior's Avatar
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    Spurs should still be able to get the 3 seed.

    Spurs have Jazz, Kings, Warriors, Hornets left.

    Blazers have Lakers, Clippers, Thunder, and Nuggets left.

    Rockets have Kings, Warriors, Hornets, and Mavs left.

    So pretty much the Spurs need to win out and have Portland and Houston lose 1 game each to secure the 3 seed. Or the Spurs can afford to lose a game..but need Portland and Houston to then lose 2 a piece.
    The Spurs will be lucky to win 1 of their remaining games...they just don't have much of anything left in the tank. Parker is worn out after carrying this team for most of the season and Duncan is to injured to help out.

  24. #24
    Star Citizen Needs YOU ! DaDakota's Avatar
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    A healthy Tim Duncan and you guys win that game.

    It is the same with the Rockets and Yao Ming, they have no low post abilities, and they double hard on the post opening it up for the 3pt shooters.

    The Spurs problem is just injuries, and age, welcome to my world.



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  25. #25
    Believe. superbigtime's Avatar
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    I really thought the Spurs were gonna win this one the way things started off. Took it for granted. Can never take anything for granted in this league. Painful loss and pretty demoralizing too. Hoping for a great game against Utah, I will be there!
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  26. #26
    Believe.
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    I'm not making too much of a big deal out of this game. Any team that makes their shots can win a game. That's all Portland did. It's not about what the Spurs didn't do, it's about Portland making shots. Again, nothing spectacular here. The Spurs played their game and Portland overachieved. These are mickey mouse games to the Spurs.

  27. #27
    коммунизма ведет baseline bum's Avatar
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    Tim Duncan should not be playing at all. His season should be over. He's playing hurt for absolutely nothing. This is a completely wasted season, and he should be home recovering for one last shot at a title next year.
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  28. #28
    Pimp Marcus Bryant's Avatar
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    Tim Duncan should not be playing at all. His season should be over. He's playing hurt for absolutely nothing. This is a completely wasted season, and he should be home recovering for one last shot at a title next year.
    Agreed. Shut down Timmy for the season. Too bad a slide in the standings at this point only will give Presti a better draft pick.

  29. #29
    It's a process... mexicanjunior's Avatar
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    Tim Duncan should not be playing at all. His season should be over. He's playing hurt for absolutely nothing. This is a completely wasted season, and he should be home recovering for one last shot at a title next year.
    Yep...

  30. #30
    Veteran Mel_13's Avatar
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    Tim Duncan should not be playing at all. His season should be over. He's playing hurt for absolutely nothing. This is a completely wasted season, and he should be home recovering for one last shot at a title next year.
    I've gone to almost every home game for the past five seasons. I'll often just watch Tim instead of following the ball. He is a truly wonderful player who combines great skills with a tremendous will to win. It was hard to see him play last night. The will to win is still there, but it is not enough to overcome the all too obvious physical limitations. I can't see him giving up, but I would understand if Pop shut him down.

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