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  1. #1
    So Very Close timvp's Avatar
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    It was good to be back at the AT&T Center after the way last season ended. It was even better to see the Big 3 play together again and the Other 15 healthy and trying to fit into the team concept. And while Olympiacos isn't an NBA team, they do have about a half dozen players who are good enough to be in the league. All things considered, it was successful night at the office for the Spurs.

    -Tim Duncan was out of rhythm. He still needs to work his way into game shape and sharpen his reactions. That said, he was still pretty darn good. I especially liked his passing from the high post and his activity on defense. There is a lot of talk about his bulky knee brace but it didn't appear to be hindering him too much. For now, I don't think it's something to worry about.

    -Manu Ginobili was back to his bench role and while he is still shaking off the rust, he's already making his teammates better. He led the Spurs with five assists and his defense is at a surprisingly high level right now. His explosiveness was a bit lacking but he seems to be moving well. An interesting note is that Pop had Ginobili defend the point guard when he was paired with Hill. That may be a look we see often this season.

    -Tony Parker continues to look like he's in regular season form. His quickness is near 100% -- which had the Greek defenders staring at the back of his jersey whenever he drove to the basket. I also thought that his jumper looked better. He's holding his follow-through and his stroke from off the dribble was effortless. Hopefully Parker can take these improvements into the regular season.

    -When watching Richard Jefferson, you can tell that almost his entire focus is on the defensive end. He's really giving good effort to be a strong defender. Jefferson isn't exceptionally swift on his feet so sometimes he is getting caught out of position when he applies too much pressure. However, with time and understanding of the help defense, I'm confident he'll figure it out. On offense, he's not forcing anything. He's getting a number of touches and he's involved in the action so once he wants to rev it up, he'll be able to shoulder a healthy chunk of the offensive load.

    -I was much more impressed with George Hill this time around. When he's attacking the rim and getting to the line, he's a valuable asset. Pop and the coaching staff have given him a lot of offensive responsibility and as long as Hill remains confident and aggressive, he'll be able to handle the backup point guard duties. Defensively, I really liked what I saw from Hill. He defended multiple positions and hit the defensive glass with authority.

    -The thing that stood out from Antonio McDyess' first preseason game was his passing. I'm not sure if it was a fluke or a preview but he made a couple of great passes. He also did a good job on the glass and his post defense was solid. When he catches the ball with his back to the basket, he looks unsure of what he's supposed to do. He also had some trouble defending out on the perimeter. But once McDyess gets in better shape and learns the sets, he should be fine.

    -Matt Bonner was once again in the starting lineup. This time, his shots weren't as automatic. He missed a few open shots and hesitated on a few others. I also didn't like his defense -- or the fact that he didn't pull down a defensive rebound during his time on the court. You have to believe that McDyess will eventually become the starter and Bonner will be moved to a specialist role off the bench at some point. Right?

    -Keith Bogans started at shooting guard and we finally were able to get a better read at what he can do. Defensively, he pressured well and used his strength to keep his opponent from their preferred spots. He's susceptible to speed and he has a lot to learn in terms of the team defense principles, but he looked like he belonged tonight. Although, given the depth at the wing positions, I fail to see how he'll get consistent minutes unless he beats out Finley.

    -Speaking of Michael Finley, he looked good once again. He's getting good lift on his jumpers and his legs look lively in general. Since this squad doesn't have as much depth as usual when it comes to shooters, a Finley who can hit for a high percentage from off the bench would be beneficial.

    -Roger Mason, Jr. didn't play in the first half and played most of his minutes in the fourth quarter. After a couple of early miscues, Mason got rolling and was the best player on the court down the stretch. When Olympiacos made a run in the second half, it was Mason who muted the threat. His quickness on both ends remains a notable improvement from last season.

    -Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the game was the play from Theo Ratliff. He was extremely active on the defensive end. He's fearless at going after blocks and his instincts are legendary. If he can stay healthy (and with Ratliff, that is a very big IF), Ratliff could really help Duncan protect the rim.

    -After DeJuan Blair's memorable debut, Pop made him an afterthought in his second preseason game. Blair didn't play in the first half and only got 11 minutes total. I'm not sure if this is a sign that Pop will take it slow with Blair or if Pop was just looking at other bigs for the night. While Blair obviously didn't have as dominant of a performance, I again liked what I saw. On defense, he has work to do but he's active -- especially on his post defense. On offense, he has good hands and drew fouls thanks to his physicality. He might need to turn down his offensive aggressiveness a notch to placate Pop, but personally I don't mind a bigman other than Duncan who tries to score on the block.

    -In the first preseason game, Marcus Haislip tried to do too much. In his second game, Haislip didn't do much of anything. He rebounded better and made a few good passes but he doesn't look very comfortable at all right now. He's a face-up power forward who may be able to spread the court and that alone should keep his roster spot safe. However, if he wants to have a shot of regular season minutes, he needs to start illustrating how he can help.

    -Malik Hairston was very active in his 13 minutes. Defensively, he was good. For his size, he's a really good shotblocker -- both on his own man and in help situations. He can sometimes be slow to rotate but he's improving in that area. Overall, he helped his cause tonight.

    -Marcus Williams only played nine minutes but that was long enough for him to pick up three assists on a trio of slick passes. For a player of his size, he's an above average ballhandler and passer. The problem is that the rest of his attributes don't really translate to the NBA.

    -Thanks to Williams, Ian Mahinmi had a strong eight minutes. Williams fed him and Mahinmi was happy to finish around the rim. His defense and rebounding also looked decent. It wasn't much of a run but Mahinmi took a small step in the right direction.

    -It's becoming more and more obvious that Curtis Jerrells is a shooting guard in a point guard's body. His defense continues to be impressive but his offensive game needs a substantial amount of refinement. He's someone who needs a couple years in Europe in hopes of remodeling his game to fit his physical attributes.

    -Apparently, the Ioannis Bourousis talk we heard in the offseason had some legs. Pop admitted to really liking him and Bourousis talked about possibly coming to the Spurs in the future. I was somewhat impressed from what I saw from Bourousis. For a guy who is so huge (6-foot-11, 280 pounds), his perimeter skills are advanced -- especially his outside shooting. I didn't expect him to have such an effortless release from NBA three-point range. That said, I'm not convinced about his mobility or stamina. His lateral movement is lacking and he was getting tired after just a few minutes of action. He's obviously talented but it's difficult to picture how he'd translate to the NBA. Bourousis reminds me a bit of Mehmet Okur but bigger and not as fluid.

  2. #2
    Pop took his brain back. xellos88330's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Defense Wins Championships Texas_Ranger's Avatar
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    Thanx

  4. #4
    Silence surpasses speech. duncan228's Avatar
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    Thanks for the insight. It really means a lot when I couldn't see the game.

    There is a lot of talk about his bulky knee brace but it didn't appear to be hindering him too much. For now, I don't think it's something to worry about.
    It shouldn't hinder him. He went through a few this summer to find what worked. I'm hoping it does its job and helps.

    I am curious about his right knee, the one that had the tendonosis. I think we'll see that one sleeved sooner or later. Maybe even braced. I'm not sure that it will take the grind of the season without some help.

    I'm not worried about his conditioning or rhythm, he'll get in shape pretty fast. I'm glad to hear he looked good even out of game shape.
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  5. #5
    Lol Crews jjktkk's Avatar
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    -Apparently, the Ioannis Bourousis talk we heard in the offseason had some legs. Pop admitted to really liking him and Bourousis talked about possibly coming to the Spurs in the future. I was somewhat impressed from what I saw from Bourousis. For a guy who is so huge (6-foot-11, 280 pounds), his perimeter skills are advanced -- especially his outside shooting. I didn't expect him to have such an effortless release from NBA three-point range. That said, I'm not convinced about his mobility or stamina. His lateral movement is lacking and he was getting tired after just a few minutes of action. He's obviously talented but it's difficult to picture how he'd translate to the NBA. Bourousis reminds me a bit of Mehmet Okur but bigger and not as fluid.
    Bourousis is not as fluid as Okur? Thats not good. Okur is not exactly athletic.

  6. #6
    Believe. Interrohater's Avatar
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    Bourousis is not as fluid as Okur? Thats not good. Okur is not exactly athletic.
    Fluidity and athleticism are not the same thing. Timmy is not exactly athletic either, but he's crazy smooth.
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  7. #7
    Ruffy RuffnReadyOzStyle's Avatar
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    You have to believe that McDyess will eventually become the starter and Bonner will be moved to a specialist role off the bench at some point. Right?
    First game of the real season, I hope. If not, WTF Pop? Dice may not have 3pt range, but he can shoot out to 18ft, and that's enough to provide the spacing we need. Also, you commented on Dice's passing - I've always though he's a really good passer for a big man, and as you mentioned elsewhere, I'm looking forward to lots of slick hi-low stuff between him and Duncan.
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  8. #8
    All Your Best Lions #2!'s Avatar
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    -Roger Mason, Jr. didn't play in the first half and played most of his minutes in the fourth quarter. After a couple of early miscues, Mason got rolling and was the best player on the court down the stretch. When Olympiacos made a run in the second half, it was Mason who muted the threat. His quickness on both ends remains a notable improvement from last season.
    To be specific he had a steal that ended in a DUNK on the other end! i had no idea he could do that, especially in a game hard work pays off y'all haha

  9. #9
    Revenge Bambililos's Avatar
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    -Tony Parker continues to look like he's in regular season form. His quickness is near 100% -- which had the Greek defenders staring at the back of his jersey whenever he drove to the basket. I also thought that his jumper looked better. He's holding his follow-through and his stroke from off the dribble was effortless. Hopefully Parker can take these improvements into the regular season.
    So I guess his summer play with the FNT didn't kill him after all. It might even have gotten him in rhythm and made him work on his leadership, but that's probably a crazy idea that will never be accepted on this board.

  10. #10
    PRICELESS SPURS FAN polandprzem's Avatar
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    lj
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  11. #11
    Bruce Almighty Bruno's Avatar
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    Parker was for sure a little motivated than for the usual preseason game. He said in the past that he doesn't want to see Spurs joining NBA teams that have lost a game against an Euro team.

  12. #12
    PRICELESS SPURS FAN polandprzem's Avatar
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    Well parker is in game shape cause he was playing in poland and soon after was spurs camp.
    and along the season maybe we will see him gassed a bit and hopefully spurs will find a way to keep him frsh enough for the playoofs. last year he was lifting the spurs offense greatly.

  13. #13
    PRICELESS SPURS FAN polandprzem's Avatar
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    btw. intresting that NOW nobody is not calling blair a beast

  14. #14
    Veteran Danny.Zhu's Avatar
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    Thanks.

  15. #15
    Bruce Almighty Bruno's Avatar
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    I wouldn't be surprised to see Spurs cutting their first player(s) before Sunday's game. 18 players is a lot. Dwayne Jones should be the first to leave the team.

  16. #16
    Believe. Old School 44's Avatar
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    -After DeJuan Blair's memorable debut, Pop made him an afterthought in his second preseason game. Blair didn't play in the first half and only got 11 minutes total. I'm not sure if this is a sign that Pop will take it slow with Blair or if Pop was just looking at other bigs for the night. While Blair obviously didn't have as dominant of a performance, I again liked what I saw. On defense, he has work to do but he's active -- especially on his post defense. On offense, he has good hands and drew fouls thanks to his physicality. He might need to turn down his offensive aggressiveness a notch to placate Pop, but personally I don't mind a bigman other than Duncan who tries to score on the block.
    Thanks for the game thoughts! Pop was probably just looking at other bigs. Maybe he was even trying to deaden the hype. After Blair's impressive first game, I was thinking coming into this game that some of the Olympiacos bigs might be overly aggressive against Blair, and Blair, being the competitor, would take the challenge. Maybe Pop was trying to shield him from some of that.

  17. #17
    No Sasha, no ring ata's Avatar
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    Great read once again
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  18. #18
    The cat won symple19's Avatar
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    btw. intresting that NOW nobody is not calling blair a beast
    Dejuan Blair is a MFin beast!
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  19. #19
    PRICELESS SPURS FAN polandprzem's Avatar
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  20. #20
    Rubber Dinghy Rapids Bro Muser's Avatar
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    btw. intresting that NOW nobody is not calling blair a beast

    9 Points/2 rebounds/2 steals/5-6 from the line in 11 minutes for the 37th pick in the draft. Beasty.

  21. #21
    Rubber Dinghy Rapids Bro Muser's Avatar
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    Duncan 6-6 from the line

  22. #22
    Believe.
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    -Thanks to Williams, Ian Mahinmi had a strong eight minutes. Williams fed him and Mahinmi was happy to finish around the rim. His defense and rebounding also looked decent. It wasn't much of a run but Mahinmi took a small step in the right direction.
    Any step that doesn't end in an ankle injury falls into that category.

  23. #23
    Spurs Fan in NC DBMethos's Avatar
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    Sounds like a positive step for a lot of our guys. Thanks for the write-up.

  24. #24
    Believe. Spurlady's Avatar
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    -Tim Duncan was out of rhythm. He still needs to work his way into game shape and sharpen his reactions. That said, he was still pretty darn good. I especially liked his passing from the high post and his activity on defense. There is a lot of talk about his bulky knee brace but it didn't appear to be hindering him too much. For now, I don't think it's something to worry about.

    -Manu Ginobili was back to his bench role and while he is still shaking off the rust, he's already making his teammates better. He led the Spurs with five assists and his defense is at a surprisingly high level right now. His explosiveness was a bit lacking but he seems to be moving well. An interesting note is that Pop had Ginobili defend the point guard when he was paired with Hill. That may be a look we see often this season.
    I didn't even notice Tim was wearing a knee brace. Maybe it seemed normal for someone with knee issues.

    Ginobili had me a bit worried defensively, but I might not have been looking at the whole defensive scheme. It seemed like he got beat a couple times on the defensive end, although that might be the rust you are talking about.

  25. #25
    I'm poplovin' it! TJastal's Avatar
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    Okay Popovich, enough is enough with the Bonner experiment as starter.

    In my humble opinion, the spurs need McDyess to get into the starting lineup, for his rebounding and defensive tenacity to start games off. This will set the defensive tone for the game. Bonner should come in later off the bench and shoot some daggers from long distance but I defenitely feel McDyess should be starting and helping Duncan set the tone early.

    That Popovich is already putzing around with this simple concept of defense first by starting Matt Bonner is a bad start to the pre-season.

    Seriously, dude.. Popovich, enough already...

    As far as I know the spurs paid McDyess to come to SA to win a championship and the guy still has alot left in the tank and needs these pre season games to get acquainted with the starting lineup. Matt Bonner has been with the spurs now 3-4 years and everyone knows what Matt Bonner brings to the table already. Good fucking grief.
    Last edited by TJastal; 10-10-2009 at 07:58 AM.

  26. #26
    99/03/05/07 Spurs Brazil's Avatar
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    Thanks a lot timvp, no TV and radio yesterday.


    And also big thanks to Blackjack21, NoOptionB and Libri for the updates on the blog

  27. #27
    Chinese Spurs fan Riverwalkman's Avatar
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    Can't wait to see Theo reject someone in a regular season game.

  28. #28
    Spur Forever urunobili's Avatar
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    Thank you very much timvp
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  29. #29
    Veteran Spursmania's Avatar
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    Thanks for the game thoughts as usual.
    Dice has pretty good passing abilities and I was impressed. It sure was a pleasure seeing all three playing together again.
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  30. #30
    Win. Whatever it Takes Whisky Dog's Avatar
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    Bonner won't start in the regular season. Pop is probably just playing him there to keep Dyce's min low and help him ease along into learning the sets and getting comfortable.

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