Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Karl Marx: "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce."
But the fourth time history repeats itself in six years its just a good ole' plain ass-whoopin'. The only thing that makes me not completely smug in ever way possible is the sympathy I have for Nash (his poor play only made me feel worse about his inevitable entry into the fraternity of the ring-less). His time is done, but I will say right now He was the worthiest of opponents. A gentleman-warrior. Let's get down to business.
Manu: I hope his poor play was merely that, and not suggestive of something deeper, like an injury. Nobody on this team is a warrior like Manu, which means that at any moment he could rise to the occasion. But it also means he could be more hurt than he let's on, and too stubborn to admit it.
Tony: I wish he had been more confident with his jumper. They gave him a lot of open 10 footers and he didn't take them. But in general a great series from a great point guard. How he is not more commonly included in the debate of the best point guards in the league is beyond me? He certainly made a couple of former MVPs look silly out there.
Duncan: Continues to be the rock. I think what is most telling are some of the late game boards he nabbed over younger, more athletic guys, and that pick and roll he and Tony ran when the game was real close with about 2:30 left and he got an open dunk. When things are tight, he buckles down and executes. That's what champions do. That's why his 3-pointer in game 1, although certainly not common, was not a fluke. Champions make that shot.
Thomas: Didn't have a great game offensively, but he hit his free throws and pulled down a baker's dozen off the glass. Not to mention, for a guy his age, he was diving on the ground and out of bounds for loose balls all over the place. Even if he didn't always get the ball, seeing a veteran like Thomas make those kinds of plays serves as a fine example of exactly what we are about in San Antonio.
Popovich: Continues to eat the brains of his enemies so as to gain their strength. He is the best coach in the NBA.
Diaw: Continued to play well, which I give him credit for. But I do not give him credit for scoring points in the post when being guarded by MICHAEL FINLEY. That was a mismatch from the get go and thankfully Finley's uncommon foul trouble caused Udoka, who knows how to play D on the block, to get more minutes. I don't have any stats in front of me but I assure you Diaw's +/- was less during the minutes Udoka was in (he certainly didn't have as many points in the paint).
Bell: Also continued to play well, which I give him credit for. If they ever gut that team, I would have no problem picking up that Lokian little bastard. His mixture of perimeter D and outside shooting is perfect for our system. But man does he have a devilish look about him.
Shaq: Said unequivocally this was about him and Duncan. He said it was about who got some thumb jewelry first. 'Nuff said.
Shaq: Wait, no way is that enough said. His career is done. D-O-N-E, done. Not only did his arrogance and oral diarrhea make him play the court jester in Duncan's Kingdom, but the guy couldn't even make a layup (let's not even talk about the free throws). He got scorched on the pick and roll, and consistently did not have the lateral movement to keep up with Duncan in the post. When he got to the desert, this team was in 1st in the west. 2 months later they were a sixth seed. 5 games later they were eliminated in the first round.
Nash: Late game turnovers. No assists before the 4th quarter. He looked like he was a mess out there. Maybe he just wasn't comfortable running the offense through Diaw instead of he and Amare, but it was more than that. He would dribble under the basket in his characteristic manner and have open layups/close jumpers. He either didn't take them or just plain missed them. Who knows where the Suns are headed, but I can say right now, their long-term future does not involve the Canadian.
D'Antoni: I hope he doesn't get fired, because I have total faith in Popovich to consistently out coach him. But seriously (not that my last comment wasn't serious), D'Antoni and Kerr are not a good match for one another (although I am not sure that ownership/front office is a particularly good match for anyone). I've talked a lot about D'Antoni this series, you know my thoughts.
The Suns: Like I said a minute ago, who knows where this franchise is headed? Between an aging Nash and Shaq, a bloated payroll, and a crisis of leadership, it could go a lot of different directions. Obviously people are looking to Amare to be the franchise player for the next several years, but I don't see that being a succesful formula. I don't think he can create for himself well enough (a few years of perfectly timed passes from Steve Nash will do wonders for your career stats). He is also way too much of a defensive liability.
I'll be back in the next couple of days with a Hornets-Spurs preview, as well as some other thoughts on the state of the playoffs. As far as tonight is concerned, LET'S GO HAWKS.
But before I go, one enduring image:
WAIT, WAIT, WAIT. No chance in hell am I gonna walk away from this series with dignified satisfaction. LET'S GLOAT: