Sunday, April 20, 2008
Yes, Yes, Yes, A Thousand Times Yes
I know I'm a little behind the curve on a Suns-Spurs recap but I can't not comment on this game, as it was easily one of the best basketball games I have ever witnessed. Talk about a war. Everybody who fouled out. All the amazing shots. Duncan, sweet Jesus, Lord in Heaven, TIM DUNCAN! I am pumped for this series, I am pumped for the Spurs. But let's get down to business:
Timmy D: Over at Pounding The Rock Matthew Powell wrote a great piece about how if the Spurs are going to succeed, Tim Duncan needs to make it personal. He needs to make it about Shaq's 4 rings and his 4 rings and the question of who is the most dominant big man of this generation. And I don't know if that is what drove his 40-14 performance, but it sure as hell looked like it. He really owned Shaq who was decidedly underwhelming (and after their last meeting, their match-up was a concern for me). On a related but slightly different topic, Amare Stoudemire cannot guard Tim Duncan. He just can't. I almost felt bad for the guy out there. Keep it up Timmy, Keep it up.
Finley/Barry/Bowen: Over at Ball Don't Lie Kelly Dwyer said he didn't expect the finley/barry combo to go 4/8 again from beyond the arch. I know fin-dog is streaky, but why the hell not. The guys is long term streaky i.e. the man could shoot 60% for a month, and 15 the next, not 60% a quarter, 15 the next. In general I think our role players did a fine job and I see no reason to think they won't continue too.
Nash: Obviously so much has been made of Finley and Duncan's 3-pointers and Manu's layup, but I just wanted to take a moment to point out how clutch Nash's 2nd OT 3 pointer was. it really wasn't a good looking, fading back and sideways from the corner but he nailed it nonetheless. Maybe I am only so gracious because I look back on this victoriously, but it was also a nasty shot.
Manu: An assasin. A killer. Cold-Blooded.
Duncan's 3: The hidden narrative of this play is it actually was one of the better defensive attempts PHX had during OT. I mean when you're down by 3 Duncan is the man you want taking that shot if your PHX. I know Popovich after the game said he was the 3rd option on that play but I don't believe that, I think he's just saying that so that the world doesn't know that whatever the hell he drew up absolutely did not work. I know they left him so open he could have taken a nap in between catching shooting and still not had a hand in his face, but still, I was a little impressed they forced the ball into Timmy's hands. I will tell you right now I had Post-Trauma flashbacks to the 04 Lakers-Spurs game 5 when Timmy hit that great fadeway and then Derek Fisher thrust a dagger into my heart. I know we finished on the right side of this, but the mere thought of Timmy hitting a big late game shot makes me anxious that victory will be snatched from our fingers.
PHX 1OT last possession: Was it at the end of regulation or the first OT that barbosa missed the shot to win it? Either way, interesting play. Very clever move by D'Antoni to run the pick and roll with Diaw and Nash as opposed to Amare and Nash in order to confuse the defense. Didn't work, but a clever idea.
Game 2: Obviously in the playoffs there's no need to say a game is "important", but I think game 2 is gonna be really decisive. Obviously this game was much more than a single notch in the win column. It was a much needed moral victory and a testament to the entire association that the road to a ring still runs through the riverwalk. But a strong showing by a vengeful PHX could take a lot of wind out of our sails.
Pop: I have been a little dissapointed with Popovich's second half adjustments recently, but I thought on Saturday he did an excellent job make the correct moves. I will pat myself on the back for one thing: After our most recent Loss to the Lakers I said when we are down we need to show the opposition more varied offensive looks rather than just focusing on getting the inside-outside game clicking. I think we absolutely did that on Saturday. We included Finley over Bowen more (can I just say I love it when Finley goes to the hole. I swear he scores 95% he does. I know he shouldn't be dribble-driving all the time or anything, but I just think he does it better than he gets credit for. long arms), and we also put Manu on the floor with the other starters more often. I thought Pop was aggressive from a personnel stand point and I liked it.
Obviously this is extremely effected by my rooting for the winning team, but that was one of the best basketball games I have watched in a long time (I am hesisant to say ever, but I'll tell you right now I can't think of a better one). Clutch, classic play from both teams. I am still randomly pumping my fist and bursting into an ear to ear smile. Man, I love this shit.