Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Notebook: Spurs-Timberwolves, 12/24/08

I had the pleasure of attending my second home game in a row, and just to make sure there was a bit of drama Pop chose to fiddle with the roster for 4 quarters instead of put away an underwhelming T-Wolves squad. But how is that different than any other night?

Tony Parker was the only Spur who really dazzled last night, scoring 36 points on 17 attempts. Aside from his nightly acrobatic show performed in the painted area, Parker was consistently draining his mid-range shot which, as we have noted several times, makes the little Frenchman very difficult to defend.

Tim Duncan played a decent game, scoring 19 points and hauling in 12 boards but he could have done a better job covering Al Jefferson, who walked away with 28 points. Many of Jefferson's points were scored on simple layups and post moves that Duncan did not make any especially aggressive attempt to stop. It's not so much that Duncan got beat as that he took the game lightly. For further evidence, note that he did not score at will whenever Kevin Love was guarding him.

Manu only saw 20 minutes of playing time, just enough to tweak his ankle late in the 4th quarter. He would return to the game with under two minutes left because Popovich refused to give the starting 5 the necessary minutes to put the Wolves away for good. It's unclear as to whether this incident was the inevitable aftermath of surgery (oftentimes the lingering scar tissue will cause brief but fleeting pain) or a sign that Manu has hurt himself further. Let's hope it's the former.

For the most part the team did not play spectacularly. Although we led by 16 at the beginning of the fourth, we within 4 with under 2 minutes to play. For the most part the didn't seem stale or winded because of the back-to-back. They just seemed uninterested in working hard against a team it was somewhat inevitable we were going to beat.

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