Thursday, February 17, 2011

Spurs-Bulls As It Happened

*Note: I am completely ripping off Bill Simmons with this idea, but a game diary sounded like fun.

5:03 PST - NBA on TNT live on top of the London in W. Hollywood. We've got Ernie Johnson, Jet Smith,
Charles Barkley, Chris Webber and special guest Lenny Kravitz. As my friend Ross put it, Kravitz hasn't had a hit since the Clinton Administration (he has the NBA on TNT theme song of this year, so that's why he's here).

5:06- C-Webb proving his versatility and his appreciation for Lenny's music by reeling off a ton of Lenny's music and albums. When Charles Barkley or Kenny Smith decide to leave the Inside the NBA crew (and I hope they don't leave anytime soon), C-Webb is going to be a worthy replacement.

5:08- E.J. just admitted he's old enough to have seen the Beatles as his first concert. "Ernie... I was 2!" Charles exclaims. This isn't even a basketball pre-game show right now.

5:10- Lenny's segment is over now. I'm happy to report he was fully clothed the entire time and he did not have any sort of high heel boot on (you can't discount these things from Lenny).

5:15- Awkward wide shot of the P.A. asking the crowd to cheer as they go to commercial. You mean those cheers aren't natural?! Scandal.

5:19- Here we go! Gametime! For the record I'm not drinking the Bulls Kool-Aid. They play in the weakest division in the East and have only Kyle Korver who can shoot outside of 18 feet.

5:21- Carlos Boozer already complaining about calls. That's going to happen every time he takes a shot inside 10 feet.

5:23- Oh good, 2 turnovers for Tony Parker already.

5:25- Rose makes a sharp cut to the basket for a lay-up (12-9), Manu comes back for a 3 (12-12), Rose comes back and hits a jumper (14-12). This could be a fun night.

5:27- Keith Bogans hits a 3. Glad he got that out of the way early. 17-12 Bulls, Pop calls a timeout.

5:29- I'm not sure what's worse... the Taco Bell 4 Kinds of Steak commercial or the Taco Bell 4 Kinds of Steak meal. The commercial makes me want to jump out of a window.

5:33- DeJuan Blair having just a dreadful 1st quarter against a great Bulls defense. Boozer is completely owning him too. Oh and he missed 2 free throws. So there's all of that.

5:41- Spurs go zone and force a Bulls 3 (which is what should be done) but then let Rose get an offensive rebound (which is what shouldn't be done).

5:43- Spurs down only 5 after the 1st quarter. This is eerily similar to the first game the teams played in San Antonio in November. So that's encouraging considering the Spurs won that one. 

5:47- Pop short and to the point on the between quarter interview... but he wasn't a jerk. I hope he's feeling OK. Whoa a half court trap right off the bat. Chicago calls a quick timeout.

5:50- Mike Fratello is currently talking about how deep the Bulls are. They're not. This second unit is great on defense but what I'd call offensively inept.

5:51- First time I've EVER said this: Savvy move by Bonner to let Gibson run into him after that awful 3 point attempt.
5:53- NEAL BEFORE ZOD (stolen from Matt Moore at Hardwood Paroxysm). And Duncan hits a jumper and just like that Spurs only down one in a game that if you didn't see the score you'd think Chicago was up by about 7 or 8.

6:00- So much for great defense, seems like both teams are just trading baskets right now... until DeJuan Blair puts up what I think was a jump hook.

6:03- A real DeJuan Blair jump hook put the Spurs up 43-42. Their first lead since 2-0. By the way, Kurt Thomas makes Tim Duncan look Derrick Rose fast.

6:07- Joakim Noah in HD is a personal foul.

6:08- Kyle Korver and Gary Neal guarding one another. I'm not sure who has the advantage here. I'll go with the offense.

6:09- Derrick Rose has been for about 1 minute and the Bulls go on a 5-1 run. So yes, he is the a top contender to win the MVPNNLBJ (MVP Not Named LeBron James).

6:16- Derrick Rose takes a lot of jumpers. I need to watch him more to figure out if he's forcing them or just taking what the defense is giving him. Probably A.

6:18- And on cue, Rose hits a super sweet floater right over Duncan.

6:20- Another offensive rebound for Chicago. This game is a good example of why I hope the Spurs go after Troy Murphy is he's bought out. Murphy at least can grab boards.

6:22- Rose gets to the basket, gets fouled and makes 2 free throws with 1 second left in the half. That's
annoying. Bulls up 58-51 at the half.

6:41- And we're back. Just so we're clear, the Bulls are outrebounding the Spurs by 11... without Joakim Noah.

6:41- I don't care if he makes every jumper, I say lay 5 feet off Derrick Rose and force him to shoot jumpers.

6:45- Both teams going back and forth here... and Dick Stockton just called Derrick Rose a throwback player. Has he ever seen Rose play before?? Bogans hits his 2nd 3 and the Bulls up 8.

6:51- Duncan keeping the Spurs in this game right now. This is encouraging since he'll need to do this in the playoffs.

6:53- Luol Deng dribbling is like a carnival ride!

6:54- Boozer just screamed for a foul 3 separate times on 1 play. That's been the extent of his contribution during the 3rd quarter.

6:58- Offensive rebounds killing the Spurs again.

6:59- This is one of those games where everything is going right for the Bulls. I mean, Keith Bogans has made over 50% of his shots!

7:06- Well that has to be the most frustrating end to a quarter for the Spurs all season long. Everything going right for the Bulls right now.

7:13- This game is a good example of why in the long run James Anderson will be more valuable then Gary Neal. Neal may be a cold blooded shooter, but he'll never be more than an average defender. Anderson has a much better chance of being a better all around player.

7:18- 92-78 Bulls, Bulls doing whatever they want right now. Oh God, Ronnie Brewer hit a pull up jumper. This game is a lost cause.

7:22- There aren't too many teams big enough to hang with the Lakers, but I'm pretty sure the Bulls can. Interior defense is stout to say the least.

7:26- I normally like both Dick Stockton and Mike Fratello, but man they are just off tonight.

7:28- I believe what Derrick Rose is doing tonight is called going HAM. Also the Spurs are doing a great job at settling for jumpers when the Bulls are trying to let them back in the game.

7:30- I'm not saying Nico Batum was right about Rose's defensive abilities... but he's been pretty terrible at staying with Parker tonight.

7:36- Woah, Manu just went Hot Tub Time Machine and threw it down HARD. Turnover Bulls with a 1:41 left. It's probably over, but you never know.

7:36- Manu bricks a 3... Rose hits a jumper. Now it's over.

7:36- Down 11 with 2 minutes left and now the Spurs decide to start taking the ball to the rack again. Oh well.

7:40- Rose adds a couple more jumpers for good measure. Bulls win 109-99. He's got my MVPNNLBJ vote. Not a good way to go in to the All-Star Break. Heading in to LA for All-Star Weekend. Should be a lot of fun. (For the record, I'm not doing one of these ever again, I'm a jinx and also not that entertaining)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Duncan & The Spurs Up Close

I had the privilege of watching the Spurs up close in someone else's gym last week. I was the enemy for one night. The only problem is the Spurs are pretty well respected especially in cities not named Phoenix, Dallas and LA. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker all got lots of applause from Kings fans (and the healthy amount of silver and black fans in the crowd).

Once the game got going the Spurs went up pretty quickly and didn't look back. So the starters, especially Duncan, got plenty of rest (He was still effective, 12 points and 5 boards in only 13 minutes of work). This allowed guys like Tiago Splitter to get plenty of run and he played great. He had 16 points and 9 rebounds and most importantly, completely frustrated DeMarcus Cousins who had been playing great in the previous few weeks.

One thing I noticed, especially in the 2nd half, was how active Tim Duncan is on the bench. We were sitting really close to the bench so it was pretty cool to see Pop and everyone else up close (unfortunately we only got to see Pop blow up two times). Back to Duncan, he's like the Spurs' extra assistant coach. There was one point where Duncan noticed something while the Spurs were on offense and he immediately tapped Pop on the shoulder and they started talking about it like Pop does with all of his assistants. It was compelling to watch because you just don't see too many players and coaches act that way towards one another. I suppose it's what comes with having a player and coach together for 13 years.

We also got to see a lot of Duncan chatting up his fellow teammates and the referees. I'm not talking the bug eyed expression when he gets called for a foul. The point is he is the conscience of the team. You could tell his teammates look up to him but also know that they can treat him as one of the guys. The rare part about Duncan is the assistant coaches and even his wine loving coach who majored in Soviet Studies look at him as a peer. I can't wait for the playoffs so I can see Duncan playing 35-40 minutes a game but just for one night I was perfectly content watching a player who's mind was more active then his bank shot.