The Manu Ginobili Show
I suppose it’s not a foregone conclusion that a team will create a highlight reel every time they play the T-Wolves, but the Spurs sure made it look easy. I highly recommend the video below as evidence of this. The Spurs finally looked like a team comfortable with each other and were firing on all cylinders last night. The final score of 117-99 was three points more than I predicted, and the Wolves scored 10 more points than I expected, but I can’t be the least bit bothered by that after the way the Spurs handled business. It wasn’t just that they won, but that they were so fun to watch. If this chemistry is a glimpse of what’s in store for us down the stretch then watch out LA, Dallas and all other would-be contenders. Above all, one player stood out the most, and I guess by the title above you know who that was. Manu Ginobili was one rebound shy of a triple-double and turned down Popovich’s offer to stay in the game with a few minutes left to try and get it. Statistics, Triple-Doubles. A Jedi craves not these things.
- Manu Gi-freakin-nobili. The anti-Ricky Davis is the best play-maker on the team and showed us why last night. He was everywhere, and much to the Wolves dismay, gave the Spurs a ton of energy. We need this version of Manu every night, especially tomorrow night against the Miami Dwyane Wades.
- 29 fast break points – that’s almost unheard of for the Spurs of late. Now that’s something I could get used to.
- 47.7% from the field, 50% (12-of-24) from downtown, 74.2% (23-of-31) from the free throw line. Ok, so the free throw shooting could have been better, but when you shoot 31 freebies and Tim Duncan goes 7-of-8 from the line you celebrate it.
- Boxscores for everybody! Every active Spurs player scored – even Keith Bogans. Marcus Haislip, Malik Hairston and The Ghost of Theo Ratliff even got in on the action. In NBA Live that would mean 250 Dynasty Points. In NBA Real Life that means, well nothing really, but I am still happy about it.
- The Spurs committed another 13 turnovers – I can’t get used to this. Then again they had 32 assists last night so a collective 2.46 assist-to-turnover ratio is not really too bad. Plus, no one on the team had more than two. I think I will let it slide this time. Besides, the Wolves had 13 turnovers too, but only had 11 assists.
- The Wolves shot 39.6% from the field – I feel for you Minnesotans, I really do.
- The Wolves bench was outscored 46-23. No thanks to the fellas below…
The Coyote Ugly: Ramon Sessions & Ryan Gomes
I think both of these guys are really good players. Maybe they aren’t all-stars, but they should be starting and contributing on a better team. Unfortunately, neither seemed that way last night. The two combined for the following stat line: 1 point (0-of-8 from the field, 1-of-2 from the line), 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 blocked shot, 1 shot blocked, 1 turnover, 4 fouls – and all in a combined 39 minutes and 17 seconds of floor time. As a Spurs fan, I am thrilled with their ineptitude. As a fantasy basketball participant with each of them one one team, I am not exactly a happy camper. Great job, guys!
Moving right along, I can say a million things about this game, but a recap video is worth a thousand words. Check out the highlight reel:
Spurs Notable Stat Lines
Manu Ginobili: 14 points, 10 (amazing) assists, 9 rebounds, 3 steals. What can I say, when he’s on it’s really hard to stop the Spurs.
Richard Jefferson: 24 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block. He was in his element last night and led all scorers. He even shot well at 59% (10-of-17).
DeJuan Blair: 11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block. In another start at center, Blair logged 24 minutes in the game. It would be nice to see him get more double-doubles, but I like the way he is playing and not making too many mistakes.
Tim Duncan: 17 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks. Another double-double for Duncan. And best of all, he only had to play 26 minutes.
Roger Mason: 18 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block. He shot 50% from the field (7-of-14), including 4-of-7 from downtown. I still think he should start over Bogans, but if he is getting comfortable with his role off the bench and keeps shooting like this then I can’t complain.
Tony Parker: 12 points, 8 assists, 1 steal. Not the best game actually. He shot 3-of-8 from the field, and 6-of-9 from the free throw line.
Timberwolves Notable Stat Lines
Al Jefferson: 20 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists. Note the 0 blocked shots, although he got stuffed three times. Not his best night from a defensive standpoint.
Kevin Love: 18 points, 12 rebounds, 1 assist. He had the only double-double of the night for the T-Wolves. There was a scare involving Love falling on his busted hand, but he was able to come back into the game. Al Jefferson was subsequently talked down from the roof of the arena.
Johnny Flynn: 17 points, 2 assists, 1 rebound, 2 turnovers. Look, I like Flynn, but how does your starting PG have only 2 assists, and then 2 turnovers on top of that? Is it any wonder the team finished with a 0.85 assist-to-turnover ratio?
Corey Brewer: 14 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals. He shot 5-of-13 from the field (38%) and was the only starter to miss a free throw. I’m not a huge fan and really don’t know how he played 27 minutes, but who else could Minnesota turn to last night?
On the Horizon
Next up is the Miami Heat. The Heat are currently 16-12 and play New Orleans tonight. The Spurs are 18-11 and have the upper hand since, a) they are catching Miami on the second night of a back-to-back, and b) they are playing at home. Both teams currently have three-game winning streaks. Let’s hope the Spurs can stretch theirs to four and knock off an above .500 team for a change. The obvious key to the game for the Spurs is containing D-Wade, so it’s time for Bogans to earn his money and starting spot by stifling him. Other than that, the Spurs need to cut down on turnovers and control the boards. If they do those three things then they’ll win. Sounds easy right? We’ll see. C’mon Spurs, let’s end the year on a high note and dominate 2010.
Date: December 30, 2009