February 8th, 2009

by

On February 8th, 2009, the San Antonio Spurs played one of my favorite regular season games of the past few years. The Boston Celtics were hosting the Spurs that particular Sunday afternoon. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker were all well rested; Gregg Popovich had chosen to bench all three in the previous game, a Tuesday night entanglement with the Denver Nuggets.

Promoted as a match-up between the two previous NBA champions, it did not disappoint. Each team made runs throughout the game but neither was able to gain permanent control. With under 30 seconds left to play, the Spurs down by 1, Roger Mason Jr. forwarded the ball up the court, dribbled over top of a Tim Duncan screen and pulled up for a long 3-point attempt.

I was sitting on my girlfriend’s sister’s couch as I watched the ball sail through the net. Moments before I had asked my girlfriend why she had just moved her legs, which had been draped over mine. As I erupted from the couch, startling the cat and nearly spilling my beer, she gave me a knowing look.

“That’s why.”

Although Mason’s shot may have been exciting enough to lift me from my seat, the next play was so unbelievable I sunk back down in disbelief. As Ray Allen attempted to pass the ball inbounds to Paul Pierce, Ginobili darted in front of the ball, gaining control of it and racing up court. Pierce fouled Ginobili, who had an open path to the basket, immediately.

Two shots and the ball.

Although some bold shooting by Eddie House forced the Spurs to inbound the ball under pressure and nail their remaining free throws, for all intents and purposes Ginobili’s steal ended the game.

If tonight’s contest against Boston is half as memorable, it’ll be a must-see.

I’ll be stopping by ESPN’s Daily Dime live chat this evening during the game. Join me if you get a chance.

  • BigBalls

    A big game for the Spurs this evening. Tim will have a number of skilled bigs that he will have to match up with, all game.

    Bonner will have plenty of opportunity to space the floor – lets see what he does with the opportunities!

    Bogus will have opportunity to defend Ray Allen and maybe Paul Pearce — These guys are serious veterans, let take a look at how Bogus performs.

    Celtics front line always rugged, let see if Blair can have big game.

    G. Hill will have to deal with Rondo. G. Hill has been playing well lately, let see how he does against on the NBA’s best you point guards.

    Personnel and rotations are important in a game like this – lets take a close look at Pop’s game plan tonight.

    Celts should bring a little more intensity and determination than the Cavs did the other night.

  • Gary

    I’m pretty sure they gonna CRUSH em

  • Bushka

    Great opportunity for this roster to beef up their stock.

    I am very happy with the way the rotations have been going the past three or four games.

    Pop is clearly trying to get as much rest as possible for the elderly members of the frontline, this is going to be crucial here because Boston when rolling have one of the roughest most physical frontlines in the game.

    I’ve seen Bonner have some of his biggest games as a Spur vs the celtics, if he can drag Kendrik Perkins wide buttocks to the perimeter we’ll be able to make a living on penetration and single coverage for Tim.

  • BigBalls

    @Ballhog,

    This might be of interest. You mentioned that Beubois kid with the Mavs. Below is a bit on his 40 pt. game last night

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/recap?gid=2010032709

    http://sports.yahoo.com/video/player/nba/18849685;_ylt=AojHuGdu1XUeIcthbHa0TCaQvLYF#nba/18849685

  • AP

    With the way he is playing right now, Manu is always must-see.

  • Colin

    WOW! Had to post after seeing Ginobili get Garnett with that block! Impressive

  • idahospur

    Manu ends the 3rd with that amazing shot. He wants to win!

  • Colin

    Also I like what the Spurs are showing as of late……..I have to take back some of my recent criticism of RJ…..he has definitely started to display some of the qualities I thought we were getting ie: rebounding, creating 2nd shots and the aggressiveness to assert his place on the floor. Very good, especially to take the place of TD’s scoring, which has been down recently (injuries we’re not hearing about I’m sure).

  • Tanjavur

    Yessssss! That was awesome! It is usually us that does what Boston did in the second half.

    Manuuuu! Go Spurs!

  • Hobson13

    I can’t tell if the Spurs really played that good or the Celtics were just hung over from a Boston happy hour. The Spurs did seem to get all the lucky bounces, but on the other hand, the hustled harder than Boston. Damn they looked good tonite!! And to think that Duncan didn’t even play that well. This is easily the most impressive win of the season. Although we won’t be hanging another banner this year, we may get out of the first round if we continue to play defense like we have over the past several weeks.

    Spurs are now tied for 6th place and would get Denver if we kicked it off today. I think we could handle Denver as long as we’re playing well. I’m not so sure about Dallas or Utah. Dallas has unreal talent and Utah seems to have figured us out. It should be an interesting last few weeks of regular season ball.

  • http://www.acraterintheclouds.blogspot.com GMT

    @Hobson13: I still think we would have Utah’s number. Although they swept us this regular season 4-0, all the meetings were early in the season while we were really struggling. If we continue to be this fluid offensively, play 48 minutes of defense, and can inject TP back into the line-up without any issues, we’ll be nearly unstoppable. It would be great if Mason finds his shot, too, and can make up for efforts last post-season.

    As for Dallas, I’m not sure if I believe they’re as good as the sum of their parts yet. We end the season against them, so that game will definitely have a play-off level of intensity and will be a good measure against them should we meet.

  • BigBalls

    Great win tonight. One of Pop’s best coached games of the year – Dang, its not rocket science, its just basketball. @ 23 mins, still too many minutes for Keith Bogus.

    Bonner — not great numbers, but an effecient game.

    RJ — Someone decide that he would be more then a guy who camps out at the 3 line, launching 3′s. Went to the bucket tonight and was very active just slashing and crashing to the rim — this is his game — this is where he made his name in the league, not as a spot up 3 point shooter.

    Gino — Magnificient!!!!

    Tim — 8 points! Guys, this breaks my heart to see Timmy playing like an old man. Really think that he needs to give up his “best power forward” in the game fantasy and get back down in the post. He just can’t move well enough anymore to be hanging around on the perimeter. Spurs must really begin to think about the future when it comes to Duncan. Dunc use to carry the team, now he is being carried!

    Blair – 11 boards, play tough, play big. Nice game.

    G. Hill – Solid game. Played well against nice talent @ Rondo & Ray Allen. Growing as the next little general.

    Dice – Good effort. Spurs need to upgrade with another big. Dice a good bench player at this point in his career. Just does not jump well anymore and settles way too much on the outside shot. When dice first came into the league, he was a back to the basket guy. Now, with one leg after the knee injuries, he is just not the same.

    Spurs talent level really sucks a big one. They need to upgrade. Realistically, they need to add 3-4 new players for next year. The same thing they needed to be done this year, but didn’t, so they really wasted a year in this aspect as they will have to reload “again” next year and bring new guys in.

  • lvmainman

    Great win for the Spurs!

    Ginobili is awesome enough to be resigned now.

    Celtics in hindsight were a perfect match for us with their old frontline of Garnett/Wallace and the shortness of Davis. Mr Candace Parker was the only one with success against us in the 1st half.

    I’m worried that the youth and length of the Nets frontline might give us trouble tomorrow with their offensive rebounding ability. Resting Duncan/McDyess in the 4th was wise.

    I think the Nuggets are our best matchup come the playoffs because they make the most boneheaded, dumb plays with their lack of b-ball IQ in players like Martin and Smith. They couldn’t even inbound the ball last year in crunch time against the Lakers.

  • BigBalls

    Manu Ginobli covers a multitude of sins!

  • BigBalls

    @I Man,

    I think you are right about Denver being the best match up for the Spurs. Mavs are a different team after the their trade -

  • BigWhit

    Results of “Hell Week” (plus a few days)

    Sunday: OT loss at Atlanta
    Monday: Close win at OKC
    Tuesday: off
    Wednesday: Home loss v Lakers
    Thursday: off
    Friday: Home win v Cleavland
    Saturday: off
    Sunday: Win at Boston
    Monday: NJ pending
    Tuesday: off
    Wednesday: HOU pending

    Overview:
    Good news is we beat 3 very good teams and a close loss to one more.

    Bad news is we lost to the Lakers. Gotta get past them, but we can’t. The Laker loss was not a btb and was at home.

    Even if we beat both NJ and HOU, we still lost to the Lakers.

    I hate the Lakers.

  • ChillFAN

    Artest just takes the Lakers to another level, like Rodman with the Bulls. But they are beatable, it just takes a great gameplan.