Chicago Bulls 109, San Antonio Spurs 99: Popovich singing Thibodeau singing Popovich

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Over at the Daily Dime (Friday morning edition), I make an argument that tonight’s Bulls game might well have been an NBA Finals preview. And if that’s the case, the Spurs will need to figure a few things out between now and June.

The most obvious place to start is Derrick Rose, who torched the Spurs for an MVP-worthy 42 points.

“He’s taken a monster leap this year,” said Gregg Popovich after the game. “What’s really great about him is that he seems to love the pressure of putting his team on his back. He has the character and the demeanor to do that. Superstars have that character and leadership gene.”

For his part, Manu Ginobili was just as complimentary. “Derrick Rose has turned into a really hard player to guard…because of his explosiveness. He’s very reliable with his teardrops and 15 footers. He’s hard to guard.”

And then there is the Carlos Boozer problem. Boozer was a pest for the Spurs when he played in Utah and not much has changed since he left for Chicago. Boozer’s numbers are not overwhelming—15 points (7-14), 6 boards, and a pair of assists in 28 minutes. But he got whatever shot he wanted. If not for Rose’s big night, Boozer may have had one of his own.

The Spurs even had trouble sticking with Luol Deng. It was a rough night. And it could get worse between now and the next meeting between these teams.

The Bulls, of course, are in the market for a shooting guard to pair with Rose. They have a week to make a move in that direction, and such a move would certainly improve their team. And the return of Joakim Noah will help Chicago’s already top ranked defense.

And, whoa, is that defense good.

Gregg Popovich and Tom Thibodeau are coach of the year candidates, and, in truth, they’re really the only two guys who should be mentioned in that conversation. They’re 1a and 1b, but the pecking order is not at all certain.

“Tom [Thibodeau] is an obvious coach of the year candidate,” Gregg Popovich opined after the game. Pop was employing sincerity, not flattery.

Pop must see a lot of himself in Thibodeau, who has spent the last decade making defensive juggernauts of NBA teams—those teams were Houston (under Jeff Van Gundy), Boston and, now, Chicago.  Thibodeau’s recent defensive accomplishments closely mirror Popovich’s best defensive teams of the last decade.

In December of 2009, I wrote the following about Thibodeau’s Celtics:

During the 2007-8 season the Boston Celtics displaced the San Antonio Spurs as the league’s premier defensive team. Tom Thibodeau and the Celtics personnel trumped Gregg Popovich and San Antonio’s squad, and the Spurs spent the better part of the last two seasons with a loose grip on their once proud defensive stalwart status. One of San Antonio’s goals for this season is to re-discover themselves as an elite defensive ball club, and they’re showing steady improvement. But they’re still a long way from the night in, night out dominance that once characterized the team.

In the early 90s, David Bowie covered Morrissey’s “I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday” on the album Black Tie, White Noise.  It sounded odd to hear the rock icon singing a tune of his musical disciple, but somehow it worked. When asked about the choice, Bowie quipped “That’s me singing Morrissey singing David Bowie.”

Just a moment ago, I briefly outlined a scenario in which the Bulls could improve mightily between now and the end of the season. If the Spurs improve upon their historic start, it will be because Popovich begins singing Thibodeau singing Popovich.

This, it should be noted, is not simply a reaction to tonight’s game.

One game is one game. Popovich was quick to remind everyone that the Spurs have been on the road for several days. “I told the team we were not playing as sharp as we needed to be. I hate to admit it but 9 straight road games could affect your execution.”  My argument isn’t one of knee jerks.

What I’m reacting to, and what makes the Bulls such a formidable opponent is the fact that Tom Thibodeau is not a Johnny-come-lately. The same defensive execution which took Boston to two NBA Finals and one championship has reared its ugly head in Chicago.

The Bulls are for real. And it’s not surprising that, along with the Celtics, Chicago may be San Antonio’s most difficult postseason match up.

  • Hobson13

    The Spurs biggest problem on this RRT was stopping a single player from having a monster game. Aldridge dropped 40 on us and now Rose dropped 42 on us. Other than those two (and the Philly debacle of us not being able to make a shot) we had a solid RRT. On the other hand, I still worry about this team making it to the Finals. We were a lucky McDyess bounce away from being 5-4 on this trip. IMO, the jury is still out on this team. Sure we can win tons of regular season games, but can this translate in the postseason?

    Of the four good teams we faced on the RRT, we got blown up by Aldridge, barely escaped LA, couldn’t hit a shot in Philly, and lost to the Bulls (who by the way outrebounded us by 12). Yes, we pushed around Detroit, Sacto, Washington, and NJ, but we won’t see any teams like those in the playoffs. I know many will try to crucify me for this post, but I’m just not sure about this team…

    P.S. Let me just say that I hope the Spurs have another gear, because if this is our ceiling (on the defensive end) then we have problems.

  • DorieStreet

    The offense disappointed me in the 1st half; Duncan & RJ were ignored by the guards in trying to score in a half-court game. Tim kept us in the contest in the 3rd when Chicago went up by 9 at 51-60; but that old bugaboo- scoring drought – that started @ 4:41 left ultimately doomed the chance to pull this one out. When Rose was on the bench at the start of the 4th quarter, the defense was stout; but the Spurs offense had already gone downhill—from 2:11 in the 3rd to 8:33 in the 4th—only 3 pts in 6 minutes.

  • TD = Best EVER

    “The Spurs biggest problem on this RRT was stopping a single player from having a monster game. Aldridge dropped 40 on us and now Rose dropped 42 on us.”

    You can add to that Philly’s Jrue holiday – 27

    The biggest problem here is that you can’t expect better Defense from the non defense players. Blair, Bonner, Neal, RJ are not good defensive players. And as long as they are logging big minutes this is what we can expect. The Spurs are in need of help ASAP. Mostly in the paint. Another Big could have allowed TD to challenge more shot w/o worry of getting in foul trouble and killing our chances of winning. So that should be our # 1 priority, getting bigger. I mean we got beat by 12 on the boards and they didn’t have Noah!

  • Rafael

    We lost to Bulls today, is not by Nets or Cavs, we don’t need worry.On playoffs will be not every game TD+Dice+Bonne+Blair will grab 5 rebounds in first half, not every game Ginobili will shot 6-18

  • Nima K.

    At this rate, we might get to the WCF, but the 5th ring will evade us.

    I don’t see this team beating the Eastern Conference champ, assuming we do somehow get past Dallas and LA.

    Unless of course Anderson explodes back into his game, and Splitter suddenly finds his groove or something. And even that, I fear might not be enough.

    Something needs to be done. But I can’t exCtly pinpoint where we’re coming short. I hope Pop does.

    Any insights or solutions?

  • zooguitar

    Wow. This is my first time reading this blog, and there’s a “Your Arsenal” reference in the first thing I read. F-ing brilliant.

    Sorry my Bulls beat your Spurs, but seriously, great reference!

  • The Beat Counselor

    At the beginning of the RRT, I said that 6-3 should be considered a successful trip and I also said that 5-4 would be respectable.

    As a lover of great team defense, I’ll take a loss to elite defensive teams, especially during the regular season. If getting beat by elite scoring teams makes us want to become a better offensive team, wouldn’t it follow that getting beat by elite defensive teams would make us want to shore up our defense?

    Hopefully we take note of how we lost and not just brush this loss aside.

    We just couldn’t get any stops.

    Also keep in mind that Noah was on the bench and he is an elite defensive center. He’ll be back.

    One other thing to note is that Ron Adams does not get enough credit. Thibodeau’s assistant coach is none other than the guy responsible for OKC’s swarming defense lasts year. Look at OKC’s defense this year…major drop off. So the head coach was responsible for my favorite defensive team two years ago and his assistant coach was responsible for my favorite defensive team last year.

    Formidable.

    Alright Spurs, unbelievable season going into the All-Star break. Loving every minute.

    Rest up. Buckle down.

  • TD = Best EVER

    @ DorieStreet

    “The offense disappointed me in the 1st half; Duncan & RJ were ignored by the guards in trying to score in a half-court game.”

    +100

    I’m glad someone else saw it and not just me. Look at the shot chart. TD, RJ, DJB went 1-2 in the 1st QT. RJ has basically became an overpaid Offensive version of bruce Bowen who can’t Defend AT ALL. All he does is run around and shot a few 3′s from time to time. Thanks mostly to TP’s inability to play w/o the basketball. There were at least 3 times where TP came down on 2 or more offensive trips and never passed the ball to anyone. That’s horrible. This is why he can never be an elite PG, he can’t make plays for his team on a regular bases. And no this isn’t just 1 game. Most of TP’s games go like this. He doesn’t look for the roll man that often and elects to look for his own shot far too much. There is no reason RJ isn’t getting 15 points a game other than he can’t get the FGA’s.

    This is why I was and still am on the TradeTP bandwagon. We have too much offense for a shoot 1st PG that can’t go off Like D.ROSE or D.Will did to us.

    Here’s to hoping POP wakes up and realizes this before it’s too late and puts a lid on him before his poor decision making and our HORRIBLE D kills our chance of winning number 5.

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  • Hobson13

    TD = Best EVER
    February 17th, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    “This is why I was and still am on the TradeTP bandwagon. We have too much offense for a shoot 1st PG that can’t go off Like D.ROSE or D.Will did to us.”

    People will hate you for saying that, but I noticed much the same thing. There were numerous possessions where Parker pounded the ball for much of the shot clock. Let’s just say that Parker really looked for his shot tonight AND while Rose scored 42, he also had twice as many assists as Parker.

    The only other person who pulled the trigger as much as Parker was Manu who promptly went 6-18. Here are Manu’s shooting numbers for the 4 toughest rodeo road games:

    @Portland: 6-18
    @LA: 5-17
    @Philly: 2-10 (even though everyone shot terrible)
    @Chicago: 6-18

    In our 4 toughest games, he shot a combined 19 for 63 or 30%. In that regard, it’s no damned wonder we almost lost 4 out of the 9 games. He just hasn’t played that well lately. That’s why I would have no problem with Hill taking some more minutes in an effort to get Manu feeling fresh.

  • junierizzle

    I think the SPURS just didn’t play a good game tonight. I’m not taking away anything from the BULLS. They are a solid team. But DROSE talked about this being a big game. He played like that. The SPURS didn’t.

    @TD=Best Ever and Hobson13 TP did enough to win. TD and Manu did enough to win despite having a bad game. They just could not stop the Bulls. And most of it was ROSE. I wouldn’t call it bad D. It seemed to me like the Bulls just couldn’t miss. It reminded me of the KNICK and CELTIC games. Even when the SPURS did play good D the BULLS would get something out of a broken play. Everything just went there way. Plus the SPURS missed a lot of layups too. And I’ll finish with this…..BOGANS HIT TWO THREES. Are you kidding me?

    I would consider the RRT a success. I would be more concerned if they lost to the Raptor and Pistons. They’ve already beaten the BULLS and the BLAZERS this season in case you forgot. The only thing that was a disappoint was TIAGO getting hurt. I think he could have been effective in this game. I think he’s pretty much done this season. I’m just happy they beat the LAKERS. Lucky bounce? MCDEEZY sealed off ODOM and worked for that tip in.

  • Ian

    LOL Spurs just got their tenth loss of the season, which was against a very good Bulls team – on the last RRT game right before the Allstar break no less – and some people are already suggesting that TP is better off traded? Unless the Spurs are getting CP3 or DWill straight up for Parker, TP should pretty much be untouchable considering his production this season. No one other than Manu and TD (who are both over 30 by the way) can produce an offence like TP does – trading him will be an absolute mistake if the Spurs want to win it all this season.

    Oh and I agree with junierizzle that Dice’s tip in was no fluke. Dice boxed out Odom expertly and a skilled veteran like McDyess just wouldn’t miss an opportunity like that.

  • The Beat Counselor

    Did we lose because of Timmeh’s new Drew Gooden look?

    Discuss.

  • Ian

    @The Beat Counselor
    If Gooden could replicate Timmy’s production tonight on a regular basis, I’d say Buford would’ve re-signed him without even a hesitation. But LOL I just can’t imagine TD with a Goodenesque goatee…

  • TdMgTp

    I still believe that Splitter will make us a better defensive team… I might be dumb, though..

  • SpurredOn

    If this was a Finals preview, tonight was the inevitable home team winning game 3 after losing the first two in San Antonio. Bulls needed and wanted this game more; under the circumstances that is no crime by our guys. It took Rose having a career night and the Spurs missing 7 FTs for Chicago to win: congrats to them.

    The Bulls do play great defense, yet this tired and “old” Spurs squad shot 49% with only seven turnovers. I’d happily take our chances matched against Chicago in the Finals, though an upgrade at the shooting guard could make them a much more difficult opponent. I would not be so eager to play them two years from now.

    As for Boozer, perhaps it’s just me but I don’t recall him giving the Spurs any unique problems. Other than last season, his Jazz teams struggled to beat SA and his inability to defend the post well was one reason why.

  • rob

    @Hobson13

    “In our 4 toughest games, he shot a combined 19 for 63 or 30%…. He just hasn’t played that well lately.”

    Both Ginobili and Parker are “forcing” issues way too much. Making really stupid decisions and playing out of control. Same could be said for Blair in these games.

    When 3 of your starters make really dumb decisions in a game, chances are the “team” loses the game.

    In these instances…there is plenty of “I” being inserted into “TEAM”.

    Pop’s gotta get that under control even if it means benching some people. Is it time to bring in Anderson and get him some burn? I wonder if he’s ready.

  • Mr. Robinson

    The Bulls have been playing well lately and they played a pretty good game on their home court last night.

    They played good defense, their rotations where sharp and their pick and roll defense was good and our rebounding was poor. The Bulls just wanted it more than the Spurs.

    Last night the Bulls where the better team with everything going their way. It is not the end of the world the Spurs are 46-10.

    Why is it that we are trading Tony Parker again? The Spurs whole offense is generated on pick and roll, penetration/kick and fast break. Who do you trade Tony for that wouldn’t change the whole offense and the salaries match up? There is no pg in the league that can stop the top pgs in the league one on one. The team needs to play better team defense which is easier said and done against a player like Rose.

    Last night I watched the team sometime use 3 pick and rolls in one shot clock and their was no open lane for a pass. This was just good D by the Bulls not Parkers fault. The Bulls have young long athletic players that are playing good D.

    I will agree with you on Manu though he hasn’t played that well lately. I said this months back when he first entered this slump that he looks more off balance on some of his shots than he has in the past. I just think he is a little tired and needs some more rest. In the beginning of the game I actually thought Manu was back. His shots looked good and he seemed to have more lift under him but as the game went on that lift seemed to go away. I agree that he needs less minutes. The only problem with that is that either he or Tony need to be on the floor at all times to create penetration. So maybe he would be better coming off of the bench. There was a moment when neither where on the court last night and our offense looked lost because we don’t have anyone else that can create offense like them. Pop called a timeout and Manu was back in. Pop could put Tim out there and keep dumping the ball into him like they use to which is what I think will happen come playoff time.

    In the short summary it is one game on the road against a team playing well that was hungrier last night than the Spurs and they had a lot go their way with a player having a career best night.

    It is only a bad loss if the team learns nothing from it. I am sure Pop will not let that happen.

  • rob

    …as a follow up to what I just posted, One could argue the Spurs haven’t played that many games against really good teams. It would do the “Team” wonders of good to play several games in a row against top competition to help sharpen their play even if they would lose some of those games in getting acclimated to playing better teams. Once playoffs role around…I’d hate to see them trying to “acclimate” against top competion without having played enough against top teams prior to playoffs.

  • DorieStreet

    @ rob

    ” …One could argue the Spurs haven’t played that many games against really good teams.”

    –Don’t worry about that; here are 8 opponents that will more than double the Spurs’ loss total if they play against them like they did against the Bulls:

    Heat (2), Lakers (2), Blazers (2), Thunder, Nuggets, Mavs, Jazz, Celtics.

    And the Spurs cannot sleep on these 3 opponents–Grizzlies (3, but catch a break on 1st 2 games with Rudy Gay out); San Antonio’s nemesis rivals- Rockets (2) and Suns (2); and at the Hawks.

    The team will be tested in the last 26 games.

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  • TD = Best EVER

    @ Mr. Robinson and others

    “Why is it that we are trading Tony Parker again? The Spurs whole offense is generated on pick and roll, penetration/kick and fast break. Who do you trade Tony for that wouldn’t change the whole offense and the salaries match up?”

    Well it’s probably impossible to trade him in midseason. But the Kings, T-Wolves, Hawks, and a few other teams were looking to improve the PG position last summer. They all have pieces that we could have used as well.

    The Biggest thing we have to do now is sure up as many holes in our game as possible. And as far as I can tell here they are. (In no special order)

    Play making – We have to make Better Decisions
    -TP and POP need to have a “Come to Jesus” meeting sometime and talk about getting others involved in the Offense. Blair/RJ both play Better D when their Offense is going. They didn’t get a single look last night in the 1st 6 min and therefore the pretty much sucked it up all night long. RJ shot well but got abused by DENG. Blair just got abused.

    Frontcourt help – With Blair being a hit or miss player, TD/Dice getting up there in age, and Bonner D being as bad as it ALWAYS has been. We just need another Big HEALTHY Body to throw in there at times. The taller the better, but almost anybody we find will D up better than Bonner.

    Perimeter Defender/Length – with the SF position growing taller and taller in this league. We are in need of a wing player that can defend these positions. And sometimes draw a cover like D.Rose/D.Will and try to bother them with his size/length.

    Of those things the easiest thing to do is for TP/POP to have that conversation. So he doesn’t HAVE to be traded, but he has get others involved in the offense and look for his Offense late in the Shot clock or on the Fast break ONLY.

    The other 2 would require a trade. And as I see it now Tiago Splitter is our prime guy to let go. I have put forth some trade ideas in the previous article that we should all have a look at.

  • Tim

    For all you defense lovers, watch how we guard the paint from 3:30-4:00.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkpT0QdUDIY

    the other thing that stands out: u can say a lot of things about Rodman but the dude could flat out ball. Look at how he gets rebounding position every single time

  • ITGuy

    @Mr. Robinson
    “In the short summary it is one game on the road against a team playing well that was hungrier last night than the Spurs and they had a lot go their way with a player having a career best night. ”

    100+

    As Pop said; having the best record doesn’t mean you’re the best team. Chicago proved that last night.

    Go Spurs Go!!

  • Bryan

    It’s games like this that really make me miss Bruce Bowen. I think Pop has done a phenomenal job coaching this season – not just in changing is offense to a more guard oriented approach, but his defensive schemes as well. The Spurs no longer have a lock down defender or great shot blockers. As mentioned in this space before, the team now plays defense with chaos, jumping passing lanes, providing lots of help, and LOTS of rotations. But we just no longer have an elite defender.

    As TD=BE mentioned, most of the key players on this team are not good defensive players. And Popovich’s defensive game plan is still able to slow most teams down enough to get a victory. But last night certainly wasn’t the case. SA just couldn’t get any stops last night, and certainly didn’t have anybody to deploy onto Rose.

    I’m not ready to trade TP to bring in a lock down defender. This is a great team, with a legitimate chance to win it all. I just think some nights we are going to suffer great nights from great players without a great wing defender on the roster.

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Len

    “I know many will try to crucify me for this post, but I’m just not sure about this team…”

    “The Spurs are in need of help ASAP. Mostly in the paint.”

    “At this rate, we might get to the WCF, but the 5th ring will evade us.

    I don’t see this team beating the Eastern Conference champ, assuming we do somehow get past Dallas and LA.”

    MAN. I hope the Spurs don’t lose another game or there will be “Fire Pop” signs all over the AT&T by March.

    RELAX. Did the Spurs play good? NO. Did Rose go off? YES. Did the Spurs get outrebounded badly? YES

    But keep this in mind my fickle friends. We outrebounded them by 8 when Noah had 14. Now the same team plus Boozer (who had 6 boards) outrebounds the Spurs by 12. Do the math and that’s a 18 (even accounting for Booz) rebound swing. Same players, very different result. Did Tim, Dice and Blair forget how to rebound or were they a step slow tonight

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Len

    Considering it’s the end of a nine game road trip, I think the answer is obvious. The Spurs were sluggish and the Bulls, esp Rose, were dynamic.

    The only thing that bothers me is Manu’s shooting. The Spurs won’t win a championship if he’s making bad decisions and shooting 30%. Are we witnessing Manu “getting old” right before our very eyes? Perhaps. I just pray that he can rediscover his greatness before the playoffs.

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Bry

    @hobson13 The Spurs have the best road record in the NBA at 21-8. The only other team that is even close is Dallas at 19-8. They’ve won more than 72% of their road games. That is outstanding. It is ridiculous to claim that they suddenly are a poor road team when they’ve just finished their ninth road game in a row against a very hot team (especially in Chicago) and a bonafied MVP candidate.
    @TD=B.E. Tony Parker is averaging 17.4PPG while shooting 52.4% from the field. He’s also dishing out 6.7 assists. Rose was just on fire, and hitting everything he threw up. In fact, I think it is better to have Parker trying to wear him out on the defensive end during games like that. I fail to see what you could get back in terms of a trade that would have more value to the Spurs than Tony.
    There’s no need for hysterics. The Spurs just had a bad game. It happens a lot, especially on the road to a hot playoff team. If people are not happy with a 21-8 road record, they are just not being realistic. Also, the Spurs didn’t ‘luck’ their way into beating the Lakers. They played well and were up by 4 with a minute to go, before Ginobili inexplicably went for a cheap steal and the Lakers got right back in the game. People seem to have bizarrely selective memories around here….

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Len

    “Do the math and that’s a 18 (even accounting for Booz) rebound swing”

    Oops, that would be 14. And that’s rough analysis because that’s really not how one account’s for a missing player. However, my point is the same. The Spurs got outrebounded badly against a team they previously controlled because they were obviously a step slow.

  • rob

    @DorieStreet

    I for one think those 26 games will be beneficial going into the playoffs even if they lose some of them. One can only esculate, acclimate and improve playing against really good talent/teams.

    Regarding this game against the Bulls…the outcome didn’t suprise me as much as the lack of preparedness and inability of 2 of our top players to play under control.

    Blair wasn’t that much of a suprise being he’s been inconsistent the entire year and only his second season (first time starter). However, by the end of the regular season…that’s got to change.

    @ Mr. Robinson

    “In the short summary it is one game on the road against a team playing well that was hungrier last night than the Spurs and they had a lot go their way with a player having a career best night.

    It is only a bad loss if the team learns nothing from it. I am sure Pop will not let that happen.”

    Excellent Point.

  • TD = Best EVER

    @ Len

    “But keep this in mind my fickle friends. We outrebounded them by 8 when Noah had 14.”

    But they didn’t have Boozer back then. SO that game didn’t count either. And we still couldn’t stop Rose or Deng.

    @ Bry
    “Tony Parker is averaging 17.4PPG while shooting 52.4% from the field. He’s also dishing out 6.7 assists.”

    TP issue is that he shoots too much and doesn’t pass enough. His production is actually holding players like RJ, DJB, TD back more than they are elevating him. If we had a PG that passed to the roll man more than 1 or 2 times a game. DJB/TD would both get an extra 4 points or so a game. The same way Rose set up Kurt Thomas old self last night for an easy lay-in. And as far as RJ, he would also put up better numbers if he could get up some FGA’s with regularity.

    So the fact that TP doesn’t play off the ball that well and doesn’t look to the roll man that often, we would be better off with a Collison/Ridnour/Brooks type that would keep his TO’s down and allow all of our horses out of the stable during the game. TP just doesn’t.

  • DorieStreet

    I looked at the RRT schedule before it started, and I felt the Spurs would go at least 7-2. And honestly, the 2 losses I selected were the first & last games. The Blazers had 4 days rest and were about to hit the road; and has been mentioned many times, the last game on a long road trip is the hardest to win, especially against a quality opponent. The 76ers loss is the headscratcher–although one can say that team circles this game every year on their calendar seeing how that was the 5th straight loss in Philly. The trip has evened off the H/A discrepancy (it is now 27H/29A games played). A quick scan revealed 2 or 3 BTB left, along with two 3game road trips. But there are only 6-7 games left vs teams that are more than 2 games below .500 at this allstar break.

    I hope the Spurs’ participants have a good time (and log very few minutes in their exhibitions) and the rest of the team stays home & rest. Anyone going to watch the events this weekend?

  • knecht

    One interesting Idea to improve our defense and offense in just one operation.

    Trade TP and RJ for Deron Willians and AK47. The offense will improve a lot with a passing 1, and AK47 is vastly superior to rj on defense. What do You think??

  • Chris

    Let’s look at it objectively. Spurs have gotten sloppy at the end of a long road trip, and a very good Bulls team exposed that. Coaching staff will tighten the screws over the break, and they’ll come back sharp. If you analyze it beyond that, you’re wasting your time. Yes, though, I would like to see less Manu and more Hill – for no other reason than to ensure Manu is fresh come the playoffs. When we lean on Manu too much, we lose.

  • jwalt

    Glad so many of you panic in a situation that calls for it. Sheesh! Last game on the road against a quality opponent, it was very predictable.

    Manu finally had a stinker. Yes, other games he has shot poorly but HAS PLAYED BRILLIANTLY. Last night he both played and shot poorly. He never could get the team to explode with one of those runs that only Manu can lead.

    I agree with TDBest regarding Parker, outside of trading him. Parker has always had “sticky fingers”, has always driven me crazy with his tendency to dominate the ball. But he’s done less of that this year (because he’s signed) and besides, he’s our “sticky finger” guy. And a lot times he carries the offense with no one else is doing much.

    My only “concern” from last night remains Blair, who can be great and can be horrible. Unfortunately, when he’s horrible the team truly suffers.

  • spursfanbayarea

    Wow, is the sky falling now that the spurs lose a road game? It seems like expectations here are that the spurs have to win every single game no matter what the circumstances. Do people not see it was the end of a 9 game road trip? Which is the longest in the league. Another thing is that the games before allstar games tend to be trap games. There is usually a let down. Also hats off to D. Rose, he was in the zone and went for a career high 42. If we had to play him in the playoffs, popovich would have time to gameplan to limit his effectiveness. People were expecting the spurs to only win roughly 50 games this year. We are already almost there by the all star break. This team is playing extremely well. No team is going to go 82-0. What is scary is that the spurs have always played better in the second half compared to the first half. Imagine how good we will be if we can get our defensive rotations in order. This is the spurs best start in history and there are people jumping off the bridge after a road loss. Pretty funny.

  • http://www.babaiepromotions.com Alix Babaie

    TD = Best EVER

    But they didn’t have Boozer back then. SO that game didn’t count either. And we still couldn’t stop Rose or Deng.

    That game didn’t count either? Are you kidding me?

    This was game 9 of the RRT, with the ASW upon them. The Bulls are almost unbeatable at home, were rested and Rose had the game of his life.

    Talk about making mountains out of molehills.

    Blair could not stay out of foul trouble, ALL of the guys looked a step slow, Ginobili took some flat shots and the bench did not give much scoring at all.

    TP was slicing and dicing inside and you want to trade him because he does not pass enough?

    I think some of us Spurs fans need the ASB as much as the players do to decompress and count the blessings for what has been an unbelievable season so far @ 46-10!

  • http://www.babaiepromotions.com Alix Babaie

    The only game I can honestly say I am pissed about the S&B not getting is the Philly game. Even as poorly as they played, they still had a chance to snag that one.

    Losing to Portland after LA got ASG snubbed, prompting going off for 40 and Chi-Town who is in the top 3 for home records is nothing to be ashamed of.

    The Spurs did not squeak by the Lakers, they played a hard fought, back and forth playoff charged game and made a statement. The Spurs did not look like a statement making team last night…..they looked like a road weary team who seemed glad to have a long weekend off.

  • Mike

    @knecht

    Terrible trade, if it took RJ a whole year to figure out the system, no way will Williams and Kirilenko figure it out in 1/3 of a season. Might as well throw in the towel if we pull that.

    @TD = BE
    Per touch Tony passes the ball almost 70% of time versus shooting 23%. Collison is Pass:64%, Shoot: 25%. Brooks and Ridnour are not scored, but per 36, Parker is well above both.

  • TD = Best EVER

    @ Mike
    “Per touch Tony passes the ball almost 70% of time versus shooting 23%. Collison is Pass:64%, Shoot: 25%. Brooks and Ridnour are not scored, but per 36, Parker is well above both.”

    Where did you get those stats at. And do they take into account that the other PG’s don’t have the ball as much as TP. TP leads our team in FGA’s/game. Now on a team with Manu, RJ, TD on it he needs to learn to share the wealth.

    Collison plays off the ball alot because the Pacers O runs through Hibbert/Granger.

    Brooks also has to dump the ball down to Scola alot and just spot off him or Kevin Martin

    Ridnour always plays off the ball – Beasley/Love both need 2 or more dribbles to set up their scoring opportunity.

  • Mike

    @TD = BE

    They are from Basketball-Reference.com: either “‘Black holes’, Position-By-Position” http://www.basketball-reference.com/blog/?p=8847 or “Layups: The ‘Black Hole Atlas’” http://www.basketball-reference.com/blog/?p=8827

    Yes it does take into account touches/minute, of which Tony has 1.8 vs. Collison’s 1.49.

    Per 36 minutes shot attempts go Ginobili, Parker, Duncan, Jefferson; exactly how it should be considering Jefferson was brought in as a fourth wheel, and Duncan/Ginobili are quite old compared to Tony. Tony’s numbers are similar if not better then his 3 previous All-Star years.

    Don’t make excuses for those other 3 guards; they aren’t as good as Tony no matter what metric you attempt to use.

  • DorieStreet

    @spursfanbayarea

    It’s all in the way a person sees it. I recall a fans upset about the Knick loss–complaining about the lack of defense because of the high score, instead of looking at what happened in the last part of 4th quarter when the Spurs stopped scoring (and the Knicks didn’t). I did not expect this team to go 82-0, or 72-10. But by the same logic, some games are going to be won 110-104, while others are won with the score being 87-86. Some people expect every Spurs victory should be by 10 points or more, with the team leading wire-to-wire. On the other hand, we have fans that automatically pencil in an “L” for the Spurs just because it is the 2nd game of a BTB–like the Raptors/Pistons and 76ers/Wizards combos of last week. Why?

    A ‘Silver’ lining from last night’s contest- I recall Dick Stockton saying after a TO in the 4th quarter, that it was the first one the Spurs committed since the 1st stanza. And the final number was 7 TOs, compared to the Bulls’ 10. That let us know that although the team trailed nearly the entire game, and continually fell behind 5-9 pts. throughout, it was not due to sloppiness, but slow reaction, lack of ball movement, and missed shots (and not stopping the opposition enough to keep it close at the end).

  • Tim in Surrey

    For those of you complaining about “only” going 6-3 on the RRT and especially losing to Philadelphia, try a little comparison: That Lakers team everyone’s so scared of didn’t just tail off in the last game of their “Grammy” road trip. They lost the last FOUR games, including a game at Cleveland. And have any of you guys noticed what Philadelphia has been doing lately? Since their 3-13 start to the season, they’ve gone 24-16 and have won 10 of their last 14. They’ve suddenly matured into a talented, deep team that plays very tough defense. They’re currently ranked 8th in the league in Hollinger’s power rankings. So losing to them in the third road game in four nights? Not such a big surprise. 6-3 was a good record for this trip.

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Bry

    I guess that shows how balanced the Spurs offense is if TP leads the team in FGA. The point is that he shoots 52.4%. That is unbelievable from a small gaurd. It is pretty hard for me to swallow that I guy shoot less if he’s hitting at that percentage. Tony is basically a small scoring gaurd and Manu is kind of a big point. This season, Tony has been far more consistent than Manu, and his assist number are good even when you are comparing him to other PGs. As everyone has mentioned, the Spurs really need another wing defender (I don’t think they need another post defender cuz they’re fine with what they’ve got now). But, there really isn’t one available on the cheap, and they’d have to sacrifice some seriously efficient offense to give any new guy minutes. Parker has earned his minutes and his salary this season. His numbers are impressive when you look them over.

  • Mike

    @TD = BE

    The stats are from Basketball-Reference.com: http://www.basketball-reference.com/blog/?p=8847: ‘Black Holes’, Position-by-Position or http://www.basketball-reference.com/blog/?p=8827: Layups: The ‘Black Hole Atlas’. And yes, touches per minute are taken into account, of which Tony has 1.8/minute and Collison has 1.49/minute.

    As far as field goal attempts (ignoring Tony only has a .5 attempt/game lead over Ginobili while playing 1.6 minutes more); per 36 minutes it goes like this: Ginobili (15), Parker (14.9), Duncan (14.4), Jefferson (10.0). In my opinion that’s how it should be considering Jefferson wasn’t brought in to be more then a fourth wheel, and Ginobili and Duncan are aged.

    Tony has numbers this year similar or better then his previous 3 All-Star seasons; the other three aren’t even close to the level Parker is at.

  • TD = Best EVER

    Lets just leave TP alone for today and focus on someone who is all packed up and ready to go anyway. Tiago Splitter wants more minutes and we want someone who we can trust. Just add this to the trades from yesterday.

    Philly – http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=4azhsbw

    Doug Collins doesn’t like either of these 2 players and does need front court help . Philly was asking about Cunningham from Portland and we all know he sucks. So we get 2 young players that have fallen out of the loop with Philly. And they get a big that they can plug in play

    More trades to come as soon as I can find more

  • Mike

    @TD = BE

    They are from Basketball-Reference.com: either “‘Black holes’, Position-By-Position” http://www.basketball-reference.com/blog/?p=8847 or “Layups: The ‘Black Hole Atlas’” http://www.basketball-reference.com/blog/?p=8827

    Yes it does take into account touches/minute, of which Tony has 1.8 vs. Collison’s 1.49.

  • Mike

    Hmmm, my comments won’t show up. @TD = BE, the stats are from Basketball-Reference “Black Holes”

  • Mike

    Also, as far as field goal attempts (ignoring Tony only has a .5 attempt/game lead over Ginobili while playing 1.6 minutes more); per 36 minutes it goes like this: Ginobili (15), Parker (14.9), Duncan (14.4), Jefferson (10.0). In my opinion that’s how it should be considering Jefferson wasn’t brought in to be more then a fourth wheel, and Ginobili and Duncan are aged.

    Tony has numbers this year similar or better then his previous 3 All-Star seasons; the other three aren’t even close to the level Parker is at.

  • Mike

    I guess WordPress doesn’t care for Firefox too much. Sorry for spamming the comments Moderator, didn’t realize that my “comments are awaiting moderation. “