Denver Nuggets 115, San Antonio Spurs 112

by

 Last night the new-look Denver Nuggets welcomed the San Antonio Spurs to the other side of the coin–a nod to the theory that games decided in the last minute tend to be 50-50 propositions.

This time, there were no Manu Ginobili heroics to pull the Spurs through, as the shooting guard took and missed two tough shots that could have pulled the Spurs even. For you at home, the night was either highly entertaining—given the pace and flow of the game—or extremely frustrating, again, given the pace and flow of the game.

Giving up 115 points on over 50 percent shooting from the field and the three-point line, and yet somehow having an opportunity at the end, will do that.

But what the game had in entertainment value, it lacked in context. At this point in the season games, recaps, and opinions are given with the playoffs in mind and in this game there were no playoff implications. This game stands alone to be enjoyed or lamented for what it is, and then left behind in muck of an 82-game season.

There might be some concern about the defense. But understand that this is what these Denver Nuggets can do at home when catching a team unprepared.

And to an extent that’s what these Spurs were, as the Nuggets 21-2 edge in fast break point can attest to. Without Duncan there to quarterback the defense verbally and enforce it physically, the rotations just aren’t as sharp and the players found themselves that step or two out of position that accounts for the difference between a tough shot and a foul (39 free throw attempts for the Nuggets against a team that is the best in the NBA at avoiding such violations).

With limited film and no experience against these Nuggets, Denver is catching teams by surprise. A novelty factor that should wear off as teams get a second and third look at them.

Certainly you don’t worry about this team as a potential nightmare matchup because in all likelihood these two teams will never meet in the playoffs. Because as much of a story as this team’s unity without Carmelo Anthony has been, is anyone outside of Denver honestly convinced they can take out one of the West’s top four team?

What you worry about in games like these are injuries; the Spurs escaped with none and may have gotten some good news on the Duncan front. You keep a close eye on Tiago Splitter, who started strong but was winded early (have to get that game conditioning down, fortunately there is time).

And you worry about the bench.

Because outside of Gary Neal, the second unit was absolutely torched. With Al Harrington doing his Steve Novak as Matt Bonner impression (5-6 from the three-point line), Raymond Felton picking up where he left off against the Spurs in New York, and J.R. Smith doing what J.R. Smith does every so often, the second unit could have used more than one player stepping up last night.

After their last home game, Popovich put this group on notice. He expects more consistency; he expects more of what Gary Neal brought (25 points in 24 minutes). Mark my words, these playoffs are for Neal. Before the offseason comes, Neal will have won the Spurs at least one playoff game.

Outside of that, Matt Bonner simply needs to keep shooting his way out of a slump, George Hill needs to keep fighting through those screens, and Tiago Splitter needs to extend his 15 minutes of fame, or at least not get winded by the 16th minute. The basketball world doesn’t wait for Tim Duncan to get healthy. Portland is next.

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

    This game was very much a winnable game but the fellas just made too many mistakes down the stretch.

    Some people will come on here and try to blame specific players but much like the assassination of Julius Caesar, everyone had a hand in this dastardly deed.

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

    Popovich expects more of what Gary Neal brought (25 points in 24 minutes). Mark my words, these playoffs are for Neal. Before the offseason comes, Neal will have won the Spurs at least one playoff game.

    Jesse, my man, could not have said it better….the main thing is the Spurs need to stay healthy, compete and get solid efforts from their bench guys.

    But were you as perplexed as I that Pop placed a DNP-CD beside Novak’s name, given the way he has played the last couple of games?

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Jesse Blanchard

    Honestly, I don’t think Novak is the answer. Given his track record, it might not sit well with some of you, but the Spurs would be much better served if Bonner could get his jumper going again.

    To his credit, he’s shooting them without hesitation this time around, which is an improvement on years past when he got in funks.

  • betsyduncan

    The ides of March have come and gone. It’s now time to start a new winning streak!
    “We must take the current when it serves,
    Or lose our ventures.”

  • bob

    This was a tough loss to take. I don’t agree that it has no playoff implications because of the fact that we really are faced with the possibility of losing homecourt throughout. We haven’t won in Portland in forever and Memphis will be tough at their place.

    I was annoyed by how many jumpshots the Spurs were taking. I think Manu and Tony shot 6 free throws combined, which is ridiculous when you think about the fact that the Spurs were in the bonus early in the 4th qtr. With Timmy out, the Spurs need to get to the line early and often…

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

    I see what you are saying Jesse, not to say that we need him for every game but in a shoot out like last night, I would trust Novak to knock them down moreso than Bonner, who is in obvious slump.

    Where is Mark Grace with a slump buster when you need him?! :)

  • Titletown99030507d

    Splitter was not winded please enough of that. The man sat half the damn game while the BB boys got abused. Yeah extend his minutes by bringing him back on. Hello? I’m sure Splitter and Novak both left the arena confused. Theres no excuse for this. Bad coaching. Pop’s going in to his “at the end of the season I’ll only play my veterans”. Oh Pop, aging sucks get some brain clearing herbs to bring back the memory from the last 2 games.

  • Surveypro

    Hmmmm…Denver’s bench had 63 points against the “best bench in the NBA” which had 47 points. Denver had 6 players in double figures and two more with 8 points against the Spurs 3 players, (one of which was off the bench), in double figures. (Can you spell balanced?)
    And you still dismiss the Nuggets as unable to takeout one of the West’s top four teams?
    You pundants are laughable!

  • Titletown99030507d

    @Alix,

    Actually I blame Pop for the shitty rotations he insisted to put on the court. Since when does he reward players minutes for playing like crap?
    No, you need to get Bonner and Blair off the damn court. Splitter would have come in like he did in the first and part of the third clogging up the lane making the shooter small or big shoot over him without a clear view. That’s what his big body does for us every time he steps on the court not mention he can secure the rebound. They didn’t feed him Alix like in the other games they decided to have a pissing match with Denver. And they lost. Splitter should have been out there to slow them down and make them play half court. You don’t run with teams like this if you know your getting the shit kicked out of you playing small ball run and gun style of play. Pop should have made the adjustment. Yes Dyess and Splitter would have slowed them down like they did while they were in there. I would have played both of them till they both fouled out. Isn’t that what smart coaches do? Play the better players suited for the game until they can’t no more. I bet it was demoralizing for Splitter to watch and wonder “what the hell did I do”?

  • Nima K.

    Forget about Denver ppl. We’ll probably never face them again this season.

    Let’s focus on how to contain Camby, Aldridge, and Babbit.

    This team needs to prove they can do good enough without TD.

    As for Pop’s rookiephobia, either he’ll learn to adapt to the changing times, or we’ll exit in the 1st-2nd rounds, like many are already predicting.

  • Titletown99030507d

    And by the way the times Splitter was in, Nene had to dish off to others while Splitter was guarding him in the post. I didn’t see that with Blair. Everybody shot over him even Chandler and Martin shot over him. Where’s the logic behind this. If they can’t do it they can’t do it. Is Pop trying to magically make these guys what they’re not? Let’s move on Pop for the better. If you would have played Tiago the whole damn game at least he’s getting more game shape out of it and we probably would have one. Hell here’s a scenario, how about when Manu had the damn ball for the tie or win, but really I was looking for the tie in this case if Pop would have inserted Tiago and ran a damn play for him really tried to get the guys to get the ball to Tiago under the rim he would scored the basket with a possibility for an and 1 and the win. He’s strong enough for a continuation and 1. Stupid move in not having him in there really just settling for throwing up a brick at the arc. Man I thought Pop was a conservative in regards to basketball. Man is he changing or his age is getting to him.

  • Titletown99030507d

    @Nima K,

    If we can’t figure out how to deal with Denver how the hell are we going to against the other teams?
    What? You wanna throw Bonner and Blair at them again. This is irritating because it can be fixed with the right adjustment. Leave McDyes and Splitter in there until they both foul out. Just give them 3 minutes of rest in between substitutions.
    Give Novak the green light for a few minutes at a time and get the ball moving faster from player to player from minute 1 to minute 48. That’s how you fix things.

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

    @Titletown

    I think Blair is still hurt, he was competing but he looked as though he had trouble clutching the ball.

    Bonner is in a slump but is benching him the answer? It is easy to play Armchair QB from where we are sitting but Pop’s gotten us to 57 wins doing what he has done to date.

    I do agree that Splitter needs more minutes but more than that…..when Tiago got that 1st dunk on the feed inside I was thinking that he was going to be somewhat featured and the team totally went away from that the rest of the game.

    That was disappointing in and of itself but not playing Novak in a game where shooting was so critical, having him as a DNP-CD is a head scratcher.

    For this team to succeed in the postseason, the depth has to be on full display to outlast some of the teams with the edge in size.

    As for what you stated Nima K, who gives a shit what many are already saying? Even if the Spurs were 71-0 you would still hear that because, bottom line, nobody other than Spurs/ Spurs Fans/Spurs Media want them to be in the NBA Finals.

    Even a matchup as tantalizing as Spurs vs. Celtics or Spurs vs. Bulls could not get the a-holes at ESPN to hype the matchup, it would be “Well, if we coulda only had the Lakers in this one.”

    Screw ‘em all, this team will win it all, bottom line, Tim needs to be ready to roll in April and beyond.

  • dumafuji

    this is the 15th game the nuggets have played post-melo. why was arguably the nba’s “best” team not prepared for this game? i don’t buy it. better hustle and defense in the second half made the difference. nuggets played a spurs type game just a little bit better tonight sans duncan.

    anyway, nuggets are closing in on the fourth/fifth seed. with a first round win over a tough thunder team and the spurs beating the eighth seed, i kinda see a very possible spurs/nuggets series happening. unless you all are thinking off falling to number two without duncan, then by all means, get focused on portland.

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

    Titletown, the one thing you are neglecting to keep in mind with regard to playing Splitter the whole game is he would not last the whole game….he needs to avoid commiting some of the stupid fouls he gets nailed on….of course, with that officiating crew last night he could have farted in Nene’s general direction and been whistled for a flagrant one.

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

    Bottom line, this team has made it a habit of coming back strong after a loss, so I expect them to win Friday against Portland.

    Only 1 – 2 game losing streak all season. Keep that in mind and keep your chins up, Spurs fans.

  • junierizzle

    Nice article. It’s exactly what I was thinking.

    I look at this way. Despite all the mistakes, they still could have won it.

    My only complaint is that SPLITTER should have played more. I never thought I would say this but he was controlling the paint area. Just ask NENE. But if he was really that tired then WOW. His conditioning really needs to improve. It’s understandable since the dude really hasn’t played all year. And playing in DENVER didn’t help either, with the hight altitude.
    I believe SPLITTER sat out most of the 2nd quarter or at least 90% if I recall correctly. It’s no surprise that that was the Nuggets best quarter.

    I can’t blame POP on this one. Like I said they still could have won it. Too many missed opportunities.
    Between Blair and Mcdeezy they missed about four putbacks/layups. Blair missed a clutch put-back, Mcdeezy missed a clutch free-throw. I’m not putting it all on them. I’m just saying….too many screw-ups.

    As for the “New Look” Nuggets. Yeah, I don’t think any team has to worry about them. They have no kind of system. They are playing street ball out there. They claim to be sharing the ball but all I saw was the first guy that touched it, shot it. We’ll see exactly how far that gets them in the playoffs.

  • Bob

    @Titletown99030507d
    I agree with you about using Splitter and Dice to control the game. When those guys were in the Spurs were +11 and played with a lead. When Bonner/Blair were in they were minus. Like you said Nene didn’t try to take Splitter in the post like Blair. Martin was making shots on Blair he was missing with Dice. Tim Griffin (http://blog.mysanantonio.com/spursnation/2011/03/24/five-quick-takes-a-strange-game-from-beginning-to-end/) put it simply in saying Pop has to be careful with rotations. I think you will probably want to keep either Splitter or Dice in most of the time. Aldridge is going to devour Bonner/Blair.
    Also Pop loves small ball too much. It’s excellent when you want more offense but it’s usually not that great defensively. The Spurs scored more than enough. They just needed to play more defense. On the other hand Denver’s small ball was good defensively with their trapping. The small ball is better this year because guys can make shots but you still need to be judicious in how much you use it. Doug Collins said it best during the Suns sweep that Pop shouldn’t have been trying to play small ball.

  • Jayflm

    I agree with the original post. Entertaining game, but nothing in particular to take from it. The last three shots (two by Manu, one by Tony) were bad shots… probably the result of exhaustion. They looked like the kind of shots I take in old-man games after my 49-yr-old legs go away. One jab step, then chunk it!

  • Titletown99030507d

    @Bob,

    You also made a good point in which they trapped very well on the pnr and took away our passer’s ability to get the ball to Splitter cutting to the rim because if they could have managed it I think it would have been easy pickins for Splitter all night long and the tempo would have slowed down some and it would have not affected him as much in regards to the fatigue (As if that really was in question?) The key is whether Pop likes it or not they have to make the adjustment or effort to get Splitter the ball on the pnr while Timmy sits when he comes back. What I really like to see is Timmy and Tiago on the floor at the same time. The game will slow down and the shooters will have less pressure gunning for 3′s. Man its right there all he needs to do is pull the trigger.

    @Alix,

    Spltter wasn’t winded, Uh he sat long enough to get a rest what happened? And he wasn’t the one who fouled out. Plus there was 2 bad calls on him which would have left him with 2 instead. But the last time I check players can still play with 4 fouls.

    No exuse man, its just bad coaching. If one supports this team in any way then one has the right to point out faults.

    Arm chair quarterback or no arm chair quarterback its reality and they need to face it. Period!

  • Espoon

    @ Alix Babiae

    “Bottom line, this team has made it a habit of coming back strong after a loss, so I expect them to win Friday against Portland.

    Only 1 – 2 game losing streak all season. Keep that in mind and keep your chins up, Spurs fans.”

    This is true but Tim Duncan has been healthy much of the season and the Spurs have a tough stretch ahead, their only easy game should be Sac on the 6th of April. That’s 7 games the Spurs could easily lose without Duncan, especially since this is not the defensive team it used to be.

    How are the Spurs going to matchup with the Blazers with Aldridge at the 5 and Wallace at the 4?

    Tony and Manu are going to have to play well during this stretch and the Spurs need to get alot more out of Jefferson and Hill. You know both Jefferson and Hill have much more to offer; however, it is bonus when the other role players have good games.

  • Ace

    Do you get paid to write these articles? Can I have your job? I don’t know what game he was watching but I must have been watching a different game. BTW- are the spurs paying you to be their cheerleader? Is this a spurs site? I just popped onto this to see the final outcome as I fell asleep in the final minutes. Don’t get me wrong you make some good points like its just one game of the 82 in a season, but are you serious with some of your other comments? This game was awesome and I feel priviledged to have watched it. The passion and energy the teams were playing with made it feel like a playoff game. Caught off guard, surprised, novelty factor, really? This new nuggets team minus the selfish players are blowing teams away with fundamental basketball-hard defense and ball passing offense. Dare I say they are even embarassing teams. Can a professional athlete really be caught off gurard? Ohh and yeah I think the nuggets could beat the spurs again with or without the old man.

  • George

    Good shooting on both ends, simple as that, team that missed the most in crunch time lost the game. Dice played solid, Tiago, did his part, Pop needs to open up a little bit and quit playing to other teams matchups and make teams match up against the Spurs.

  • chromao

    A very frustating defeat indeed. Frustating because everybody played hard and fairly well (with the lone exception being Blair, his minus-four dunk really hurt us). I was disappointed that Pop did not play Novak, and realy concerned with our reaction to the trapping employed by Denver. On a side note, Wilson Chandler woud be a really good fit to our system: tall, very good defense, good ball-handling, fairly good offense, seemingly good character . Now on to a even more formidable oponent.

  • Bruno

    Pop and the refs killed us.

  • jwalt

    I understand why Pop wants to play McDyess with Splitter. The most experienced player with the one who has the least amount of playing time in this system. However, that means Bonner and Blair have to play together, and that has proven to be a recipe for disaster.

    I’m really fed up with Blair. He’s the kid who was always the biggest and baddest so he never learned how to play the game the right way. SA has been great beating teams with players like Blair for the last 14 years. Now he is on their team. There were about four bonehead plays he made last night. Bonner, god knows, has his limitations, and last night he was a mess. But he always gives his best effort, unlike Blair, who seemingly has as many brain farts as everyone else on the team combined.

    Once Duncan comes back (hurry up Timmy!) I sincerely hope Blair becomes the 5th big and basically out of the rotation.

  • Titletown99030507d

    @Bruno,

    Good one. Plain and simple and in a nutshell I like that statement.

  • Nima K.

    @Alix and Titletown:

    I think we all agree that Pop did make some mistakes, and should shoulder the blame for last night’s loss. IMO, Splitter, McDyess, and Neal and even Manu all played well. It was more of a coaching error.

    But anyway, I’d rather we focus our energy on what’s next. The b2b especially will be a crucial test. Im anxious to see what Timmy-less adjustments will be made to counter Aldridge and Zach.

    I thought this was funny:

    http://blog.mysanantonio.com/spursnation/2011/03/24/aldridge-pledges-1000-a-point-vs-spurs-for-japanese-relief-efforts/

    hope we wont have any Japanese now rooting against us :-)

  • Nima K.

    btw, I wonder will we ever see JA, Green, and Quinn for the rest of the season?

  • Titletown99030507d

    Crap now I’m starting to feel bad for Blair. Oh well yippy ka yay go Splitter! Oh hell no Bonner and Blair do not have to play together. I don’t care if they know each other and have lunch together and have more experience together than Splitter they are just plain weak together. Play Splitter longer that’s how you get in game shape. No? I still believe! GSG!

  • Titletown99030507d

    @NimaK,

    Blair should up the ante and donate $2000 for every missed dunk.

  • Titletown99030507d

    @NimaK,

    Better yet Pop should donate $5000 for every minute Tiago sits.

  • BayAreaSpursFan

    Correct me if I am wrong, but did Splitter sit the majority of the second half? The game was moving so dam fast that the whole game was a blurr. I was wondering why Bonner and Blair were in with a 12 point lead with more than 8 minutes left in the game. They should have had Splitter in there and fed him in the post to slow the game down. He was doing well in the first half I just dont know what went wrong in the second. Also what screwed us was that Denvers bigs were trapping on the PNR and they towered over Parker and Hill. The Spurs need to get a little bigger but Im sure that it is too late for that to happen. I hope Pop pulls a rabbit out of a hat come playoff time. Go Spurs Go!

  • Raza

    Or Pop should donate $5000 for every minute Bonner plays…..but then he’d be broke by halftime.

  • TD = Best EVER

    For all those clamoring for Blair’s head. Let me ask did you all watch the game……. because if you did you would have seen Tiago miss the same number of bunny shots (4) as Blair……. Now I may be a little hard on the Brazilian, but i think he had his time to shine, 17minutes, 4 fouls, 20% from the floor doesn’t scream out I need more PT coach…..

    As far as interior Defense goes, Nene is a HEADCASE who is about as consistent as Blair is these days……He was 2-3 from the field last night. So either Blair played him just as good as Tiago. Or Nene just never showed up for the game, which is what it looked like to me watching with my brother(Nuggets Fan). Also Denver didn’t have that many points in the paint, and what they did have were mostly on the break. So this game wasn’t decided by interior Defense from the Spurs side.

    And can someone please post this on the side of a milk carton.

    Missing
    George Hill aka IndyG – SA’s best perimeter defender. MIA since 1-2-11

    We allowed Denver to shot 57% from 3 and 50% overall. And like I said earlier, mostly from the perimeter. It would be nice if we could have defended anybody wearing white/carolina last night but we couldn’t. George Hill was able to frustrate Kobe for a game, but has gotten abused by Felton all year long. You can also add to that Conley from Memphis or anybody else we have asked him to try and guard recently. And TP is as fast as they get “with the basketball”, but on defense he must loose some speed or something. Because he looked helpless when trying to defend Lawson/Felton last night as well. It would be nice if he could save some speed for defense.

  • TD = Best EVER

    Also we looked a lot like “The Houston Rockets” tonight didn’t we. This is why TD still is our most important player…… w/o him we are basically all O and no D. As well as we don’t have a low post scoring option to slow down the game with either.

    As far as shooting, we have got to get Bonner some pimp juice. Or whatever Neal is drinking these days. Neal is fearless when it comes to shooting and Bonner almost seems like he has to have the Grand Canyon between him and the closet defender to get off a shot. Would have loved to see Novak, Anderson, or Green get some minutes. If POP is going to allow the team to play ZERO defense and go all AND1 basketball out there, why leave those guns holstered all night when it was clear we were running out of bullets.

  • DorieStreet

    No one’s panicking; it was just frustrating that the Spurs built & held a modest lead most of the game, then at the end they could not knock the shots down. It was highly entertaining though.

    I disagree with the author’s post about the “new look Nuggets” catching teams offguard. As I stated yesterday- the Spurs (3) and the Bulls (4) are the only teams in the NBA with less home losses (the Celtics only had 6 before losing last night). DEN was last above .500 on the road way back on the first Saturday in November (2-1). 3 months later their road record is 14-20, although they do have a 3win road streak this month.

    Looked back at the play-by-play log of the Spurs’ win back in Dec.; it went the opposite of last night’s contest–DEN led from the opening tip until late in the 3rd qtr. Manu made the last 4 pts. in a 1pt. win (113-112). He made 2 FTs & a 6-foot jumper.

  • Bruno

    @TD = Best EVER

    Isn’t Blair fault!Is Pop fault, he put Blair/Bonner together, Splitter play really good D.
    Al harrington scores 20 points against Bonner/Blair.

  • DorieStreet

    @TD=Best EVER

    “Or whatever Neal is drinking these days. Neal is fearless when it comes to shooting…”

    +10 – If Neal performs like that come playoff time–we’ll start seeing a lot black #14 jerseys in the AT&T stands for seasons to come. Way to go, Gary.

  • Bruno

    Small ball rarely work, i don’t know why Pop is doing it.I don’t know if Pop “plan” is lose the #1 seed, because if is, looks like is working.

  • Clearlybehind

    Man, there are some passionate posts. While I agree with Splitter getting more minutes, I think it is hard at this point to adjust the system to run offense through him. Definitely not this game. We could have tried it earlier against Charlotte or some other lesser opponents to give him confidence. We should have given Novak a look when the game got close in the 3rd quarter and we were struggling from long range. He appears to be a guy who does not need much game time to load and shoot. Bonner did get enough minutes so it is not like we would be bringing his confidence down by giving Novak some minutes.

    More than Blair, Hill seems to have regressed quite a bit. He no longer has the confidence to beat anybody off the dribble and is getting beat on defense. He would hurt us more than Blair if he does not pick it up. He has the ball more and takes more shots. Pop seems to noticed and of late Neal has been closing games not only because he is better offensively but also has been better on defense effort wise.

    Blair’s misses are usually on put backs and on defense he seems to contribute by rebounding and getting a couple of critical steals. Of course the steals are because he gambles which one could argue bites us more often!!

  • errrk

    How has nobody blamed jefferson for this yet?? 2-8 for the night, 1-5 from 3. what did we bring this guy here for again??

  • Clearlybehind

    TD=BE – Bonner and Grand Canyon, I wish I had thought of that!! I noticed that yesterday. If somebody is in front of him, even miles away, he doesn’t shoot. I wish he had never learned the dribble move. It is not high % make for him. Shoot baby shoot.

    Another thought, why do our guards throw the ball to Blair 15 ft from the basket and run away from him? He looks as awkward as Bonner trying to create from that distance.

  • Chipp

    Jesse, you need to step up your game and put the pom poms down. Splitter “dee-ed up” Nene, who always kills us. In the first quarter, Nene did a quick spin, which always gets by Timmy, and Splitter stopped him dead. Go review the game and watch all of Nene’s touches.

    And in a track meet like this one, where no one is playing perimeter defense, Pop needs to find the hot hand. Without a doubt, Novak should be in to spell a poor shooting Bonner. And, sometime Pop will have to figure out how to reign in Ginobli and teach him to pass at the end of games. Why wouldn’t you at least give Neal a touch in the last minute? Three possessions in a row and it’s just one-on-one ball. Heck, LeBron James can’t get away with it, why do we think our guys can?

    Off all the poor performances last night, Pop’s was the worst. You need to not be so afraid of criticizing Pop.

  • Dr. Leonard McCoy

    Damnit Jim! I’m just an old country doctor, not a starship chief engineer! But from last night’s game, It sure doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a chief engineer, for that matter, to figure out that: #1: The Spurs SHOULD have WON that game! #2: Some of the players & the coaching staff botched this game! ie: bad subbing selections. ie: T-Splitt & Parker should have come in at crunch time; Pop keeps relying on his OLD hand… the OLD guys & the VETERANS to win the games, when granted, they SHOULD, but it doesn’t always seem to always work for this team (AGE? FATIGUE? BAD DECISIONS? WORK WITH WHAT YOU GOT? (Arrrg!Idon’tknow!); small ball means that defense & rebounding suffers; bad perimiter defense; bad shot selections & poor finishing to tha hole. ARRRG!! #3: The team looked gassed, especially in the 4th quarter (yea, blame it on the altitude). #4: That “trap defense” Denver used seemed to work VERY effectivly against our guards & shooters! Put a big or two out on the perimiter to trap the the guard or shooter to limit his ability to penetrate, shoot & or pass the ball. Hmmm…. This was an ingenious move, if you will, by coach Karl & co. to put the clamps on the shooting & ball movement of the Spurs, there in the 4th. We were forcing shots, creating bad passes & turning the ball over. Hmmm… I believe that this is VERY simular to that “swarming defense” that the Fak… OOPS! I mean Lakers used effectively on the Spurs in that embarrassing loss three weeks ago. Now, I don’t know about you, but this “trap/swarming defense” was VERY effective against our boys! Karl either did his homework or this type of defense is part of their system. Any who Spurs fans, I hope that Pop ALSO took notice of this & thinking of ideas, perhaps, to counter this “trap defense” that seemed to work against them, cause I’m sure that other teams WILL take notice, & if they are capable of preparing for & utilizing this “trap defense” system, our boys could be in for a difficult time (can we use it; can we use it? can we, can we?!). Any thoughts or comments on how to counter this & more? Overall, hope there are lessons learned from this entertaining game (yea, like we miss TD-21!). Kudos to T-Splitt, Dyess, & G-Man Neal for their great efforts! Onward to Portland where the Spurs will have to play like they never played before… GO SPURS GO & LET’S ICE ONE 4 THA DYESS!

  • Clearlybehind

    Chipp – To add to yours, I am not certain about Manu not passing the ball. I thought it was drawn up play. Nothing broke down to change it, except Manu was trifle slow in trying to get around Martin. And his legs gave up on the shot. Maybe I missed something that you saw, I may have to look at the play again.

  • Bruno

    Manu play a horrible second half, but we lost because our D, Spurs goes small ball, and was not scoring, and not playing D.

  • Kevin

    Spurs fans sure are sore losers. :D

  • Este

    Won’t make too much of this loss. I live by one axiom when it comes to this team and that is in “Pop I Trust!”.

    But, last night I can’t agree with some of the decisions he made. The small lineup of Manu, Hill, Blair, Neal and Bonner went off early and Pop rode that train too long.

    Where I disagree with Pop down the stretch:
    1. Manu should have sat for a few min. at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth qtr. it was clear he had nothing left in the tank in the last few min. of the gm.

    2. It was clear down the stretch that this game was going to be a shootout. Yet he continued to play Bonner who was ice cold while Novak who’s been red hot never gets off the bench. I know Novak is a defensive liability but down the stretch no one was shutting anyone down.

    3. Neal has drawn attention away from the fact that IUPUI has been average at best for most of this season and pretty bad on other nights. Last night he was a little bit of both.

  • Dr. Who

    I HATE losing games like that in the last seconds. I usually think to myself, “I’d rather get blown out than lose in the last seconds.” Then I remember the Miami game…

    GO SPURS!!!