San Antonio Spurs 89, Los Angeles Lakers 88: Diced

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Antonio McDyess’ game winning tip-in marks only the third time ever in an NBA regular season that Gregg Popovich has cracked a smile. The first was in 2003 when Pop got a “buy six bottles of wine, get 10 percent off” deal at the Pearl Specialty Spirits store in Portland, and the second was this.

Dice made his appearance earlier than normal against the Lakers, with DeJuan Blair picking up a couple of quick fouls. And after a forgettable game against Portland, one of his worst as a Spur in my opinion, Dice came through with eight points, eight rebounds and five assists against Los Angeles. He only shot 3-10, because his usually money mid-range jumper was off, but he made the one that counted.

His biggest plays were the aforementioned tip-in and this heady play at the end of the first quarter:

Gary Neal gets the credit for sinking the H-O-R-S-E-worthy shot, but Dice set it up with a smart deflection.

Defensively, the Spurs did well against Los Angeles. The 88 points looks better than it was, because the low score was aided by a only 90 possessions in the game, but San Antonio did hold the Lakers to about 43% from the field. Also of note, LA shot just 2-14 from the 3-point line.

The big problem for the Spurs was rebounding. The Lakers’ size advantage was painfully on Thursday night, as they outrebounded the Spurs 44-38 and had a 12-10 advantage on the offensive boards. Although, the Spurs got three offensive rebounds (one was a team rebound, where it went out of bounds off the Lakers) on the last possession. Two of those offensive boards were by McDyess, including the game-winner.

The last possession notwithstanding, the Spurs often looked helpless to keep the Lakers off the boards. Many times San Antonio resorted to trying to slap the ball out to the perimeter and hope one of the Spur guards could corral it.

Anytime there’s a Spurs-Lakers game, it’s important to all of us, but how important is it really to Gregg Popovich and Phil Jackson? Well, neither coach went deep into their bench, if that tells you anything. Every Spur starter played at least 33 minutes, with the exception of Blair and his foul trouble.

For LA, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Ron Artest all played at least 35 minutes, and the Lakers only went three deep on their bench. Outside of a brief four minute appearance from Tiago Splitter, the Spurs did the same.

All that said, you know what the best part of the night was? Watching Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher helplessly motion that Dice’s tip-in was still in the cylinder (it was not). It doesn’t exorcise the demons of 2004, but it definitely puts a smile on my face.

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    Apologies for the late recap today folks, some internal miscommunication on our parts as to who was going to be writing this one.

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

    Andrew, I don’t blame you guys…..I was celebrating with some cognac and making snow angels in the driveway too!

    What a great, competitive (although sloppy) game by the good guys in S&B! I felt like the Spurs played to the Lakers tempo but they have enough experience to play grind it out as well as high octane, when the situation calls for it.

    The Lakers size was apparent but the Spurs quickness was on display several times…..not to mention our 1 year later than expected 4th weapon in RJ!

    What a ballsy effort…..takes the bad taste of the Portland game out of our yappers, IMO.

    Hopefully, they are not too emotionally / physically spent to put in the work against the Kings tonight.

  • TD = Best EVER

    No Problem Sr. This indeed was a great game. I really only have 2 complaints with it.

    1 – The Lakers got way too many easy Dunks/layups off of Kobe Penetration drives.

    2 – The battle of the boards and paint were both lost

    LA and Boston both have this advantage over us and its something that if Tony didn’t break out of his early funk would ave cost us dearly. But at the same time I felt like we should have won this going away with or w/o TP getting Hot. If we can address/match the Lakers in those 2 things above I think we win by 10 or more.

  • BOSS

    Big win for us this was a playoff grind it out type of game I wouldn’t look too much into it but u can tell both teams wanted the win….also its good to see RJ catch his second wind and really starting to play better…and I never thought I would say this but I miss Matty B the space he creats on the floor gives our guards a lot more room to operate but all in all great win and “on to the next one”

  • Quick Outlet

    Great observation on the Pop smile count.

    Hopefully other teams focus on the Dice tip-in and not on how open Tony Parker got on the final play running around the Duncan screen. Had Duncan got it to Tony, the game would have been won on his wide open lay-up. That play will be a great one to have in the bank for later.

  • zainn

    Question. Do players that tip the ball to the back court to their teammates after a shot has occurred get credit for a rebound?

  • rj

    hopefully the days of laker intimidation are done. the spurs were very poised last night and came up with big shots to swing the momentum back in our favor when ever things looked like they were turning. richard jefferson in coming alive in this rivalry which is also a good sign. our bits our hanging tough despite the slight rebounding edge. duncan cannot dominate in these matchups, but a journeyman’s performance is all we may need. go spurs. beat the kiddie-kings

  • Hobson13

    Here were my take aways from this game:

    1. It was a good, grind it out defensive win against a highly motivated Lakers team.
    2. The Lakers really used their size advantage in the paint and forced us to score from the perimeter while they pounded it inside. That doesn’t usually work out too well for a perimeter team over a 7 games series.
    3. Parker had played terrible for the last game and a half until he blew up in the 3rd. Great job, Tony!
    4. We just got lucky. We were up by 5 with 3 minutes to go and up by 4 with just over a minute left. Manu foolishly went for a steal on the defensive end that led to an open 3 and then we couldn’t execute on the offensive end. In other words, we damned near blew this game, but instead got lucky on a Dyess tip.
    5. In the end, we have to feel pretty good because we controlled most of the second half on the road against the best in the West. We just couldn’t put them away and the game got interesting. The inability to put opponents away will haunt us at some point.

  • ruth bader ginobili

    I’d add that at least couple of those offensive rebounds for LA were against a small-ball lineup of RJ on Odom. But, yeah, too many of the “Bynum stands still and gets rebound over the box-out” variety.

    Anyone know why the crowd seemed so dead? Usually everyone gets up for the Thursday night TNT games.

  • irongiantkc

    Great point about Pop’s smile.I was thinking “Wow, I don’t know if I’ve ever noticed him smile after a win. Now, how’s he going to pretend that he doesn’t care about beating the Lakers?”

  • Ali

    look i was born and raised in LA, and somehow I’m a die-hard Spurs fan, I dont know how that happened. So these victories, especially the last second victories mean a lot to me. cuz i’m usually watching those games with bunch of Lakers fan. So great victory, but I do have my share of concerns:

    1. we played an Un-Spurs like D, on Kobe. going back to #12 days, out strategy was to make Kobe score 40 points but with low fg%, while taking the rest of the team out. well kobe had 10 assits, mainly because we double teamed him. I mean it worked this time, barely. but i’m concerned.

    2. Remember the end of last year and beginning of playoff. when we were unstoppable. well a good part of that was Manu and Tp, doing pick n Roll mostly with TD. I didnt c enough of that. we need to go back to that, because there is no way anyone could stop that play. Especially with the lakers. we all know their pick n roll D is not the best, and Artest is a clueless soul when it comes down to defending the Pick n Roll. I need to c more Manu in pick n roll.

    3. TP needs to be aggressive from the beginning of the game. it took him an entire half to recognize he has the slowest pg in the league gaurding him.

    4. TD, MANU., DYSS, NEAL, and maybe Hill. need to go to the basketball court and shoot some hoops. man they been off the past couple weeks. for all i care they could miss the rest of the Rodeo but they need to get their shot down.

  • Ali

    ruth,

    because the game was at LA

  • junierizzle

    MCDEEZY!!!

    I think we are really seeing the effects of not having THe REd ROcket out there. He really does spread the floor and Im sure he would have knocked down a few threes in this game.

    Even though the LAKERS out rebounded them, the SPURS could have pulled away several times. They still won despite Manu having an off night(still had 8 assists) and TD missing a ton of his trademark elbow shot.

    They could have won comfortably but they turned the ball over down the stretch. Plus with the exception of RJ they really weren’t hitting the 3 ball. I think if BONNER were out there then they could have blown them out again. Having said that, it is impressive that they won without hitting a ton of threes.

    My only realy complaint is the fact that I didnt love that they trippled team KOBE late in the game. He was able to find ODOM twice and both times ODOM scored. I prefer for them to play KOBE straight up. IF he score oh well at least it isn’t a three. Make him hit a tough jumper.

    MCDEEZY!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • soulidefy

    @zainn

    ive always wondered who get credit for the rebound in those situations too….and another question, does a player get credit for a steal when he takes a charge?

  • TD = Best EVER

    So it seems that most every one agrees that we dodge a bullet that never should have came to that. We weren’t getting good looks down the stretch at all really.

    I would like to see more TD on the BOX in slow games like these. The Lakers were feeding the post in this game and we should have as well. Gasol can’t guard TD in the post without help. And Yes TD needs to practice the 15-20ft jumper more and become more KG like. That’s where he will get alot of shots from in this offense. But we can’t forget about what we have in the post either, we need to make the other teams bigs guard somebody.

    We can’t allow Kobe to get to the hoop so easy, lead to about 5-6 easy dunks for LA.

    Small ball is driving me crazy, POP should just abandon that plan all together. Blair has to stop reaching in and getting cheap fouls.

    Our guards have to start getting aggressive in the Assist game, get yourself of teammate an easy layup or dunk…..

  • Bruno

    Good game for RJ, horrible by Macdyess but the tip saves the day. Splitter plays well against Bynum, i can’t understand why Pop don’t let him play, Gasol and Bynum made a lot easy dunks, layups and shots.Pop don’t trust Tiago, so is better trade him before the playoffs!!!

  • TD = Best EVER

    @zainn

    Usually yes they do

    @ soulidefy
    No, but he player on offense gets a foul and a TO at the same time.

  • http://meong.posterous.com/ meong

    That game was a classic. Nerve-wracking but it was also a joy to watch especially that well timed tip-in of McDyess. The anguish and devastated look of the lakers fans. Priceless.

  • quincyscott

    I think the Spurs’ poor shooting had a much bigger factor in this game than the rebounding. Aside from the shots the Lakers contested, the Spurs missed quite a few lay-ups, free throws, and wide open jump shots that we have grown to expect them to make this season. Parker floaters, Duncan and McDyess elbow shots, Jefferson and Ginobili threes, all uncontested by Laker defenders. On most nights, these are shots the Spurs have made and will continue to make. And, in fact, I would argue that Spurs misses helped pad the stats of the Lakers in the rebounding column.

    There is a feeling by many that the Spurs aren’t long enough to compete with the Lakers, and this “helpless on the boards” take is part of that perception. But I did not feel that the Lakers alleged superiority on the front line is what kept this game close. The Spurs have shot poorly the last two games. With better shooting, the Spurs put up another ten points last night, and this game is not even close.

    The Lakers may well turn it on over the next few months, get healthier, take better advantage of their size and depth, get more in sync, and be very tough to beat come playoff time. But I have not seen that team yet this season. And that is certainly not the team I saw last night.

  • quincyscott

    @ ruth bader ginobili

    The crowd was dead because their team is not playing well at home. They have lost to all the top teams they have played, and have also lost to some crappy teams. They have already lost more home games than all of last season.

    Laker fans do a lot of hooping and hollering when they are winning. But losing thins the herd quite a bit.

  • John T.

    @zainn

    I am a statistician for the NCAA so I cannot say with certainty how the NBA interprets those rebounding situations, but in college hoops a player that slaps the ball out has to show intent and control to get credit for the rebound.

    For example if Tim Duncan was in a tip battle with Odom and it went to Parker than Parker should get credit for it. But in those situations where Duncan is clearly slapping it out to the guards he should get credit unless the ball goes to the opposing player who would then be credited with the rebound.

    But I could be wrong because the NCAA and NBA do have some differences in how they interpret, reward, and record stats.

    BTW that was an extremely satisfying win by the Spurs, and I agree watching Fisher cry/complain about basket interference was a small bit of justice for .4.

    I think the Spurs are now 9-1 in games decided by one possession or on the final possession, cannot remember which it was but the Spurs are fighting that regression toward the mean with everything they got.

  • Tyler

    I think the small ball is a result of not having Bonner. My memory could be wrong, but I don’t remember us playing much (or any) small ball in our first matchup with LA.

    And really, when Bonner has been healthy this year we haven’t played much small ball. Once he’s fully healthy, I doubt we’ll see RJ at the 4 much. I think it’s more out of necessity than a willingness to commit to that strategy on Pop’s part.

  • SpurredOn

    @quincyscott – You wrote everything I was thinking, so thank you for pointing out some truth.

    Hey, come playoff time, you likely have to win one like this to win four out of seven (without having to go the full seven). Spurs won on the LAL home floor despite missing the shots they wanted. Having Bonner would only help create more open shots. The defense was very good after the 1st quarter p&r mistakes, though short of dominant. Had our guys made those open shots, they would’ve pulled away with a double digit win as Boston did in LA. All this on a night where LA actually got points from Artest and good play from Odom.

  • SpurredOn

    @John T. – the one close loss was @Boston. As for the nine close wins, I don’t recall that many but I guess so many wins blend together (a wonderful “problem” to have). Other than the home OT wins over Houston and Memphis, I think some of the close scoreboard wins were games where the Spurs were in control the entire 4Q but the opponent made some late shots to cover the spread (@Dallas, @PHX, @Utah come to mind).

  • Crystakke

    McDyess had one possession where he just played volleyball with the backboard until he got the shot off. That’s why he’s shooting % looks kinda bad. But he knocked down a few big jumpers in the 4th Qtr and of course the tip-in.
    Concerning Tiago, I really liked his defense on Bynum, even tough he was giving up a few inches and length, plus some weight, but he did a nice job. Bynum had like 4-5 touches against him, but didn’t score. The problem with Tiago is that he’s lost on offense. He simply doesn’t know what to do (RJ last year ring any bells). I think this year Pop is committed to no longer have “dead weight” on the offense. He wants 5 guys that can score. And not just one way or from only one spot on the floor. With Duncan no longer commanding a double team, we cannot afford to have a Bowen, Oberto, Mason or Finley on the floor. We need 5 guys on offense.

  • TD = Best EVER

    The thing about Jump shots is they are NOT HIGH % shots. Especially in close ball games. How many times have we beat Dallas, Phoenix, etc. We beat them because we got the easy layup and they had to shoot outside shots. That rule hasn’t changed because we have gotten better at shooting the ball this year. Points in the paint/rebounding are still far more reliable then outside shooting.

  • Tyler

    LA’s season so far is eerily similar to the Spurs’ season last year. Nagging injuries to key players, new faces, lack of chemistry, inability to beat the top of the league, etc.

    And while I think LA still has enough time to figure it out, I’m hesitant to say LA can”turn it on” when they want. I don’t know if the talent gap between them and the rest of the West is great enough for them to get to the Finals with anything less than great play.

  • Flavor

    I still don’t buy into this “they’re too big” theory… We’re too fast. I’ll take that matchup.

  • John T.

    @ SpurredOn

    Yeah i saw it briefly on TNT during the post game so I could be wrong but I do think it was one possession games. I think two of our games against Minnesota came down to the wire too.

    One important note that I think the TNT guys missed that will benefit the Spurs is that both the Lakers and Mavs should be on the other side of the playoff table/bracket. So not having to deal with one of those tough match ups until maybe the Western Conference Finals would be a great advantage to the Spurs.

    But I am also waiting for the other shoe to drop like in 2008, as far as both the Mavs and Lakers making a big trade deadline move to alter the landscape of the Western Conference.

  • DorieStreet

    SpurredOn noted yesterday that Tp should have a huge game (25/8+) because he had the advantage over Fisher/Blake; but Tony was just plained disinterested in this contest during the first half. (Cheap shot: he was reminiscing about his lost link to hollywood glamour). And I swear Dice had a look of disgust for Blair, having to sub for DJB just 1:08 into the game. Thought bubble: “Damn, DeJaun-you know I have to play a lot of minutes tonight- but not in the 1st quarter!” Maybe that is why McDyess’ game was terrible for the most part; he was not in his ‘rotation rhythm’. Team mindset-get the victory; except for a 2nd qtr 3 minute stretch when the tie score @ 30 went to 33-40 Laker advantage, the Spurs continually went up 5, 6 points throughout the game until the 8 pt. lead @ 8:03 in the 4th qtr.

  • ThatBigGuy

    Bonner’s 3 pt shooting (or at least the threat of his 3 pt shot) is sorely missed. I think the rebounding disparity might have been smaller had he been in the game, pulling a Laker rebounding big away from the hoop. Plus he matches up better defensively than Blair, who had trouble with the size of the Lakers, as witnessed by his foul trouble.

  • ruth bader ginobili

    @quincyscott: wow, didn’t realize how relatively poor they’ve been at home. just saw that our road record is actually (a little) better than their home record. who needs home court advantage, right!

  • Tyler

    @TD

    I don’t know if that’s a valid comparison – SA vs. PHX or Dallas.

    Our offense is much more dynamic than either of those teams ever were. We have three guys on offense who create matchup problems, while both PHX and Dallas have had one in the past (Amare and Dirk). We can play fast or slow, big or small.

    Our offense is predicated on penetration – if no defender steps up, TP and Manu are shooting layups and sending bigs to the bench with fouls. Help off and we’re kicking out to the most efficient group of 3 pt shooters in the league. You only have to look at the # of PnR’s we run every game – far, far more than just about any other team. Dallas and PHX’s offenses have never been as good as we are this year.

    And furthermore, if we don’t win a championship this year, I seriously doubt it’s going to be because of our offense. The title will be won or lost because of our defense.

  • spursfanbayarea

    Two observations from this game.
    1. As stated by others on this forum. We do miss matt bonner’s 3 pointers. Having him on the floor definetely makes it easier for our guards to get in the paint.
    2. Great defense by Splitter on Bynum. He made bynum work for everything and did not let him post up in his favorite spots. Bynum ended up 3 feet out of the paint and is a much less effective player when he has to put the ball on the floor.

  • DorieStreet

    @ TD=BEST EVER re: jump shots

    +10 I know Manu is the engine that is driving this great season, but he is throwing away too many scoring chances by jacking up too many shots too soon in many possessions. The offense is uptempo, but that doesn’t mean forsake drives/”non-careless” passes to get better looks. But to echo ‘quincyscott’, the other teammates are going to have to shoot better. Duncan’s form/rhythm was terrible all night long-he even lost his successful ‘non-pause’ FT stroke on the first 2 attempts.

  • mybloodis…OHMYGODDICETIPPEDITIN!!!

    I was thrilled that Dice made Pop applaude and really happy after the tip-in. It was the first time I saw that kind of emotion from Pop.

    BTW, I think the Spurs are really missing “Coach B.” They have not been able to muster a string of wins without Matty. I hope he comes back as soon as possible.

  • mybloodis…OHMYGODDICETIPPEDITIN!!!

    Another thing, Dice’s box out on Odom was a thing of beauty. Probably that’s what made Pop smile.

  • DorieStreet

    Defensive effort was much improved, but at times the players are helping each other too much. The Lakers -and the other 30 teams- don’t put lineups on the floor where each player can blow by his opponent each time. Time after time, those 5 & 6 pt. leads the Spurs built up were squandered when someone rotated over when it was not needed, allowing an uncontested shot when the ballhandler passed out of the double (sometimes triple) team. I wouldn’t mind it so much if it generated more steals & TOs. Some Laker baskets came off of our guards unneccesarily roaming & got caught in no-man’s land on a pass out.

  • rob

    Argg!!! Didn’t get to see the game…but the bottomline was great. Through the miracle of internet I loved the last second, falling out of bounds, throw up a prayer shot made by Neal. And though McDyess’s split second tip-in won the game…Neal’s last second shot in the first half solidified it as well.

  • rob

    Also…the rebounding advantage didn’t suprise me being the Spurs don’t have the personnel to be advantageous in that department.

    Proof they can win without another post dominant player. I just wonder how that would play out in a series where coaches can plan and make adjustments?

  • TD = Best EVER

    @ Tyler

    “I don’t know if that’s a valid comparison – SA vs. PHX or Dallas.”

    Do you not remember when the Suns had – Nash, Jo Johnson, Amare, Barbosa, Jim Jackson, All Star Shawn Marion

    or back when the Mavs had – Finley(18 ppg), Jet, Dirk, Stackhouse, VanHorn, Devin Harris, Josh Howard.

    Both of those teams were match up problems for us. They had FAR superior talent and firepower than we do. But we won because we got easier shots(dunks, layups, and putbacks) than they did and controlled the BOARDS. And when we had to have a 3 – we ran better plays and executed our sets better.

    But if you look at the FT’s and points in the Paint – LA beat us by 15 points. If you spot that team that type of margin in a series they will probably win atleast 3 and maybe 4 games. We have to rebound better and it would help if our guards got our Big’s easy baskets like Kobe did for his Big’s last night.

    In up tempo games, what I mentioned above doesn’t matter all that much. But if/when the game slows down in the post season, these things usually decide the winner of the game.

  • DorieStreet

    Just an aside- don’t know if its the effect of the new technical rule (I like it, because the Spurs players never go into histronics about disputed/bad calls), the implications of the game result, or the quality of the opponent; but it’s the first time in a while I have seen Bryant drive to the basket, and when he didn’t make the shots, turn to the officials & complain or scorn (maturity, perhaps?). Is there a site that tracks NBA player’s technical foul numbers?

  • Titletown99030507

    @DorieStreet, good post, I saw that too on Dyess’s face. But instead he was thinking ” Damn! And your our starting center?” Lol

  • AmyfromLA

    @Ali: I know how u feel about being a die-hard Spurs fan in Laker nation. I was expecting everyone to text me the result prior to me warning them not to. Had the Lakers won, I would’ve gotten them. I totally understand why I didn’t get a single peep about the result. =)

    I had class so I recorded the game. My professor actually let us out early partially because he wanted to go home to watch the game. =P he’s going to hate me the rest of the semester, but that win sure felt great! haha. Everyone erupted when I said the Spurs will win the game, so I’ll be ready for the fire next week. =P

    I agree w/DorieStreet about the unnecessary triple-teaming. In general, I agree w/everyone’s assessment (missing Bonner, not making the shots we usually make, sloppy play, etc.). I felt some of the fouls called were kind of ticky-tacky, but that’s just me. I’m glad the refs missed the Parker charge at the end of the game. I think the fact that everyone ran into the paint helped cover it, so yay!

    I was upset at Blair for picking up quick fouls, but was happy to see Pop throw him back in to learn how to play with those fouls.

    I didn’t think the defense on Kobe was as good as the first game, but the overall defense was decent. I was waiting for Parker to dominate Fisher, but it didn’t happen from the beginning. I’m just glad he woke up in the 3rd Q to help out with the scoring load. It seemed like Blake was giving Parker a little trouble in spurts. Anyone else see that? I didn’t think Blake is that great on D, so what do you guys think was the problem or if it is a problem? I loved seeing Tiago on the floor, though would’ve love to see more and give Dice/TD a little bit of rest. I felt like Dice was pushed a little further out on some of his jumpers. What surprised me most were the missed layups and floaters, but I guess we have a couple of those per game so maybe not as surprising.

    Sorry for the long comment. I’m just happy for the win, as I’m sure the rest of Spurs Nation are! =)

    Let’s keep this rolling! GO SPURS GO!!!!!!!!

  • agutierrez

    Great win, but still some questions. Observations:
    1. Tony began the night like he played the whole game in Portland … with his feet in cement. Andre Miller could not have stayed in front of him but Tony just would not penetrate. He did the same last night until suddenly in the second half it was like the light went on in his head. That changed the whole tenor of the game.
    2. Don’t we have an official statistic called a Fabbie for when someone taps the ball out to one of ours on a rebound? If not, we should, as old Fabricio was the master.
    3. The fact that Dyce tapped the ball in for the win should not obscure the fact that our bigs sucked last night. No one could hit an outside shot nor defend the paint well. As others have said, I think we desperately need to have Tiago ready for the playoffs.
    4. Blair is an enigma. His inconsistency in every facet of the game is maddening not only from game to game but even within games. If he continues to be that erratic, we’re going to have problems come playoff time.
    5. I still think we either need another big or to have Tiago more integrated into our game.
    6. I sure wish Pop would work more plays to open up Gary Neal for the three. When the guy is able to plant his feet squarely, he is deadly. He could be our Ray Allen and we should steal every damn play Boston has for him.

  • DorieStreet

    @ Titletown99030507

    LOL–that’s hitting below the belt!

  • Titletown99030507

    this is for you @insidehoops if you ever get to this forum. No your wrong, Tiago does need to start and it showed last night against the Lakers. He held his ground against Bynum and he could probably do it against Gasol too, but your coach wont give him enough time to show what he can do. What’s this? He throws Splitter at Bynum and does a great job on him then pulls him after a few min. Is this so sweet Blair can collect his thoughts and remember not to foul and get beat by either Bynum or Gasol. I rest my case Blair is never on the court come crunch time its always Timmy and Dyess. If your starting center is so good then why the heck is he not on the court when it matters and the game is on the line. Your wrong dude. Face it and accept it , having Blair as a starting center is not conventional. Why waste min on him when your going to pull him anyway. Tiago should start instead of Blair. Blair can come off the bench the way Manu used to. What’s wrong with that? It could facilitate Splitter’s position on the learning curve. Heck he doesn’t need to learn anyway because he knows what to do. What he needs is time on the court and not 5 min. he needs quarters in terms of time. And its always the same Blair can’t hit the side of a barn he gets points under the rim on dunks only. And I said dunks because he can’t even for the life of him make a put back under the rim. I see the games too and this is what he does. He’s not all that impressive. I’m going start calling him “clankfu” Blair benefits playing against a small lineup and the only thing I can truly say that he’s decent at is rebounds but not against Bynum and Gasol (he had 4 rebounds last night- not impressed) and also the ability to be under the rim by himself at times on the offensive end. That’s where he gets most of his points. But other than that he can’t secure the paint. Face it, its reality. He got abused left and right not only last night but against the blazers. When will you learn?

  • http://cruzcordero.wordpress.com Jamal

    Revenge for Derek Fisher’s “.04″!!!

  • Titletown99030507

    @agutierrez, good post, I have said that about Blair after the first 10 games of the season started and emphasized getting Tiago on the floor more than he’s been given. But people tend to believe that Blair is more than capable to full fill the role of starting center. Not here.It’s more the fact that Pop likes him a lot (for what I don’t know ) and people tend to bow to what he likes and doesn’t like. In other words people tend to kiss Pops butt rather than assimilate their own opinions. If Pop likes Blair well then lots of People like Blair. Not here. Im no coach but I know when something needs improvment. I’d like to see my Spurs improve at the starting center position is all I’m saying.

  • Titletown99030507

    @Jamal, yeah we did one better 0.1.