Sunday, June 10, 2007

What more can I say

-It’s a funny thing, half way through the game I thought to myself, I really had it wrong the other day talking about a typical Spurs blowout, the deficit was just too high. And then, it happens again! If you're a Cavs fan you walk away saying "see! We can run with these guys!" If you're a Spurs fan you walk away saying, "We were never not in control of this game, comeback or no!" If you are the rest of the NBA you wonder whether this was really control or whether this was a borderline collapse.

-Another thing I take away from this game is how important it is to have a big man who could pass. For all his size and athleticism, one of the most important element of Shaq’s game is that he has great hands and hit almost anyone, anywhere on the floor. As cool as it is to make an on-target ally-oop pass from half court, it is equally difficult to make a skip pass out of a double team. It is not enough to take a dominant post player and surround him with perimeter scorers, that big man needs to be able to pass. One of the reasons the Knicks never took it to the championship level in the 1990s was that Patrick Ewing is not a phenomenal passer (though he is certainly better than Eddie Curry). Duncan, like Shaq, is vastly underrated in his ability to see the double team coming, and make the appropriate pass. He certainly showed it tonight, racking up 8 assists. His passing ability allows the entire offense to run through him without worry of bad shot or turnover. Think about how great of an asset it is to be able to initiate your offense from the post area as opposed to from beyond the arc. Instad of having to go outside in, everything becomes inside out, allowing for more threes and more dump passes to guys cutting through the lane. Without big man passing, the Spurs would not be leading the NBA in 3 pointers this post-season.

-James really responded tonight, finishing with 25-6-7 in just 38 minutes of game time. Does this mean that he has ‘figured out’ everything Bowen and the Spurs are going to throw at him? No. But I like the fact that he could pick out the defensive weaknesses mid series, by the end of the career he will be able to do this mid game.

-Anderson Varejao just amazes me with his constant effort. He is not exactly intimidating built, yet he is supremely effective in pushing and shoving his way into rebounding position. He is also becoming adept at sliding over to contest everything. His weakness? Speed. Duncan just constantly blazed by him off the dribble (‘blazed by’ is not a phrase often associated with Timmy).

-Clearly, my call before the series to give Elson some more minutes went unheralded. He had 3 fouls in 13 minutes. Still, he netted 3 boards and shot 3-3, not a terrible outing. I really like this man’s game, he is a great backup center, and a wonderful third string center (which is how the Spurs play him).

-Jacque Vaughn and Eric Snow need to have a fight to the death for who is the most offensively challenged point in the league.

-Ladies and gentleman, we had a Beno Udrih sighting! After having a fairly good ’05 post season, Udrih was completely thrown under the bus, and is clearly at odds with Pop. He’s a talented young guy though, I hope they trade him to somewhere he can develop a bit more.

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