Let’s say you have three MVP candidates: Kobe Byrant, Kevin Durant and Manu Ginobili. Now let’s say the teams coach has decided to bring each player off the bench. How do the fans react?
Typical Laker fan: “What! What’s going on with Phil? Huh? Bench Kobe! Who does he think he is? The Mamba is our team!”
Typical Thunder fan: “Why would coach Brooks bench KD? We’re going to fall behind! We’re going to dig ourselves a hole early and need Durant to bring us back! Oh no!”
Typical Spurs fan: “OK”
Of course in reality, that will never happen. But, it does show you hypothetically where the San Antonio Spurs as a franchise stand with their fan base. The Spurs fans and team are almost invincibly linked. This was evident on Saturday night against the Washington Wizards. Before the game, word came out that Coach Popovich had decided to bench “MVP candidate” Manu Ginobili for “sixth man of the year candidate” George Hill. The move didn’t really create much of a ruckus in Spurs land. Why? Because Spurs fans have faith and trust in the organization that leads their team, it’s that simple. If Coach Pop felt Manu needed to come off the bench, then Spurs land said “OK.”
By the way, it’s Views From The Couch! Volume 11. Let’s go!
Hit the "read more" button to find out if Manu may need rest? What happened in Philly? Is the defense finding its identity? And as always, all your comical commentary from the past week!
The Past Should Be Revisited Through Laughter
(Please enjoy hilarious commentary from fans, writers and other media outlets via Twitter)
- @ Detroit Pistons W 100-89
After the game, @mojavi74 commentated on Spurs radio announcer Bill Schoening’s mustache: “Bill Shoenig. Baddest. Mustache. Ever. #GoSpursGo”
- @ Toronto Raptors W 111-100
In the second quarter; when Gary Neal made a three pointer, @benhunted tweeted “Gary Neal. #3PointSnub” in reference to Gary Neal not being chosen for the NBA three-point shootout.
In the second quarter, @courtside tweeted “Bear > Raptor. #DeJuanBlair” in reference to Blair's monster half.
In the fourth quarter, @JDSpursTexans heard this from Raptors announcers "Spurs have another gear, enough is enough, we are putting you away"
After the game, @MadCowHeff tweeted “What was the dinosaur that ate the Raptor in Jurassic Park? Yeah, the Spurs are that one.”
After the game, @mojavi74 commentated on Schoening's mustache “Once again, there it is, the baddest mustache, ever. #GoSpursGo”
- @Philadelphia 76ers L 71-77: Jeff Garcia was in Philadelphia to cover the game, check out his recap Cold Shooting Dooms Spurs Against 76ers
In the fourth quarter, @RichardCOliver summed up the night “Without a doubt, the ugliest game of this magical Spurs season. Brutal.”
In the fourth quarter, I tweeted “Quite simply, the #Spurs just CANNOT hit a shot tonight. Shooting 35%, is it Phillys defense or just a bad shooting night Mr. Owl?” Because maybe Mr. Owl from the ‘Tootsie Pop’ commercials had the answer why the Spurs couldn’t make a shot?
After the game, @JoshRiosTX had to find alcohol to deal with the loss “God damnit #Spurs!!!!!! Now Im gonna go drink the pain away!!!”
- @ Washington Wizards W 118-94: Check out the recap I wrote Spurs Find Offensive Redemption Against Wizards
In the second quarter, I made this general observation “The Washington #Wizards enjoy passing the ball.............to the other team. #Spurs”
At halftime @madcowheff tweeted “In other news Coach Pop also hates Harry Potter.”
In the fourth quarter, @crimsonphoenix6 tweeted “The AT&T Center sent their team to destroy the Verizon Center. Revenge for the iPhone.”
- @ New Jersey Nets W 102-85 Jeff was at this game too, here’s his recap Spurs Show No Love For Nets
Jeff Garcia (@sa2ny2004) was at the game, he noticed this in the first quarter “The Prudential Center just got a lot douchier now that Vujacic is on the court.”
At halftime, @courtside filled us in on this Pop quote “Pop on playing Dirk and Kobe 48 min in the All Star Game: "It'll be at least 45. 48 is too obvious."
At halftime, @RichardCOliver tweeted “It's halftime: Sasha Vujacic has gone into the locker room to get a manicure.”
In the third quarter, @mojavi74 tweeted “Vujacic looks like a back up dancer for Lady Gaga. #GoSpursGo”
In the fourth quarter, @yowhatupT tweeted “I think Sasha Vujacic has the Kate Gosselin haircut. Are we sure he's a man? Sharapova could just be gay”
In the fourth quarter, Project Spurs' Jeff Garcia (@sa2ny2004) tweeted “One of the Jersey Shore kids in the house tonight and everyone at the game collectively saw their IQs drop.”
By The Numbers
(Gunslinging: +100 points. Teams That Matter: All 8 west playoff seeds and top 6 East playoff seeds. Quality Wins: Wins by +10 points. Blow Outs: Wins by +20 points. Closing Time-: Games decided by 5 points or less.)
|Vs. The Mighty West||29-5|
|Vs. The East||17-4|
|Vs. Southwest Division||(7-3)|
|Gunslinging Wins||37/55 Games|
|Vs. Teams That Matter||17-7|
|Quality Wins||18/50 Games|
|Blow Outs||6/50 Games|
|Last 10 games||(8-2)|
|Holding Opponents to||96.1ppg|
|Victory Margin||(+) 7.4ppg|
Player Of The Week
This week we have co-players of the week.
DeJuan Blair “Beast Mode”: DeJuan had a monster week. In Detroit: 18 points, 12 rebounds. Led team in Toronto with 28 points, 11 rebounds. In Philadelphia: 8 points, 14 rebounds. In Washington: 13 points, 12 rebounds. In New Jersey: 10 points, 11 rebounds. (Weekly average of 15.4ppg, 12rbd) And all of this stellar play was able to buy Duncan minutes on the bench and rest his body.
Tony Parker: Parker was the main catalyst for getting the Spurs going this week offensively. In Detroit: 19 points, 7 assists. In Toronto: 16 points, 8 assists. In Philadelphia: 9 points, 4 assists. In Washington: 18 points, 8 assists. In New Jersey: 13 points, 7 assists. (Weekly average of 15ppg, 6.8 ast) After Manu had a tough time carrying the offensive load, Parker responded by picking up the load and leading the team offensively.
George Hill: Hill had some very big games to help Parker and Blair in the scoring front. Off the bench against Toronto he scored 18 points and dished 4 assists. In his first start of the season, he scored 18 points.
What Happened In Philly?
Observationally looking at the game in Philadelphia, the Spurs just couldn’t hit a shot. The mantra had already been about how Philadelphia was just a bad luck site for the Spurs. It proved to be true. There were possessions where the Spurs got some quality looks but the shots just were not falling. Give the 76ers defense credit; they took the Spurs out of their comfort zone. There were possessions where the Spurs couldn’t even set up their offense without getting a pass tipped.
In a playoff game coach Pop will have the squad fully and mentally prepared. Also Jrue Holliday absolutely reaped havoc on the Spurs, but could he do this consistently do that in a playoff series? That is still undetermined. It was one loss were both teams shot horrific, don’t put too much stock into it Spurs fans.
Does Manu Need Rest?
These past 5 games (12.2ppg, 26.4 mpg) Manus’ production quietly decreased. I know he didn’t play much in the blow out against Washington (8 minutes), so if you take out that game his average is 13.75ppg in 31 mpg. That’s a major decrease from his season average of 17ppg in 31 minutes per night. He really needed the rest because after the Washington game, word came out that the reason Pop made the switch between Ginobili and Hill was to keep Ginobili fresh for the fourth quarter. After Thursdays game with the Bulls, Manu still won’t get to fully rest as he has to go to California to participate in the All Star festivities.
I think the team is beginning to shift into a second mode. For the first part of the season Ginobili carried the team. For this next half of the season, as the numbers have shown; Tony Parker has been the Spur to take on the leadership role. If this indeed is the new mode the team is shifting into, and they keep winning while buying Manu and Tim some rest, I’m all for it.
The Week Ahead
This week the Spurs play a top 5 team in the NBA. Will they finish the Rodeo Road Trip at 7-2 or 6-3?
- Game 56. @ Chicago Bulls (Team That Matters): the Bulls are ranked # 5 in the NBA at 36-16 and have gone 8-2 in their last 10 games. The Spurs beat the Bulls earlier in the season, but that was without Carlos Boozer. If Derrick Rose and Speedy Gonzales from Looney Tunes had a race, I’m pretty sure Rose would beat Speedy.
- Rookie-Sophomore Game: On Friday night, Spurs rookie Gary Neal will face fellow Spur DeJuan Blair as they perform in the Rookie-Sophomore game in Los Angeles. Spurs' assistant coach Mike Budenholzer will be leading the Rookie team.
- NBA All Star Game: Watch for Coach Popovich, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili to participate in the NBA All Star Game.
Great Defense? Or Was That Just A Week Against the East?
This past week the Spurs played much of the lower tier teams in the East (aside from Philadelphia). The Spurs scored an average of 100.4ppg while holding opponents to 89ppg. My question to you is this: have the Spurs finally found their defensive identity? Or was that just a case of “the East will make any team look good statistically”?
We are getting better on defense but it will be tested against the stronger teams we will see by then if we truly are making progress on the defensive end.
I think the defense has improved but not that much I'd we 70-75% to what we need to be on defense. Tiago has to really step up to improve or D. Duncan and McDyess can only do so much.
@WOW Good question! That one really got me thinking. In that case even though we know we could still win the average game with TD on the bench, a Spurs fan wouldn't just say "ok" on that call. The only reason I put Manu is because this season he is an MVP canadadite. Timmy is not in his MVP form this season. Awesome question though!
@Daniel07 Indeed. Great comment. I myself cannot wait to start the tough March-April stretch to really get some defensive measurements. We're currently 17-7 against teams that matter. I wanna see how we do against the rest!
@Ramon Awesome! Plus Neal will be paired with Blake Griffin!!
@Troy28 Agreed. Where would you put us on a percentage scale? I said 80%, so did "JMattHicks". "DennisM said 75%. What is your grade thus far?
@DennisM Agreed on the Splitter needing to stepping up thought, he's just had a rough start with injuries then when things look bright.........more injuries. If they can learn to use this run-n-gun attack conistently in the playoffs and slow down the game when it needs to be, I think they can cover for the lack of height defensively.
@LFJeremy I agee with you, I'd put us right at 80% of our potential. Tiago is a big missing link to how good we can be, that injury bug needs to leave him alone already. I don't think this team will ever find or really needs the "Bowen type" defender. Aside from Ron Artest and Battier, who else that's attainable has that defnsive attitude in the league. I think the collection of guards and wings like RJ, Manu, Hill, Anderson, Neal will share time handling the Kobe, LeBron, Carmelos of the league. That's how we've been playing all season, each guard/ small forward shares time but the majority of the assingment belongs to Hill.
@LFJeremy Good point dude. Splitter HAS to get in the fold soon. It's starting to concern me.