We'll be going live right here on ProjectSpurs.com starting at 7:30 p.m. CST tonight to preview the Spurs vs. Blazers game.
Aside from previewing the game, we'll be interviewing Sheed from Bust a Bucket to break things down from a Blazers point of view. We'll be taking your calls throughout the night at 210-757-0847 and have a giveaway.
The live stream will be audio only and we'll also have a live chat set up to interact with us and chat with other Spurs fans.
We'll stop right before the game starts and when it ends, we'll be back live for postgame recap and react, and we'll have plenty of time for your calls to talk about the game, win or loss. Jared Wade of Both Teams Played Hard will stop by.
Again, we will start at 7:30 CST and go until about 9:25 and come back on right after the game. Look forward to talking to you all tonight.
The season is still very young but the Spurs have already frustrated some fans by continuing to start Michael Finley and Matt Bonner. We've already discussed the pros and cons of starting Bonner, so it's only appropriate that we take a look at Finley.
This is Finley's fifth season with the Spurs, and all totalled he has started in 175 of his 325 regular season games with the Spurs. Most of those starts, 141 to be exact, have come since the 2007-2008 season. While Finley used to be an All-Star, top ten scorer, and dunk contest participant, he is now solely a jump shooter with a suspect defensive game. For these reasons, fans want Pop to sit the 36-year-old in favor of Roger Mason or Manu Ginobili. Like Jordan did with Bonner, I'll point out a few pros and cons about Michael Finley starting to help you come to your own conclusion.
- Finley had his best shooting season last year with a Total Shooting Percentage of 54.7%, the second highest of his career, and an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 53.2%, easily the highest of his career. He can no longer finish among traffic well but he does his main job, spot up shooting, better than ever. The Spurs benefit greatly from Finley stretching the floor for Tony Parker and Tim Duncan.
- At his age and without as much athleticism as he used to have, Finley is not an energy player. Ideally the Spurs would like to bring a high-energy player of the bench to provide a spark to the team, someone who can provide much in limited minutes. Finley is not that player. In this regard he is better suited starting so that he can get in the flow of the game.
- By starting Finley the Spurs allow themselves to use George Hill, Mason and Ginobili on a second unit that is one of the best in the league. Finley is best at playing off the ball and spotting up on the perimeter, something that fits better with a first unit that relies on Parker's drives and Duncan's post play.
- Finley was never known as a defensive presence, but his defense has only gotten worse. He is neither fast nor strong, and the premier shooting guards in the league can take advantage of him. Sure, he knows the Spurs system well but this only gets him so far when the Spurs are matched up against the top backcourts in the league.
- Even though Finley had his best shooting year last season he is still very prone to cold shooting games. He tends to be a streaky shooter and when his shot is not falling it only takes valuable possessions away from Parker, Duncan and Ginobili.
- As Finley has aged his offensive game has become more one-dimensional. He cannot create for others and is not consistent when driving to the basket, leaving the Spurs offense stagnent at times. If he is not hitting his threes then he is not worth much for the offense.
So here you have three pros and three cons to Finley starting. What should the Spurs do? Personally, I like having a backcourt of Ginobili and Hill coming off the bench to dominate and harrass other teams second units. However, I think Mason does everything Finley can and more. It's nice bringing a talent like Mason off the bench but Ginobili and Hill provide enough firepower that the Spurs can afford to put Mason in the starting lineup instead of Finley.
However, Pop has a love affair with Finley and it is impossible to predict what he will do with Finley. Do you think Finley should continue starting?
It's always a little scary facing a team like the Utah Jazz after a four-day break. The Spurs probably lost when they boarded the plane for Salt Lake City, which was about all the boarding they did that day.
The rustiness that comes after an early, extended break showed up immediately as the Jazz went up early after several runs in the first quarter and never looked back in a 113-99 win.
Sloppy play, turnovers and terrible defense could normally sum up the night. Unfortunately for the Spurs, it was much worse. Here are a few of my notes throughout each quarter.
Jefferson started the game on the right foot, hitting a three for the first points of the night for either team. Bonner continued the outside assault tying the game at 8-8, but sloppy play and points off turnovers led to a 26-15 Jazz run.
Of all the players that made the Spurs look old in the first quarter, it wasn't Deron Williams or Carlos Boozer, but insted Wesley Matthews. I'm asking "who?" as well.
The Jazz ended the quarter up 32-22.
The Spurs' interior defense looks like swiss cheese, as one live blog participant quipped. The Jazz guards were too quick and got to the basket easily for 28 points in the paint.
Parker started coming alive and hurt the Jazz with his own drives to the rim, racking up 17 first half points. Unfortunately, they didn't continue running plays for Parker or setting up screens for him to get into the paint.
A Manu layup could have shaved the deficit down to seven points, but instead he gets picked clean going to the basket for a second time.
The second quarter really was just about the same as the first, with the Spurs turning the ball over six times, leading to 10 Jazz points. Spurs go into the half down 50-60.
Spurs start to show some signs of life, with a Richard Jefferson layup to get the deficit down to eight points. Jefferson looked aggressive, but poor rebounding on both ends attributed to the Jazz getting several second chance points to go with seven steals.
Saying Boozer was "on" would be an understatement. He was killing anyone Pop threw at him and Deron Williams really was no surprise as he orchestrated the Jazz offense beautifully.
The Jazz really didn't budge all quarter, playing great defense and getting through any mini-runs by the Spurs to go up 93-80 to end the third.
There are hints of a comeback, but the Jazz once again step up their defense and the Spurs just can't seem to climb out of the hole they've dug themselves into. More of the same as turnovers continue to plague the Spurs and they start missing easy layups.
DeJuan Blair entered the game late in the half and looked good on the boards and even on offense with Boozer guarding him, but it was too little too late.
I have to give credit to the Jazz as they were executing to perfection all night and sent the Spurs back to earth as they are now at .500 through four games.
Looking at the box score, five Spurs were in double figures and several players had good individual games, but as a unit, it looks like they have a lot of work to do. It won't get easier though, as they have another tough conference foe tonight in the Portland Trailblazers.
If I were to give out a Shiny and Rusty Spur like Jeff Garcia does on each Spurscast, while I'd have a hard time giving the shiny award away on a night like this, I'd have to give it to DeJuan Blair who had 14 points, nine rebounds and a block in just 21 minutes. I'm not sure how much more Pop has to see before he starts increasing Blair's minutes and allows him to give the Spurs a chance to win games like this.
The Rusty Spur would go to George Hill, who missed countless layups and shot one of eight from the field for two points and one assist in 22 minutes.
Again, the Spurs play the Blazers tonight and be sure to come back and listen live to our Blazers pregame show, starting at 7:30 p.m. CST. We'll also be coming back live once the game ends for about an hour or so of postgame react and wrapup. We'll be taking your calls, interviewing fellow Bloguin blogger Sheed from Bust-a-Bucket, giving away a poster to a calller and previewing the game.
According to ESPN's Chris Broussard on True Hoop, DeJuan Blair was 10 seconds away from being a Cleveland Cavalier.
I reported this on my NBA 411 segment on "Mike and Mike in the Morning'' today: According to information gathered from multiple league executives, DeJuan Blair was 10 seconds away from joining "King James'' and "The Big Shaquisition'' in Cleveland.
On draft night 2009, Cleveland offered Denver $2 million for the 34th pick. Cavs GM Danny Ferry thought it was essentially a done deal and had fingered Blair as the pick.
But with just 10 seconds left to make its selection, Denver was offered $2.25 million, a league record for the sale of a 34th pick, from the Houston Rockets. Because there was such a small amount of time left to make the pick, the Nuggets didn't have a chance to give Cleveland the opportunity to beat Houston's offer.
During our live draft night coverage on Project Spurs, Glenn Moore, a devout Cavs fan and host of the Dugout Sport Show, said the Cavs should take Blair with their 30th pick. Instead they selected Christian Eyenga. We both kept mentioning Blair's name as he continued to fall, never expecting him to fall right into the lap of R.C. Buford.
Buford has said that if Blair did not fall to 37, Jack McClinton, who they selected 51st, would have been their selection at 37. Since then McClinton had a poor showing during summer league play and asked to be released prior to training camp. He landed in Minnesota's camp and since has been waived.
It only took ten seconds for the rich to get richer. Instead of McClinton, who isn't on an NBA squad, the Spurs now have Blair who is averaging just over eight points and rebounds per game and looking like a possible Rookie of the Year candidate.
As for Eyenga, he opted to continue playing internationally in Spain. 0.4 seconds may not be kind to the Spurs, but I'll take those ten seconds any day.
Simple and timeless are two words that could easily describe the Spurs current jerseys.
After experimenting with red and white uniforms with blue trim in 1972, the Spurs have been using black, white and even silver since.
With other teams seemingly changing their uniforms and logos every year, I decided to try to come up with two new jersey designs that could be used to complement the current jerseys the Spurs have been using since the 2002-2003 season.
The concept behind both jersey designs aren't my own. After seeing the Spurs new shooting shirts with white in front transitioning to black in the back, I thought it might be cool to do the same with the spurs jersey and it's certainly something I'd buy.
The second jersey could be an alternate road jersey. It is a black jersey with silver/gray pintripes. A lot of Spurs fans have been begging for silver jerseys for quite some time, and while these aren't silver, the pinstripes and trim on the sides are silver.
In the future I may also look at modernizing the old silver jerseys with San Antonio written across the chest, but for now, feel free to leave your comments on these two jersey design ideas.
Jeff Garcia and I covered Hispanic Heritage month in late September with a few posts. In a post titled "Blazing New Trails", I talked about the NBA marketing to all of the subcultures and country's that make up the Hispanic culture and using the one thing that strings them all together, Spanish, the language they all share.
That got us to thinking that we are leaving a lot of people out in the cold by doing the Spurscast in English only. While, I'm not conversationally fluent in Spanish, luckily Jeff is. While he won't do the entire Spurscast in Spanish, he will now be doing a separate segment of the Spurscast just in Spanish. He'll be recapping the week and talking about upcoming games. We'll also be sure to put it in our Spurscast feed by itself in addition to having it as part of the regular Spurscast episode every week.
As you listen to the first Spanish Spurscast segment, keep in mind that this is still a work in progress.
Like they say, keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
Last month Rey Moralde of The No Look Pass and I had a conversation on the Spurs and Lakers going in the new NBA season. In continuing my watchful eye on the Spurs' number one threat in the Western Conference, we got together again to discuss our first impressions on the Spurs and Lakers. I dig to find out information on Pau Gasol's injury status, ask if Lakers nation has finally taken notice of the Spurs after their game against the Hornets, and poke fun at Lamar Odom's "marriage." Please note this conversation was after the Spurs-Bulls game. Enjoy.
JEFF: Rey, you see that Spurs bench against Hornets? Got to make you worried as a Lakers fan.
REY: Indeed. But what happened against Chi-town last night?
JEFF: Spurs couldn't board, lacked energy, and got out-hustled. When freaking Noah and Brad Miller are causing troubles for SA, you know it's not going to end well.
REY: Do you worry about young, athletic teams like Chicago? I mean, the older legs of San Antonio will have trouble keeping up with teams like that.
JEFF: I still say I am going to chalk this one up to lack of chemistry with the new guys. But already that's two games where SA comes out flat. Plus I am so going to be watching the back-to-back games. You're right. The younger teams might just run on SA.
REY: I wouldn't worry too much until 20 games into the season. You're right that there are still people getting acclimated with a new system. I mean, look at Cleveland. They may be 0-2 but that team's going to come back strong.
JEFF: Exactly. Way too early. Also RJ isn't looking good so far. He went 1-7 in the Hornets game and, in the Bulls game, hit only 3 field goals. He is attacking the rim but isn't finishing. Should Spurs fans be worried?
REY: At least, he's attacking the rim, right? Spurs fans shouldn't be worried just yet. But I'm pretty sure people already are. They always think of what people have done lately. In fact, I'm waiting for your Rodeo Trip because that's when San Antonio kicks it up a notch.
JEFF: I know it's a marathon but Spurs can't be losing these games. A loss here and there might cost them later.
JEFF: Now your Lakers got their rings which make me hate them more. I refused to watch that ceremony.
REY: As I mentioned in your Spurscast marathon, a couple of my boys went to the bathroom when that went on. I just happily watched and ate some more wings.
JEFF: So LA played one game and what did you see? Any concerns? Yes, I am spying on the Lakers camp for Spurs fans.
REY: In this early stage, I think what Phil should do is keep one of the big guns on the bench when one is injured. In this instance, Pau Gasol is hurt. They started Odom and it left the bench pretty empty. A line-up of Farmar, Brown, Walton, Powell, and Mbenga isn't going to scare anybody. They're all professional players but any one of them doesn't exactly scream All-Star... or even middle tier at the moment.
JEFF: Spurs fans want to know how long Pau is going to be out?
REY: By the time this entry is up, he may be back. Right now, it's Friday and he's not playing against Dallas. He may be back Sunday against Atlanta.
JEFF: As a Laker fan, what did you see in SA these first two games that would worry you as a Lakers fan?
REY: Their depth is obviously outstanding. I think Doug Collins mentioned that this may be the deepest Spurs team in history. I also noticed that they had already used 11 guys by the second quarter. They can put in absolutely anybody in the game and they'd be fine. While Lakers have depth, too, I'm not sure if I can say that about them. I just told you their monster line-up earlier. Do you agree with Doug's assessment?
JEFF: I agree but, again, we saw in the Bulls game, SA went on an offensive drought. We need the bench to come in and not suck ass. For example, Parker was SCORELESS in the second half of the Bulls game. Unacceptable. That's where we need the bench. Guys like Hill, and Mason need to step up.
REY: At least, Pop is playing Hill, right?
JEFF: Sure but not enough in my opinion.
JEFF: So what's the latest drama in LA? Did Sasha marry the Kardashians' Mom? Did Phil bone another daughter of someone in Laker's management?
REY: Can you give that another week maybe? Wait a sec. Did you see the matching tattoos of Lamar Odom and that Kardashian chick?
JEFF: Get out. No, I didn't. Seriously, why? That's like the death sentence for any relationship.
REY: Check this out. It must be love.
JEFF: Well, let's keep these distractions going for LA. You know Spurs fans will keep hoping for more distractions for the Lakers.
REY: This is what I have to put up with. When is George Hill going on his latest adventure? When is Richard Jefferson going to leave someone hanging?
JEFF: Dude, I was surprised he didn't "ex-fiancee" the Spurs and drop out moments before Spurs opening night. And no porn pics from Hill.
REY: Ha ha ha ha. I'm just glad I didn't see those. Did you?
JEFF: Unfortunately, I did. Had eye surgery to repair the damage.
REY: Still early but, man, did Tim Duncan look good out in the court for you guys.
JEFF: If the Spurs kept feeding him in the post we might have had a shot at winning. Bulls did not have anyone to contend with him.
REY: So I'm guessing he'll be the equalizer for all those young, athletic teams.
JEFF: Indeed. So you like the new Lamar Odom commercial with him, Magic and Worthy?
REY: Oh, geez. In any case, I wonder if they actually give a year's supply of dip or something.
JEFF: What's the over/under for Odom and Khloe Kardashian's marriage to last?
REY: I'll say by All-Star break. What you got?
JEFF: I say by the time the reader finishes reading this post.
Thanks to Rey for once again joining me in Spurs-Lakers discussions. Though as a Spurs fan I doubt you will but please visit The No Look Pass for all news on the Lakers.
Clutch. In the NBA it means someone who isn't afraid to take the last shot for the win. The Spurs are no stranger to clutch players who will risk it all for the win. Whether it be during the regular season or the playoffs, Spurs fans have been witness to some memorable clutch shots in Spurs history.
Today you will be the head coach for the Spurs in a close game situation. You will have the choice between eight Spurs players, past and present, and I ask you this . . . with the game on the line, who do you want taking the last shot for the Spurs?
Here are the players for you to choose from.
Roger Mason Jr.: What do the Clippers, Suns and Lakers all have in common? All have been victims of Mason's clutch shooting. One of his best clutch shots came against the Phoenix Suns on Christmas Day in 2009. With seconds left, he made the Suns pay for leaving him wide open.
Steve Kerr: He hit clutch shots for the Bulls during their championship run and came up huge for the Spurs in game six of the the 2003 NBA playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks.
Stephen Jackson: Though his time with the Spurs was brief, during game six of the 2003 NBA Finals against the New Jersey Nets, he came up big with some clutch 3-point shooting to help the Spurs seal the series and win their second NBA title.
Tim Duncan: There is no doubt he is a low-post threat for any team playing against the Spurs, but Duncan isn't shy to take the shot when the game is on the line. He proved this against the Seattle Supersonics in the 2005 NBA playoffs by hitting a layup to seal the win for the Spurs. He also hit a fall-away shot over Shaq in the 2004 NBA playoffs against the Lakers, though overshadowed by Derek Fisher's ".4" shot. However, his most recent clutch performance was against the Suns in the 2008 NBA Playoffs.
Sean Elliott: All I have to say is "Memorial Day Miracle."
Manu Ginobili: He is controlled chaos on the court and has the ability to make the impossible possible. Manu Ginobili has given Spurs fans many reasons to yell his name in close games, but against the Phoenix Suns in game 1 of their series in the 2008 NBA Playoffs he proved once again you can trust him with the ball in close games.
James Silas: Before any of the recent clutch shooters for the Spurs, there was James Silas. He wasn't called "Captain Late" for nothing. Silas once said the following about his nickname, "I felt that my game was good for 48 minutes or however long I was on the floor, so I took offense at first, because I thought that it meant that I was only deadly at the end of the game. But it fit what I was about and I came to love it." Even George Gervin said this of Silas in close games, "Give the ball to Jimmy Si and he'll get it done." If an NBA Hall of Famer like Gervin said this about Silas, then you know he was clutch.
It's the fourth quarter, there are only two seconds left in the game and the Spurs are down one. You called a timeout and you're the drawing up the final play. Who is taking the final shot for the Spurs?
Please leave us your comments and go vote on the poll.