Posts about San Antonio Spurs

Last night’s excellent games and what’s in store for the final weekend in the NBA

4-11

It’s pretty crazy to think that we’re less than a week from the final day in the NBA season. Lots of teams were eliminated from the postseason long ago and various teams have secured their spot, but there’s still a lot to figure out. That’s what makes the final week so interesting. The Spurs haven’t clinched the top seed in the conference (lose tie breakers to OKC) but last night’s strong victory over the Mavericks was an important step in that direction with only a few regular season games on their schedule. Chances are San Antonio will be the top seed by the end of the season but it won’t be a cake walk as they face two teams (Suns and Rockets) who are trying to clinch and/or keep their momentum going before they get the terrible Lakers in their final game. My Mavericks, on the other hand, are still trying to clinch their spot as they fight with the Suns and Grizzlies for the final two spots in the conference. And what do you know, those are the Mavs’ two remaining opponents this season. It’s such a shame that one of those three teams won’t be participating in the playoffs because all three teams are deserving. The Warriors had a chance to pretty much secure their spot in the playoffs last night but fell short to the Nuggets in a thriller. I’d like to give a bit shout out to Timofey Mozgov (23 pts, 29 reb; pic above), who had the performance of his career so far as he led Denver to victory. Understandably, most people are still going crazy over Andre Iguodala’s mind-blowing crossover. Quincy Miller seems to be taking his embarrassment pretty well but I would advise him to stay off social media for a good while.

What else in the NBA will get social media going this weekend? Well, tons of action once again tonight. 26 teams in action but i’m looking at three specific games. Hey Moe, can your Knicks snag that last playoff spot in the eastern conference from the Hawks? Tonight will be a good test for a Knicks team that is desperate to salvage whatever they can from a disappointing season. While the Hawks go into Brooklyn tonight, the Knicks are in Toronto, against the a Raptors team that is currently in 3rd place. Should be a nice test for New York to prove that they belong. The Pacers are in Miami tonight, only 1/2 a game separating them, to square off for the top spot in the conference. People around the league are doubting this game will live up to the expectations, primarily because neither team has been jumping off the page lately. But maybe it’s for that very same season that both teams will play more free and with a little less pressure. The best game will feature the Suns in San Antonio tonight. Will the Spurs clinch? Can Phoenix continue to surprise? There’s no doubt that i’ll be watching this game very closely. Saturday’s action isn’t too crazy overall but it does feature the Suns in Dallas. This will be the biggest game of the season for both teams as it will strongly influence whether or not they make the playoffs and what seed they’re going to be. If you have NBA TV, tune into that game. Sunday’s ABC showcase features a nice battle between Indiana and OKC, two teams that could very well meet in the Finals. Lots of action and lots left to decide as we head into the final season.

If, for whatever reason, you haven’t seen Iguodala’s crossover, here it is. I almost enjoyed the Warriors’ bench reaction more than the move itself.

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Thunder and Mavs get big wins; key NBA games for tonight

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder

For the past three weeks or so, anytime two teams in the top 9 of the western conference square-off, it’s much watch television for all basketball fans. That’s just the kind of season we’re having in the west. I know the eastern conference looks like it will be bit more competitive (especially as of late) this postseason but the west will be a bloodbath every single round. I’m getting a little ahead of myself, as usual, but at least we got a little preview of what we could see in a couple of week during last night’s games. Both the Thunder and Mavericks got big wins over the Spurs and Clippers (respectively), two of the best teams in the conference as of late. What does that tell us? Well, for one, no team is invincible in the conference. At least for one night. I still wouldn’t bet against the Spurs but at least we can see that they won’t completely roll over every other team. Especially the Thunder, because after last night’s win over their I-35 rival, they have swept the season series 4-0. Are the Thunder just a match-up nightmare for San Antonio? A little bit but don’t forget that the Spurs were playing their 5th game in just over a week’s time. It was still an impressive by OKC, who used their superior length and speed to counter the Spurs’ ball-movement. Conference finals preview?

Once again, not getting ahead of myself. Especially if the Clippers or Mavs, who squared off last night, have anything to say about not being included in the conference finals discussion. Now, my Mavericks are a bit of a long-shot to make it that far into the playoffs but they would at the very least give any opponent in the west a well-fought series. But that’s the western conference in general and that’s why it’s so great. The Clippers have been playing excellent basketball for over a month now, led by Blake Griffin, who posted his first triple-double of the season. Dallas was able to survive Griffin’s performance but it wasn’t easy, as the Mavericks continue to fight with the Warriors, Grizzlies and Suns for those final three spots in the conference. The Mavs, with their barrage of shooters, have one of the best offenses in the league but it’s going to have to be their defense that makes sure they have a position in the postseason. Right now it’s spotty but if they can fix their late-game mistakes, Dallas can do some real damage. The Clippers on the other hand are pretty much locked into the #3 seed, barring anything crazy happening in the final stretch of the season. Right now they’re set to face the Warriors, and man oh man, would that be a juicy first-round match up. At lot left to happen before we get to that point so let’s see what games will affect both conferences as we begin the final week and a half of the season.

Lots and lots of games tonight. In fact, the only teams that aren’t in action tonight are the Spurs and Clippers. But don’t worry because we’re still going to get some great games tonight, some of which have big implications. As stated previously, any game involving two western conference playoffs contenders is a great watch. Especially 6 through 9 because at any time, those teams can switch in a variety of ways. The biggest games among the western teams tonight are the Thunder in Houston and the Suns in Portland, both games should be great. The east isn’t as intense but there’s still a lot to learn from various teams and some shuffling that will happen among the non-Pacer and non-Heat teams. The Raptors are fighting to stay in the 3rd position and what do you know, they’re going up against Indiana tonight. The Pacers need to get back into the form and getting a win over the team one spot beneath them is the right direction. You can also tune into Boston-Philly for tanking reasons. But let’s focus on the Wizards, in New York tonight to take on Moe’s Knicks, who are all of a sudden in the 8th spot in the eastern conference. Washington is trying to move up a spot in the standings while New York is trying to fight off the Hawks and Cavaliers for the final spot in the postseason. Should be a good game and a good Friday of basketball to get the weekend started.

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Recapping the NBA’s big Christmas Day slate

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors

For a lot of sports fans around the league, Christmas Day is when the “real” NBA season begins. A lot of it has to do with the fact that NFL season is, unfortunately, winding down and more of the focus is shifted towards the Association. Another reason the NBA gets so much attention on the 25th of December is because the entire day is dedicated to showcasing the best teams around the league, going head to head in some of the best basketball that the league has to offer. Unfortunately for the NBA, most of yesterday’s games didn’t include a few of it’s best teams and didn’t provide it’s best product. Luck wasn’t on David Stern’s side. It’s not his fault that some of the biggest teams in the biggest markets are dealing with franchise-level injuries. The game schedules were put into place before the season began and no one thought that at this point of the season, the Nets, Bulls, Knicks and Lakers would ALL be dealing with key injuries. At the same time, how were the Pacers not included in yesterday’s festivities? Portland (tied atop the west) was also missing but no one really expected, before the season, that they’d be among the league’s elite. Not the same for Indiana, the Heat’s biggest obstacle for a fourth straight Finals appearance and tied for the best record in the league. Most people thought that Indiana would continue to battle for the eastern conference’s top position during the regular season and once the postseason began. So, once again, I’ll wonder: why weren’t they included?

Let’s get to some of the teams that actually played in yesterday’s game. Like the past few couple of seasons, the NBA was featuring a quintuple-header. I actually felt bad for the NBA countdown crew (ESPN and ABC) because they were basically dealing with a 13 hour work day on Christmas Day. And to boot, getting up early for a Nets-Bulls game is not something that’s really worth doing. Are the Nets, as a team and franchise, in some serious trouble heading into the future? I’m not talking about just this season. The next few years and beyond look bleak for the Nets, no draft picks while being locked into some pretty big deals. While the Bulls are ugly to watch without Rose, at least Chicago showed some heart in their victory over the Nets yesterday. Not showing heart were Moe’s Knicks. New York got pounded by the Thunder yesterday, led by their duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. I’ll sum up how easy it was for Oklahoma City: Durant scored 29 points on 10-for-16 shooting seemingly without sweating and Westbrook had a triple double halfway through the 3rd quarter. Oh yeah, the Kicks also suffered the worst defeat by any home team on Christmas Day. Let’s shift over to the west coast, where LeBron and co were visiting a depleted Lakers team. Surprisingly enough this game didn’t keep the trend of complete blowouts for the day. The Heat looked in control for most of the game, especially halfway through the second quarter and after but the Lakers hung around and almost stole the game. After giving up the lead in the 4th, Miami re-gained composure and closed out the game. Still, lots of a props to a scrappy Lakers team who played well enough to make this an entertaining game worth tuning in to.

The best was saved for last as the quality of basketball got better as the day went on. The Rockets were in San Antonio (hosting their first Christmas Day game) against the Spurs in a good ole fashioned Texas shootout. Normally Houston is sort of a weird team but they played very sound and balanced basketball. It’s something that the Spurs set the bar doing so but during yesterday’s game, the Rockets raced out to a big lead, forcing the Spurs to play catch up the entire game. San Antonio managed to get within striking distance a couple of times. That was, until James Harden took over in the 4th quarter. Harden dropped 16th in the final quarter as he led the Rockets to a big win over their in-state rival. The most entertaining game of the night came late in the day when the Clippers visited the Warriors. A physical contest that included two ejections (Blake Griffin and Draymond Green), two technical fouls, two flagrant fouls and shoving even after the final buzzer went off. The Warriors won the game after a last second heave by the Clippers was short but up until that moment, it was either team’s game. When your coaching staff has to separate the sides after the game is over, there’s definitely some bad blood. I’m already looking forward to when these two teams go at against because they provide a good basketball product with some of that old school (pictured above) roughness.

One a side note: I’m with Dirk on this one when it comes to the special edition uniforms. Not a fan of the sleeves or the giant logos on the chest.

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NBA Wednesday: Indiana’s dominance and other notes from the past week

11-13

A lot of the country’s basketball fans weren’t focused on the NBA last night. In fact, most of the attention was put on the game at the collegiate level. There were some marquee match ups featuring what figures to be three of the next superstars in the NBA. I’ll be honest, I didn’t watch much of Duke, Kansas or Kentucky mostly because i’d rather watch my Mavericks. I don’t have much interest in basketball at the college level unless it involves joining a pool for brackets come March. Chances are that Wiggins, Parker and Randle will all be great players at the NBA level but until I actually see it, let’s pump the breaks and worry about what’s actually going on at the NBA level. Who’s dominating the league so far in this early season? So far this season, the Pacers have looked like the most dominant team in the league on a nightly basis. The defense and coaching is going to be there without a doubt. That’s one of the staples of Indiana’s game. But let’s add Paul George, second in a lot of early MVP races, who is continuing to play at the level everyone expects him to after his performance in last season’s playoffs. Let’s also look at the bench, much improved during the offseason and it shows on a nightly basis. Their offense still looks a bit stale sometimes but it’s not a glaring problem, just their style of basketball. What’s also interesting is that Danny Granger is set to return to his first game sooner than later. How will that affect a Pacers team that’s off to a franchise best 8-0 and the only undefeated team left in the league? I can’t imagine the train stopping anytime soon. Their schedule gets a little more challenging in the next few weeks but I could see them winning out the rest of the month barring an upset. The real challenge for this great Pacers team comes in December when their month starts with a five road games in 8 days against some of the top teams in the western conference, followed by the Heat at home. Until then let’s just enjoy what they’ve currently doing because despite getting almost no attention, the Pacers are the best team this season so far.

Speaking of no attention, the Spurs just seem to do what they do every single year. Play good basketball and win games. Right now they’re 7-1 and atop the western conference and I don’t know anyone who would bet some serious money on San Antonio giving up that position. Who would take their position if they slip for a few games? Well the obvious answer is OKC, especially now that Russell Westbrook is back and continues to look healthier as the games go by. To no one’s surprise, Durant leads the league in scoring (30.2/gm) but it’s going to rest of the supporting cast that I feel will ultimately make a difference. How the rest of the west shakes out is going to be fascinating to watch. From the Suns (how are they still there?) on down to the Lakers, all of those teams will be fighting for 3 through 8. Out east it continues to look like only the Heat will keep up with the Pacers, at least until Rose and the Bulls get themselves together and are 100% healthy. Most impressive players this season? These are aside from the obvious ones like LeBron or Durant. I’d have to go with either Kevin Love and Anthony Davis. Love finally looks healthy again, second in scoring behind Durant and leading the league in rebounding. And with Anthony Davis, well I think we’re all being reminded why he was the consensus #1 overall pick just a couple years ago. 

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Heat edge out Spurs in game 7 to repeat as NBA Champions

6-21

The 2013 NBA Finals will go down as a classic. Game 6 was clearly the apex with it’s endless amount of memorable moments but last night’s game 7 certainly lived up to the quality of the rest of the series. Both teams looked exactly how many expected: having battled through a crazy series only to settle it all with a final 7th game. The Spurs showed lots of heart all the way to the finish but it was simply Miami’s night and the Heat walked away with the championship trophy. Of course there are things you can point out about the Spurs’ approach and game plan (daring LeBron and Wade to shoot) but it was never a question of effort or wanting it less than the Heat. With less than a minute left in the game and the chance to tie, Duncan missed a shot in the lane that he’s made thousands of times. I found it impossible not feel bad for Duncan after he missed that shot. Uncanny and unfortunate for San Antonio but it was the shot that sealed their fate as the second place team. Manu Ginobili is the easy scapegoat for this loss but Danny Green’s normally efficient shot from behind the arc was nowhere to be found. Also, those were some REALLY questionable play calls by Popovich towards the end of the game. But it’s not all doom and gloom for the Spurs. Well, if Kawhi Leonard can make his free throws, then the young man looks to have all the tools of being a future all-star and potentially a superstar. Nothing but respect from myself and NBA fans around the world for the Spurs in their loss.

Unfortunately for Heat haters around the country (there are a lot) it was Miami’s night, repeating as champions of the NBA and are once again kings of the basketball world. LeBron James was phenomenal (37 pts, 12 reb, 4 ast) and was awarded the Finals MVP for a second straight year. But even though James was the best player on the court last night, Dwyane Wade came up big with his shooting from the floor and Shane Battier got hot from behind the arc to add more scoring. Miami taking advantage of the shooting opportunities given to them was the stuff of champions and it was enough to take home the title. Who’s the happiest about winning the title? Well, obviously the teammates winning their first title but even more that guy named Chris Bosh. Zero points last night Bosh? Are you kidding me? Bosh was clearly going to be the target of all targets to blame had Miami not been able to win last night’ game. Hind sight though, as the celebration continues in South Beach and now going forward the word “dynasty” starts to be thrown around. It’s a little early for that because I think that a team needs to win at least three titles in 4-5 years to be considered a true dynasty. Remember that LeBron was VERY close to being 1-3 in the Finals with another summer of questions so let’s calm down for a second and continue to celebrate or hate on this Miami Heat team. We have all summer to discuss and debate the long term implications.

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NBA FINALS GAME 7: Claudia Romani Shows Her Support For Miami Heat! OW!

Claudia Romani with a Miami Heat tshirt in Miami

Photo Credit: Splash News Online

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Regardless of whether it’s football, soccer, basketball or American politics, Claudia Romani likes to show her team some support! The always-sultry model was seen showing her Miami Heat spirit as she catwalked around the boardwalk driving dudes crazy (as usual).

I’m not pulling for anybody in particular, but it would nice to see an upset just so that all the LBJ haters in the press can come out of hiding. At the end of the day, we all know David Stern won’t allow the Spurs to win on his watch, so look for Duncan to get benched in the last minutes so that Miami can pull ahead for the win! Any other conspiracy theories out there?

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Heat win OT thriller to force game 7 in NBA Finals

San Antonio Spurs v Miami Heat - Game 6

Where do I even begin to discuss last night’s game? We’ll defer to LeBron James on this one, quoted as saying “It’s by far the best game I’ve ever been a part of,”  after his triple-double performance led the Heat to a crazy victory in overtime. As always in these situations, I have to ask: was this more of a Spurs loss or a Heat win? All signs point to the fact that the Spurs had this game, had it on two occasions. First it was during the 3rd quarter, holding a 12 point lead with only 1 minute left in the quarter and a chance to really put a strangle on the game in the 4th. The second time was of course in the final minute following two incredibly clutch plays by Tony Parker who, up to that point, was having a less than stellar game. I thought to myself “Wow…that’s the game, Parker has the MVP” but then all hell broke loose and like the rest of the series, no one could predict what happened. Poor Kawhi Leonard, he had the dunk of the night right over (one shoeMike Miller but couldn’t complete the two most important points of the night. Then the game essentially came down to a couple of offensive rebounds by Miami, resulting in massive 3s by both LeBron and Ray Allen. Allen’s 3 to tie the game was the most clutch shot of the year.

From Tim Duncan’s incredible first half (feels like a wasted effort now) to LeBron’s choice to ignore his headband and essentially go beast mode in the 4th quarter. An incredible game all around but a part of me can’t help but feel that it was the Spurs best opportunity to win the series. Can the Spurs win game 7 on the road? History says they can’t, the last time a team to win the NBA title on the road in a game 7 was the Washington Bullets in 1978. But I can’t put anything above this Spurs team. Or above this series because it’s simply been too unpredictable and every game has something new in store for the fans. Neither team can win two in a row. If the Spurs want to win the game, they’re going to have to set the tone early. Oh yeah, Manu Ginobili: stop turning the ball over at the most critical points in the game. Was Ginobili fouled on that final possession in the lane with a couple of seconds left in OT? Probably but I know this league too well to not expect the officials to make a call there. Certainly more of a foul than the Chris Bosh block to the end the game on the desperation 3 by Danny Green. I’m sticking with my prediction (winner of game 6 wins the series) but at the same time, i’ve learned that the sky is the limit for this series.

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Spurs win game 5 to take lead in the NBA Finals

Miami Heat v San Antonio Spurs - Game 5

Can anyone correctly predict what’s going to happen in this series? It’s been back and forth, neither team can win twice in a row. So are things going to change now that the Spurs are one win away? The Spurs looked brilliant on offense last night. Especially towards the end of the 3rd quarter and heading into the 4th when Miami was making their comeback but then the next thing you know, San Antonio is up by nearly 20. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker were great, Danny Green (breaking records) and Kawhi Leonard shot incredibly well but the difference this game was Manu Ginobili. Much like Wade before game 4, Ginobili was facing heavy criticism for being pretty much a non-factor this series. The Spurs shooting guard (back in the starting five) responded with a 24 point, 10 assist performance. Maybe he spoke to Lionel Messi before the game? Whatever the case was, last night Ginobili looked like the all-star guard from the years past.

Miami didn’t have a terrible performance last night, they managed to score over 100 points, but their defense was questionable throughout the game. Ray Allen’s defense on Green was frustrating to watch. And while LeBron had a nice stat line (25 pts, 6 reb, 8 ast), he did look frustrated because the Spurs made it difficult for him to score. So now the burning question is: how will the Heat respond with their back against the wall? Bryan’s Lakers were able to win the title after losing game 5 back in the 2010 Finals but even then, the numbers back the Spurs. Even without the fact that they’re so good at closing out a series on the road. Game 6 has all the makings of a crazy LeBron performance (down 2-3 against Boston last year) because as we’ve seen all year long, Miami is at it’s best after a critical loss. It’s just been so rare to see them lose this often as of late. I’m going with the Spurs because they have the experience and type of team that will close out a series but I can’t wait to see how this Heat team responds on their home court.

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