Grandpa Juice scores 2nd game-winning shot vs. Mavs at the buzzer

Spurs (20-10)                                                                    12/16/2017

San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks                      (98-96)

Rumors were flying that this would be Kawhi’s much-anticipated return to the AT&T Center court, but to my dismay, the Messiah did not return home. I was in attendance watching the Spurs struggle against rivals, the Mavericks, for almost the entirety of the game. Without Kawhi & Tony (injury management), no Green (groin) & no Anderson (MCL), Spurs used their young guns & many line-up changes to earn redemption against Dallas.

LaMarcus scored his 12th double/double of the season with 21 points & 14 rebounds & was a key player in helping lockdown this W for San Antonio. He held strong in his “big man” role & showed up both offensively & defensively. Gasol, on the other hand, was invisible on the court yet again, scoring 0 points in his 15 minutes on the court & forcing LA to pick up the offensive slack. Gasol has only scored 4 points in the past THREE games. These are embarrassing numbers for a rookie, let alone a veteran All-Star. It may be time to put out an Amber Alert for this 37-year-old NBA star.

Meanwhile our young guns dominated on the floor & showcased some major bench talent. Murray played an integral role in helping bring the Spurs back from a third straight loss with 14 points, 6 rebounds & 4 assists in just 20 minutes. His ability to cut through the paint like water & his freakishly long arms are tools the Spurs will need as the regular season begins to wind down. If he can just work on his jump shots, he will be a key element in our route to playoffs. Fellow ginger, Bertans, put up the best plus/minus of the night with 13 points & 7 rebounds & Forbes (in his 3rd start of the season) showcased his three-point shot from the arc. Pop showcased some different plays & line-up changes tonight, but in the end a 40-year-old, future HOFamer would make his second game-winning buzzer beater of the season.

Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 1.03.07 PM

For our fourth (and final) matchup this season, Mavs brought the heat & kept the Spurs at bay for four quarters, until Spurs gained their first and only lead of the game in the final 4 minutes. After missing 7 shots in a row, & giving up 2 turnovers, Spurs managed to outscore the Mavs 13-0 in the last few minutes. Then Manu “Grandpa Juice” Ginobili gets subbed in with 1:00 left of the game. In a final play that only the Spurs could pull off, LA scores (tying the game) with :23 left, rebounds & passes to Manu. Manu goes in the paint & scored a perfect driving layup with only :03 left. Manu came through in the clutch yet again for his second game-winner at the buzzer in a week & proved that Manu’s gonna Manu.

I will be uploading my video I took of the game-winner on my FB as well.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Spurs get Rocket launched

Spurs (19-10)                                          12/15/2017

San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets        (109-124)

Seven months ago, Spurs fans can happily remember ending Houston’s playoff chances, beating them 4 games to 2 in the Western Conference Semifinals. This game was not that game. With the addition of CP3 to their roster, Rockets are proving that they are a stronger Western Conference contender this season. Keeping their 12 game winning streak going, the Rockets kept the lead for the entirety of the rivalry matchup. With their fast-shooting, aggressive plays & their great talent for grabbing ridiculous fouls (Harden, I’m looking at your bearded ass), this game seemed to be smooth sailing for our rivals. (Houston is now 3/12 against the black and silver.)

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 3.46.18 PM

Rockets kept the lead (as high as 28 points) in this tough game to watch, while Spurs struggled with turnovers, bad calls, careless passing & proved our constant struggles against excellent point guards (CP3 in this case). Paul & Harden went for 28 points each & CP3 became the first player to ever put up these kind of stats against the Spurs (28 pts/7 steals/8 assists). LaMarcus, 16 points, helped chip away at some of the Rockets’ frontcourt, but needed another strong pillar to help with the workload. Kawhi played in his second game of the season & only for 17 minutes, scoring 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals & 2 blocks. Even with this loss, Kawhi played his 400th career game tonight & is now the most winningest player in 400 games in NBA HISTORY! That is super impressive for our Messiah & we just want you back at 100% already, Kawhi.

*****Something I have noticed when watching a Houston game (especially in Houston) is the new “Harden Rule.” What is that you ask? Oh, it’s just Harden’s “skill” & ability to collect fouls & points at the FT line. Or creating contact & keeping players from 3-point foul shots, so fouls on shooting motion or fouls that occur on the drive. Rockets’ fans, players & most of all their coach, D’Antoni, are all spoiled & turn to fits of rage over foul calls, bad call or not. They’ve become so accustomed to these foul calls working in their favor, it’s hilarious to see the mayhem that erupts in Houston when a foul occurs against the Beard or any of their other players. *****

In the second half, Pop toyed around with the line-ups & played a lot of rookies & benchers, while D’Antoni kept in all his starters until the last three minutes of the game (despite being up by as much as 20). Forbes, Mills, Brandon Paul, Bertans, Murray & Lauvergne came in strong & put up a good fight with their defense & their 3-point shots, but their inexperience came through against big guys Harden & CP3. I have never been more proud of our bench & just goes to show how much they will pay off come Spring. Although we lost this game, we’re on to the next in Dallas (back-to-back).

#GoSpursGo

 

 

The Messiah returns to Dallas

Spurs (19-9)                                                      12/12/2017

San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks        (89-95)

The cornrowed Messiah has returned! This is not a drill, I repeat, NOT a drill. After missing the first 27 games of the season, Spurs fans got to finally see Kawhi back in action (albeit on minute restriction). Spurs fans only got a taste of Kawhi, who played for 15 minutes, scoring 13 points, 6 rebounds & one steal/block/assist each respectively. He looked well-rounded & played as a slightly more cautious version of the methodical robot we’ve all come to love. He did seem out of breath by the time he went to the locker room in the third quarter, but he definitely showed us that the Klaw is back.

Screen Shot 2018-01-06 at 2.13.33 PM

Dallas came to play right out of the gate knowing this would be a tough game for them at home. They shot an impressive almost 50% in the first half & held the lead for the first half. Spurs played sloppy, flat & lifeless for most of the game, while Dallas brought the defense hot off their 3-game losing streak. Green only put up 3 points while Gasol left completely scoreless. Not one point. Where was the aggression that usually fuels this Spaniard?

It wasn’t all bad. Rudy Gay seemed to be the only Spur who came out ready to go. He played with aggression & agility, scoring 21 points. LaMarcus also had a decent game, although physical. He put up 23 points, but our lead scorer was completely covered in the paint with every attempt made. Barea, Yogi & Barnes made sure we knew it was still their house. Barnes put up a solid 17 points while the tiny little pest, Barea, quickened the pace with 14 points in the fourth quarter after Kawhi had left. Dallas kept us away from the basket & forced us to make half-ass shot attempts, ending the Spurs’ four game winning streak. Although we gained our first lead of the night in the last quarter, Spurs couldn’t keep up in the end. I think we were all just too excited to see our fearless leader back on the court to really care though.

On to Houston next. #GoSpursGo #Kawhi

 

Spurs eclipse Suns in (another) buzzer beater

Spurs (19-8)                                                      12/9/2017

San Antonio Spurs vs. Phoenix Suns          (104-101)

In the Spurs’ fifth game in just seven nights, Spurs faced off against the Suns without most of our starting line-up, proving to be no problem. No Parker, no Green, no Kawhi, no Anderson & none of our favorite geriatric players, Gasol or Manu. Aldridge & Mills carried the team offensively & were the two top scorers of the game, each pitching in 20 points. (Mills’ highest scoring game of the season) But this game really showcased our bench, their unique skill sets & the depth of our team.

Murray tied his career-high of FOURTEEN total rebounds, including 6 offensive rebounds, while Brandon Paul started for the second time this season & brought his great defensive skills. He forced turnovers, he made floaters & he scored a cool 10 points off the bench. Gay was a strong leader for the bench players, showing leadership & strength & just came off shy of a double/double with 16 points & 9 rebounds.

Suns tried to keep up the pace after being down by as much as 19 in the third & finally gained their first lead of the night in the final 2:00 of the game. Our defense slightly struggled in the second half & we ended up giving up 62 points, losing our lead & constantly keeping the Suns on the FT line. Spurs were able to remain constant with rebounds, EIGHTEEN offensive rebounds in fact! The league high right now is 11.8 per game. That being said, Spurs rebounded an astounding 37% of all misses in this game, dwarfing the Denver Nuggets, the current leader in rebounds.

Screen Shot 2017-12-23 at 4.14.30 PM

The game became close in the fourth quarter & it all came down to yet another buzzer beater for the black & silver, for the second time in a row! Pop drew up a play for second year guard, Bryn Forbes, in the last timeout of the game. Mills tossed the ball to Forbes, who was wide open in the shot pocket, Forbes stops & sinks in a majestic shot from the arc to put us ahead by 1 point with :20 to go! Talk about the confidence Pop must have in you to draw up a play like that when it’s down to the wire. This speaks volumes for what this undrafted kid can & does do for our team. Especially since before this play, Forbes was 0-5 for three’s. Just proves you must ALWAYS trust in Pop.

#GoSpursGo

Grandpa Juice makes game-winning shot & takes down Eastern Conference juggernauts, Celtics

Spurs (18-8)                                                            12/8/2017

San Antonio Spurs vs. Boston Celtics                (105-102)

This was one of the biggest games of the season as Spurs take on the #1 Eastern Conference seed & their new fearless leader, Kyrie Irving. Could we take on the best defense in the league without Kawhi? Could we keep up with this new powerhouse even when at home? We did exactly this. In a face-off at the At&T Center, where Boston hasn’t won since 2011, Spurs became the first Western Conference team to beat the Celtics this season. Irving put up an impressive 36 points & became the first player this season to put up at least 30 points in a game against the black and silver. Irving had help from fellow teammates Tatum (20 points) & Brown (15 points), while Spurs had (again) at least FIVE players with double digits.

After a pretty shaky start, (again, Spurs. You have to come out the gate with the right mentality/aggression!) I believe what kicked the Spurs into high gear was Pop’s technical foul at the end of the first. It seemed to have fuel a fire (or I’m thinking fear) in the boys & we kept up with the Celtics’ amazing defense. SA committed 14 fouls & 21 FT while Celtics put up 22 fouls & 17 FT. Here’s a better perspective: before this game we sat at 20th in FT attempts with 24% while in this game we became 3rd with 29.6%! We drew fouls, we were aggressive, & our offense came in strong & reliable. We took lots of mid-range shots (shot 48%) & floaters (67%!), but still need more 3’s & rim shots against the number one defense.

Tony put up 11 points, Gay put up 15 & Gasol completed another double/double with 14 points & 11 rebounds. LaMarcus used his “big man” status, was unstoppable in the post (27 points & 10 rebounds) & up against Horford. But the man of the game, or should I say the grandpa of the game, goes to future HOFer Manu “Grandpa Juice” Ginobili. If one buzzer beater at the half wasn’t enough, this Argentinian ended the game in style with yet another game-winner in the last :05 seconds of the game. It was a play of pure basketball magic. Manu sneaks into the paint for an offensive rebound & haphazardly, in pure Manu style, throws from the arc & sinks the ball. This man never ceases to amaze me. Spurs just play better when this man is on the court. (Don’t believe me? Spurs assist on 52% of FG when he plays & a dismal 31% when he sat. Let. That. Sink. In.)

Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 12.54.17 PM

Irving attempted to respond with a game-tying 3 & fails. Spurs win! Such an amazing game to give this city a taste of what’s to come in the Spring.

#GoSpursGo #Manu #GrandpaJuice

 

Spurs stifle Heat (again)

Spurs (17-8)                                                            12/6/2017

San Antonio Spurs vs. Miami Heat                   (117-105)

The Miami Heat, who haven’t beat the Spurs since Game 2 of the 2014 Finals (suck it!), played a hell of a game in the first half, but simply lost steam to a stacked Spurs bench. The first half we were playing slow, allowing them to score much too frequently & having a hard time guarding; when we came alive in the second half, forcing 11 turnovers & outscoring 60-47, & we never looked back. The pace of this game was very interesting to watch. Who would have thought that the two lowest-scoring offenses in the league would put up these kind of numbers & put on such a show? With 31 total 3-pointers & both shooting at least 50% from the field, both teams proved they came to play.

Aldridge put up a solid 18 points & passed ex-Spur Splitter on the blocks list (23rd) with 197 total blocks since he put on the black & silver jersey. He also grabbed the longest double/double streak in his career (27th). Gay also had an exponentially better game this time around with 16 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists & 3 steals. Parker came in strong with 10 points & 9 assists (highest by a Spurs PG this season), while also proving his place on the team by remaining unbeaten in all 5 of games played this season after returning from his injury. EIGHT Spurs players scored in the double digits & Spurs scored 13 total 3-pointers this time around. Spurs now have made 3-pointers in 1,000+ straight games since 2005 (4th longest streak).

But the player that stood out & put out the Heat (from the bench, nonetheless!) is Bryn Forbes (again). This undrafted kid from Michigan State has the league paying attention now & is just more proof that Pop & the gang know how to pick ’em. I hope this kid stays a Spur for the entirety of his brand-new career. He put up a solid 17 points off the bench, including a career-high FIVE 3-pointers & joined a prestigious list of other undrafted Spurs with the most 3’s in a game (Bowen, G. Neal, J. Jackson). He shot an impressive 6/8 from the floor & 5/5 from the arc & now sinks 44% of 3-pt attempts. Pop went so far after the game to compare him to another great shooter from the arc, maybe you’ve heard of him…. Steph Curry. This is huge praise for the second year rookie who will help us shine come playoffs.

Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 1.42.05 PM

Spurs ran away with this game after a shaky start & this became the first game this season the Spurs have clinched a win while still being out-shot from the field (54.2% to 52.9%). Whatever our bench did to prepare for this game, we thank you. I haven’t seen a bench this strong in SA for a few seasons now & I couldn’t be more ecstatic. They’re taking good care of the team while you’re gone, Kawhi.

Next game: Irving, Brown & the Celtics gang.

#GoSpursGo

Spurs double/double up on Pistons on back-to-back

Spurs (16-8!)                         12/4/2017

San Antonio Spurs vs. Detroit Pistons                (96-93)

Still recovering from the OKC loss the night before, Spurs came out & took game two of their back-to-back. It started out a little shaky, but Spurs stayed in the game & came out strong in the second half. Fourteen 3-point shots, 30 assists, 7 players scoring in double digits & 3 players with at least 10+ rebounds: these stats scream Spurs. Spurs played consistent fundamental basketball & hovered close despite several scoring droughts, including being down by as much as 9. Spurs didn’t gain a lead until the second half with a beautiful shot from beyond the arc by Bertans. (I have said this since last season, I LOVE THIS KID! He’s this quiet assassin (hmmm, where have we seen this before?) & is fearless no matter who he’s sent to guard. I can see him being a secret weapon off the bench come Spring.) The Pistons & lead-scorer Jackson (27 points) put up a fight til the end against the second best defense in the league, barely losing in the last few minutes.

Aldridge put up 17 points & 10 rebounds & was one of three Spurs to put up  double/double figures, regardless of shooting his worst game of the season (5/17). The other two players to score double/doubles were Gay & Gasol (15 pts/10 reb), making this the first game since 2014 with 3+ players to score double/doubles (Leonard, Green & Duncan). Mills came in hot off the bench with three 3-pointers & became the 3rd player in black & silver to hit 500+ 3’s off the bench! (He follows Manu & fellow ginger, Bonner) I love what he brings to the team & just want this guy to find his shot so he can get more playtime come finals.

Screen Shot 2017-12-13 at 12.48.59 PM

Rudy Gay started for the first time in place of Slo-Mo Anderson (knee injury) & put up a solid 12 points & 10 rebounds. In the last four seconds (down by 1) Gay missed a much-needed 3-pointer, but a well-timed foul committed on LA gained us the 2 points needed to win. He played a key role in helping us gain the lead in the last quarter & helped us keep that lead by blocking Harris’ 3-point attempt to tie the game in the final seconds. Green played his 27th career game with 3+ blocks (most for a guard in the NBA since he joined in 2010), putting up 3 more blocks in this game & 11 points.

Spurs showed confidence & vigor in this tough game coming down on a back-to-back. When Jackson seemed impossible to read, Spurs came back in the second half & recognized he was the one to watch. We changed up our approach & limited what he could do. Spurs played a physical game & still came out victorious, even without our fearless leader.

Next, we face Miami! #GoSpursGo