Monday, November 10, 2008
The Kiss Of Death: Parker’s 55-10-7
THE GOOD DAY
It was your typical autumnal evening. The wind sweeping through the streets. People wearing parkas walking the street in front of our house. The sitation in my mind was like this: *I’ve got a nice hunch feeling: tonight, the Spurs play the T-Wolves in Minneapolis and something good is about to happen... I just know it. No, we can’t go 0-4. Yes, we can’t.*
The horn sounded. The end of the ballgame. After two overtimes, no less.
Seems that being 0-3 really bothered him. What a show. Layups, feathery jumpers, even those French teardrops falling into the net. A career-high 55 points - including a 20-footer at the buzzer to force a second overtime. San Antonio 129, Minnesota 125.
*I just wanted to win so bad. I was going to try to do everything I can,* said TP9. *It's just one of those games. Everything you do, it works. Obviously, everybody knows if I make my jump shots, I can do whatever I want. Tonight was just one of those games that everything was working. I couldn't believe we were 0-3. Dallas came in Tuesday and just kicked our butts. They were hitting every shot, and they had played so bad against Cleveland. But they came to San Antonio and shot the ball very well, so I said we have to do the same thing and come into Minnesota and play well and be aggressive. I don't know why, but Minnesota does a great job on Timmy, so every time we've won against Minnesota, it was either me or Manu who had a good game. Last year, it was Manu who twice had big games to beat them. So I knew I was going to have to be aggressive.”
Play of the Game: after Al Jefferson backed down Tim Duncan (30 pts, 16 rebs) and sank a turnaround hook to put Minnesota up 116-114 with 2 1/2 seconds left in the first overtime, Parker took the inbounds pass, dribbled right, pump-faked once and let the ball fly. Count it. Jefferson, who had 30 points and 14 rebounds, just shook his head as if to say, *What more can we do?*
Mike Miller had 12 of his 25 points in the first quarter for Minnesota, which held a nine-point lead twice but lost its edge late in the third while the Spurs closed with a 26-14 run. The Wolves, threw everything they had against Parker, Duncan and the rest of the bunch.
Parker scored six of his team's first eight points in the second overtime to stretch the lead to four, though Randy Foye made a 3-pointer from the corner to cut the lead to one. The Spurs were in perfect position to rebound a pair of missed jumpers, before Parker finally went to the line with 19 seconds left and made it 128-125.
*I saw it in his eyes, man. I could tell,* said Roger Mason, who had 26 points. *He was in that zone, like they say. He kept his foot on the pedal and just kept going and going and going. When a guy's like that, who knows?*
Parker was 22-of-36 from the field and added 10 assists and seven rebounds. Tthe last NBA player to have at least 55 points and 10 assists in a game was... Michael Jordan. He had 57 points and 10 assists for Chicago against Washington on Dec. 23, 1992.
*Just an unbelievable effort, especially with the minutes he's played to continue to push like that,* Duncan said.
Later, Tony Parker's knees were wrapped in ice bags, both feet stuck, ankle deep, in a tub of ice water. The Spurs guard looked in amazement as a statistics sheet floated in the icy water between his legs in the visitors locker room at the Target Center. George Hill approached and tapped Parker on the shoulder. *I've seen you score 70 points before, but that was in a video game. I've never seen anybody do what you did tonight with my own eyes.*
Parker’s 55 matches Hall of Famer George Gervin for third place on the Spurs' all-time scoring list. Only David Robinson's 71-point game, on April 24, 1994, and Gervin's 63-point output on the final day of the 1977-78 season, exceed Parker's Wednesday night total. He joined some select company. Only LeBron, Oscar and Be Like Mike have had games with at least 50 points and at least 10 assists.
What about TP’s 50 minutes and 32 seconds of court time?
*Whew, I am tired.*
Parker was so aggressive that the other four Spurs starters - Duncan, Michael Finley, Bruce Bowen and Matt Bonner - were scoreless in the first 12 minutes. *I would say that he was aggressive. He was magnificent. He pulled us through, that's for sure,* said coach Popovich.
What a night. Even ice hockey star Marian Gaborik, who’s big here in Slovakia, was in attendance.
THE BAD DAY
I couldn’t watch the Friday night game versus the Heat. And I had a hunch that it would backfire. That something bad is about to happen. Like a loss to Miami, at home... And we got much worse thing than that. Anxiously, I turned on my PC the following morning, fast-forward to www.mysa.com/spurs. And what I saw there? This subject heading of the article by Jeff McDonald of The Express-News:
Parker hurt: Spurs down to Big One
The Spurs lost 99-83 on Friday to a Miami Heat team that won 15 games last season. On any other night, the AT&T Center scoreboard would have been the most of the Spurs' worries. On this night, however, everything for the Spurs was worse than the final score indicated.
Tony Parker - two nights removed from a historic 55-point game in a double overtime victory at Minnesota - limped off the court in the first quarter and out of the building on crutches, a victim of a sprained left ankle that could keep him out for as many as four weeks.
Already down an All-Star guard with Manu Ginobili recovering from offseason surgery on his own bad ankle, and already off to a 1-4 start that matches the worst after five games in franchise history, the Spurs are left to face a hazardous few weeks ahead. *t's tough,* guard Roger Mason said. *At this point, we can't feel sorry for ourselves, because nobody in the league is going to. We've got to find a way to pick ourselves up and keep going.*
Dwyane Wade scored 33 points and multitalented rookie Michael Beasley had 20, as the Heat won a game in San Antonio for only the second time in the club's 21-year history. It was Miami's first victory in San Antonio since Dec. 23, 1996, and its first at the AT&T Center. The Heat were 1-20 in the Alamo City before Friday night's game. The only other time Miami left San Antonio International Airport victorious, its sixth man was a 24-year-old power forward named Kurt Thomas. Thomas, now the Spurs' 36-year-old center, remembers little from that game. *There have been a lot of games between that one and tonight,* Thomas said.
The Spurs would just as soon erase the Heat's latest San Antonio triumph from their memory banks. With two-thirds of their ‘Big Three’ incapacitated, the Spurs turned to Tim Duncan, the ‘Lone One’, to carry them. Duncan was game, scoring 22 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Miami was in the middle of an 18-0 run, and already ahead by 13 points, when Parker began his ill-fated drive to the basket late in the first quarter. There was no contact on the play; Parker's ankle just buckled beneath him. He eventually hobbled to the locker room, where X-rays of his swollen ankle were negative. Parker, the NBA's leading scorer before Friday, is scheduled for an MRI exam today [Saturday].
Doubling the disaster for the Spurs, coach Gregg Popovich had chosen to designate backup point Jacque Vaughn inactive for the game. That left rookie George Hill as the team's lone true point guard for the final three quarters. Parker's injury certainly wasn't helpful to the Spurs' bid to claim their first home victory of the season. But it was hardly the only reason for their demise. Popovich fumed about his team's lack of hustle, particularly by the starting unit. *I didn't see the energy, the competitiveness, the physicality,* he said. *I was very disappointed in our starting group.*
The Spurs were behind by 18 points at the half, a deficit that ballooned to as many as 24 in the third quarter. To send a message to his veterans, Popovich used a youth-heavy lineup of Mason, Hill, Desmon Farmer, Anthony Tolliver and Thomas for much of the fourth.
That group cut the Miami's lead to nine points, 89-80, with 2:41 left in the fourth quarter before the Heat pulled away. *From the jump ball, our intensity wasn't where it needed to be,* Mason said. *That's unacceptable.*
Less than 48 hours earlier, Parker bailed out the Spurs time and time again in Minnesota. Without him, there was nobody to save them against Miami. For the Spurs, the going is only going to get more difficult from here.
THE ORDINARY DAY - TODAY
Just learned that TP, after taking MRI on his ankle, is expected to miss as many as four weeks. And the Spurs are officially in trouble. Can Tim Duncan save us, baby?
I’m gonna do a marathon-like NBA watching tonight, I’m eager to find out if it’s humanly possible to watch 5 games a day. The action begins with Pacers at Thunder. I didn’t see live any of OKC’s home games this season, so this will be a first-timer for me. Those loud crowds there... man I wanna hear it. And Indiana is in the flow - I’ve got no clue who loses. Then I wanna watch Grizzlies at Suns. OJ Mayo scored 31 points yesterday, go Griz go! And here comes the tape-delaying part: 1) NBATV’s Blazers at Magic (Howard-Aldridge battle), 2) Raptors at Celtics (Boston is like a smack-dab punch, but Chris Bosh can do some noise), 3) Nets at Heat (zzzzz...). Pray for me tonight. And pray for the Spurs the next four weeks. (Huh, just noticed that the first game is at Conseco Fieldhouse... Danny Granger over Kevin Durant. IND over OKC. This game/season, I’m sayin’.)
p.s.: *We were dead in the water. Our guys didn't even jump for the ball a couple of times,* said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan on his team’s dismal performance in NYC.
p.s.2: The way the champs have been playing this season, the only place Detroit's going next summer is Heartbreak Hotel. (-LZ Granderson)
p.s.3: *He's like a ghost out there. Like a shadow. Just all of a sudden he shows on a screen, he's gone. He's a blip and he's away,* said Phil Jackson about the valuable ‘stealth player’ play of Trevor Ariza.
Posted by Foreigner in CS - Nov 10 2008 9:29AM
Posted by Luke_Mellow at 9:29 AM