Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all. On this most holiest of consumer holidays I spent the evening with two of the things I love most; my little mutt Madeline and Spurs basketball (I also spent some time with my grandma, but I can’t mention her in the conversation of most loved without mentioning my wonderful girlfriend who lives six hours away and I’m trying to keep this entry simple and avoid the doghouse on Valentine’s Day).
Tonight’s game. Holy hell. I should be ecstatic about winning our eighth game in a row and increasing the Rodeo Road Trip to 4-0 but I’m not. This game got Lin-sane at the end (sorry, I had to. He’s turning into the Tebow of basketball). I think it’s safe to say the Spurs underestimated Detroit just a bit. San Antonio turned the ball over six times in the first quarter and were outscored 10-3 to start the second. But it wasn’t until later that the game started to get wild, and we’ll get to that soon enough.
Here’s what we can take away from tonight’s performance.
The Good: Tiago Splitter. Our favorite Brazilian continues to show that he knows basketball. He was very alert under the basket, never taking his eyes off the ball which is necessary considering Tony and Manu love to drive and dish. The only reason I can think he doesn’t see more minutes is because he lacks that meanness many big men (see Ben Wallace) possess. We can also add Kawhi Leonard to this category not only because he continued to show his defense but is also showing an ability to knock down 3’s, something that a lot of teams can’t defend. My man shot 2/3 from behind the arc. Also Timmy had another double-double (five straight) and was getting pretty comfy on the bench with the team up 16 at the start of the last quarter until…
The Bad: The 4th quarter. Detroit went on a 22-9 run to take the lead with 5:28 left. AND Timmy took off the warm-ups playing the last 9 minutes of the game (I’m sure all of us would have liked to see his next minutes played tomorrow night in Toronto). To give the Pistons credit, they played lights out. They shot 4 for 4 from midrange and 2 for 4 from downtown in the fourth. Rodney Stuckey was absolutely on fire. He led Detroit with 23 and scored 10 in the last period. The team really came together for a while in the fourth after lacking communication for the first three.
The Ugly: Uhh…the 4th quarter. I want to blame lack of focus, but it’s possible that there may have been a bit of that floating in The Palace all night. Pop resorted to Hack-a-Ben at one point which is not what I expected being that we led by 16 at one point. But Pop does what Pop does. And he has four rings whereas I have none. The Pistons played about ten minutes of very solid basketball to start the 4th and had NBA Rising Star Greg Monroe done something more than 4 points and 6 rebounds, they might have pulled off the upset (he shot horrendously btw, going 2 for 11 and missing his only two free throws).
The game seemed to shift after Manu’s knee met Rodney Stuckey’s face while they chased a loose ball. That, Tony’s 8 points in the last two minutes, and the technical foul call on Ben Gordon late in the game with Detroit only down three may have been the difference between 4-0 and 3-1. At the end of the day it’s Spurs 99, Pistons 95. Go Spurs Go. I love you, Shelby.