First, let me apologize for not getting this recap up until now, so long after Monday’s dismal Blazer performance in San Antonio that everybody with any sense has already completely forgotten about it. I’ve been away for a couple of days, but I’m back now, which is good because Monday was an important night for Portland.
Of course I don’t really mean that. Monday will go down as little more than a final speed bump on the Blazers’ downward spiral. Getting shellacked by the best team in the West (maybe even in the league) is only slightly different than losing by a single point to one of the worst teams in the West.
The important thing is that this will all be over soon. Sure Monday’s game was full of teaching moments (head coach Kaleb Canales often preaches limiting the 30-point quarter, and Monday Portland gave up at least 30 in three out of four quarters and 28 in the odd quarter out, plenty of room to teach after that), but these kinds of learning experiences have diminishing returns.
No doubt the younger dudes on the Blazers’ roster can get something out of watching the San Antonio Spurs up close and personal, but after awhile, losing by 40 every night and never competing might turn an otherwise dedicated professional basketball player into somebody actively looking for another job. Nobody wants that to happen.
It’s a bit unfair to compare a team like Portland to a team like San Antonio, they have so very little in common. So instead of talking about Monday’s Spurs’ performance in the context of taking on the Blazers, I’ll give you one thing to think about with San Antonio as it pertains to what will happen when Portland’s games are officially all over.
Monday, San Antonio played EIGHT guys off the bench. Accompanied by five starters, that’s a roster 13-deep. Every Spur that played scored. Eleven Spurs scored at least six. Six scored at least 10.
But here’s the craziest of the crazy scoring stats for San Antonio from Monday: not a single Spur scored 20. Yes this game was over by the start of the second quarter (it was 31-18 after 12 minutes), but a couple of San Antonio’s key guys logged more than 20 minutes. When everybody scores, but one guy doesn’t do all the scoring, even the mega superstar guys, that is the best indication of a balanced offense.
If we all learned one thing from the Dallas Mavericks last season, team ball wins over hero ball. But the Dallas team ball model was really a one-guy four-other-guys situation. Dirk led the way all the time. San Antonio doesn’t have a Dirk, but they do have one of the guys that’s better than Dirk at the position Dirk plays. However, that guy (Tim Duncan if you were wondering) doesn’t need to been the center of attention on every possession.
Monday, the Big Fundamental tied for team leader in scoring, but he only scored 18 points. He shared team-high honors with Danny Green (who didn’t miss a shot). When your best player doesn’t have to have the game of his life to effectively help your team win, then you’re in a good spot. San Antonio is in a good spot.
So good, in fact, that I’m saying it right now, the Spurs will be the thinking man’s pick to win the 2012 NBA Championship.
If you’re looking for a positive RE: the Blazers from Monday, I think that might be your only option. Portland just got WAXED by the best game in town.
One more game, and then it’s all over. Sorry Blazer fans, Thursday in Salt Lake City is going to be very very important to the Utah Jazz. Don’t expect Portland to have any impact on that game either.
- Patty Mills played 12 minutes and knocked down three deep balls. Start the Patty Back To Portland campaign…NOW.
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