We just keep chugging along winning games. No Tim. No problem. No Manu. No problem. They haven’t been pretty and they haven’t been against good teams. But remember, both the Heat and Thunder have lost in Washington this year. Also look at what the Clippers have done without Chris Paul (Hint: they have sucked). These short-handed wins are great no matter how you slice it.
The dude is crazy strong. Not only could Pekovic not move Baynes to get to his spots offensively, Baynes actually moved Pek a few times. My favorite was when Pek tried to step into the lane from the weakside and establish position. Baynes leaned on him and just stopped him stone cold. Pekovic looked like he didn’t know what to do after it happened. Like it was a new experience for him. Baynes is having a bit of a hard time adjusting to the speed, but man I sure do like what he brings to the table.
I was most impressed by Kawhi in this game. He did several things that I think are the plays we need from him in the playoffs to do well. Let’s start on the defensive end. He was an animal on the boards. He grabbed 10 total rebounds and 9 were on the defensive end. Many were a result of him fighting for position and going up in a crowd to get the ball. The traffic rebound is huge for us. The Wolves played all kinds of crazy combinations of small line ups — with Rubio, Ridnour, and Barea — and Kawhi took turns on all of them. He’s such a great disruptive force both on the ball and as a free safety. I don’t care that Gelabale made shots against him. The defensive game plan was obviously to ignore him (I think).
Offensively, Kawhi did three things I want from him. One, knock down open 3s. He’s been doing this for a while and I’m surprised when he missed. Two, hit mid-range shots off the dribble. Not only is he doing this off the 3-pt pump fake, but he’s also been doing it by attacking his man straight up. All good. Three, he got a couple garbage baskets. Loose balls that he snagged and manage to get back in the bucket. Getting points from Kawhi outside of the normal framework of the offense is great for us. He also had a really nice post up move that netted a layup. I’d be more excited about it if we saw the Spurs post him up a little more often. For now, I’m calling it a fluke.
Oh yeah, Kawhi is also our best free throw shooter and takes all the technical free throws. He’s at 88% from the line. The team is 79.2%.
Dude is on fire. His 11-23 shooting night from the field rates as ice cold for him. The last time Tony was more than one shot under .500 (meaning if he took and made one more shot that he wouldn’t have shot .500 for the game), was the first game in January against the Bucks when he went 10-23. For the last really cold game he had, you have to go back to Dec. 18 at Denver when he went 4-12. That was 24 games ago. Since he was so cold from the field against Minny, he decided to go 9-9 from the line (with a couple of cheater misses that didn’t count because of lane violations).
Yes, Danny was 8-12 from 3-pt. But the shot I can’t get out of my head is the 2-pt shot he missed. On a 1 on 3 fast break, he pulled up from 17′ and missed by more than I’ve ever seen anybody miss. The shot could not have gone 12′. When it hit the ground in the paint, I don’t think it had even got to the charge/block circle.
Man, is he in a funk. His shot is gone and his confidence is gone and he looks like he has absolutely no idea what to do now. It’s awful to see. His shot is so, so flat now. For some reason it reminds me of something I was told in my youth when pitching. Don’t throw at the target, throw through the target. The idea being that if you throw at the target then you are guiding the ball. That’s what I think Gary is doing. He’s trying to guide the basketball in instead of shooting through.
Chronic roster and trade machine tinkerer Tim Varner asked me about Cory Joseph during the game. I have watched bits of a couple Toros’ games in the last week and told Tim I was impressed with what I have seen. That he is shooting well. Then I went and looked at the numbers. Cory is shooting 45.8% from 3-pt in Austin this year. But, it’s even better. He went 0-3 in each of the first three games. Since then he is shooting a scorching 27-50 for 54%.