So, I think there’s enough of a sample size now to definitively say that the Mavericks, as currently constructed, do not match up well with the Spurs. After losses of 38 and 25 in the last two games, the Spurs – without Duncan, Pop, or much of Manu – led by as much as 26 before the Mavs B-team made it close at the end. Wayne commented in a preview a few weeks ago that it’s hard to dislike this iteration of the Mavs, and he’s right. I’ve always liked Dirk, but without Terry and Kidd, the rest of this team is just “meh”. Oh, and horrible defensively. At least against the Spurs.
Song of the Game: The Shins, “Australia”
I loved The Shins from early on and have to confess that I didn’t enjoy the newest album, Port of Morrow, much at all. I took this one from Wincing the Night Away, which is just a tour de force from start to finish. The Shins don’t sound that different from a lot of indie bands that took root in the 2000s, but what set them apart to me was James Mercer’s songwriting. Every song – whether you could tell what it was about or not – seemed like a work of art he put on a canvas. Every note is intentional and everything has a purpose.
Seemed only appropriate that on Australia Day and on the day of Aron Baynes’ first NBA appearance that I use this one. If only Patty Mills had played….
Play of the Game: 3rd Quarter
Rather than highlight an individual play, I give you the Spurs 3rd quarter in all its glory. A 35-25 margin on the scoreboard only tells part of the story.
13-24 from the field, including 4-7 from 3 (and 9 assists on those 13 makes). 14 points in the paint and 5-6 from the FT line. If you watched this one live, it was Spurs ball at its finest. Crisp ball movement, open shots, hard cuts. Tony, after getting his stitches, had 7 points and 6 assists in the frame. This just in: he’s special.
Trending Up: Gary, Kawhi
Neal stepped up in the first half with Tony’s absence and finished with 18 points and 6 assists (including the single worst successful pick-and-roll I’ve ever seen to DJB). Kawhi came alive in the 3rd, scoring 8 of his 10 points, but he also added 8 boards, 2 assists, and was a team-high +21. Wow.
Trending Down: DeJuan
The running joke on Twitter tonight was that RC was working the phones in the 2nd quarter and that DeJuan might be traded by halftime. It was funny, but it may not be far from the truth. With Baynes now in the fold, I suspect we may see a few highlight games for DJB in the near future (like tomorrow night against the small Suns, perhaps?). Yes, he played a really solid game at a time when we needed him, but I just couldn’t help but feel a little sad that he’s essentially auditioning for 29 other teams every time he takes the floor.
Stat of the Game: 29
The Spurs had 29 assists tonight (on 43 field goals), continuing their gawdy assist numbers for the season. Here’s the stat that blew me away: the Spurs already have seven games this season with over 30 assists. That is ridiculous.
Pop is coaching the All-Star game. The next three games are all at home against bad teams. He may have to start Baynes for the next 3 if he wants to get out of coaching it that bad.
I am wondering about Tony’s availability for the Suns tomorrow. That eye was very swollen and it would not surprise me if he had a hard time getting it open in the morning. If you want to rest a few guys (like Tony), it would be a nice long break. The Spurs don’t play again until next Wednesday. I also expect a lot of Manu tomorrow night as he plays his way back into shape.
One word: nutmeg.