First, an apology to my few loyal readers.
I’m sorry for this glut of “sports reviews”.
I know some of you are particularly dedicated to cinema.
And so am I.
But the San Antonio Spurs are the only “ticket” in my hometown.
San Antonio (like David Byrne’s “heaven”) “is a place where nothing ever happens.”
Except the Spurs.
When you tell someone, “I’m gonna go watch the game”, they know.
They may loathe sports.
But that’s all we have.
No football (and this is Texas!).
No baseball (unless you count the Missions…and I don’t).
No hockey (again…this is Texas…hot…no ice…and I don’t count the Rampage).
Rodeo once a year (in February).
No music scene.
No arts scene.
No film scene.
There’s probably some pretty good tejano music to be had, but that’s not really my bag.
And no one has really put the gumbo together for us honkies since Doug Sahm.
And that was A LOOONG TIME AGO.
So we have the Spurs.
And, apologizing in advance for at least a little more of this sports coverage, it’s sort of a tradition for me.
Watch the playoffs.
I was a crappy fan this year.
Master’s degree. Appendectomy.
Nothing really conspired to align my fate with watching the Spurs during the regular season.
[Hell, I remember seeing a bit of a game at the hospital…]
And so tonight was a special, special game.
Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals between seeds 2 and 7.
The Spurs had the second-best record in the league (both conferences combined).
But, unfortunately, the team to best them was in their own conference (the Golden State Warriors).
And so the Spurs drew a slightly (in theory) more formidable opponent as a result of this slightly more inferior record.
The Spurs could have drawn Portland (41-41).
But they ended up with Memphis (43-39).
Similar records, right?
Only two games difference…
But Memphis has been a beast…at least for the past two games.
Game 1 was essentially a Spurs blowout.
Game 2 was more of the same.
Game 3 was a Memphis blowout.
So none of these contests have gone down to the wire.
But this one did.
And then some!
I tell ya, I’m so proud of my home team!
They lost tonight, but they fought…hard!
Kawhi Leonard was magical.
But darn-near close.
In Games 1 & 2, Kawhi set new marks for himself in terms of playoff career highs in scoring (32 and 37, respectively).
Game 3 was a bit of a letdown.
A “mere” 18 points.
But Kawhi came back in this one…big league! 🙂
I know there was one point at which he scored 16-straight for the Spurs.
And then there’s his free-throw streak…something like 40-in-a-row for the series.
Yeah, he still hasn’t missed a free-throw in this best-of-seven.
That’s an NBA record.
Best start to a series by a single player (in terms of free-throw shooting).
Kawhi hit what could have been the game winner in regulation.
But that was canceled out by Mike Conley.
Then Kawhi hit what could have sent it to double-overtime.
But that was canceled out by Marc Gasol.
And…out of timeouts…and with 0.7 seconds to go, it was essentially over.
Danny Green had one more heave…but it didn’t cut the mustard.
Kawhi. 43 points. 8 rebounds. 6 steals!!!
He had one flub late…
One key turnover.
Which brings up an interesting point.
Memphis left absolutely no room for error in this one.
The Grizzlies were, themselves, horrible on turnovers (committing 23).
But still the Spurs were hanging on for dear life the entire game.
No room to breathe.
No room to let up.
Let’s break this one down a bit further.
David Lee was much better this time out.
He had to start in place of Dewayne Dedmon (who was ill).
Lee only racked up 4 fouls 🙂
In five frames!
LaMarcus Aldridge was great in spurts.
[which reminds me of a Richard Hell lyric]
Aldridge had some monster jams.
But only 2 rebounds…
In 42 minutes.
Indeed, Memphis kicked the Spurs’ butts on the glass (51 to 37).
Tony Parker had a really great game.
This one would have been another blowout in favor of Memphis had Parker not shown up to play in the first half.
Tony’s performance was a 180 from Game 3: 0 points to 22 points.
And Parker distributed. 5 assists.
Sadly, Danny Green was pretty woeful in this outing.
0 for 6 from three.
Indeed, his stat line looks like a sleeping Richter scale needle.
Fortunately, Davis Bertans was really good in his limited minutes.
And Pau Gasol had some real fire in his game tonight (especially the 11 rebounds).
Patty Mills distributed the ball (4 assists).
Mills played with lots of energy!
He played his butt off!!
Jonathon Simmons and Kyle Anderson didn’t get much of a chance in this one.
But again we come back to Manu Ginobili.
I hate to say it, but the old fella looks…well, OLD out there.
I believe he’s still yet to score in the series.
And he played 16 minutes tonight.
But he was 0 for 4 from three. And had 1 lonely assist.
All told, it would have been enough.
If it weren’t for the Grizz.
Zach Randolph wasn’t the monster he was in Game 3, but he still recorded a double-double (12 points and 11 rebounds).
James Ennis III came back down to Earth a bit with his 4 turnovers.
And Marc Gasol, despite the double-double (16 points/12 rebounds) [and the game-winning shot!], committed 7 turnovers (!)…
Which means someone must have been on fire.
And that someone was Mike Conley.
35 points. 9 rebounds (!). 8 assists.
And, as I said, he’s the guy who sent this one into overtime in the first place!
But what about 40-year-old Vince Carter???
13 huge points! 3 huge three-point shots!!!
And JaMychal Green! 14 massive points!
Never underestimate the power (the drive) of revenge!
This guy was a Spur.
And he was cut.
And so there’s a reason he elbows the shit out of Davis Bertans every time he gets near him.
That’s the guy who took his job!
And this is Green’s chance!
To show the Spurs they fucked up when they let him walk.
Best served cold.
When you least expect it, motherfucker!