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San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets, May 5 [2017)

What a blessing.

To have a moment of peace.

Today was rough.

But a moment of peace is worth a million smiles.

When you are struggling with anxiety.

And as I ventured out into my fair city today, I was reminded (as I so often am) of the wonderful military men and women who are the backbone of our city.

Some truly excellent servants of humanity.

My city, San Antonio, is suffused with military presence.

And so I would like to thank these men and women.

Thank you!

It can never be said enough.

You fight for those of us not well enough to fight.

You stand up for those of us not able to.

And I can only imagine the horrors of PTSD.

And so I just want to offer my hand in fellowship to our warriors who have walked the walk.

Keep fighting the mental fight.

For those of you struggling.

You are on a new battlefield.

And you will overcome!

Now.

On to this game.

Since last these two teams met, the Spurs received news that starting point-guard, future hall-of-famer, French legend Tony Parker is done for the year.

I believe it was a torn quadriceps muscle.

Whatever the precise diagnosis, Mr. Parker will be out a full year.

And so his future is up in the air.

Our prayers are with you, Tony!

Keep that TV set tuned in ūüôā

The boys are gonna go try to get you another ring!

So that’s how we started.

For the first time in 16 years, no Tony Parker.

[if I understood the announcers correctly]

The big surprise was that Coach Popovich (yes, Coach is his first name…) decided to start rookie Dejounte Murray.

I had a suspicion he might.

But you’re never sure with Pop.

And so, Patty Mills was able to then retain his rhythm of coming off the bench and joining that second unit (with whom he gels so well).

Murray had a rough start.

But he stuck with it.

And that is the message [“No messages! ¬†Too many messages!” –Harry Partch] of this review and this game.

Stick.  With.  It.

Keep grinding (as Spurs announcer Sean Elliott says).

Murray’s troubles were not mere nerves.

He had a veritable bulldog dogging him on defense.

Patrick Beverley gives even the most seasoned players fits.

Because Beverley is tenacious.

He’s like a rabid rodent out there!

And so Beverley shook Murray early, but the Spurs hung on.

When you’re going to space on a rocket (hey, this was NASA town tonight…Houston), you’ve got to hang on.

You’ve had your G-force training.

But nothing prepares you for the experience of having so much thrust propelling you upwards.

And that was the great message of the Situationists.

No two situations are alike.

Ambiance. ¬†Nuance. ¬†Nuages…

It’s an art–a skill, to be able to take in your surroundings and thrive.

But the Spurs were merely surviving early on.

They seemed to be hanging on for dear life.

LaMarcus Aldridge hit some big shots.

You know…these guys were out there protecting the new kid (Dejounte Murray).

The team I saw was saying, “Don’t worry. ¬†We got you.”

And so Tony Parker’s absence made Aldridge step up.

That’s right. ¬†You’re the big dog now.

But the TOP dog was, is, and (God-willing) will be for awhile Kawhi Leonard.

He brought it.

Three assists shy of a triple-double.

Kawhi out-Harden’d Harden.

The dunk on Capela was nasty!

And James’s riposte on the other end against Pau was just as ugly.

I mean, in the first half…these two guys were cancelling each other out.

Except, I think Kawhi had more rebounds.

And I’m almost certain he had one more assist than Harden.

But stats schmats!

Harden went for 43 and the Rockets lost.

It happens.

But it rarely happens to the Spurs.

Memphis got Kawhi to that same scoring mark (if I remember correctly) and handed the Spurs a loss.

But Houston and OKC seem to have these lopsided, “hero ball” box scores.

Harden scored 43 and his team lost by 11.

Kawhi scored 43 against Memphis and the Spurs lost by 2.  In overtime.

I mean, it just doesn’t happen to the Spurs much.

But I digress…

Pau Gasol was really good.

He had some great high-low action going with Aldridge.

Pau had 4 assists and a near double-double in points and rebounds.

Dejounte Murray only played 14 minutes.

But they were big minutes.

And he was a +11 while on the court.

Just keep building, young fella!

Danny Green hit some big shots…and generally played his butt off!

Great job, Danny!

David Lee didn’t play much, but he was efficient.

Houston goes so small (with the exception of Capela and Nenê) that this series may not be for Lee.  The Spurs need those points from Aldridge.  Especially with Tony Parker out.

Patty Mills was fantastic!  15 huge points!  He met the challenge of stepping into the gap!!

Manu Ginobili had a quiet game, but I think his presence out there helped bridge the shock between eras.

No Tim Duncan.  Now no Tony Parker.

But we still have #20. ¬†And he’s always playing to win!

But for me, the real spark was Jonathon Simmons.  Again!

His stat line might not show it.

But he had a BIG dunk…and a clutch 3 to end the 3rd quarter.

And so his 7 points were all huge.

Even his other midrange pull-up was big…in relation to where it happened in the game.

Add to that his 6 rebounds.

The Spurs WORKED out there.

Pau Gasol had 9 boards.

This was the appropriate effort.

And it worked.

I’m not sure if Ryan Anderson is healthy for Houston.

0-4 from three.  And he landed on that wrist/hand again.

Ariza had a good night.  Especially in the first half.

Capela played really well! ¬†But he just didn’t generate enough points.

Beverley played his ass off, but the 3s weren’t falling.

Harden scored plenty.  He missed 8 threes.

I don’t know what was up with Harden.

His foul situation was weird.

He just may have not been “all there” owing to his reported respiratory sickness.

Eric Gordon got shut down more in this game than the last.

And Lou Williams was completely shut out.

It seems like the Rockets couldn’t get over the drama of Harden and Beverley.

Sometimes it pays to be a quiet assassin…like Kawhi.

-PD

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