The Spurs live to fight another day. The Tim Duncan era is not dead — yet.
Quick-Hit Analysis and Thoughts:
1. The Towson Triple
- The shot that everyone is talking about — Gary Neal’s desperation/clutch triple to force overtime. Smart call by Popovich, supreme confidence by Neal and a collective exhale by the entire Spurs Nation. Remarkably, when taken into context, the shot could be classified as either pivotal or inconsequential.
2. Big Picture
- Does Gary Neal’s miracle shot have any impact on the series as a whole? Will it galvanise the fallen Spurs, jolt them from dormancy and inspire a legitimate Spurs response (let alone a game 7)? Or will it be a single game reprieve; a moment which unrelenting die-hards cling onto but will ultimately be for naught? Game 6. Fed Ex Forum. Let there be 48 minutes of hell.
3. The Unsung Hero
- Just how big was Antonio McDyess’s hustle leading up to Ginobili’s miracle fallaway? Monumental. It was a broken play from the start and Dice brought out his trampoline, tipping the ball multiple times beyond the hands of 2 Grizzlies. Granted, he gathered the loose ball and very nearly threw it away, but his effort and hustle was exemplary.
- Dice really battled down low with Randolph out there and never gave up an inch. Bravo, Antonio, bravo. If he doesn’t eventually win a ring, no one can accuse the 36 year-old vet of not trying.
4. The Dearth of Role Players
- Richard Jefferson continues to be the bane of Spurs fans’ existance. A measley 6 points in 33 insipid minutes and a bevy of missed treys.
- Matt Bonner’s annual disappearing act goes on, infuriating the collective and befuddling Coach Pop. We have never looked more vulnerable than when he is on the court. Pop has never looked more foolish.
5. The ‘Silver (and Black) Lining’
- Brazilian enigma Splitter goes perfect from the field with a couple of crowd-lifting and-1s. Pity Pop still doesn’t reward his effort. Unlike Matt, Tiago’s size has actual impact on the offensive glass and he’s not a sieve on defense. Oh, and he doesn’t seem scared shitless as well.
The Spurs have been exposed, badly. Zero interior presence, aging Duncan and a dissipating defense that can’t get stops that they used to. But we knew that already. What we didn’t know is that the team’s elite 3 point-oriented attack was the sole stilt that propped up the team’s stature as an elite contender. A mirage; fool’s gold; it all means the same.
Sadly, the end of an era is nearing. I feel cheated, let down and dismayed. This isn’t fitting; our Spurs deserve a better swansong. But, whilst we wait for that moment to come, there is always the immediacy of ephemeral esctacy.
Thank you, Gary Neal.