Saturday, December 5, 2009

Show & Prove: Out of Sync

Posted on Sat, Dec 5, 2009 at 1:49 PM

The San Antonio Spurs headed into their Thursday night game against Kevin Garnett and the Boston Celtics riding a season high five game winning streak that included their first road win of the year. The Celtics took control of the contest from the beginning, quickly reminding the Spurs that they were facing an elite team and not the sub-par squads they had built their streak upon. In a sloppy game marked by 19 turnovers, 10 squandered free throws, and several missed opportunities for the Spurs, the end result was a 90-83 loss at home.

Although San Antonio received solid efforts from Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili, Manu was sorely missed in the fourth quarter which he primarily watched from the bench. Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich elected to rest Ginobili to reduce the risk of further aggravating a groin injury, and without their crunch time difference maker, the team offense was unable to get past the Celtics. The biggest bright spot for the Spurs came from the contributions off their bench, particularly undersized forward and Auto-Tune proponent DeJuan Blair who chipped in 18 points, 11 boards, and 2 blocks in only 21 minutes.

I was just out there,” Blair told reporters after the game. “Pop gave me the minutes. Whether I play five minutes or whatever minutes I played tonight it's all about working hard, hustling, being there for the team and rebounding. I made a couple of plays. It was a good game. I am getting more comfortable every day. My teammates are doing great at helping in situations when I don't know what to do. I am just listening and asking questions. We are going to fight back from this and try to get a win on Saturday. You aren't going to win championships in December we are just going to keep working and it's going to come together. I promise.”

Promises aside, San Antonio currently sits at 8th in the Western Conference slightly ahead in the standing above the lowly Sacramento Kings. With the Lakers, Nuggets, Suns, and Mavericks off to strong starts, Coach Pop is now pressed to acclimate his new players while keeping pace with the rest of the conference. Up next is a Saturday night showdown with the Carmelo Anthony and Denver Nuggets which will be a telling contest in terms to how far these Spurs must grow in order to be considered an elite squad.


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