The Bench Is Alive!

After a disappointing game 1, Spurs fans everywhere were anxious about tonight, and it proved to be a great game.

1Q Going to the rack early and often, Parker scored the first 5 points. Duncan got involved for another 5, followed by another 10 from Parker. With Dallas finally getting in front of him, Parker kicked out to Bowen for a 2 at 3:46, the third Spur to score. Gooden came off the bench, setting the example for all the other bench players with his hustle, and FIGHTING for the rebound (Bonner, watch the tape to see how this is done). At the close of the opening quarter, we saw the game tied with Parker and Dallas at 19 each.

2Q With Parker getting a much deserved breather, Gooden was showing some skills, and still hustling. Mason was again occupying the point position, marginally better than Saturday, but he’s still no point guard. After some time, Bonner not only made a defensive play (with Tim’s help), but followed it up with a 3. The French Flash would reenter the game, soon going 1 on 3, only to be fouled by a Terry, a flagrant 1. However, the San Antonio defense slowly fell apart, and Dallas went on a 16-6 run, with Mason fouling Terry on a 3 just before the buzzer. But hope springs eternal, as George Hill stepped foot on the court with 1 second on the clock. Spurs up 11 to close the half.

3Q Right away you could tell the Spurs defense had snugged up, although Dallas offense was playing better too. But soon enough Parker would be slicing and dicing inside, getting his buckets, and distributing more as well. With 3:51 on the clock, the Spurs lead would stand at 25. Closing the quarter, Parker dropped another 2 in, leaving .1 second on the clock.

4Q The final quarter started sluggish, and never really did pick up. With such a large lead, San Antonio simply controlled the clock and maintained. Many Spurs fans were rejoicing at 4:58 though, when George Hill reappeared on the court. Sadly, he didn’t do anything to show Pop he deserves more minutes. Spurs tie the series, 105-84.

Review San Antonio came out with one gun blazing, and all they needed was for everyone else not to screw it up. Gooden came out and showed the bench what they need to do, and some of them fell in line, Udoka managed to grab 7 rebounds tonight. The bench as a whole brought 26 points and 16 boards, a tremendous improvement. The role players still have work to do though, as Parker won’t perform like this every night. Take away his 16-22 field goals, and the team percentage drops 7%.

Moving to Dallas I still believe Hill needs some burn for the Spurs to be successful throughout the playoffs, and no matter how big our lead, if he plays 4 minutes, he has enough time to get on the stat sheet somewhere. He needs to be more productive. Udoka still needs to improve his overall game, especially when we need a defensive stop. And don’t count on another lopsided win like tonight unless Bonner experiences deja vu and plays like he did in Boston. We also need to play well enough to continue giving Parker and Duncan rest. The French Flash was the only one to creep over 30 minutes tonight, with 32. That will be even better with the extra day of rest before game 3. If Gooden continues to bring it off the bench, that will be huge for us, a quick spark off the bench.

Highlights

Parker: 38 pts, 8 assists, 4 boards, 16-22 FG   Duncan: 13 pts, 11 boards, 5 assists, 3 blocks   Gooden: 13 pts, 3 boards, 18 minutes, led the bench by example

Terry: 16 pts   Kidd: 14 pts, 5 assists   Nowitzki: 14 pts, 6 boards

About Michael A. De Leon

Michael founded Project Spurs in 2004. He started The Spurscast, the first Spurs podcast on the Internet, in 2005. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others. He is a credentialed member of the media for the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros. He is also the founder of Project Spurs' sister sites, Toros Nation and Stars Hoops.

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