Volume 13 of Views from the Couch ended with the San Antonio Spurs (54-13) beating the Miami Heat by 30-points and had this closing line: “Like a Bosh. Like a, like a Bosh.”
Since then the Spurs have gone 3-2 by displaying themselves as a volleyball team against the Los Angeles Lakers, squeaking out wins against the Detroit Pistons, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets, and “Like a Bosh” scored 30-points in Miami’s 30-point blowout in a revenge game against the Spurs.
And since the Spurs recently attended a Lady Gaga concert in San Antonio . . . “Ra ra-ah-ah-ah. Roma roma-ma. Gaga, ooh la la. Let’sssss start Views Frrrrrom the Cccccouch!”-Lady Gaga
(I still find it odd, yet very surprising to find out that on Tuesday night half of the San Antonio Spurs team went to the Lady Gaga concert? After they did that, no one should every say they’re “boring”.)
I’ve looked at numbers, listened to post game interviews and am still baffled as to why the Spurs are struggling so much? Is it because of the insertion of Antonio McDyess into the starting lineup? Is it because the frontline couldn’t ride a roller coaster that said “You must be at least seven feet tall?” Is it because the team is in a slump on both ends of the court?
It’s like the team became a totally different team after the infamous Rodeo Road Trip. On the road trip the Spurs scored 98.8 points per game and were showing defensive prowess by holding their foes to 92.3 points per game.
Post road trip, the team is scoring 103.1 points per game and allowing offenses to shred them for 101.4 points per game. (Those are Denver Nugget and New York Knick defensive numbers.) Due to these findings, you can’t blame the Blair-McDyess switch as the reason; the defensive lapses were already an issue.
The height issue is “iffy.” The first argument will be “We’re too small!” In the three Spurs losses: Zach Randolph (21 points, 10 rebounds), Darrel Arthur (21 points, 8 rebounds), Pau Gasol (21 points, 6 rebounds), Andrew Bynum (4 points, 17rebounds), Lamar Odom (15 points, 4 rebounds) and Chris Bosh (30 points, 12 rebounds) played like they annihilated the Spurs frontline. But as you dig deeper you notice something, it took Randolph 19 shots to get those 21 points. It took Arthur 19 shots to get his 21 points. It took Odom 13 shots to get his 15 points. The only two post players that played efficiently were Gasol (12 shots for 21 points) and Bosh (16 shots for 30 points).
Here is another telling issue that doesn’t necessarily have to do with height, but with aggression and intensity. LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Kobe Bryant grabbed a combined 24 rebounds. When guards and small forwards are getting rebounds, that is an issue dealing with players not boxing out or putting forth the effort to make those plays. To paraphrase some of the Spurs players after the Lakers and Heat loss; the key phrases were “just not ready, they wanted it more.” Those remarks have nothing to do with physical ability but more with aggression and determination.
As Tony Parker said after Wednesdays practice: “Right now we’re not playing very well and the way we playing, if we keep playing like that it’s gonna be a quick exit in the playoffs.” Antonio McDyess added, “We have been lacking a lot of defensive schemes and (we’re) out of whack on offense.”
After watching these post-practice videos, you get the feeling this three day break was good for the team as they were able to sit down and dissect the issues they’ve been having on the defensive end. As they said, tonight’s matchup against Dallas will be key to see if they have cleaned up their errors.
In the movie ‘Casino Royale’ there is an elite secret poker tournament being held at a secret location. James Bond finds a way to get into the tournament (playoffs). Before Bond (The Spurs) heads into the tournament it would be good to build some momentum here in the States (15 games remaining). Bond has a schedule lined up to face eight elite players (Dallas, Denver, Portland [twice], Memphis, Boston, Atlanta, Los Angeles Lakers), four compulsive-gamblers desperately trying to earn their way into the tournament (Charlotte, Phoenix [twice], Houston), and two Vegas vacationers (Golden State and Utah).
Now wouldn’t it build Bonds (Spurs) confidence to beat these players (teams) and gain some momentum heading into the big tournament? Or if Bond does lose a few of the practice matchups, he’d be able to figure out his mistakes and correct them for the long run.
Bond needs to make sure he has his “Poker Face” ready to use when the tournament (playoffs) begins after April 13.
Lady Gaga has a song called ‘Alejandro’. I’m not a Lady Gaga fan, nor do I intend to read the lyrics to this song but I imagine it has to deal with Richard Jefferson’s lack of production for the Spurs.
On Tuesday, Jeff Garcia wrote a piece that details the Jefferson slump-age. In it, he asked the question; Who is to blame? Garcia displays a graph detailing Jeffersons’ production that looks like the top of Pikes Peak in November then gradually declines to ground level as of today.
Looking at Jefferson’s production since the team returned from All Star break, I found he is averaging: 7.2 points per game, taking 5 shots on 46% shooting, making 55% of his three pointers, only averaging one free throw, grabbing 2.2 rebounds, turning over the ball 1.2 times per game, and averaging 2.9 fouls.
After looking at those numbers it makes you wonder why he isn’t as aggressive as he should be? What does he have to lose? His confidence shouldn’t be shaken since he makes almost half of his shots. As a fan, it’s the most frustrating thing to watch because you know athletically he is probably the most gifted player on the team. He was a former all-star and has that potential somewhere inside of him, it just lies dormant and collecting spider webs.
During the Lakers game, radio personality Mike Taylor tweeted: “As long as RJ plays it’s 4 on 5. Phil has Kobe guard him so he can rest for later when he switches to Manu.”
This was a good point he brought up; in essence, Jefferson becomes a gas station for star players on defense. They defend Jefferson, who they know isn’t aggressive, and let their bodies rest. Once rested, they go back and ensue havoc on Ginobili and Parker. If the Spurs are a four-man offense with Jefferson on the floor, it will force Pop to keep playing a smaller lineup with George Hill or Gary Neal at the wing position. Hence, giving the opposing team the rebounding edge.
Did I just write volume 14 using only Lady Gaga song titles as headings? You bet I did!
As is tradition here on Views From the Couch, ladies and gentlemen, the most hilarious tweets of the past five games.
- Lakers loss: 83-99
At the end of the first quarter, @ESPN_Michelle tweeted “Dear graphics operator, you have Spurs score stuck at 13. That can’t be right.”
In the second quarter, as the Lakers height was becoming an issue, @mrxsports tweeted “can David Robinson please come out of retirement #spurs need a big”
In the second quarter, @PeterBurnsRadio had an important question: “Is Richard Jefferson still a member of the Spurs. Did he retire?”
In the second quarter, things got chippy between Bryant and Ginobili. Ron Artest stepped in to make sure nothing physical happened, @marcel_mutoni tweeted “When Ron Artest stops a fight, is it because he’s mad they’re doing it all wrong?”
In the second quarter, as the Spurs were down by twenty plus points, @lram2 tweeted “Sunday is the day of rest… the Spurs are just resting. :)”
At halftime @TeamGeorgeHill tweeted “You won’t see the Spurs crying in the locker room…” in reference to a team from South Beach that supposedly shed some tears a few days before this game.
In the third quarter, @RobJ8 tweeted “Got into a fight with Laker fan on twitter and Ron Artest just tweeted me “it aint worth it man trust me”. He’s very convincing. #PeaceMaker”
After losing by 16 points, the Spurs performance led one fan to a depressive state: @JoshRiosTX tweeted “Spurs lose now im gonna eat my feelings…”
- Pistons win: 111-104
After I’d been calling Richard Jefferson a “zombie” for the majority of the game, @sa2ny2004 wrote me expressing “man u r making me picture rj as a zombie right now.”
In the third quarter, @risenfenix11 coined the hashtag “#RJZombie”.
In the fourth quarter, I tweeted “The IRS let Novak dress for the game. #TheAccountant”
- Kings win: 108-103
In the second quarter, @RichardCOliver tweeted “Spurs’ transition defense is on Spring Break already.”
During the game, a bat flew into the stands and several fans put it out of its misery, @mojavi74 tweeted “I guess PETA is gonna be protesting the ATT for allowing bat killers in the Arena.”
Spurs fans shouldn’t worry about how bad their teams problems are, other contenders have it worse as @Suga_Shane put it: “So the Celtics lost again… Good news is Krstic and Green have been our best players. Thanks, Ainge.”
In the third quarter @SabrinaFTW27 tweeted “Can’t help but think that Bonner doesn’t get the attention he deserves. A couple of neck tattoos could change this.”
In the fourth quarter, Tim Duncan made a critical bank shot, I tweeted “Only Tim Duncan has access to the bank past 6pm, the rest of us must wait until tomorrow.”
In the fourth quarter, as Ginobili began to close out the game @Preine_PtR tweeted “No… not #tigerblood. —>#manublood.” In reference to the cultural phenomenon that Charlie Sheen has become.
At the end of the game @courtside reminded us all of a very important statistic: “Spurs are 2-0 when a bat makes an appearance.”
- Rockets win: 115-107
In the first quarter I made a space tweet: “Antonio McDyess made his first jumper the day that Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. #Old #Spurs #Rockets #NASA”
Also in the first quarter, I tweeted “The four-hideous-shooting-horsemen: Shawn Marion (#Mavs), Marcus Camby (#Portland), Kevin Martin (#Rockets), Kenyon Martin (#Denver). #Ugly” Come on! Have you seen their shooting form?
In the second quarter, I made some tobacco references “#Sniper makes a three, followed by Brad Miller spitting out his dip & making a three. #Skoal”
In the third quarter, I continued my Miller-tobacco barrage “George Hill with the and-1 after Brad Miller tried to throw his dip out, instead fouled Hill. #Skoal #Tobacco” Now Brad Miller doesn’t really chew dip (at least I think not) but he just looks like a guy who does.
In the fourth quarter as the Spurs were close to putting away the Rockets behind Tim Duncan, @benhunted tweeted “Tim Duncan’s basketball IQ > [fill in the blank]” well, because that is absolutely true! Who could argue that?
- Heat loss: 80-110
In the first quarter @courtside tweeted ”Hubie Brown + Spurs = Christmas.”
Also in the first quarter, @marcel_mutoni tweeted “Wait, Jamaal Magloire is still alive, let alone earning an NBA paycheck?”
In the 60s Gatorade was invented, this got me to tweet: “Antonio McDyess, Jamal Magloire, Mike Bibby, & Juwan Howard were some of the 1st athletes to test out Gatorade years ago. #Old”
At halftime, @madcowheff tweeted “Joey Crawford may be the most hated man in San Antonio since Santa Anna.”
In the third quarter, when the Spurs were getting blitzed by the Heat @marcel_mutoni tweeted ”Gregg Popovich is going to make his team walk back to San Antonio.”
Also in the third quarter @adrianh77 (a Mavericks fan) told me “not a spurs fan at all but I know you’re better than the heat. Jefferson weak link in your chain”
In the third quarter, @PeterBurnsRadio brought up a good point: “How is Gary Neal 15x better than Richard Jefferson? How is that even possible?”
In the fourth quarter I tweeted “#TheAccountant Steve Novak thought he was put into the game to handle James & Wades’ finances. They reminded him it’s basketball. #Dunks”
Spurs fans, remember to continue tweeting during the games, if it’s funny, I’m going to use it. Let’s end on this note.
I won’t even respond, I’ll let a tweet from that game respond for me:
In the third quarter, Tony Parker scored with a teardrop layup, @courtside tweeted “Teardrop. Not the Heat’s. #Parker”