The debut of Ime Udoka and Ian Mahinmi not sucking


The Spurs were coming in 2-0 to Friday night’s match up against the Sacramento Kings, facing a Sacramento squad playing without Mike Bibby (thumb); needless, to say, the Spurs fans were expecting nothing less than a resounding victory. And needless to say, the Spurs delivered, trouncing the Kings 96-80.
Aside from the usual superlatives, there isn’t much spin to spit in regards to the game. The subplots, however, are rich and thick like dark chocolate.
The headline of tonight’s game has to be the debut of Ime Udoka. The former Portland Trailblazer didn’t just start his career with the Spurs tonight, he got off to a damn good start. This was my first chance to watch Udoka outside of old game tape, and immediately he lived up to the scouting report we’ve had on him since he was acquired by the Spurs, and then some.
Udoka was an immediate presence on the floor, bringing hustle, a knack for being around the ball, and solid rebounding for someone his size. But we all expected those things from him. What really surprised me – and impressed me – was his shooting ability. Udoka was 3-4 from deep, but it wasn’t just how many he made, but his form that really caught my eye. Taking a look at his shot, he has a fundamental, fluid shot, and a good follow through on his release – it’s a text book jump shot.
Along with his three triples, Udoka netted all three of his free-throws and finished with 14 points in 24 minutes, and added six rebounds to go along with it. I have to say, I was disappointed when Udoka didn’t get any playing time in the first two games, but as far as premiers go, he had an impressive one.
But while Ime Udoka having a good game wasn’t a surprise, seeing one Spur in particular have a decent, albeit limited, outing was a surprise. Ian Mahinmi, the much maligned center, and Project Spurs favorite comedy punching bag, got into the game late in garbage time and actually showed some flashes. Mahinmi finished on an and-one and later posted up and dropped in a jump hook, once again defying odds by looking quite comfortable and confident in his one touch on the block. Mahinmi also impressed on the defensive end, getting a couple of blocked shots.
I’ve always admitted that Mahinmi looked athletic, and a compilation of his best moments could fool you into thinking he was a player, but I never honestly expected him to do anything but suck. It’s not like five points and a couple of blocks is anything earth shattering, but I’d be lying if I said he didn’t look at least a little promising.
And the aforementioned blandness is hardly worth mention, victory in straight up vanilla fashion. Tony Parker and Tim Duncan both led the way in scoring with 15 points a piece, although neither shot the ball particularly well. Duncan grabbed 10 rebounds for a quiet double-double, and Oberto also grabbed 10 off the glass. Matt Bonner contributed 13 points off the bench, making for one more solid second string performer.
Now 3-0, the Spurs head to Houston next week on Tuesday to take on the Rockets. As always, stay tuned to for all the coverage.


Previous articleSpurs vs. Kings Preview
Next articleSpurs vs. Rockets Game Preview
Michael is the founder and editor of He has a long history in journalism, sports and online media. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others.