Listening To Reason

random musings about technologies by Andy Norris

29 April 2008

Spurs-Suns Game 4 Game Blog

First Quarter

It's 2 minutes in when ESPN cuts in from the Cavs win over the Wiz. Suns 5, Spurs 1. Bell hits a jumper, and it's 7-1. Pop calls time. After the break, the Suns are still rolling, and it's quickly 11-1. Suns have more intensity on both ends of the court. Finally, foul on Amare, and Oberto goes to the line and makes them both. Amare answers with some sick penetration, and gets the and-1. 14-3.

Interesting stat: 6 more games, and Horry passes Kareem for most playoff games all time. Wow.

Nash dribbles through the court at will, pulls up, and drops an easy jumper. All 5 starters for Phoenix have scored. Sloppy Spurs turnover, then a bad shot leads to an easy Barbosa basket in transition. 20-5, and the Spurs aren't even in this game.

One saving grace. Amare picked up his second, and Bell has 2. Spurs try to slowly claw their way back in, and take it up to 21-9, but then Nash hits a nice 3 to reassert their lead. The rest of the quarter kept spinning out of control, to wrap up 34-13. Ugly. It looks like the Spurs decided they deserve a game off after taking a 3-0 lead.

Second Quarter

Parker takes it to the hole for the first points of the 2nd. Good start. Ginobili follows with another easy layup, and the Spurs are getting stops. Well, better late than never. Maybe someone told the Spurs the wrong starting time for the game. Duncan slams one home, and it's 34-19 now. D'Antoni wants to regroup.

The teams trade baskets, then Bell hits a wide-open 3 to go up 39-21, but Duncan answers with another nice 2. He has the Spurs last 6, now. Oberto picks up his 3rd on the next possession. Shaq hits 1 of 2. Duncan hits yet another, on a nice bank shot, but Bell drills another 3 from the wing. Shaq called for defensive 3 seconds, and Fin hits the tech. Parker misses the teardrop, but Spurs pull down the offensive board. Another defensive 3-second call on Shaq, and another FT made by Fin. This is an epic possession, but they need to convert. But no -- Parker misses a jumper from the foul line. 43-27. Diaw makes a nice basket on a postup, but Duncan answers. Duncan has 12, now. Parker penetrates and draws the and-1 on Nash, but can't convert the FT.

Offensive foul on Shaq, and the Spurs get a chance to close -- Parker with a nice 15-footer from the wing. Bell has is a lethal 6 of 7 from the field for 15, but the Spurs have shaved the lead down to 47-35 when time is called. Still 5:15 to play in the half. If they can get it a little closer -- or at least keep the Suns from widening the gap -- the Spurs can totally win this thing in the second half.

Parker fouls Nash, who hits 2 from the line. The teams trade baskets, then Parker passes it out of bounds on the pick and roll, and Shaq gets an easy 2-footer. Ginobili steps out of bounds, Diaw takes it to the basket, and the Suns extend their lead back to 55-37, with 3:32 on the clock. Turnover by Tony, foul on Manu, his second. Bell goes to the line -- he's red hot. The Spurs started to play themselves back into this game, but now they're playing themselves back out. Maybe they forgot their brooms back in San Antonio.

Phoenix runs it up to 12 straight, and take a 24 point lead with 1:16 to play. Horry finally ends the run with a 3 from the corner, but it's still 61-40 with just over a minute. Parker does a good job drawing contact, but the Suns finish with a brutal 65-43 lead. Bell sums it up coming off the court: they were completely embarrassed after stinking the place up before, and now they're motivated to get their token game. That may not be quite what he said, but it's sure what I heard.

Third Quarter

Spurs don't come out of the gate playing any better in the third, so it looks like they've resigned themselves to waiting a game to close this series out. They can't buy a shot, and the Suns quickly go up 71-43. For reasons I can't fathom, Finley is on Amare, and he's getting beaten like a dusty rug. They're pretty content to just run up and down the court and trade baskets, and before too long, the Suns are up 83-61 with 3 minutes to play. They've cut the lead a little bit as the Suns lowered their intensity, but this doesn't look like a team that wants to make up 22 points in 15 minutes.

Suns come out shooting after the time out, and the Suns finish the quarter 93-65, with Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili on the bench. Bell has a game high 24, and Diaw has 20. I doubt we'll see the first team again -- this thing is over.

Fourth Quarter

Sure enough, Parker,s in the locker room to start Q4. In addition to his 20 points, Diaw has 9 rebounds and 7 assists. Hell of a game. He's come a long way since Game 2, when he was the worst player in the quarter. Parker comes back part way through with ice on his calf. The quarter pretty much plays out as garbage time, but it's good to get Horry, Barry, and Stoudamire some court time. Bonner's inactive, so it looks like we won't get to see him today.

Somehow D'Antoni gets himself thrown out with the double technical with 3 and a half to go. As you'd expect, he leaves to a standing O. Final score: 105-86. The sad part is that it wasn't that close. The Spurs don't seem too worried, but they need to drum some urgency back up if they're going to close this thing out on Tuesday.

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25 April 2008

Spurs-Suns Game 3 Live Blog

First Quarter

Really active crowd. Both teams are pumped. The teams start out playing about equally, running it up to 6-6, which is far better than the Spurs have started in the first two games. Parker hits a nice midrange jumper -- if he can keep hitting those, he'll eb unstoppable. He' starts out 4-4, to make it 12-8 -- of course, Nash is "defending" him. Duncan hits a long 2 -- sweet. Slam from Timmy! Spurs are on a run! Parker hits a nice layup of the pick and roll. Only 6 moinutes in, Tony's 5 of 6, with 10 points and 4 assists. Their defense on the Suns has been pretty sharp -- they're holding the Suns to 36%. Spurs 18, Suns 8 when D'Antoni calls time.

Stoudamire and Shaq hit solid baskets coming off the time out, but they're not stopping the Spurs on defense -- whoops, spoke too soon. Nice team defense, forcing Bowen to take a shaky 3 with no time on the shot clock. The next trip down, Manu hits a 3 coming off a screen that just looks easy. Parker drills a 3 shortly thereafter. Diaw hits a midrange jumper, and Pop calls time to yell at Oberto for not bringing the help defense. Still, 27-12. Of course, I doubt the Spurs can keep up the 72% shooting pace.

Suns bust out the 2-3 zone coming off the timeout, but Amare immediately sends TP to the line. Converts 1-2 Hill gets a good look from behind the screen but can't convert it. Parker can't make the long floater land, and the Suns drive back down for an easy layup. Duncan loses his balance on the screen and picks up his second on an offensive foul. He sits. Crap alert: JV intentionally fouls Shaq up 28-16. WTF? Shaq has lane violations on both attempts. Oops. On the other end, Thomas takes an early 20-footer, misses, and we're back on the other end. More Hack-a-Shaq. Yuck. Shaq's 1-2 this time. On the other end, The Big Brick puts a hard foul on Manu in the paint, which gets a Standing O from the pissed Suns crowd. Manu makes them both. Diaw drops in an easy layup,Spurs get it back with 8 seconds or so, beautiful series of passes, JV sets up KT, who takes it to the hole and makes the and-1 with 0.3 remaining.

33-19 at the buzzer. Living large, shooting 61% to the suns 31%. Tony leads the field with a sweet 13-6 (the whole Suns team have 3 dimes), and Kurt Thomas has a surprising 7 points getting a rare start. Stoudemire leads the Suns with 6 points.

Second Quarter

Manu shorts the midrange jumper to start the quarter. Barbosa take it hard to the hole and gets the 3-point play. Ginobili makes a great hustle play to save an out-of-bounds ball, but the Spurs can't get a jumper to drop. Barbosa takes it to the hole again. Barry loses the ball out of bounds. Another shot from Barbosa, and it's 35-26. The Suns are on a run, and the zone seems to be working for them. Pop calls the TO.

Oberto with the turnaround J, and the Spurs end their drought. Barbosa is looking great with 10 points. Suns close to 37-31, but the Spurs get the next 4. Bell fouls Finley on the 3, and Findog hits them all.The Spurs seem to have put the Suns run on hold as they go back up by 13. Good defense by both teams for a few possessions. Parker called for traveling, which takes awaw the basket. It's already the Spurs 6th turnover, halfway through the 2nd. Timeout.

Spurs seem to be defending well, then Nash makes a sweet pass to Stoudamire for an easy finish at the basket. Bowen hits the 3. Stoudamire again, after about 4 great passes. Beautiful ball movement. Thomas pisses off the ref and gets T'ed up. Ginobili draws the charge and Diaw sits with his 3rd. Hill comes back in. Parker shorts the jumper from the top of the key, then can't get set in time in transition and fouls Bell to stop the 3 on 1. Bowen then stops the 2-footer to send Shaq to the line for an 0-fer. The ref must still be pissed at Thomas, because he gets called for a really iffy moving screen. Hack a Shaq strikes again. Lane violation on the missed first, but he makes the second. 46-39 with 2:56 to go. Shaq fouls Duncan near the basket -- his second. Duncan will shoot 2 after the commercials.

Stat: Nash is 7-21 lifetime in the playoffs vs. the Spurs. Ouch.

Duncan hits them both. Hill knocks one down. Ginobili takes a jumper from the top of the key, surrounded by 3 Suns, and drops it. Quick Suns miss, and it's Manu to Timmy for the finish at the basket! 20-second TO. Stoudamire drops a nice jumper, Barry responds with the 3. 57-43, inside a minute. JV comes in. More Hack-a-Shaq? Yep, but this time it's Horry. Shaq misses the both, but lane violation on Oberto on the second, and Shaq hits the makeup. Parker takes it to Nash and draws the foul. Two easy points. And they Hack Shaq again. Sigh. Shaq seems to have found his stroke again, and makes them both. Parker can't get it to drop, Amare takes it to the hole with time running out, and Barry gets called for the blocking foul. 4.2 remaining, Amare bricks the first, the second rolls in. Pop calls for the 20 to draw up a quick play. Parker splits tow defenders and hits the floater at the buzzer!

61-47 at the half. If they can stay focused for another half, they can pretty much put the series away. Parker with 19, 3 and 7 on the half, Duncan with 10 and 6, Manu with 9 and 5. Spurs are still shooting 57%, and outrebounding the Suns 23-18, while the Suns are shooting 43%. Spurs are 11-12 on free throws, Suns are 8 of 16, with Shaq 5 of 12. Amare leads the Suns with 15 and 6, Nash is held to 3 points, 4 rebounds on 1 of 4 shooting. Barbosa with 10, Shaq with 9 (5 from the line).

Third Quarter

A couple of misses to start the half, Hill lays a solid foul on Tony on a drive, and Tony hits them both. Tony misses the long 2, and Bell gets called for the offensive foul on the other end. Parker hits a sick float with Hill all over him, and converts the foul shot. 19-point lead. Amare draws the foul in the paint, but he can only convert the first. Parker gets surrounded and throws the ball away. Hill hits a nice midrange shot off the screen. Suns have a nic defensive possession, and Tony has to go with a bad look from 3. Duncan hits a great jumper. The Suns are looking sloppy on offense. Duncan hits another 18-footer, Suns call time. Spurs 70-50. It looks like the Suns have started to realize in their guts that things are spinning out of their control. Somebody has to get that team to pull together, or this is going to go in the books as one of the all time great choke jobs. You can hear a pin drop out in the stands about now.

Nash to O'Neal gets the Suns started again. Oberto somehow shorts a 3-footer. Amare finishes at the basket, and the crowd wakes back up from their coma. Parker hits a nice 15-footer off the screen. Shaq somehow misses an uncontested 4-footer while his man is on the ground, but gets it back off some funky bounces, and makes two off a foul by Oberto. Oberto answers on the other end, and Amare takes a lousy shot. Ginobili drills a three when his man plays off him, Amare answers by taking it inside for the layup. Udoka misses the wide-open 3 from the corner. 79-58, A lot of quick shots, and not much ball movement right now. Beautiful series of passes gives Duncan the ball at the basket with nobody in the same area code. Barbosa misses a breakaway layup in transition somehow, but there's more running back and forth, and Nash finishes the next drive with a layup. Sloppy play on both ends by the Spurs, and Pop calls time to remind everyone. 81-64, 3:13 to play.

Beautiful sets of passes, Ginobili in to Duncan, over to Oberto for the easy shot at the basket. Amare answers from the baseline. Bowen with the long 2. Some more quick back-and-forth baskets. Parker hits 2 more baskets, and he's at 30 now. Nash answers, and it's 89-70. Parker slows it down with the clock running down, but can't make it. Suns get the last shot, Nash penetration with the kickout to Amare in the corner, but he can't get it to drop. 91-72 with a quarter to go.

Spurs are shooting 58%, and the Suns just don't have a clue how to get stops. Tony has 11 assists to go with the 30 points, Duncan has 18 and 9, Ginobili has a quiet 14 and 5. Amare with 26 and 10, Shaq with 13, Barbosa with 12. Nash with 8 assists and 7 points.

Fourth quarter

As you can imagine, the crowd is pretty much in shock. Barbosa gets the first two points of the quarter. Parker knocks down yet another midranger from the wing. Barbosa follows with another 2 quick baskets, Parker answers, Barbosa answers again. 95-80. Duncan misses from the top of the key with the 24 running out. Bell goes to the line on a Finley foul, but misses them both. Kurt Thomas can hit a wide open midranger from the wing. Time out with 9 minutes to go, and the Spurs need to try and settle down and keep things under control.

Diaw hits 2 from the line, and it's a 13-point game. Ginobili misses from 3 early in the shot clock, and Diaw can't get a tough shot to fall when surrounded. Manu drills the 3, and goes back to the well on successive possessions. Manu just kills their rally when it's coming down to crunch time, and it's 101-85 with 7 minutes. Spurs are moving the ball well, and Thomas makes a nice baseline jumper. Shaq gets 2 to answer. Duncan misses the layup, but goes to the line. Makes them both,m and it's 18 points with less than 6 minutes. Duncan fouls Shaq on a basket, and Shaq converts. Flagrant foul, Shaq on Duncan. Duncan goes to the line for 2, then they get the ball. Duncan converts 1 of 2, and Manu converts the following play with a ridiculously long 3. 109-92 inside 5 minutes, and Suns fans are starting to leave. Duncan with a beautiful layup. On the other end, Shaq fumbles the ball, but gets fouled and converts 1. Inside 4 minutes now. Parker with the steal, Duncan misses the long 2 after the Spurs burn off the clock. Spurs aren't all that worried about scoring anymore.

Parker hits a couple more shots to finish things off, and both teams send in the second unit with a minute to go. Parker finishes with a demented 41, and the Spurs wrap things up 155-99. If you had told me that there would be garbage time at the end of this game, I would ever in a million years have guessed that it would be because the Spurs dominated. I thought this would be a tough 6 game series, but it looks like the Suns will just try to keep from being swept now.

These Spurs look like they want some more hardware to put up on the mantle. Assuming they can wrap things up here, I guess we'll get to see how they fare against a pretty tough field deeper in the playoffs.

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23 April 2008

Spurs-Suns Game 2 Game Blog

My dad is currently in the Adriatic on a cruise, so in game 1, I gave him play by play of the last 2 minutes -- and then again for the last 2 minutes of each overtime. It was a lot of fun, but international minutes are pricey, and starting time for game was about 3:30 in the morning there, so he asked me to send him an email instead. So I decided to keep a live game blog and ship off the result.

I didn't start until the second quarter, after Tucker went to bed. Hope it's not too big a problem that this is kinda huge.

First Quarter

The Spurs can't buy a shot. Amare can't miss from range, which is getting them plenty of points and also opening up some easy shots for Shaq. Nash is making some beautiful passes. Ginobili gets the call early, but it seems to take him a few minutes to get warmed up. Suns open up a 14 point lead at one point, but the Spurs bring it back to 35-26 at the quarter mark, with some nice drives by Tony.

Second Quarter

Manu is on fire! 15 points after 12 minutes on the court. 6-9 from the field with 2 daggers from 3 and a beautiful breakaway dunk -- he had time to make a taco run before the Suns would have caught up with him.

The Suns regain the momentum after Ginobili takes a breather, and run the lead back up to 44-34 with a 6-0 run. Both Oberto and Thomas have 2 early fouls, so we could see the Red Rocket if they can't keep the fouls under control.

Halfway through the 2nd, Barry hits a 3, for the first points of the game not scored by Duncan, Parker, or Ginobili. Ouch. So much for the Red Rocket -- Big Shot Bob is on the court! Beautiful teardrop by Tony -- 11 points. Nash is unreal -- 7 assists already, and he's creating some awesome shots -- Phoenix is shooting 64%! Beautiful rejection of Shaq by Horry leads to a textbook second-chance layup by Timmy -- Suns call time with 3:11 left at 52-46. The Big Fundamental's already got 13 and 8. Amare has freakin' 20 already, going 9 of 11. Ack!

Shaq just got 11 -- their big men are killing us. 56-46 at the 2-minute mark. Time to make a run. Oh shit -- Shaq plowed right into Tony while Tony was running full-speed at the basket. Damn, that's got to hurt. He's up and shooting his FTs, but that was a brutal collision. Makes them both -- sweet!

Beautiful pair of passes plus an and-one makes it 59, then another teardrop by Tony answers it. Beautiful Manu penetration, where he clears space with a beautiful spin move and makes a jumper from just inside the free throw line. Travel on Barbosa on what would have been the last play, and the Spurs get it back with 6.8 seconds, but Ginobili can't convert the long foot-on-the-line 2 pointer. 61-54 at the half.

Could be worse, but we have to do a better job of taking away the passing lanes and making them take tougher shots in the second half. They shot 61% on the half.

Third Quarter

Finley makes 2 quick baskets, and suddenly it's 61-58 to kick off the quarter. Sweet -- a 24-second violation on Phoenix. Finley scores again, and it's 61 all, with the Spurs on an 11-0 run dating back to the 2nd. Bell does a nice job to draw a charge on Tony. KT picks up his third foul defending Shaq, but the Big Brick can't make either one. Tim draws Shaq's second on some pathetic pick and roll defense. Crap -- Timmy misses 2 from the line. Still 61 all. Tony strips Shaq, but they can't convert yet again. Long scoring drought. Beautiful Bowen pass to Finley on the cut gives the Spurs their first lead!

Suns call time and regroup. 5 minutes into the quarter, and they don't have a point yet.

Spurs smother the pick and roll and Nash has to kick it out for a desperation 3 as the shot clock runs down. No good. Ginobili for a long 2! Nash finally gets a nice pull-up jumper to break their drought. Shaq goes out for Diaw, Duncan goes out for Udoka -- small ball. Great pursuit on defense gets a slick turnover. Nice second-chance hustle layup for Udoka. Another Suns TO leads to a fast break, foul on Diaw sends Udoka to the line. Udoka hits them both to take it to 69-63. Duncan's back on the court, gets the rebound on a crappy Suns shot 5 seconds into the shot clock to start the break. Ginobili to Udoka for the finish! Suns call time. 17-2 Spurs on the quarter. Doesn't get any better than that!

The Suns came into this game still confident that they were the better team in this series and that they should have won the first one, but it looks like they're living through their worst nightmare out there. They seem to be remembering that the Spurs completely own them in the playoffs, and falling apart accordingly.

Suns manage to regroup after the timeout and Shaq gets 2 quick baskets. 71-67. Scramble for the ball on the next Suns possession, Ginobili and Barbosa go to the floor, Shaq picks up his 3rd foul. Sick play -- Ginobili goes over Shaq, it doesn't drop, Timmy follows him and finishes at the basket -- beautiful. Spurs are intentionally fouling Shaq, but I don't think it's helping. 75-70. Sick fullcourt pass, Duncan to Udoka. Shaq 5 of 6 from the line on the intentional fouls. Time to give it up. Ginobili makes 2 from the line, 79-72. Final seconds, Spurs ball, Bell commits wrong early and grabs Ginobili to send him to the line. Manu hits them both, Suns can't convert with 6.1 left and a contested 3 from Giricek.

81-72 at the end of the quarter. Looking good, knock on wood.

Ginobili with 24, Parker with 22 points, 5 assists, 3 steals, Duncan with 15, 16, 4 assists and 3 blocks. 48% from the field, 3 of 8 from behind the arc, 15 of 20 from the line.

Amare 25 and 4, Shaq 18 and 8 with 4 blocks, Nash 12 and 9 assists. 49% from the field, just 2 of 7 from the arc, 10 of 15 from the line.

Fourth Quarter

Amare gets fouled by Manu, and converts 1 of 2. Ginobili with a huge 3! 11 point lead! Phoenix calls time only 40 seconds into the 4th. Suns can't box out for crap. Oberto reels in the second chance on a poorly set Bowen 3, and Parker drives it home with the teardrop.

Another steal by Parker. Spurs are moving the ball incredibly well, and the Suns have nowhere to go with the ball right now. ESPN's David Aldridge is basically laughing at the Suns on voiceover for giving away Kurt Thomas. Shaq misses 2 from the line, and Parker takes it to the hole yet again. 90-73, and the Suns look lost like someone dropped acid in their Gatorade.

Suns try to get it together by pushing the ball harder, but it looks sloppy. Stoudemire gets to the line for 2, though. Beautiful pullup by Parker at the line. 94-77. Beautiful screen sets up an easy Nash 3.

Stoudemire misses on a good look near the free-throw line. He hasn't made a shot from the field in the second half. Spurs look a little sloppy out there now, like they're ready for it to be garbage time. But there's 6:22 left and even though it's a 13-point game, Phoenix can catch up if the Spurs let them back in.

Suns defense has really tightened up. There's a lot of fouls right now. Phoenix has only converted 4 of 10 from the line in the 4th -- can you say choke?

Yet another layup for Parker, who has 30 now. 96-85 with 4 minutes. Fastbreak points: Spurs 23, Suns 3. Wrap your mind around that one. Stoudemire defends Duncan really well on the baby hook near the basket. Bell and Nash convert from the line, and it's 96-89 with 3:16 to play. Spurs need to stop this run. Nash gets a nice pull-up (9 points in the 4th), and it's a 5 point game. Duncan goes to the line on an Amare foul that could have gone either way. Time out, 2:16 to play.

Tim misses the first, makes the second. We need a stop here. Sweet -- Diaw posts up Finley, but he travels. Spurs ball.

Hoooooly fuck. Ginobili penetrates, then flips a behind-the-back pass to Duncan for the easy 6-footer. Nash answers, then Parker hits the long 2 with 5 seconds on the shot clock. Nash misses the long 3. 101-93, Spurs run down the clock. Spurs lose the ball, but it's an 8 point lead with 22 seconds as they go to timeout. I think the fat lady is clearing her throat on this one.

Stats: Spurs +14 in the paint, Suns shoot 27% from the field in the second half.

Amare hits a nice contested 3. 5 point lead, 14.3 to play, Phoenix presses on the inbounds and Duncan calls time. Bell, hard foul on Ginobili, but they don't call the flagrant, which would have been a killer. Ginobili hits 1 of 2. Suns miss 2 3 pointers on their last possession, then Parker dives to the floor and wraps up the ball. Buzzer.

Final score: 102-96.

Now, the Suns are going to go back home and listen to 3 days of criticism from the media about how the whole point of the Shaq trade was to beat the Spurs, and yet here we go again. Spurs just have to make sure they don't lose focus and start thinking ahead to Chris Paul or Kobe.

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02 April 2008

All too true

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