The ESPN NBA page headline for this game reads:
"Duncan, Parker injured | Spurs top Raptors"
What more did the Spurs need to do in order to give us an even better chance of taking this game? Ginobili catches Rabies? We knew Parker wasn't going to play, which was a blessing. Then Duncan was announced to be out as well - that's a Godsend. Seriously, its like the heavens went out of their way to give us a dream scenario - win in San Antonio and be 2-1 in this road trip, and the real plus is that team morale would be up after getting blown worse than a porn star in Dallas. But of course, the Raptors, in their classic style, had a meltdown in the fourth quarter.
I stayed behind in school instead of hopping on the long TTC ride home because I wanted to watch this game live - this road trip includes stops in two of my favourite players' (Ginobili, other being Nowitzki) town - so I plugged in my laptop and sat on a hard bench that made my ass sore, probably what the Raptors are feeling right now, at least they should be.
So, my two favourite players - Manu and Dirk, and this is how the Raptors handled them on this trip:
Dirk Nowitzki: 29 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 block.
Manu Ginobili: 36 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal, 4 blocks.
Dirk got his points so easily it wasn't even funny, and lets not forget he sat out most of the fourth because the game was long done. So lets fast forward to tonight's game. Fourth quarter, close game, who should the Raptors guard!??? Well...Duncan is out, Tony Parker is out...so of course its Ginobili!! Now its much easier said than done I know, and Manu is one of the game's best closers, but you'd think they'd be able to at least bother him somewhat or not give him easy shots - the Spurs announcer, after Manu hit that last dagger three that pretty much wrapped it up, said "Manu Ginobili is torturing your team...and what do you? Leave him WIDE OPEN!!!??"
While Ginobili was being aggressive; driving, slashing, kicking it out to teammates, the Raptors go into the fetal position and start taking horrible jump shots. Belinelli was on fire, but everyone saw that bad jumper coming - he shouldn't have taken that shot at that instance in the game, unless he was wide open. The only guy I'll give credit to down the fourth is Bosh - he tried to be aggressive and drove hard - it worked once, he got the call, the other time he tried to draw the call but didn't get it and ended up shooting a bad off balance jumper. I mean, the guy had 32 and 10, you can't ask for more. Bargnani stats wise was good too - 17 points on 7 of 13 shooting, but the four boards is ugly. And he should've attacked more - nobody out there can guard him.
- Is it just me or did Hedo look...kinda old in that fourth quarter? A couple of plays it seemed like if the ball is two feet from him he can't get it without collapsing to the ground.
- Matt Bonner drove and dunked on us - how's that for a sum-up of the game?
- The Raptors scored 124 points...and gave up 131..131!!! We've finally completed our transformation into Phoenix North or Phoenix East, whatever you like.
- No seriously, we really Phoenix now - the Spurs announcer said during the game "the HIGH-FLYING Raptors!"
- As much as it pained me to watch the Raps suffer another excruciating loss, watching my man Ginobili explode on them was amazing (and painful). This guy doesn't get enough credit for how great he really is.
- Antoine Wright has been (in a Barkley voice) TURRI-BUL on offense. I get against Dallas he wanted to show his old team what they gave up (which he really didn't), but this cannot continue.
- Jarrett Jack needs to practice shooting..like now. Especially if he's still vying for the starter's job, when Calderon has found his stroke. Even though no matter what Calderon will always be the starter, and deserves to. Even if Calderon struggles now and then, Jack hasn't done enough to warrant it.
- Belinelli was doing his best Ginobili impersonation out there...until the fourth quarter of course, when we really needed, when Ginobili was being himself.
- Fuck this loss sucked.