DaveTalksSports Podcast- Episode #11: “Kawhi Drops Bombs @ 2 A.M.”

Kawhi breaks news in the middle of the night.

Paul George and Kawhi join forces (not that L.A.).

Earthquake halts Zion vs. R.J. Part I.

Coco does it again!!!!

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The English Language Doesn’t Have A Word For What The Spurs Did To The Rockets Thursday Night

spurs

WOW!! Let me say that again. WOW!!!! Was that awesome or what?? I’ve never enjoyed watching an absolute blowout so much in my life. In case you turned the game off at halftime, it only got worse (for the Rockets). The San Antonio Spurs crushed, destroyed, demolished, routed, embarrassed, beat down, annihilated, obliterated, and most importantly eliminated the Houston Rockets on Thursday night (114-75). Yes, you read that score right. 114-75.

Game 6 started with the Spurs winning the tip-off. Lamarcus Aldridge received the ball in the low post, made a quick spin move toward the left baseline, and scored an easy basket. Just 23 seconds into the game, the tenor was set for the rest of the evening. Aldridge channeled his days as a Portland Trailblazer (where he averaged nearly 20 points and 9 rebounds per game), finishing with 34 points and 12 rebounds. He was unstoppable, and the rest of the spurs, sans Kawhi Leonard, followed suit. Before we get to the Spurs’ impressive performance, let us attempt to understand what happened to James Harden and the Rockets….

I’ve never seen such a pathetic performance from an MVP candidate, on his home floor, in an elimination game in my life. James Harden looked about as interested in last night’s game as this kid from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:

ferris

Harden attempted just 2 shots in the 1st half. 2 shots!! Momentum is often thought of in a positive light, but I guess the awful momentum of Harden’s disastrous play at the end of Game 5 spilled over to Game 6. Harden finished with a season low 10 points on 2-11 shooting, and added a stellar 6 turnovers. His performance was inexplicable, but if Harden wasn’t making such a ridiculous salary, I’d be calling for a point-shaving investigation. It was that bad! But anyway, back to the Spurs….

Six Spurs scored in double figures. Jonathan Simmons, who started in place of Leonard, contributed 18 points on 8-12 shooting and played the best defense I’ve seen since the ’85 Bears (“Da Bears“). Rookie point guard, Dejounte Murray, played a fantastic game posting a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block). Someone tell me how this kid fell to 29th in the draft?! This kid is going to be a very good point guard for a very long time. Pau Gasol, Danny Green, and Patty Mills had solid games, all scoring in double figures as well.

The Spurs have been typecast with playing a “boring” brand of basketball. I am sick of hearing that. If putting the ball in the basket efficiently, playing relentless defense, and winning is “boring”, then sign me up for some boring. And I’ll take a side of fundamentals with my boring please. In the age of hey everybody look at me, it is refreshing to see a franchise run like the Spurs. Sure, they have a superstar in Kawhi Leonard, but do you see him showboating? Complaining? Flailing his arms about looking for an imaginary foul? Flopping around like a fish out of water? The answer, to all, is an emphatic NO!

The Spurs, once again, proved why they are the cream of the crop in the NBA. They are heading to their 10th Western Conference Finals under Gregg Popovich (the coach since ’96-’97). I know, I know, this sounds a lot like the New England Patriots. Well, it’s because they are run very similarly. They don’t hand out contracts based on what you’ve done, rather for what you are going to do. They turn late round draft picks into stars. They don’t tolerate individual egos. And they are run with only one thing in mind; WINNING.

The question is, will they win against the contrasting style of the Golden State Warriors? Assuming Kawhi Leonard’s health, and as much as I don’t want to eat my words for doubting the Spurs, I still can’t envision the Spurs beating the Warriors 4 times in 7 tries. Can you?

Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Spurs Win Overtime Thriller!!

manu

Whoever said ‘Father Time’ is unbeaten clearly hasn’t met Manu Ginobili. Or Tom Brady I’m assuming. Or Roy Jones Jr. for that matter. Did you know Jones Jr. is still fighting professionally at the age of 48?! That’s awesome!! Man, how did I get off topic already?! Anyway….Ginobili, the former 6th Man of the Year, turned back the clock Tuesday night, leading his San Antonio Spurs to victory (110 – 107 F/OT). They became his Spurs when Kawhi Leonard tweaked his ankle in the 3rd quarter after stepping on James Harden’s foot. Leonard would return to the game, but the injury forced him to watch the final 5:34 from the sidelines. With the series tied at 2-2, the atmosphere was tense inside AT&T Center. The fans, who seemingly stood the entire game, were rewarded with the best game of the 2017 playoffs. Exciting games have been few and far between in these playoffs, but Game 5 did not disappoint.

James Harden’s stat-line looks fantastic. He posted a triple-double with 33 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. However, numbers only tell part of the story. Harden was BRUTAL when it mattered most. Don’t believe me?? That’s okay, just check out James Harden’s final 5:54 of the game:

  • He went scoreless on 0-2 shooting
  • He had 4 turnovers (9 total for the game)
  • He committed a silly foul on Danny Green on a made basket with :30 left in overtime
  • And last but certainly not least, his 3-point attempt at the buzzer was blocked from behind by Manu Ginobili

Game 5 was not about Harden’s ugly beard, however, it was about the Spurs resilient performance. While their best player was resigned to the bench, the Spurs embodied the motto ‘Next Man Up’. Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, Patty Mills, and Jonathan Simmons put forth memorable performances. Mills played a team high 43 minutes, contributed 20 points, and hit a game high five 3-pointers (none bigger than the one that brought them within 2 with 2:12 left in regulation). Simmons brought the energy. After every big play, Simmons could be seen screaming and pumping his fists passionately. Simmons was also the culprit in 3 out of Harden’s 4 turnovers down the stretch. Danny Green singlehandedly outscored the Houston Rockets in overtime (7-6). He actually scored all 7 of those points in the final :56 of overtime (impressive right?). And then there’s soon-to-be 40, Manu Ginobili. Ginobili posted 12 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and most importantly 1 MONSTER BLOCK (as pictured above)!!

Manu Ginobili has been an essential part of the Spurs last 4 championships. And with Tony Parker already out for the remainder of the playoffs, and Kawhi Leonard now hobbled, Ginobili will need to channel the 2006-2007 version himself if he wants to wear ring number 5. Assuming the Spurs do outlast the Rockets, I can’t see them stealing more than 2 games from the Golden State Warriors. I’ll be rooting for Ginobili and the Spurs (even though I’m a loyal Knicks fan), but I think Curry and company will be too much to handle for old man river.

How far do you think the Spurs will go in the playoffs?? Let me know in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

 

 

 

 

Heat Steal Overtime Thriller

If you fell asleep before the end of this game last night, I feel bad for you. It was one of the best basketball games that has ever been played. The San Antonio Spurs came into Miami with the momentum from a solid victory in game 5 and they looked like they were well on their way to another championship. They outplayed the Heat for the first 3 quarters and all they had to do was play 12 more solid minutes of basketball and the championship was theirs. And then, seemingly in a blink of an eye, someone knocked off Lebron James’ headband and knocked some sense into his head. He flipped that switch that everyone in the world (other than himself apparently) knows he can. He physically took over the game at both ends of the floor and singlehandedly brought his team back from the brink of elimination. I don’t care what Lebron’s final stat line turned out to be though, he did not play well until the 4th quarter. Now, despite his dominating play in the 4th quarter, the Heat still found themselves down 5 points with under 30 seconds to play. While the 2nd to last minute of the game was filled with Heat mistakes, the last minute (and overtime) was filled with Spurs mistakes. And Gregg Popovich deserves the majority of the blame for these blunders. Yes, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard both missed free throws down the stretch, but it was the benching of Tim Duncan and Tony Parker at the most inopportune times that will stick in my mind. For those of you who missed the end of the game let me give you a quick rundown of what I’m talking about. The Spurs were up 4 points with 28 seconds left in regulation and Manu Ginobili was heading to the free throw line. He had the opportunity to put the game nearly out of reach. Instead, he misses the first free throw and makes the second. Then after a Heat timeout, Tim Duncan was left on the bench for Boris Diaw. On the ensuing possession Lebron misses a 3-pointer but Mike Miller grabs the offensive rebound, swings it back out to James, and bang he nails the shot. Would Duncan have gotten that defensive rebound if he was in the game? There is no guarantee, but I would have bet money on it. Now, down 2, the Heat send Kawhi Leonard to the free throw line on a phantom foul by Mike Miller. He follows in Ginobili’s footsteps and proceeds to miss the first and make the second free throw. Inexplicably, Popovich decides to take Duncan out of the game AGAIN. This obviously leads to yet another offensive rebound by the Heat, which in turn leads to the game tying 3-pointer by Ray Allen. Popovich may be one of the greatest coaches of all time, but how do you explain these tactical errors?

Now what occurred immediately following Allen’s monumental 3-pointer is the fact that the game was stopped to review whether the shot was in fact a 3-pointer. No one is talking about this today, and this angers me to a level that I don’t have a word for, and Popovich was pretty livid with the referees as well. As seen in overtime, Popovich likes to take the ball and push it (off makes or misses) in hopes to catch the defense off guard for an easy basket. He will do this no matter the situation, and if the Spurs were able to inbound the ball and push it right away no one knows what could have happened. The game was stopped and while the Spurs did get time to set up a play, so did the Heat’s defense. In turn, the final possession in regulation failed miserably and it was off to overtime we went. I’ll fast forward to the last 31 seconds because that’s where it gets interesting. The Spurs were down by one and Gregg Popovich, for no sane reason, decides to take Tony Parker out of the game. Common sense would dictate, and even the commentators mentioned that Popovich would most likely be bringing Parker back into the game on the next timeout. So, the Heat miss their shot attempt and the Spurs grab the rebound with just under 10 seconds to play. Instead of calling a timeout to bring Parker back in and set up a play, the Spurs decide to push the ball up the floor. Manu Ginobili (who played one of the worst games you’ll ever see) tries to drive the lane against 3 Heat players and gets stripped/fouled and the ball lands in Ray Allen’s hands. Allen is fouled with 1.9 seconds left on the clock and knocks down both free throws (of course). The Spurs then call a timeout to push the ball past half court. With one final effort, Tim Duncan inbounds the ball across the court to Danny Green who is blocked/fouled by Chris Bosh as time expires. The Heat force a game 7 in dramatic fashion, and if it is anything like game 6 it will not disappoint.

The big question at this moment is: how can the Spurs possibly bounce back from a crushing defeat to win game 7 on the road? It is a tough question to answer, but I believe if any team can do it, it would be this years Spurs. They have shown their resiliency in this series, always bouncing right back immediately following a defeat. Tim Duncan will need to use his two greatest inventions to do it though; his time machine and his cloning machine. In order for the Spurs to win game 7, Tim Duncan needs to play like he did back in 2003, and he needs to clone himself from the first half of game 6. Duncan was masterful in the first half, scoring at will and putting on a rebounding clinic. Duncan took Chris Bosh to school last night, dominating him in every aspect of the game. It is so impressive to watch Duncan play at such a high level after so many years, and Chris Bosh is no match for Duncan’s greatness in the low post. The Spurs could also use a slightly better effort from Manu Ginobili if they plan on celebrating on Miami’s home court Thursday night. But the most important task for the Spurs in game 7, is to contain Lebron James. Lebron continues to move from the most important game of his career to the most important game of his career. He should look to take control early as he did in last night’s 4th quarter. However, I’m sure the Spurs would love to see him come out flat again with 9 points in the first half. Think about that, Lebron scored 9 points on 3-12 shooting in the first half. That’s horrible! And while Boris Diaw and Kawhi Leonard deserve all the credit in the world for their defensive job on Lebron, no one should hold him to those kind of numbers, ever.

Game 7 should be another epic chapter in the history of the NBA. Take a nap Thursday afternoon, throw water on your face at halftime, or drink 3 coffees and red bull because you won’t want to miss this game. Tune into game 7 on ABC at 9:00 p.m. to catch all the action. Oh, you want a prediction? How could I forget? I would love for the Spurs to win, but I see the Heat winning a tight one; 99-96. I have my fingers crossed right now (yes I’m typing) and I’ll be on the edge of my seat rooting for the Spurs Thursday night, but that’s how I see it going down. Enjoy! Leave your predictions below in the comment section.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Big Weekend In Sports

This was a big weekend in sports that just passed us by. I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend and their Father’s Day. If you spent some time on your couch with your television like I did, than you definitely enjoyed yourself. There were 3 major sporting events going on, and I’m going to give you a quick rundown of what took place in each one. First you had Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Saturday night. Then you had the finish of golf’s U.S Open Sunday Evening. And last but certainly not least you had Game 5 of the NBA Finals Sunday night. None were more exciting than the hockey game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins.

If you saw Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals than you already know how epically great that game was, and how competitive this series is going to be. Quickly for those who don’t know, the Blackhawks took Game 1 in triple overtime! It was a game for the ages and it set the table for game 2. How could Game 2 live up to the expectations that Game 1 laid on top of its napkin you ask? Well, they mustered up another exhilarating overtime thriller, that’s how. The Boston Bruins evened up the series at 1 game a piece by winning 2-1 over Chicago. Boston allowed a lonely goal in the 1st period and then tightened up the defense for the rest of the contest. You can catch what should be another exciting game on Monday night on NBC. The puck drops at 8:00 p.m. in Boston. Enjoy!!

Now, ever since Thursday morning’s rain delayed U.S. Open got started, everyone was wondering and waiting for Tiger to make his push towards his 15th major. The only problem was that the push never came. Tiger didn’t start out too badly but played progressively worse as the week went on. Tiger finished with a career worst 72-hole score of +13. I guess we’ll all have to wait for the British Open to see if Tiger can end his 5 year drought without a major victory. His last major came at the U.S. Open in 2008 after beating Rocco Mediate in a ’19’ hole playoff. While Woods struggled with Mr. 3 Wiggle all weekend, Justin Rose minimized his mistakes and gutted out his 1st major victory. He won by 2 strokes (+1) over 2nd place finishers Jason Day and Phil Mickelson (both were +3). This is Phil’s 6th 2nd place finish at U.S. Open. Man that’s gotta suck! Anyway, job well done Justin Rose, and better luck next time Phil.

Sunday night’s NBA Finals Game 5 was one that was certain to bring big drama. The San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat have exchanged wins all series, but everyone was expecting the Heat to carry their momentum from game 4 into game 5 and finally put this series out of reach. Boy were they wrong. Despite another solid performance from Dwyane Wade, the Spurs were simply too good for Miami. They basically carried the lead from wire to wire and won the game by a score of 114-104. San Antonio’s ‘Big 3’ hopped in their time machine and pulled a performance somewhere out of 2003. They scored a combined 67 points while arguably the Finals MVP at the moment, Danny Green, added 24 points of his own. Green hit another 6 3-pointers and surpassed Ray Allen as the all-time leader for 3-pointers in an NBA Finals. Manu Ginobili was inserted into the starting lineup and hit the Spurs first shot. He was off and running from there and never looked back. While the Spurs seemingly couldn’t miss, Lebron James went ice cold in the 2nd half. For the game he went a putrid 8-22 from the field, and will need to play a whole lot better if they plan on raising any more banners in Miami this year. You got what you asked for Lebron. Now all you have to do is execute. Good luck buddy, you’re going to need it.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Complete And Utter Domination

Have you ever seen a game where the score didn’t fully reflect how the game went? Well, that was what happened last night. The crazy thing about that is the 36-point whooping (113-77) the Spurs laid on the Heat didn’t do the Spurs performance justice. The only reason the Spurs didn’t win by 50 was because of Mike Miller and his 5 3-pointers. Miller is now 8-8 in the last 2 games and hasn’t missed a 3-point attempt since Game 1. There wasn’t one aspect of this game that the Spurs didn’t dominate. Their swarming defense created 16 turnovers while holding the almighty Lebron James to a measly 16 points on 7-21 shooting. The most amazing statistic from this game was that Lebron did not make 1 trip to the free throw line the entire game. The Spurs dared James as well as his buddies Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade to shoot the ball. They backed off the ball and crowded the paint. This forced James to shoot outside shots all night. So much for an improved jump shot, huh?

While the Spurs obviously benefited from Danny Green and Gary Neal’s performances, Gregg Popovich should receive most of the credit for this victory. He implemented a game plan that he knew would work. He figured the Heat can not beat them if they keep their entire roster at least 15 feet from the basket at all times. It was almost like their was an invisible barricade keeping the Heat from getting to the basket. This is a recipe for success against the Heat. Kawhi Leonard also deserves a lot of credit for the job he has done defensively against James. James has been bad in this series, and a lot of it has to do with Leonard’s defense. Side note: don’t sleep on Kawhi Leonard. He is going to be one of the best two way players in the NBA in 2 years if he continues to improve his offensive repertoire. Anyway, everyone else can feel bad for the over analyzation of Lebron James, but not me. When you are supposed to be the second coming of Michael Jordan and you are now being mentioned in the same breath as MJ, you deserve all the scrutiny that is thrown your way. Fans, analysts, and people alike can talk about James’ supporting cast and their struggles, but at the end of the day it comes down to Lebron James and what he needs to do to win. If you want to be the best ever, you better show up and get it done when the lights are at their brightest. Everyone else can also stay on that Lebron James is clutch bandwagon, but not me. What, because he hit a layup in the regular season against the Orlando Magic to extend their winning streak and a wide open layup against the Pacers in the playoffs he’s all of a sudden clutch? Nope. What Lebron needs to do is physically impose his will and takeover these games. I just don’t think the combination of Duncan, Parker, Ginobli, and Popovich are going to allow that to happen.

What most people are forgetting is that Tony Parker only contributed 6 points in this contest. Parker got banged up during the game and actually had to go back to the locker room for treatment on his hamstring at one point. He would return to the game but was a
non-factor for the rest of the contest. With Parker virtually non existent, Danny Green and Gary Neal more than picked up the slack. Green finished with 27 points on 9-15 shooting from the field including 7-9 from 3-point range!! Neal also added 24 points on 9-17 shooting from the field including 6-10 from 3-point range!! If 2 players from any team are going to combine for 13-19 from downtown, I don’t care who you are playing, you are going to win that game. And that’s what happened. The Spurs won in more than convincing fashion, and they will without a doubt try to carry this momentum into Game 4 on Thursday night. I believe the Spurs will play an efficient Game 4, but the 3’s wont drop at the rate they did in Game 3. The Heat will bounce back and Lebron will play much better as well, which should lead to an epic Game 4. This game becomes incredibly important for the Miami Heat, for if they lose they will find themselves on the brink of elimination and still on the road. At the same time, if Parker can’t play to at least 75% of his potential than the Spurs will lose Game 4. You can catch all the action in Game 4 on ABC @ 9:00 p.m. Enjoy!

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!