Thursday, December 07, 2006

Spurs 96, Bobcats 76

Could the Bobcats make it two in a row for the first time this season? Well, we’ve beaten the visiting Spurs once already, how hard could it be to do it again? The Bobcats had no Matt Carroll tonight (he sprained his elbow against Detroit), but guess who we did have? Oh yes, that’s right, we had Walter Herrmann! I had pretty much written off seeing Herrmann anytime soon, because according to the daily injury reports, Hermann was having problems with his “Visa,” and I hear those can take a long time to heal.

Anyway, Walter came in late in the second quarter, looking very much like a circa-1993 Fabio, only thinner and with a headband (I truly wish there was more hazing in the NBA, so some of these rookies would get their heads shaved, and then subsequently realize they actually look better that way—I mean, if Bon Jovi can see the light, why can’t everyone else?). Herrmann played 17 minutes, and by my unofficial count he gave us 2 three’s, a rebound, a foul, and a traveling violation. Oh, and one high-comedy moment: I forget whether it was in the 3rd or the 4th quarter, but at one point long after the game was out of reach, the Spurs lost control of the ball, it bounced over mid-court, and Herrmann—who could have easily gotten to it—made this big show about not getting it, because he thought it was an over-and-back violation. Except it wasn’t. One of the Spurs—I think it was Ginobli, because I seem to remember a body flopping around—scrambled to pick it up and San Antonio resumed their systematic beat-down of us. I guess I have written a disproportionately large amount on Walter, given his meager contribution thus far (in that respect, I’m like what Slam magazine is to Kenyon Martin), but maybe it’s because I hope he’ll morph into a superstar, and then I can someday look back at all the fun I used to poke at him. Also, I can’t get it out of my head that Scoop Jackson of all people predicted big things for him, which has got to be one of the more random endorsements in recent memory.

As for the rest of the game, it was total domination by the Spurs; the only things they were missing were whips and knee-high leather boots. We did lead 23-22 after the first quarter, but that was because the Spurs were in the midst of an uncharacteristic 4-minute scoring drought. Then the second quarter began and the Bobcats went on a 4-minute scoring drought of their own, which unfortunately for us is very characteristic. The match-up that symbolized our submission was Bruce Bowen on Adam Morrison. Adam finished with just 4 points in 30 minutes and shot 1-10 from the field. You could see the frustration in his face; he looked like he wanted to stab Bruce with one of his insulin injectors.

Brevin Knight also had a tough night, but for altogether different reasons. Early in the first he picked up two fouls in 30 seconds and had to sit. He played most of the second, but then early in the third he got nailed with a technical, and then a short time later he picked up another technical and was ejected. None of it was ever explained. Clearly he was angry about something—the game, the team, or maybe just life in general. When you look at his employment history it’s almost heartbreaking: Cleveland, Atlanta, Memphis, Milwaukee…It makes you wonder why Kevin Garnett gets all the sympathy for never being on a winner.

Even though we’re 5-13, this was one of the few games that was difficult to sit through in its entirety. It wasn’t just that it was a blowout, there was also very little star power. Sure, there was Tim Duncan with 25 points, but nothing he does is particularly spectacular to watch. And Tony Parker (can you believe he’s only 24?? when did he first join the Spurs, in the second grade?) was used sparingly. Coach Popovich was spreading it around: 9 Spurs played at least 19 minutes.

Still, I waited it out, and color commentator Adrian Branch—as he so often does—made it all worthwhile. After Morrison missed shot #10 late in the game, AB asked, “Do you know who always wanted to finish a game strong, whether it was a blowout or not?” I immediately perked up, thinking this might be a great trivia question or at least a good anecdotal tidbit about an often forgotten or underrated star from yesteryear that I could later share with others. But after a brief pause, AB gave the answer: “Michael Jordan.” Ha! So much for it being some unsung hero…It was still kind of funny though. I’ll have to try that with other sports. Next time I’m talking to one of my buddies, I’m going to go, “Do you know who always played great hockey, even when some of his teams weren’t very good? Wayne Gretzky.”

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