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Tag:Spurs
Posted on: December 31, 2010 2:41 am
 

The ballad of Gary Neal

Undrafted first-year player lighting it up for Spurs as they take down Dirk-less Mavericks
Posted by Matt Moore

When I tried talking to then-Spurs-assistant-GM, now-Hornets-GM Dell Demps in Summer League about the sharp shooting perimeter speedster on the Spurs' SL squad, Gary Neal, he got a grin on his face. The kind of look the fox gets when he hears the farmer as he reaches the henhouse while the fox is safely in the woods. Neal lit up Vegas, but like so many players, no one thought much of it. After all, that was summer league. How good can a guy who was undrafted and spent two years in Europe, really be?

Turns out pretty good. Neal was instrumental in the Spurs' win over the Dirk-less Mavericks Thursday night. Neal hit five of his eight three point attempts on his way to 21 points. It was the same kind of performance who caught scouts' eyes at Summer League and the kind of performance that Tim Duncan (courtesy of the San Antonio Express) says has "taken" his teammates' respect:

Duncan on Gary Neal, who now has three 20-point games in six: "He hasn't earned our respect, he's taken it. He's a stone-cold shooter."
via Twitter / Jeff McDonald: Duncan on Gary Neal, who n ....

Stone-cold, indeed. Neal is averaging 16 points per 36 minutes and shooting 38% from the arc. He's been the kind of player the Spurs always seem to find, who come in, fill their role, play within themselves, and produce. Neal's perimeter speed was on display in Vegas, as he jetted off curl screens to find his way to open shots. Neal also possesses that ability to make the little plays, as he did in the fourth quarter on a broken play, catching a desperation kick-out with time running down and calmly nailing a dagger. Neal before Zod. That he's doing it with so little experience only exaggerates the legend. 

Neal split his college time between La Salle and Towson, before winding up in Europe. Now he's downing the Mavericks with ridiculous shooting and fitting in on Pop's team. If there's a guy more fun to root for in the NBA right now, it's hard to see. Neal's no feel-good case, he's a legit assassin, as Timmy pointed out, and the kind of player that the Spurs have used to win championships. Yet another chamber loaded for the Spurs.
Posted on: November 29, 2010 10:53 am
Edited on: November 29, 2010 12:25 pm
 

Shootaround 11.29.10: In and Out

Positional struggles, Heat bar losing dough, Westphal losing a lot, and the Lakers should have lost by more, all in today's Shootaround. Posted by Matt Moore
  • Two things about this interview with Sam Bowie about Greg Oden: 1. the point about Bowie being happier with his life than Jordan is something Oden really should focus on and 2. unfortunately Oden can't afford to do what Bowie suggests and give himself extra time. There's just too much pressure, especially with his contract situation.
  • The Miami bar that offered to pay a $25 bar tab if the Heat lost? Yeah, they've lost $30,000 so far . And while the publicity is great, you have to wonder if they're going to have to cut that out soon.
  • Is DeJuan Blair a bad fit for the Spurs as currently concocted? The idea is that he's a 5 and Duncan's a 5 and because his skills don't compliment Duncan, that limits him. I think he could probably survive with Duncan if his weakside rotations were better. Hard to imagine Greg Popovich is really concerned about his "clean-up" center shooting. Players who have played well in that role include Fabricio Oberto and Kurt Thomas.
  • Marc Gasol is not healthy, and it's showing . I watched Memphis-Golden State over the holiday and Andris Biedrins absolutely destroyed Gasol. It wasn't even shiftiness or the system. He just shot over Gasol. For a normally terrific defender, it's bizarre to see him lacking in straigt-up man defense like this.
Posted on: November 24, 2010 9:39 am
Edited on: November 24, 2010 8:38 pm
 

Shootaround 11.24.10: Winners and losers

People trying to keep LeBron out of the All-Star Game, Jarrett Jack doubts the Heat, Durant and Beasley as young guns, and T-Will is out of sight, out of mind, all in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore

  • There's a movement afoot specifically to keep LeBron James out of the All-Star Game. It's things like this that trot the fine line at the nexus of funny, pathetic, and mean. Props for the idea, but just because you don't like a guy's ego, is that really reason to sully a system to honor play that's been in place for decades? And this is all beyond the fact that it would take coaches about forty five seconds to select him as a reserve and then all of a sudden the person atually voted in would have a hamstring injury.
  • Terrence Williams looked like a star in the making last year. Now he's been suspended for two games for "violations of team policy" whle Avery Johnson is talking about him "not getting" it. A perfect example of how a coaching change can dramtically alter a player's forecast. Meanwhile, if Williams is on the block, the Grizzlies and Bulls should both be on the horn to see if they can grab him at a bargain bin price.
  • Jarrett Jack, a winner his whole career except for when he wasn't winning, which was most of his career, is already ready to pack it in on the Heat, saying their failure could curtail others from going the superstar route. In other news, Jack put the cart before the horse and said "Done!" before walking off. The Hornets are 0-1 since Jack arrived, clearly indicating he's not a winner. See what I did there? You see? Because he said ...
  • Spurs fans were joking about Ime Udoka being signed last week, and now it has happened . Still bizarre they thought Udoka was more valuable than Gee.
  • Flip Saunders, getting digs in on Doug Collins. Better hurry to get them in, he may not be around long.
Posted on: November 23, 2010 9:26 am
 

Game Changer 11.23.10: Spurs and ammo

Spurs and Magic have a classic, the Pacers show they're decent in dismantling a mediocre Miami team, and the Celtics take the Hawks to the shed in today's Game Changer.
Posted by Matt Moore


Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.  


THE BIG ONE: Spurs have one more round than Magic in shootout


San Antonio 106 Orlando 97 .

That's the final score but it doesn't even come close to descrbing A. how great this game was or B. how close this game was. It was a back and forth affair for the entire game, as neither team could shake the other one. Just as one team would seem to be pulling away, the other would respond with a flurry of offense. San Antonio would bruise their way to a lead, only to find the Magic creating turnovers, sparking the break, and dropping in three-pointers in transition. The Magic would burst their way into a lead only to find the Spurs settle down, get a bucket, then a stop, then Manu Ginobili Ginobili'ing his way with a knife to their heart. In the end, the Spurs had a few more bullets left in the gun and the Magic were unable to find an answer for Manu.

Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili combined to shoot 23 of 42, for 64 points, 13 rebounds, 21 assists, 5 steals, and 2 blocks. Guess Boston and Miami aren't the only ones with Big 3s. The efficiency with which the Spurs attacked was ruthless. In the third, Tony Parker got up to full speed and was using those wide curving pick and rolls to find Duncan, while Ginobili was using the deep wing picks for that step-back jumper he's gotten to like so much. It was a clinic in execution, and the Magic weren't far behind, with Dwight Howard forcing the issue and the Magic backcourt raining 3s. Combined the two teams hit 21 threes on 37 attempts which is just ridiculous. Matt Bonner came through with 4 big ones (4-4 from the arc) while Mikael Pietrus kept breaking up Spurs runs on his way to a 3-5 run from the perimeter.

Sharp defense, tough shots, fun basketball, a close game. This one was a beauty.

WHAT YOU MISSED: The Heat suck.


I torched the Heat for their lack of effort, cohesion, and heart.

Ken Berger spoke with Delonte West in a must-read interview about his experiences with bipolar disorder .


DEAD BEFORE THE SHIP EVEN SANK

Last night's Celtics-Hawks game was not a game. It was a mercy killing, only without the mercy. The Celtics owned the Hawks 39-13 in the first quarter, and it didn't feel that close. Boston simply could not miss. Sharp passes, smart playsets, intensity at both ends of the floor, attacking rebounds, and Nate Robinson doing his best Rondo Baron Davis when he was good impression, throw in the Hawks looking like they wanted to be anywhere but on the floor and Al Horford being physically dominated by Boston's size and you've got a recipe for Von Wafer to get a fair amount of time by the end of this one.

It was stunning, considering the Hawks swept the Celtics last year. But call it motivation over last year's flukes, or the Celtics' last fluke against the Raptors, or just the impact of a healthy Kevin Garnett, but this one was over with before the t-shirt guns had even been loaded. The Hawks continue to perplex as they look genuinely good and improved at times, and like roadkill in others.

Kevin Garnett looks not only like he's healthy, but like he's healthy like when he was 31. That's terrifying for the rest of the league.

YOUR DAILY "QUAKE" GRIFFIN NIGHTMARE DUNK:




GO-GO-GADGET LINE OF THE NIGHT:


Carmelo Anthony:
39 points (17-17 from the line), 9 rebound, 5 assists

Runner-Up:


Manu Ginobili: 25 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists

FINAL THOUGHTS:


The Hornets are 11-2. Which is great. But the last few games have shown some of their cracks in the foundation. Relying on Jason Smith to be a significant bench contributor isn't going to get it done. Neither is hoping Emeka Okafor stays as an offensive force. The bigger concern may be that Chris Paul has started looking flat-out tired at the ends of games. Him missing the game-tying assist to David West was nothing more than one of those that happens, but in general he looked lethargic down the stretch. Some concerns for the Hornets do exist, even at 11-2.

Last night's game perfectly illustrates why Boston fans get so frustrated with their team. They look so awesome when they consistently try.

The story from Indiana-Miami was the Heat playing terribly but the Pacers deserve a world of credit for getting Danny Granger going, and Brandon Rush took it to Dwyane Wade, which, injured or not, isn't an easy thing to do. The Pacers look like a solid playoff contender.

People will tell you that the Oklahoma City-Minnesota game was closer than the final score appears. And it's true the Wolves lead down the stretch. So maybe I'm just exhibiting confirmation bias when I tell you that I never had a doubt the Thunder would win that game. The Wolves have no idea how to execute in clutch situations most times, and Michael Beasley still does a lot of Michael Beasley-type things.

Houston loses. Again.


Follow F&R on Twitter at @CBSSportsNBA and check out our RSS feed . This has been your daily edition of the Game Changer.



Posted on: November 16, 2010 10:04 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2010 10:08 pm
 

Power Rankings 3-Up, 3-Down: Week 3

The Texas Two-Step is high among the greats while the Magic have no magic and the Knicks have no sense, in this week's 3-Up 3-Down.
Posted by Matt Moore

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Our
Power Rankings for Week 3 are out. Here at F&R, we'll give the the direct line to who was notable in the rankings from week to week. Here's three who are up and three who are down in week 3.

http://sports.cbsimg.net/u/photos/basketball/nba/img14272944.jpg 3-Up


San Antonio Spurs (1): 8-1, and their only loss to the also 8-1 Hornets. So why am I not as big on them as our distinguished Power Rankings Overlord? Probably because their signature win was against a Thunder team that can't decide which way the sun sets, or against a Suns team that let's face it, historically doesn't have much luck against them (last spring excepted). Confusing the issue is Tim Duncan's performance. Duncan's still doing all the things Tim Duncan does off-ball, but his rebounds, points, and percentages are down. That the Spurs are 8-1 despite that makes you wonder, can they really be this good without him playing up to TD standards, or conversely, how good are they going to be if he starts playing to that level?

In closing, Manu Ginobili owns your face. Thanks for your time.

Dallas Mavericks (2):
A Texas Two-Step. How nice. The Mavericks topped the might Hornets (that sounds weird) last night, no doubt helping them climb up behind the Spurs. Dirk Nowitzki is rebounding at a better rate than he has since the 06-07 season. They have the ninth best offense in efficiency and the fifth best defense, landing them a top five spot in differential of points produced vs. allowed per 100 possessions. That's pretty good. Throw in the work they've done in besting Denver once out of a home and home and taking down the Celtics, and that's good enough to show good cause for why so many people thought this team would wind up second overall in the West.

The lingering questions of the backcourt depth remain, Caron Butler does not look tip top, and they still need Beaubois back. But Tyson Chandler has filled in much better than anyone anticipated.

Utah Jazz (6):
Well, that was a pretty good week. The Jazz toppled four playoff teams in the East, all on the road, in five days. Losing to OKC was simply an inevitable return to the mean. But the difference this year is the Jazz' mean is a little bit meaner than in years past. For all the concerns that this team wouldn't be as talented as in years prior, they look stacked, top to bottom. Speed, versatility and depth in the backcourt, size, scoring ability and smooth rotations on the defensive end in the frontcourt. And, yeah, Deron Wililams? He's pretty insanely good.

3-Down


Orlando Magic (7):
You'd have thought the Rashard Lewis contract would have bitten them sooner than this, but hey, worse late than never, I suppose. The Magic have one win against a team above .500 and two losses to Miami to and Utah. It's early yet so they haven't had many cracks at it, but throw in a loss to the Raptors, and yeesh, not a great start for SVG's crew. The defense is still excelling, but the offense has fallen off a cliff, thanks in part to Rashard Lewis not being able to hit the broad side of a barn. And yet still, Ryan Anderson gets no minutes. Crying shame, really.

Denver Nuggets (12): Be wary of this team, friends. The resume is solid, the numbers hold up (10th in offense, 14th in defense). And they toppled the mighty Lakers first. But this team is very much on the cusp of oblivion. They can fall apart completely, as they did last night against the Suns. Melo's playing well, but we all know that situation is still ticking. In the meantime, they can beat anyone or lose to anyone on any given night. Teams you can't figure out? They're usually not very good.

New York Knicks (24): Oh, Knicks. You had such promise. Felton's numbers look great but suffer in execution, they can't close, Amar'e can't do everything and Anthony Randolph is a disaster, yet again. Here's what I don't get. They're not bad at defense, they really aren't, at eleventh in the league. Their offense is struggling. Yet Raymond Felton has a 34% assist rate and is shooting well. They have 7 players with a PER above 14.5 but they just don't look like a good basketball team. Either this team's record doesn't reflect its performance, or its performance doesn't reflect what kind of team it really is.




Posted on: November 11, 2010 10:17 am
Edited on: November 11, 2010 1:06 pm
 

Shootaround 11.11.10: Decisions abound

Durant doing fine at the bank, Knicks decide to love Lee still, and is Splitter a good defender?
Posted by Matt Moore

  • Apparently being in small-town Oklahoma City (which is actually big-town Oklahoma if you've ever been to the Sooner State) isn't slowing down Kevin Durant's endorsement opportunities . It may be time to really stop feeding into this myth that you need to be in a big market to be able to make great money through endorsements. If Melo would come to realize that, maybe he wouldn't still be in Denver where he's essentially spinning his wheels for no reason.
  • Knicks fans gave David Lee a terrific ovation last night . There's been a lot of positive regard this season for returning players who now play on different teams. Why do I have a feeling Cleveland will not be continuing that approach?
  • A great throwback interview with Moses Malone. With all this talk of Chris Bosh after he was discussed as a top player in the league this summer and now with his struggles in the paint, you think about what it would have been like if Moses Malone had joined a team like the Heat. Then again, you could make the argument that Dr. J's Sixers were pretty Heat-like in terms of talent.
  • Tim Varner of 48 Minutes of Hell contends that Tiago Splitter is playing incredibly well on the defensive end, the box score just doesn't capture it . I would argue he needs to watch Splitter's weakside defense and ability to hedge effectively, but I'm a stickler for such things.
Posted on: November 8, 2010 9:23 am
Edited on: November 8, 2010 12:10 pm
 

Shootaround 11.8.10: Right and Wrong

J.O.'s knee not quite right, Kevin Garnett not quite wrong in the head, and a murder suspect busted in Charlotte, all in today's Shootaround.Posted by Matt Moore
  • Oh, those sneaky Celtics. It seems they snuck a Jermaine O'Neal surgery under our very noses . J.O. certainly has seemed a step behind in terms of explosiveness and strength in the paint. But to be honest, we just chalked it up to age. Apparently there was an actual reason, which means he could improve, which means the Celtics could get stronger, which is just terrifying.
  • A Minnesotan discussion of Kevin Garnett's behavior, in which it's argued he's the most genuine athlete alive . I'm not buying it. Garnett isn't driven to these things out of passion, they're calculated maneuvers. That's why he doesn't end up in fights, instead walking away with his hands up after starting something. Intense, sure, but just as deliberate as the outraged opera star on stage.
  • A murder suspect was captured in the VIP section of the Bobcats game against Orlando Saturday. Seriously. Pretty scary because there were so many people around in the public event. Pretty funny because of all the jokes you can make of "Well, if you want to be hidden from people..."
  • Brandon Jennings with some disturbing comments about the locker room chemistry in Milwaukee that's helped lead to the 2-5 start they're off to. Jennings is still learning how to be a vocal leader, but he needs to take the step and say to his teammates what he's telling the press.
Posted on: November 7, 2010 12:37 pm
 

Video: Manu Ginobili helps Spurs send Rox to 0-5

Posted by Matt Moore

The Rockets can't win for losing. After hanging with the Spurs and mounting a double-digit comeback, the Rockets had the lead inside a minute against the Spurs. But missed free throws haunted them, as the Spurs forced rookie Ishmael Smith to shoot, he was unable to convert, and even after an offensive rebound by Chuck Hayes, Courtney Lee missed two free throws that would have made the lead three. You give the Spurs an opening, you give Manu Ginobili an opening? He's going to hurt you.




Poo God . Money. The Spurs would go on to win in overtime, knocking the Rockets to 0-5.

The Rockets are now the worst team in the league, having failed to secure a victory before the Pistons, Timberwolves or Raptors. Not exactly the start Daryl Morey envisioned.

The thing on that game-tying Ginobili shot is the behind the back. It's such a flash maneuver, but used for such practical purpose. By going behind his back, he keeps his momentum moving back for the step-back, instead of trying to reverse his momentum. That's why Ginobili is so great at making flash functional. And for the win.
 
 
 
 
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