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Game 77 Recap: Blazers 65, Spurs 72

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You really have to tip your hat to the Spurs on this one.  They didn't blow us out.  In fact it was always close enough that a Blazer three-pointer made you think we had a chance.  But it was illusion.  They had us playing their game all night.  It was like watching two guys in a 20-lap race but the first guy was about three steps per lap faster.  It never got out of hand but it was obvious who was going to win.  They're downright surgical in their approach.  We're still in med school.  And that's the sum of it.

The most impressive part of the San Antonio mastery was defensive.  With a few brief respites, they had us shooting longer than we wanted with a hand or two in our faces.  Everybody got shots, but they were turn-arounds or three feet farther out than the norm.  How many shots fell short tonight?  34% overall shooting for us, 33% from distance, 65 points.

The offensive constipation was kind of sad, as we did a lot of other things well.  We held them to 39% shooting and 27% from the three-point arc.  We got two more free throw attempts than they did.  We did not let them get a fast break point.  Tony Parker had 8 points on 25% shooting.  Manu Ginobili had 10 and only took 5 shots.  The Spurs scored 72 overall.  We tied them in turnovers (though almost every one of our 9 looked particularly ugly) and we were within 1 in rebounding.  Without reading that paragraph on San Antonio's defense you probably would have sworn we won this game.  But again, that's why they're the Spurs.

It wasn't a bad effort.  It wasn't an exciting game.  It just was.

Individual Notes

--The biggest news of the evening was Joel Przybilla breaking his hand on the rim.  It's a sad ending to the great run he's been having the last few weeks.  He was doing it again tonight too, with 9 rebounds in 17 minutes.

--Brandon Roy made a pretty good run at it with 18 points in 40 minutes.  What struck me tonight was how far he's come in his scoring game.  If you remember last year he depended heavily on tricking defenders.  He still does, but nowadays he can also just flat out score on you one-on-one.  The Spurs made him do that tonight.  You could tell he wasn't 100%, but 7-15 shooting and 6 free throw attempts isn't bad.

--Lamarcus Aldridge started out rough but got into the game as it progressed.  He got pushed around a lot in the post and didn't get any clean looks early.  That was a bummer because we needed him to launch us off the pad.  However he turned up his defensive effort and ended up with 11 rebounds and 3 blocks, including a couple for the highlight films.  He ended up with 12 points.

--Travis Outlaw, coming off the bench again, had a small spark of "unstoppability" and you wondered for a second if he could just rip a hole through that defense single-handedly and score enough to make the difference.  Alas he ended up 4-11 with 14 points when we really could have used 9-16 with 22 points.  He hit both his threes and all 4 of his free throw attempts but only got 3 rebounds.

--Steve Blake's 3-11 shooting night should not be counted against him wholly, as he got forced into shots against the clock when all of our other options got shut down.  He had some really nifty passes but they were more memorable than frequent.  His line was 7 points, 3 assists.

--Jarrett Jack also had a poor shooting night at 2-8.  He had 6 points, 4 assists, and 3 turnovers in 22 minutes.

After this it gets really rough.

--Channing Frye had 5 rebounds in 7 minutes but also shot 1-5 and collected 2 fouls because he couldn't hang defensively.

--James Jones started and played 21 minutes but on a night we were begging for someone to take the load off of the big two he shot 0-3 and scored zip.  His line was 1 rebound, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 1 foul.

--Raef LaFrentz played 22 minutes after Przybilla left but the rust was showing through the undercoating, leaving a big orange trail behind.  He had 4 rebounds and 5 fouls.

--Sergio got 4 minutes, missed a shot, and couldn't get things going better than anyone else.

One-Sentence Game Summary:

Enjoy these games because, win or lose, you'll miss them in August.

--Dave (