31. ROWWWRRRRR!!!: The View from San Antonio


Well, in yesterday's column I paid a visit to the 30 NBA Western Conference blogs of the dominant Sports Blog Nation and ESPN networks, briefly reviewing and rating each. Now it's time to do likewise for the weak sister, the Eastern Conference. 

I was a little bit surprised yesterday that out of the 30 blogs, only one was dead out, one was on the ropes, and one was floundering. Trust me, outside of the two major blog networks many many basketball blogs out there are dead or floundering. I tricked out my web browser's bookmarks about 6 months ago and the number of blogs that have died or are on life support since that time is striking. There is no doubt that being part of a network is somehow helpful to a blog's survival.

For reasons of time and space I have not had a chance to pay a comparable visit to the blogs of the #3 network, Bloguin. Bloguin is still unrepresented for many teams and it hasn't quite come into its own as a network. If I were to do this again a year from now, I probably would expand the list to include the Bloguin blogs — their roster should be more fully fleshed out by then.

I've also been a little disturbed by the size of the traffic numbers for the SBN blogs, ranging for the most part from 500 or so to 2500 or so daily visitors. I'm not quite sure what to make of that, although to say that daily reading of basketball blogs clearly has not caught on with a majority of NBA fans. While blog quality has absolutely improved over the last 12 months, I'm not so sure that readership has.

It would also be interesting to know the comparable traffic figures for the various TrueHoop blogs, but these publications generally do not have an accessible counter. My sense is that readership of the TrueHoop blogs is probably of a similar magnitude to that of the SBN blogs. It's pretty clearly not a a case of David and Goliath in any event, although we can say with decent certainty that the traffic of the Bloguin family is lesser.

Once again, here is the color-coded rating system I will use, as follows:

Purple_medium  PURPLE — denotes a basketball blog that is one of the standards of the genre. Superior content, frequently updated, and an expansive and active readership.

Green_medium  GREEN — denotes a fully healthy blog, generally featuring daily posts during the business week and producing intelligent analysis on a timely basis. 

Yellow_medium  YELLOW — denotes an ailing blog, with a pattern of slightly sporadic posting or of posting of hastily written and somewhat insufficient material. 

Red_medium  RED — denotes a seriously ill blog, with altogether insufficient coverage of the subject team. There is an occasional post, but the irregularity of new content makes regular readership unlikely.

Black_medium  BLACK — denotes a dead blog, which I am defining as a publication with no new content during the month of December 2009. A dead blog is one which needs to be buried and relaunched.

I reiterate that these are my own highly subjective assessments of each blog and emphasize that I am in no way part of the Blazers Edge editorial team. I'm just a regular old sidebar poster prone to blabbing. And so I shall.

On with the show.






Rufus on Fire (SBN) — The poor editor sucker is putting this one out solo. That has to be a disheartening task. Seriously, people need to get help to do basketball blogs, there are just too many words that need to be written for one person to handle the task without cloistering themselves in a dark room for 14 hours a day... This cat does a quite sufficient job previewing and game threading and recapping and going a little bit beyond. He also dishes YouTube music videos, and cheers for that. Daily traffic in December has been banging around in the 600-1100 visitor mark, for the most part.


Queen City Hoops (TrueHoop) — I always thought Cincinnati was the "Queen City." Tells ya how much I know... The editorial duo are specialists in previews and recaps, which they do in an analytical and statsy manner. If you're looking for a succinct and accurate summary of what happened and why in a Bobcats game, look no further. The size of the main content page needs to be widened, in my opinion. Hard to say that this blog isn't as good as Rufus on Fire, it's superior in the aforementioned respects, but extra credit given for the extra effort put in by the solitary editor of the former.




Brew Hoop (SBN) — Three Quick Comments: Fun to read. Lots of stats. Covers the bases well. Three Negatives: SBN software is useful in function but generic in appearance. The recurring red and green gamescore graphics are footprint hogs and really do not work. The preview graphics, while informative, need to be fleshed out with verbiage. Three More Things: Nice use of video. Witty recaps. The game threads are nonstarters so far. Stat Time: Average daily traffic currently looks to be 600-800-ish, spiking past the 1000 mark.


Bucksketball (TrueHoop) — Ugh, I really have difficulty with this layout. What's the deal with the microscopic type? It's not like using a readable point size costs extra or uses more ink... No graphics. No video. The analysis is competent, but there needs to be another voice or two added to the mix and and Extreme Layout Makeover performed, in my opinion. There are plenty of sweet-looking blogs in the TrueHoop circle, but this looks more like me whipping something up with Adobe PageMill.™®




By the Horns (True Hoop) — A serious basketball blog for serious Bulls fans, with long and well-written essays cut from Blazer Edge Dave's cloth. By The Horns doesn't use jumps effectively, thus the mainpage articles are lengthy, but the content is serious with HEAVY linkage to other writing elsewhere. These things don't write themselves, there is a huge amount of craftsmanship on exhibition here. Marred a bit by a narrow mainpage and small point size of the type — if the layout were in wider columns using larger typography (accompanied by appropriate jumps for readers to click through so that article size was not so daunting at first glance), more people would dive into the savory fare, I think.


Blog-a-Bull (SBN) — Can a blog earn a gold star merely for having a consistently nasty and entertaining Gameday Open Thread? Why yes, yes it can! The filthy-mouthed haters that populate the game threads at BaB reign supreme in their malicious meanness. They hate their [obscene emphatic] owner. They hate their [obscene emphatic] coach, who is nothing but a [obscene emphatic] [crude barnyard expression] with his [vulgar slang term] jammed so far up his [obscene emphatic] [crude anatomical slang] that it's no wonder he coaches standing up... That's not all... They also hate their star player. In fact, they hate all the starters. They hate the key acquisitions from last year that got them in the playoffs. They hate their emerging big man. They hate their coveted backup Point Guard. And don't get them started about the OTHER team! I'm not sure what would happen if the Bulls didn't suck — BaB would be a whole lot less funny, for sure. Still, the game threads there, with their full and unfettered pottymouthed rudeness, their unbridled and unchastized malice and hatred towards their own team, their unrestrained group chainsaw massacring of trolls, are so consistently AWESOME that nothing else even matters... Around 3 to 4,000 daily visitors on your typical day in December 2009.




Cavs: The Blog (TrueHoop) — An absolutely brilliant one-man show, written by a craftsman. Appealing layout and smart content, together with an enjoyable writing style. Try this headline on for size: Recap: Mavericks 102, Cavs 95 (Or, Landry Bites Dirk In Elbow, Cavs' Bad Habits Bite Them In The Butt). Nice! There's a lot of interesting writing and it's not All LBJ All the Time, fortunately. One of the best solo project NBA blogs out there, in my opinion.


Fear the Sword (SBN) — Fear the Sword feels like a solo act, even though there are 3 names listed on the masthead. It makes use of the same graphic pregame matchups used by the SBN Bucks blog, so that's probably a pre-packaged something something that we're gonna see in about 20 different places shortly. Rather formulaic in both content (Pregame/Live Thread/Postgame) and appearance (SBN design, prepackaged graphics with stock captions). Coverage is satisfactory, albeit rather uninspired — compare and contrast to SS&R for the Lakers, who have a similar Big Marquee Name Dominated team but somehow figure out how to cut a cucumber in a variety of entertaining ways. Traffic has been bouncing in the 500-1000 daily visitor range during December, for the most part.





Celtics Blog (SBN) — Blazers Edge readers may be shocked to learn that BE is not the #1 basketball blog at SBN in terms of readership. No, that honor goes to Celtics Blog, which peaked at 1.2 million visits in July 2009. Traffic has tailed off since then, with average daily visits in the ballpark of 13,000 in December 2009 — a little bit softer than the 15,000+ of Blazers Edge. Celtics Blog has a massive staff of writers and refreshes its content multiple times daily, going far beyond the typical blah-blah-blah of previewing and reviewing games. Video is underutilized, that's the one critique I could make, outside of their lazy and draconian moderating policies. Don't get me started on that...


Celtics Hub (TrueHoop) — A nice supplement to Celtics Blog, with long essays in a clean, easy to read format. This is a 2 person enterprise it would seem, Initiated only in February 2009. Content goes beyond the usual yadda yadda, including interviews and feature articles. Includes a message board, which seems to be a non-starter.




Hoopinion (TrueHoop) — A strange and sparse layout somehow reminiscent of a Google white page. The content is very readable, however, and the content interesting, moving beyond the mundane game after game drone with short shots of stats, facts, and opinion. Dunno why the editor is so graphics-adverse though. Learn Photoshop and get artsy with it, bro. 


Peachtree Hoops (SBN) — Three names on the masthead, but one guy carrying the ball. A fully sufficient publication for fans of the Trailblazers of the East, the up-and-coming Atlanta Hawks. More of that prepackaged Starting Lineups and Stats graphics stuff that is sure to further genericize SBN shortly... Content seems to be game-oriented and posting not necessarily exactly daily. The editor can use help, step up, masthead writers! Average daily traffic in December looks to be in the 800-1000 range, with a couple big spikes.




Hot Hot Hoops (TrueHoop) — Clean and sparse layout, killer postgame graphics for "Miami Player Impact," nice writing by the 2 — er, now make that 3 — contributors. But, and this is is big but, the frequency of updates is NOT daily. That's a big, big no no, bloggers... They're clearly aware of the problem by adding another voice, and that is all for the good, so we'll forgo the yellow flag. If they can keep this thing fresh daily, there are lots more people that will be stopping by the coffee house. They make a mean cup of java, but the previous store hours sorta suck.


Peninsula is Mightier (SBN) — Uht oh, another one man show. I feel so sorry for the editors who try to pull this off, doing a basketball blog right is about a 5 person job, unless one of the five has the initials B.G., in which case if you can do it with 2...  The editor here gets the pregames and the recaps up in a timely manner — and, really, what more can you expect or ask of a single individual? Then again, when that's done in the context of the generic SBN software for a weak basketball fan nation, it makes for a rather run-of-the-mill publication. Get help, Mr. Editor. Traffic generally has been kicking around from about 300 to about 700 daily visitors, which seems typical for SBN blogs in soft basketball markets.




Posting and Toasting (SBN) — Dumbest name for a basketball blog? You decide. New York City is a crowded media circus, with lots of sideshows running at the same time. What could be easier than doing a blog about the Knicks? Marbury? D'Antoni's 7 Seconds or Less? Salary dumping? Nate Robinson on the bench? Eddie Curry jokes? Seriously, I could do four mainpage posts a day without ever watching a game... A very competent job although one that leaves me longing for more. Maybe it's the SBN software that makes what should be a riotously hilarious demolition derby (in which the Knicks are NOT the victims, but rather one of the participants) into a ballet recital. I don't want vanilla for the Knicks, I want Rupert Murdoched EXCESS!!!


KnickerBlogger (TrueHoop) — Another site with a radical "ultra-small footprint" layout. This is all well and good, I suppose, so long as you have some actual content behind the small tweets up front. This is pretty much an index page for live game threads. Regularly updated for those................. and entirely insufficient.




Orlando Pinstriped Post (SBN) — Boooooo!!! Booooooo!!! That's for the editors changing the name of this blog from the endearing and self-deprecating "Third Quarter Collapse" to this meaningless monstrosity. Okay, now that I've got that out of the way, let me just say that 3QC-with-a-bad-new-name is in the top 25% of NBA team blogs in its coverage. I've always enjoyed the writing there, both in terms of style and quality of analysis. Nice linkage to related material elsewhere, informative frame-by-frame visual analysis of plays to make a point, and article content that goes well past the Mandatory Minimum. A very solid publication, worthy of emulation.


Orlando Magic Daily (TrueHoop) — Another good one, with a fresh and clean layout that invites the reader to partake. The old editor of this blog, who was pulling the Volkswagen all by himself, fairly recently took on another editor, who was pulling another motor vehicle on his own. Whereas the result should have been two guys pulling the car together, it currently looks like New Guy has replaced Old Guy and is still dragging a chunk of Germany down the highway all by his lonesome. Still, New Guy is really talented and the content here is as good as anywhere. A fine blog, indeed. Now let's see some teamwork, team!




Nets are Scorching (TrueHoop) — Can you imagine how hard it would be to do a daily blog for the New Jersey Nets? They're like 2 wins and 137 losses. The worst of all possible worlds, combining a huge salary dump with an uncertain coaching situation obscuring an uncertain ownership situation as the near-terminally ill weak sister to the crappy but engaging New York Knicks? Man, rough job description... This is a two-man game, it's done very well (making good use of hot & cold shooting charts, which is something more blogs need to do — helpful and informative both). The layout is attractive, the content is well, well beyond minimum standards. A super fine job, this is. Kudos.


Sports Blog Nation fires a blank.






Indy Cornrows (SBN) — One honcho on the masthead, but two guys writing. The latter arrangement is more sensible than the former. The cookie-cutter software makes one SBN blog look pretty much like the rest after a little while. I'm not sure that's a problem, assuming that not too many people are going to read one or two team blogs with anything approaching regularity, but after reading about 25 of them in 2 days, they all sort of blend together. Indy Cornrows goes beyond the bare minimum, including commentary on matters other than last night's score and tomorrow's starters. The writing style solid, colloquial, and engaging, graphics are used typically, and video not at all. Readership is decent, mostly banging around in the 800-1500 daily visitor range during December.


8 Points, 9 Seconds (TrueHoop) — First off, there is a software issue, the mainpage does not show fully in Safari, cutting off text on the right edge. To say this is distracting doesn't start to cover it... I would be yelling to holy hell if I was a Pacer fan wanting to read this thing... Very unusual graphic format for previews and postgame wrapups, the editor uses tables instead of words. It's not very effective, too much, too much. On the positive side of the ledger, the graphics used are quirky and the writing very non-homeristic, which strikes me as a big positive. If you wanna learn about "The Dog Fart Game," for example, this is your source. Now fix that html, friends!!!




Detroit Bad Boys (SBN) — Here's some hot breaking news... On Tuesday, Dec. 22, the independent blog Detroit Bad Boys was merged with the existing SBN blog, Motown String Music, to form the new, improved Detroit Bad Boys at SBN. Bottom line is that there is insufficient time to assess the current status of the publication, other than to say that there are now 4 guys on the job instead of 1, which seems just about right. In general, consolidation of isolated, one-person blogs into combined entities making use of an editorial collective of some sort or other is the healthy route for NBA sites and there's no reason to think this won't be one of the better blogs in the SBN stable following the consolidation.


Piston Powered (TrueHoop) — Geeeyaw, yuck! I can't stand the bright blue and bright red splayed all over this site. Why are you burning my eyeballs out? What did I ever do to you??? One person, one team, one blog — and he does a good job of it. But pulling off a GREAT basketball blog requires collective participation. It also requires losing the garish color scheme, rest assured.




Raptors HQ (SBN) — More links than a Wikipedia page and most of them just as worthless... Note to editor: turn off the SBN autolink function. Thank you. Readership of this blog is in the general 1000-1500 daily visitor range, which is probably a little better than average for the Eastern Conference. Sort of a ham-handed effort to use small footprint layout for the mainpage, sometimes with a BIG FAT PHOTO and and itty bitty bit of writing plus a jump — and a lot of blank space — which looks totally stupid. Content moves beyond the gameday basics, but not necessarily in a good way. What does the NCAA have to do with anything? Below average, but adequate.


Raptors Republic (TrueHoop) — Not the most attractive of the True Hoop sites, layout wise, but hey, they've got a podcast and they use graphics well. They really do need to blow up the layout and start over again though. The "Raptors Flipbook" of game photos with cheeky captions is cute. In the words of old, dead Clara: Where's the beef? Another one that can be called "below average, but adequate." 




Philadunkia (TrueHoop) — Inviting layout, somewhat non-standard content, and good use of graphics — Philadunkia is a good read. This blog seems to have been started in April 2009 and is progressing nicely, thank you very much. The mainpage is too skinny from left edge to right edge, as is the case with most of the True Hoop-affiliated sites, but the text is very comfortable to read. Jumps are used very effectively to draw the reader into lengthy and well-written analysis. A superior blog.


Liberty Ballers (SBN) — I'm starting to lose it with the SBN software, seeing the same generic layout again and again and again and again and again... I'm hearing voices, I think my cat just told me to pluck my eyeballs out and throw them on the floor. I'm ready to make this strong recommendation now: SBN needs to make their typography modifiable. More fonts. More point sizes. More colors. And editors, one and all, need to figure out how to make the cookie-cutter AP graphics look like something other than cookie-cutter AP graphics. Thank you. Now, rant over, this blog in 30 words or so: 3 people and a mod on the masthead, but pretty much a 2 man game. The writing is creative, the appearance of the pages substandard even allowing for the generic software. It's a decent read that needs to be prettied up, in my estimation. Readership mostly 600-ish visitors daily in December, 'cept when you-know-who came you-know-where, which spiked things...




Truth About It (True Hoop) — We have another entry in our Dumbest Names Competition. Note to all future bloggers out there: try making the name of your publication mundane and descriptive and the content artistic and innovative. It works better that way. Trust me. Not to rag on the layout here, mind you, Truth About it is fresh and well-designed, containing much, much more than your run of the mill NBA team blog. Lots of game photos with smart-ass captions (and not the vanilla AP gunk that swamps the SBN blogs) and I dig that stuff. Indeed, let's give this baby a purple star just because they've got the "artistic presentation" aspect down colder than colder than cold. Now about that name...


Bullets Forever (SBN) —Multiple voices here, with 5 names listed on the masthead. This is one of the better SBN sites, it seems, neither obsessing with nor neglecting game coverage, but taking on additional feature subjects. The pregame and postgame is still dominant, mind you, but the editors manage to disguise the fact somewhat with fresh spin. Traffic is in the healthy 1500-2500+ visitors per day range. A good blog.


Okay, thank you for reading or skimming or whatever you did. Let's get to the scoring of the competition, shall we?

For 15 teams times 2 networks, we have only 2 blogs that aren't fully adequate — one for SBN (Nets) and one for True Hoop (Knicks). That's pretty good, I think... In the Battle of the Blog Networks, I score it 8 for Sports Blog Nation and 7 for True Hoop. A pretty even battle. Thank god it didn't go to overtime...

Man, that was way more work than I thought it would be...


Channel Surfing.

Wednesday, Dec. 23.


Portland Trail Blazers (18-12) at San Antonio Spurs (15-10).

The crows had come home to roost. There were lots of them roosting around, smirking and making a lot of obnoxious noise and pooping on the lawn. After they roosted around a while, it would be time for them to fly down from their perches  and to peck out the eyeballs of the hapless, hopeless, banged up, binged Blazer infirmary brigade.

Add Brandon Roy to the list of casualties, he having been doinked at the end of the Dallas game. That left, as Dave has so aptly noted, the number 2, 5, 9, 10, and 11 guys of the pre-season 15-man roster as the starters for the Blazers. Their task? Beating the 4 time NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs in their house on the tail end of a back-to-back, with Grandpa Bankshot and his compatriots having rediscovered their winning ways after their perennial slow start.

That made Portland's chances pretty much zero on a rational level. However, after last night's shocking victory over a bona fide Western Conference power, the Dallas Mavericks, who was to say that the kooky Blazer kids were gonna be overmatched by a bankshot specialist, a 5-foot-4-inch pipsqueak PG, and a 43 year old Argentine man with all the hops of Andre Miller and the quick first step of Jerry West (if Jerry West were to dig out a pair of short-shorts and suit up on this evening, at age 71)? Plus Richard Jefferson. I always forget to mention Richard Jefferson. I guess he's okay — but I've never lost sleep over him, either.

All joking aside, chastened by my bailing on last night's amazing victory the previous night, I was committed to go down with the ship this time. And, somehow, I had a reasonably positive vibe about Portland's chances against the lesser Spurs team. The fact that Brandon Roy was out was a problem, sure. But haven't the haters already screamed in our ears 1400 times this season that Jerryd Bayless "IS NOT A POINT GUARD, HE'S A SHOOTING GUARD!!!!!!" Okay, so on this night I will agree with you all...  It seemed as though the planets were aligned for something special. If noting else, it would be entertaining to see B-Rex get unlimited run and jack up all of Brandon's shots. You knew THAT much was coming, at least...

There is some sort of unremarked principle in the NBA, which I have observed: a lesser team can stay with a superior team through halftime through sheer hustle and determination. Call it the Houston Rockets Principle. And the Blazers did just that, matching the Spurs blow for blow and heading to the locker room for cookies and milk essentially tied at the half with the Texans.

In the second half, and particularly the 4th Quarter, the superior team typically ratchets up the defensive pressure and pulls out the victory. But hey, we're talking about the Spurs. You might respect them as an elite team headed for a monumental conflict with the Lakers, the way that many pontificating preseason prognosticators did... Not me. The Spurs suck — they just haven't figured it out yet. Portland got MASSIVE performances out of LMA, Juwan Howard, and The Rex and some how, some way, managed to send the eye-plucking crows away — for one more night, at least. Hurray for that.

Now let's take a look at the handy dandy Popcorn Machine GAME FLOW SUMMARY and see if we can figure out what exactly happened to make the improbable possible. Please click that link, if you would...

Observation 1: Portland began to exert control over the game with a 15-4 run it put on the Spurs fairly early in the 3rd Quarter. The guys to credit were the starters: Miller, Rex, Marty, LMA, and Howard. It's worth noting that Andre scored 7 points in the quarter, breaking out of his shooting slump. Spurs tightened things up at the end of the 3rd Quarter with a little 7-1 run of their own, which coincided with Rex taking a potty break and Binky on the floor.

Observation 2: After about 2:30 of the 4th Quarter, Nate pulled Andre and Pendy and got serious. The Blazers went on their rather shocking 12-2 run that got the San Antonio crowd muttering. 

Observation 3: Rex had 9 and LMA had 8 in the final frame, so those are your superheroes of the evening. Special mention to Steve Blake for his heady tip-out of that last rebound when Rex's money shot in the last few seconds went awry.

Observation 4: DeJuan Blair had 6 points in 17 minutes. I didn't even notice him on the floor, which is a good sign. Grandpa Bankshot played over 40 minutes to get his 24 points. Considering the Blazers had no Center to slow him down, that is a scoring total that can be lived with. And so Portland themselves lived to tell the tale.

Perhaps the best game of the season for Portland, don't you think?


Well, I reckon that's all I have to say about that for the evening. Nor do Skeets and Melas have anything to say, as The Basketball Jones is on vacation until January 4. I guess we'll just mosey on down to the clips and snips from Spurland and call it good...



Blazers 98, Spurs 94 — Final

by Joe Alexander, San Antonio News Express Spurs blog

Jerryd Bayless had 31 points and former University of Texas star LaMarcus Aldridge had 22 points and eight rebounds to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a 98-94 lead over the Spurs on Wedneday night at the AT&T Center.

The short-handed Blazers had only eight players see action. Brandon Roy added to their list of injuries, sitting out with a sore shoulder.

Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 24 points and 11 rebounds. He was 10 of 11 on free throws, but did not shoot a free throw in the second half. * * *



Blazers' Bayless Comes Up Big Against Spurs

by Mike Monroe, San Antonio Express-News

Spurs guard George Hill has done a solid job defending some of the league's better perimeter scorers this season, but there was little he, or anyone else, could do Wednesday to slow Portland's Jerryd Bayless, a member of the same 2008 draft class that included Hill.

Bayless' well-defended 3-pointer with two minutes left in the Trail Blazers' 98-94 victory over the Sours at AT&T Center not only served as the dagger that did in the Spurs, it gave him 31 points for the game, a career high.

Bayless made 10 of 24 shots, including both of his 3-point attempts, and nine of 10 free throws. * * *

"He was just making shots," Hill said. "He played aggressive and he played with confidence. Once you make a couple of shots, that's what happens. He made a couple and started feeling it, but I wouldn't put him up there with the ‘he-got-so-hot-you-can't-stop-him' guys."  *  *  *



Spurs Lose a Real Head-Scratcher

by Jeff McDonald, San Antonio Express-News

* * *
Unbelievable pretty much covered what happened later that night at the AT&T Center, and that wasn't good news for the Spurs.

Playing with more rotation players on the injured list than on the floor, the Trail Blazers stunned the Spurs 98-94.

Jerryd Bayless, who began the season as the Blazers' 11th man, peppered the Spurs for a career-high 31 points, including a back-breaking 3-pointer that put Portland ahead 96-87 with 2:04 to go. It was Portland's second short-handed victory in as many nights, following an 85-81 triumph at Dallas.

Forget beating teams over .500, against whom the Spurs are now 2-10 this season. On Wednesday, they couldn't quite handle Portland's JV. * * *



Spurs Lose to a Decimated Portland Squad

by Lauri, Pounding the Rock, (SBN)

* * *
The injury-riddled Blazers played a gritty game, leading much of the first half and hitting some key 3-pointers late in the second quarter. The Spurs were plagued by turnovers once again, committing 9 in the first 24 minutes alone. However, they put together a nice little run capped off by a classic Manu bucket to reach halftime down by only 1.

The second half was a wild ride. The Spurs were down by 11 at one point, but managed to close to within 1 behind a charge led by Timmy and Mace. After that, though, Portland ran off 10 straight, and the Spurs never recovered. Jerryd Bayless (a sophomore) and Juwan Howard (an ancient) were too much for the men in silver and black tonight. * * *



Spurs vs. Blazers Recap

by Jeff Garcia, Project Spurs (Bloguin)

* * *

  • Main reason the Spurs lost was due to offensive rebounding. The Blazers won that battle 11-6. Overall the Blazers out rebounded the Spurs 36-33.
  • Spurs were led by Duncan with 24 points and 11 rebounds. After having two great games for the Spurs, Bogans had a terrible night going scoreless with just two rebounds.
  • Spurs committed 14 turnovers, shot 51% form the floor, went 6-21 from the three-point line, and shot 94% from the free-throw line. *  *  *
  • Spurs bench scored 30 points led by Mason with 16 points.
  • The Spurs lose to another quality team. Spurs are 2-9 against above .500 teams this season. * * *



It's Better To Burn Out Than To Fade Away

by SecretChord53, Spurs Dynasty (independent)

* * *
The extremely shorthanded Blazers, playing their fourth road game in five nights, played with more energy, more heart, and more passion. Missing their best player (Roy), most of their best supporting cast, and reaching to the depths of their bench, they completely outclassed us on our floor. In the end, it was too little, too late, as we made one final surge to climb within 2 with 27 seconds left. We got the stop we needed but could not secure a rebound. Ballgame.

Let's get down to brass tacks: we are not a very good basketball team. This game was a litmus test for us (and if you don't think Pop wanted it bad, just check out Duncan's playing time in the second half), and again we failed. Despite four elite offensive players, we have no flow or rhythm to our offense. Everyone is afraid to shoot; we pass up open jumpers time and time again to drive into double teams and make poor outlet passes that very often result in turnovers. We can't even run a fast break properly.

The glory of our defensive dominance fades further and further into the rear view mirror everyday. We got torched by an undersized second year guard playing in only his second week of meaningful burn. Time and time again we are unable to secure critical defensive rebounds. We are getting by on reputation and Duncan alone. That's it. Nobody else is having a season worth remembering. * * *



Cartoon Time

posted by "Tim C." to Pounding the Rock (SBN)




Gameday Thread Angst

posted to Pounding the Rock (SBN)

Well at least it was a tough team that beat the spurs and the spurs were playing away from home

by alamobro on Dec 23, 2009 8:00 PM PST

We lost to half a playoff contender!
by theonlyromeo on Dec 23, 2009 8:01 PM PST

We suck.
We flat out suck. This was a pathetic game, pathetic effort all around. Manu, start driving to the basket, otherwise you can go retire now. Tim, stay on your man. What the hell are you thinking? * * *

by LatinD on Dec 23, 2009 8:01 PM PST



Pop = Retard

posted by "SacRules99" to ESPN Spurs message board

Of all the embarrassing losses the past few years, this one is easily the worst off the top of my head. No excuse whatsoever. I'm disgusted with Ginobili and McDyess, but most of all Pop. The lineups this r e t a r d are playing are not only contradictory (Mr. We need to get back to elite defense yet I'm going to play lineups that give us a chance to be barely adequate defensively and look like a lesser version of the mid-decade Suns), but HAVE NO CHANCE. Jefferson on Aldridge; really? Is he TRYING to sabotage the team at this point? The sieve like defense of Parker against the red hot Bayless down the stretch?

The only way the Trail Blazers win this game is with deplorable coaching/effort by the Spurs. All the Spurs had to do was play Aldridge straight up with McDyess and Raliff, stay home on the shooters and force him to beat them by scoring 30+. If they do that, at least they give themselves the best possible chance to win. Finally the Spurs face a team with a significantly worse front court than theirs, yet the proceed to make that advantage obsolete by playing small, playing right into the opposition's hands and getting killed. When you're in constant help/rotation/scramble mode defensively, you have no chance.



Credit to Nate. Sort of. Partially. A little.

posted by "BLK Roadrunners" to Spurs Talk message board

I (somewhat) give credit to Nate McMillan. For the past 5 years or so, he's one of the better coaches who has the Xs and Os to take down Tim Duncan and crew, or at least compete against them. Still though tonight, the Spurs should have won by at least 15.



The Game Has Changed

posted by "Can't Be Faded" to Spurs Talk message board

The game has changed. The Spurs formula just does not work any more. Way too many athletes, way too much length, we are an obsolete model for success.

If this Spurs team, with its current age, went against the NBA at any point more than 3 years ago, we'd be a given to make it deep in the playoffs. But all the ridiculous, lanky, explosive athletes that have been drafted by the dozens for most of the past decade have all grown up and are in the start of their prime. Adding one or two players ain't gonna fix this machine.



Worst Ever

posted by "Harlem Heat" to Spurs Talk message board

one of the worst regular season losses of the Duncan era.. embarrassing.. [obscene imperative] this team..



Learn and Move On

posted by Supergirl to Spurs Talk message board

The difference was hustle. Spurs came out expecting a depleted team to roll over, and the Blazers didnt do that. Neither did the Jazz when they were depleted last year against the Spurs. I said it earlier: DEPLETED TEAMS ARE DANGEROUS. Yet the Spurs keep thinking they get to take the night off and then expect to be able to make it up in the final 2 min of the game.

The Spurs beat themselves tonight. Move on, learn from it.


The Bottom Line:

1. The Blazers shouldn't be in our league. No Brandon Roy? Playing in our house? No Oden, Fernandez, Batum, Outlaw, Przybilla??? And your Blazers beat us?!?!? This is some kind of joke, right?

2. Wanna trade us that Bayless kid? We might be able to work something out...

3. This does not feel good right now. We may have a breach in our hull...



Time for more '70s rock, boys and girls... This was one of my favorite bands back  in the day — X.

I think this is from the film The Decline of Western Civilization (1981).

"Beyond and Back" 

Here's another one from the same source, more typical of the sound. Maybe a light NSW warning here for dark lyrics...

"Johnny Hit and Run Pauline"