I am fully prepared, after roughly 10 PM Pacific tonight, to root for the Spurs. I want nothing more than for the Lakers to have to face Tim Duncan and friends in the first round. And to lose. I want the Lakers to lose. Therefore, go Spurs. Go Blazers. Go Thunder. Go Nuggets. Go Mavericks. Go Suns. Go Jazz. Hell, go Cavs, go Magic, go Cel-- nah, I can't do that. Go, um, Hawks. Yeah, Hawks!
The Spurs are back. If you saw Manu Ginobili go antimatter in Sunday's televised game against the Lakers, you'd have known that. San Antonio just beat last season's Finals teams, Orlando and L.A., by a combined 31 points. They were both revenge games, as the Magic and Lakers each beat S.A. in March. But still. A 12-point win over Orlando, a team with a great chance to again represent the East in the Finals? And a 19-point win over the Lakers in L.A.? On T.V., with Kobe the star of the show thanks to a rich contract which will in a couple make him the first $30-million player since M.J.?
The odd thing about San Antonio has been that the offense has been so good -- ninth in the league. That's the highest the Spurs have been since 2006-07 (a title year) -- the team was just 13th, practically average, last season. The team has shot very well (seventh in eFG). Eight of the 10 "rotation players" have eFGs of .498 or better -- league average is .499. Ginobili has burst to life after a halting start to the season, now averaging better than 20 points and six assists per 36 minutes. He's been Heaven-sent since Tony Parker's injury depleted the backcourt. (Parker hasn't played since the first week of March, and might not be back until the playoffs begin.)
George Hill will miss tonight's game, much to the relief of Beno Udrih. I assume Keith Bogans will get the start; he's an excellent defender who could very well spend all night in front of 20-5-5-chasing Tyreke Evans. Antonio McDyess may or may not play -- if he doesn't, I'd suppose it'd be Matt Bonner in that spot, and you know how much our big men love to chase their men out to the perimeter. Richard Jefferson shall be matched up with Andres Nocioni, and ... oh wait ...
There we go. Tim Duncan vs. Carl Landry. Big Fun vs. Hot Carl. In his last 10 games, Landry has averaged 19 points on 52 percent shooting. I believe that deserves a "Yessir."
Bobby Jackson makes Bobby Jackson Appreciation Night really special by announcing his candidacy for governor. "Steve Poizner ain't the only muthaf***er who can lift a car, youknowwhaddI'msayin?"
"I do declare," Jon Brockman proclaims at his locker, "that Christ has risen, and in the form of a ham-and-cheese Hot Pocket."
7 PM PDT start. Two game threads (7, 8:15) and a post-gamer (9:45).