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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Gi-no-bili! Barkley's Favorite Player Takes Over in the Fourth Quarter

The San Antonio Spurs bounced back from their terrible Game Three performance to post a 91-79 Game Four victory over the Utah Jazz. The Spurs lead the Western Conference Finals 3-1 and are one home win away from their fourth trip to the NBA Finals in the Tim Duncan era. Some analysts fell for the trap of reading too much into the margin of Utah's Game Three win but right after that game I wrote, "Look for a much closer contest in Game Four and don't be surprised if the Spurs go back to San Antonio with a 3-1 lead." Duncan had decent numbers but looked out of sorts at times, leading ESPN's Mark Jackson to say, "I've never seen him play worse." Duncan still managed to put up 19 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots, which is a pretty good night's work for most players, but he did have five turnovers. The Spurs got vital contributions from Manu Ginobili, who finished with 22 points, six rebounds and three steals. He scored 16 fourth quarter points, including three free throws that put the Spurs up 82-72 at the 3:57 mark after Derek Fisher fouled him while he was attempting a three pointer. Tony Parker (17 points), Michael Finley (13 points) and Fabricio Oberto (11 points, 11 rebounds) each scored in double figures for the Spurs.

Some deride Ginobili for flopping when he tries to draw charges but you have to give him credit for this: when he receives a hard foul, he doesn't whine and he doesn't act tough and try to start a fight; he stands up, dusts himself off and shoots his free throws. On the other hand, the Jazz clearly lost their cool down the stretch, as Coach Jerry Sloan and Derek Fisher were both ejected. "They just have not conducted themselves with the poise necessary to win a close game," concluded ESPN's Jeff Van Gundy, who probably wondered why Utah did not collapse like that when he coached the Houston Rockets against them in the first round--doesn't that seem like a lifetime ago? Not only Utah's players and coaches lost their composure but also their fans, who threw debris on the court after the game, as Michele Tafoya explained to the national television audience that it would not be possible to do the traditional postgame interview on the court. The final result and the ugly behavior at the end should not detract from the fine performances turned in once again by Deron Williams (27 points, 10 assists, three steals) and Carlos Boozer (18 points, nine rebounds), who have emerged in this postseason as one of the top young duos in the NBA. They just did not receive enough help from their teammates, none of whom scored in double figures. As ESPN's Tim Legler put it on SportsCenter, "Utah is basically playing two against five offensively." This was Utah's first home loss of the 2007 playoffs and most likely their last home game of these playoffs as well, unless the Jazz are able to pull it together and win in San Antonio, always a daunting task.

posted by David Friedman @ 1:12 AM



At Tuesday, May 29, 2007 8:00:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was a frustrating game to watch as the refs blew it for Utah in the fourth. How can any home team rack up a 22-2 advantage from the charity stripe? Brutal...

At Tuesday, May 29, 2007 8:27:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

utah doesntr have what it takes to be a championship team this proves it right now the spurs got a 22-2 freethrow advantage detroit wil now try to git rid of cleveland so the spurs can get no rest thats why detroit thought they lost the 05 finals it's over

At Tuesday, May 29, 2007 6:30:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

kobe neds to stop complaining learn how to keep stuff in house not out to where it becomes a big problem

in the phx series mr clutch shot 1-10 in the fourth if he made a couple they might of won
game 2 he went 1-6 in the final 3 qtrs 3 pts in the 4th 3 game 4 3 pts in the fourth and game 5 13-133 odom outplayed him in 4 and 5 stop complaining and let the organization make moves not you try to you were already succesful getting shaq out of there.

At Tuesday, May 29, 2007 9:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to the last anonymous,

What does that have to do with this topic? Oh that's right, nothing.

Must be nothing to do for a perennial loser Suns' fan.

Keep enjoying your lack of titles and chances.

Kobe will have at least retired having won 3 titles and broken and set multiple NBA records, while being recognized as one of the best of all time.

Oh, and I don't think it's up to you to decide how he should operate, nor how the front office should conduct business.

He did the right thing anyway, and if you had a clue you'd realize that the best way to put pressure on the front office is to be public.

The only people who would complain about the move have nothing to gain from it (i.e stupid detractors [you], whiners).

The REAL fans agree with him completely. The rest shouldn't have an opinion at all, since it's not their team.

Btw, learn to type and learn proper formatting in your posts. It would make them much easier to read.

At Wednesday, May 30, 2007 8:35:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well thought i give my opion since david talks about him all day everyday when he stop playing like a month ago disrespecting teams still playing now.

he got 3 rings he got kevin mchale 3 and scottie pippen 6 while shaq has bird and jordan 3 and 6 who gets more respect for his rings?

I dont care about the suns i just thought he was whining to continue this bs. you tried to run the team in 04 you ran them to the ground.

he needs to deal with the bed he made for himself and stop whining and crying what is he going to do not pass to his teamates all season as t j simers said he alrady takes a bunch of bad shots and doesnt pass.

dont critique my typeing kobe lover tell kobe to learn to stop whineing

At Wednesday, May 30, 2007 11:28:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

The Spurs got the free throw advantage by being the more aggressive and composed team, while Utah unraveled when the Spurs turned the pressure up.

As for Kobe, first we have to find out what the real story is. The media have a habit of putting words in people's mouths, so don't assume that we really know what Kobe actually has said or done.

You left out a couple important facts about Kobe's playoff run this year. (1) His team was a heavy underdog; (2) Kobe had to do so much in the three quarters to carry the team that he ran out of gas in the fourth quarter. Nash's Suns had homecourt advantage versus the Spurs, which they squandered in the first game when they were at full strength. Nash is surrounded by talented players, so he does not have to carry the entire load for the first three quarters.

Kobe most certainly did not run Shaq out of town; in fact, Jerry Buss publicly stated that he was not going to re-sign Shaq, whether Kobe chose to re-sign or not. The Lakers have done a terrible job of building around Kobe for the past three years and Kobe is claiming that they have not signed players--Baron Davis for example--who were willing to take less money for the opportunity to play with Kobe. If you were Kobe you would be very upset with this situation, too.

At Wednesday, May 30, 2007 11:31:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

I don't bring up Kobe out of context in a post about San Antonio-Utah, like you just did here. I bring up Kobe whenever I discuss the league's top players, because he is the best player in the NBA.

None of us can control what Kobe says or does but you could put some effort into making your comments easier to read.

At Wednesday, May 30, 2007 2:51:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what does clevland vs detroit got to do with kobe as you brought him up and game one and two in those post because lebron got critcized go read other columnist they didnt make it into how much would kobe get critized for this or how much would steve nash get critcized for this thing.

kobe played terrible when it counts is what im saying and game 4 and 5 he played terrible the whole game game 1 he had a great first half that's it.

what does steve nash vs the spurs got to do with what im saying plus game 1 he didnt go in for the last 2 minutes because of the bloody nose. san antonio gave home court back and threw a cheap shot and got amare and diaw suspended is the only reason they won.

kobe should keep his mouth shut and do this privately stop acting like a primadonna of a situatuation he created and lakers insiders apparently no that two thats why there the one's who leaked it. kobe still wasnt going to resign with the lakers if shaq was there he woulda and now shoulda went to the clippers or bulls this situation is his fault and he should take responsibilty

At Thursday, May 31, 2007 7:05:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

That is precisely why I brought Kobe up in reference to LeBron and Nash. It makes no sense for every talking head to bash LeBron, who is in his first Conference Finals, and to bash Kobe, whose team was a severe underdog, but to give Nash a free pass when he has won two MVPs and his team was favored but lost homecourt advantage in the first game versus the Spurs. I am not making gratuitous references to Kobe and Nash; I am pointing out something very important that other analysts are ignoring: there is a serious double standard in the way that the league's top players are evaluated--Nash is above all criticism, individually or for his team's failures, while Kobe gets criticized incessantly for everything he says or does and LeBron gets criticized for "not having what it takes" before the series is even over; that is going to sound pretty stupid if the Cavs actually beat Detroit.

At Friday, June 01, 2007 1:15:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

steve nash is above crticism because they like him alot and to be real he's white any time the league is mainly black and you have a real good white player there going to over protect him because most in the media is white. Im not saying that kobe and lebron get ripped because they black totally but white people dont feel any connection with them and dont care as much. Kobe is ripped alot more than lebron sometimes unfairly even though i call him a baby sometimes.

I think alot of black people feel that way people like scoop jackson jamele hill complained of stuff like that some people thought he won the two mvp's cause he was whithe. I like your analyst on this you are a fair white person who doesnt see color if you look at kobe or nash.

clerly your a kobe fan who thought nash got the mvp on pure ignorance and numbers didnt merit it and he hasnt got far enough in the playoffs to justify it. There are people who will favor him because he white or be easy on himbecause of that.

At Friday, June 01, 2007 1:16:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

im anymous 2 who posted that

At Friday, June 01, 2007 7:20:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

I don't think that Nash is viewed so highly because he is white. If that were the case then Dirk would be getting a pass, too, but he has been getting drilled ever since Dallas lost in the first round. Nash's Suns only made it one round farther and he did not play well in the last two games of the series.

I also don't get the sense that there is a particular backlash against Nash among black writers and/or black players. Dan LeBetard wrote something about Nash getting the MVP (the first time) because of some kind of reverse racism and he was criticized very heavily for suggesting that. Greg Anthony has advocated for Kobe over Nash for MVP primarily because Kobe is a better defender but I've never heard him say or suggest that Nash is getting preferential treatment because he is white. I suppose that this may be a factor but I really think that something else is at work in this particular situation, which is not to say by any means that I don't think that racism exists; I just don't think that it is the primary driving force in this instance.


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