Written on:May 19, 2021
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Like a Rolling Stone – It was a different world, it was another life. Perhaps, in a cruelly poetic way, this was the bridge from the stability of a world that had sustained for decades to the chaos of a new world that awaited on the horizon just past the point of visibility. The San Antonio Spurs fought nobly to hang on to that past stability, to the order of a world that for Lonnie Walker IV, the Spurs youngest player, was the only world he had ever known. When Patty Mills aggressively advanced an outlet pass to a streaking Bryn Forbes for a dunk that cut the Denver Nuggets’ lead to two points (88-86) with 52.2 seconds remaining in Game 7, having clawed our way back from an abysmal 13 point first quarter performance and a deficit that ballooned to 17 points in the third quarter, the continuation of stability and order was well within our reach. Full stop with one stop for a chance to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals for the 17th time in 21 seasons under Gregg Popovich. Could we get just one stop?  After a Nuggets timeout, we received our answer…unfortunately it was not the answer we had been hoping for and Jamal Murray, Denver’s super-talented point guard, was more than happy to be the bearer of our bad news.  With 36.8 seconds remaining, Murray sank a 14-foot floater to extend the Nuggets’ lead back up to four (90-86). Of course, as coldblooded and devastating as Murray’s dagger was, all hope was not yet lost. In his first season headlining the post-Kawhi-defection-Spurs, DeMar DeRozan had had no issues putting the team on his back in clutch situations. Nothing was about to change during a First Round Game 7. Only eight seconds later, DeMar got to “his spot” deep in the paint and rose up for a shot to cut the lead to two with enough time left (28 seconds) for us to have the opportunity to play defense without fouling. Sadly, that opportunity never ultimately came to fruition as DeMar’s shot was blocked by Torrey Craig, one of Denver’s better wing-defenders. Nuggets superstar center Nikola Jokic recovered Craig’s block shot giving possession back to Denver.  While the blocked shot was obviously devastating to the Spurs’ chances of advancement, once again…all was not yet lost. Down four, the Spurs still had the opportunity to play the “foul game” and given the Nuggets’ collective playoff inexperience coupled with the added pressure of an elimination game, it was reasonable to hope that Denver might miss free throws and help keep San Antonio’s door open to make up the four point deficit in the final 25 seconds.  What happened next, though, was inexplicable. For some reason, the Spurs elected not to foul and allowed Denver to run the shot clock down under five seconds before Murray ultimately shot and missed. It seemed that Coach Pop was calling for the foul from the sidelines but our players on the court seemed to just have a collective mental meltdown by allowing the Nuggets to run the clock down. Even though Murray missed, it was too late by the time DeMar got the rebound given that we were still down four points. There was only one second left when DeRozan got control of the ball and realizing that it was over, he didn’t even attempt a desperation shot before time ran out and San Antonio’s season was over. On April 27th, 2019, the Denver Nuggets eliminated the San Antonio Spurs in seven games (4-3), winning the decisive game 90-86 at home at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Rudy Gay was the player of the game with 21 points and 8 rebounds off the bench. Without the veteran swingman’s contributions throughout the game, the Spurs wouldn’t have had the opportunity to be within striking distance to steal the series down the stretch.  Spurs teams past regularly came up with the stops necessary to advance in the playoffs. The 2018-19 Spurs didn’t and in falling short, this group, despite their grit, finally allowed the bonds of our past to succumb under the weight of an offseason transaction that changed the trajectory of our future.  The new world was no longer just past the point of visibility on the horizon, the new world was here.

Fast forward 25 months and a lot has happened.  First (but not foremost), this, the Black & Silver post for the 2019 Western Conference First Round, Game 7, is brazenly pushing out the limits of what constitutes a timely game recap. If you are a regular reader of the blog series, it will probably not shock you to know that I’m unapologetically defiant (borderline gleeful) to be pushing those limits. After all, one of our guiding principles here at theLeftAhead is that time is an illusion. Of course, I wouldn’t have had to push the limits out this much had an unfortunate incident of playing an uneven number of games during the pandemic resulted in the unlucky math that eliminated the Spurs from competing in the 2019-20 NBA Playoffs in The Bubble in Orlando, FL last fall and also ended San Antonio’s record-breaking streak of 22 consecutive playoff appearances. Like I said, a lot has happened in the 25 months since the Spurs 2019 Game 7 defeat at the hands of the Nuggets. A new world indeed. Zoom forward a little bit more into this season and we find a couple of more examples of our beloved Spurs adjusting to the realities of this new era. The season started off on a very positive trajectory and there was hope that last season was just a blip (and not the new normal). There were positive indications that we were in position to establish our return to being a perennial postseason lock through much of the season with the team reaching a season-high mark of five games over .500 and holding the fifth-seed in the standings on Valentine’s Day. Then, unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic reared its ugly head. We were never the same after losing five players to health and safety protocols in late February. To make matter worse, having had six games postponed due to protocols also meant that our schedule post-All-Star break was the most brutal in the league playing 40 games in 68 days without one instance of consecutive days off in the second half of the season. More tribulations came as the Spurs decided to buy out LaMarcus Aldridge (one of the last remaining links to the old world Spurs) on March 25th when we couldn’t find a suitable trade partner before the deadline. I was happy to see LA sign with the Nets so he could have a chance to compete again for a title but then really bummed when he was abruptly forced to retire on April 15th due to a reoccurrence of his heart condition. (I enjoyed watching you go to work on the block in SA for six great years, LA. Amazing career. Health is more important than basketball so I wish you a long, healthy retirement.) As if we had not already endured enough adversity, we lost Derrick White to a season-ending ankle sprain at the end of April. All of this adversity resulted in the Spurs going from five games over .500 to six games below .500 and ending the season as the 10th seed entering the newly-created NBA Playoff Play-In Tournament. Tonight, we face a familiar division foe in the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum. The Grizzlies hold the 9th seed in the play-in tournament so they get home court advantage for tonight’s game. If we win tonight, we will get to play the loser of tonight’s game between the 8th seed Golden State Warriors and the 7th seed Defending Champion Los Angeles Lakers on Friday. Win that game and we earn the 8th seed and get to face the Utah Jazz in the First Round of the playoffs. Quite a task in front of us but the good new is that there is no expectation for us two win two games in a row to “make the playoffs” so we might as well play loose and see what happens. In the end, we are officially in this new world of playing the underdog rather than being the perennial powerhouse and it’s kind of exciting to be in this new position. There are advantages to our new world. Tonight is going to be a lot of fun. Nothing exemplifies the transition into a new era of Spurs basketball more than an event that took place this past Saturday (May 15th). If you’re a reader of this blog and a Spurs plan, the aforementioned event need not be named (but I will share a video from it below). All I need to say is thank you ? thank you ? thank you ? thank you ? thank you ? Tim Duncan. And on that note, time to start preparing for the game tonight. Even as an underdog, we still have the winningest coach in NBA history in our corner (regular season and playoffs combined) so I like our chances to play loose and enjoy the “lack of expectations” and maybe get hot and shake up the 2021 Western Conference Playoff race. If we are successful in sneaking our way into a First Round series with the Utah Jazz, all I can say to the fans of the teams ahead of us who may feel that their squads were more deserving is sorry, not sorry.

 

 

#GoSpursGo


Featured Image Source: BarDown

Headline Image Source: The Comeback


B&S 20/20: 1999 NBA Finals Game 5

Written on:June 25, 2019

We Are the Champions – June 24th, 1999. I’d been dreaming about this night, this game, this moment for a little over nine years. To be precise, I’d been dreaming about it ever since renewing my love for the game of basketball after returning to Texas from England as a eleven-year-old in January 1990. Let me explain. While living in England in 1989 (because my dad – a college professor…

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B&S 20/20: 1999 NBA Finals Game 4

Written on:June 23, 2019

House of the Rising Sun – It must’ve been a funny feeling for the players on our Western Conference Champion San Antonio Spurs to walk off of the Madison Square Garden basketball court in New York City on the short end of the score board after Game 3 of the 1999 NBA Finals. After all, the 89-81 loss to the New York Knicks was the first defeat in our past…

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B&S 20/20: 1999 NBA Finals Game 3

Written on:June 21, 2019

Welcome to New York City – Welcome to the Empire State. Home of the World Trade. Birthplace of Michael Jordan. Home of Biggie Smalls.. How fitting a setting. The San Antonio Spurs first NBA Finals road game in franchise history was scheduled to be played in the Mecca, Madison Square Garden, the most famous and arguably most historic basketball arena on the planet. The New York Knicks, our opponents faced…

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B&S 20/20: 1999 NBA Finals Game 2

Written on:June 18, 2019

Learn to Fly – Sixth months prior to the turn of the century (and the millennium depending on your counting), the future looked pretty bright for the New York Knickerbockers and their fans. Their longtime finals-preventing-nemesis Michael Jordan was retired and the stranglehold on the Eastern Conference he and his Chicago Bulls had maintained during all of the non-baseball-interrupted nineties was no more. With an adoring fan-base, vast resources, and…

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B&S 20/20: 1999 NBA Finals Game 1

Written on:June 16, 2019

Get Ready for This – Throughout my childhood growing up in Central Texas, I had regularly dreamed about this moment. As far as moments go for a city and its fans, this one was huge and luckily, the city of San Antonio had a building huge enough in its own right to handle it. 39,514 success-starved, exuberant Spurs fans packed themselves into the Alamodome on June 16th, 1999 to be…

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B&S 20/20: Memorial Day Miracle

Written on:May 31, 2019

Lose Yourself – Damon Stoudamire, Arvydas Sabonis, Rasheed Wallace, Brian Grant, Isaiah Rider, Stacey Augmon, Jim Jackson, Walt Williams, Jermaine O’Neal, and Greg Anthony came to play that day. As we knew they would. After all, every higher-seeded playoff team understands that stealing one of the first two games on the road as the underdog increases your chances of winning the series astronomically. Having lost 80-76 in the grind fest…

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Thirteen Port

Written on:April 27, 2019

Things Done Changed – Gregg Popovich is 3-3 coaching in Game 7s. He won his first at home on basketball’s biggest stage in an 81-74 defensive masterpiece against the Detroit Pistons to closeout the bloodbath that was also known as the 2005 NBA Finals and capture our third NBA title. Manu Ginobili, the most beloved Spur that Pop has ever coached, was magnificent in the championship-clinching victory tallying 23 points…

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Three Starboard

Written on:April 24, 2019

Break On Through – “It’s over. We just beat you by 20. You’re done.” Those words have echoed in my head since the moment they were spoken to me last night outside of the Pepsi Center as my wife and I were waiting for our Lyft. Dressed for a fun night out on the town in a black long-sleeved t-shirt that proudly displayed “San Antonio Basketball” across my chest, they…

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Two Starboard

Written on:April 21, 2019

Who Gon Stop Me -Give them credit. The Nuggets played outstanding basketball in Game 4. When you make 15 threes shooting 48.4 percent on 31 attempts while taking care of your possession to the tune of only committing seven turnovers, you are probably going to win. When you do these things in a hostile environment on the road down 2-1 in a playoff series, you probably have no intention of…

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Fourteen Port

Written on:April 19, 2019

Ticket to Ride – When Number Two sat down in an undisclosed private dining room this past summer with Popo, the best weapon in the organization told his general that he wanted out. He confessed, “This isn’t the life I want anymore. I’ve got my family to think about.” Popo tried to talk him out of it but there was no changing Number Two’s mind. The silent assassin looked his…

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One Starboard

Written on:April 17, 2019

Fire – So close, yet so, so far away. When we went up 19 points (42-23) with 8:28 still to play in the second quarter, of course I was pleased, but I wasn’t thrilled. All I could think about was how many eternities were left in the ballgame and how potent the offense of the team in the city I call home (and therefore the team I watch more than…

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Fifteen Port

Written on:April 15, 2019

Eternal – Oh how I love this time of year. I love the way a perpetual immersive tension is perfectly counterbalanced by an efficacious radiating exhilaration so that my resulting disposition is a delicious zen, a refreshing calm. I love the way my artistic senses are heightened, permeating my creativity like rich, dark ink saturating my quill. This time of year, melodies dance with prose through my mind in rebellious…

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Four Saṃsāra ​

Written on:April 13, 2019

All Night – In his late-14th Century poem “Troilus and Criseyde,” Geoffrey Chaucer penned the phrase, “All good things must come to an end.” The poem is about the tragic love story of Troilus and Criseyde and is set against the Siege of Troy as a backdrop. As with every good thing that has come before, one could assume the love affair between the city of San Antonio and winning…

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One Nirvana

Written on:April 23, 2018

Pray – I mean, it’s basically stupid at this point. How many Is This Real Life moments can one individual, singular, unitary player of basketball have? Just when you think he’s reached the Tip Your Cap And Call It A Day bitter end and he can’t possibly continue to pull more of that handkerchief out of his pocket, his eye twinkles as he slips you a little wink and then…

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Three Saṃsāra

Written on:April 21, 2018

I Won’t Back Down – Don’t worry. I’m not gonna to do what you all think I’m gonna do, which is, you know, FLIP OUT AND PREDICT WE’RE GONNA COMEBACK AND WIN THE SERIES. Can I be Phoebe Buffay’s little brother? Can I be Frank? Frankly, I don’t have the energy. It’s been a long, long week and there’s no other way to put it, I’m tired. And as I…

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Two Saṃsāra

Written on:April 18, 2018

Wonderwall – Dear Kawhi, isn’t it funny how so many of these so-called experts and insiders have filled your silence with so much noise? I’ll be honest. As a die-hard fan, it’s been a really hard year. Knowing your competitive spirit, I can’t even begin to try to imagine how hard the year has been for you. But as a die-hard fan, believe me, I’m trying to imagine it. I’m…

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One Saṃsāra

Written on:April 16, 2018

Rebirth – It wasn’t supposed to be this way. How did we get here? This is the kind of thing that just doesn’t happen to the little basketball powerhouse who calls South Texas home. It feels like Biff has stolen the Spurs Retirement Vehicle at some point in the future after time travel has been invented and the SRV has been converted into a time machine and then travelled back…

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Ocho Derrotas

Written on:October 18, 2017

digging for windows – Déjà vu. It seemed eerily similar to the ending of last season. Swallowing the suddenness of the end to a season is hard enough without having to deal with the nervousness that you may also be watching a basketball icon leave the hardwood for the very last time. Having an abundance of basketball icons on one roster is certainly a good problem to have but it…

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The Kawhi Question

Written on:June 25, 2017

His offense or his defense? Could Kawhi get buckets on Kawhi?     His offense tho. His defense tho. Kawhi tho. #GoSpursGo Video Source: Jordan on YouTube Featured Image Source: jumpman23 on Instagram

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Siete Derrotas

Written on:May 22, 2017

Carry On – It’s well documented that no team in NBA history has ever come back to win a playoff series after trailing 0-3. The “experts” will tell you it’s impossible in basketball. The thing is, according to the “experts” it used to be impossible in baseball as well. Until it wasn’t. The 2004 Boston Red Sox changed what is possible in baseball. Eventually, a team will change what is…

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Seis Derrotas

Written on:May 19, 2017

Everyday People – Kawhi Leonard still drives a beat up 1997 Chevy Tahoe that he’s had since high school. Last year, the season after signing a $94,343,126 five-year contract, the All-NBA small forward was asked why he keeps a beater that he once nicknamed Gas Guzzler. His response? “It runs and it’s paid off.” I think it’s safe to say the San Antonio Spurs’ newest franchise cornerstone is as down…

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Cinco Derrotas

Written on:May 16, 2017

Until the End of Time – In their hearts, they know. Not to say that they care (vultures rarely do) but they know. The Golden State Warriors (the boastful sports ambassadors for a sinister darkness that has taken root in American culture, an epidemic that from here on I’ll refer to as the Gluttony of More) know that if Kawhi Leonard had not been injured…they would be peering up today…

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Ocho Triunfos

Written on:May 14, 2017

Faith – The “experts” were utterly dumbfounded. But why wouldn’t they have been? In their minds, what they had witnessed was impossible. After they found out that Kawhi Leonard had been scratched prior to Thursday’s matchup, the consensus among their ranks was that the Rockets would certainly force a Game 7. I mean, it was as close to a sure thing as comes around in the business of sports prognostication….

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Siete Triunfos

Written on:May 11, 2017

City of the Year – That was freaking insane. (No, I’m not talking about President Trump firing F.B.I. Director James Comey on Tuesday. While that was the desperate attempt of an unstable leader to cover up the high crimes and misdemeanors that could prove his illegitimacy and was unquestionably insane, luckily for the former reality show star who currently occupies the White House, this is a basketball blog series so,…

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Cuatro Derrotas

Written on:May 8, 2017

All We Got – Condolences to Patrick Beverley and his family. The Rockets shooting guard found out about the passing of his grandfather an hour before the tip of Game 4. He proceeded to hit the first shot of the game, a three from the elbow, and set the tone for the entire night. In a game that was eerily similar to Game 1 in San Antonio, the Houston Rockets…

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Seis Triunfos

Written on:May 6, 2017

Guess Who’s Back – Face it y’all, y’all Rockets playing basic-ball. We’re on the block like we’re eight feet tall. [Friday Afternoon] Yeah, I did it. Guilty as charged, Your Honor. There’s no denying it. Yes, I used a Scarface song against the city of Houston for the Game 3 theme of my San Antonio Spurs blog series. I’m not even sorry about it. Judge, I refer you back to…

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Cinco Triunfos

Written on:May 4, 2017

Rocket Man – And I think it’s going to be a long, long time till touchdown brings me around again to find I’m not the man they think I am at home. I mean, come on. This is insanity. Kahwi Leonard just obliterated James Harden and in so doing…the way the “experts” framed this year’s NBA MVP race. You need to take your “best two-way player in the game but…”…

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Tres Derrotas

Written on:May 2, 2017

Welcome to the Jungle – One of the great equalizers in military conflict is the element of surprise. Guerrilla tactics can often catch a superior army off guard to win a battle, especially in terrain as hostile as the jungle. Once the inferior army has successfully stunned the opponent through its initial guerrilla attack, it can use jungle terrain to its advantage to stay two steps ahead until the battle…

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Cuatro Triunfos

Written on:May 1, 2017

Victory – We’ve been hot for a long time burning like a candle. Much like Newton’s Laws of Motion, one would assume it safe scientific theory to postulate that if two basketball teams were to repeatedly play each other over and over again, it’s a statistical inevitability that eventually one of the two teams will win a game on the road. In the 2016-17 NBA season, the Memphis Grizzlies and…

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Tres Triunfos

Written on:April 26, 2017

Let It Be – When I find myself in times of trouble, Manu Ginobili comes to me, bringing that grandpa juice, let it be. Welcome to the 2017 NBA Playoffs, Manu. In all sincerity, it really just wasn’t the same without you. I had a sneaking suspicion all day yesterday, as I nervously awaited tip off, that you would arrive in Game 5. Because of this hunch, there was no…

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Dos Derrotas

Written on:April 24, 2017

Heroes – Congratulations are in order for the city of Memphis. What a hard fought victory. In particular, congratulations are in order for Marc Gasol. What an incredible shot. Put more succinctly, what a heroic shot. With the weight of the entire Grit-N-Grind era of Memphis Grizzlies basketball quite literally hanging in the balance, Pau’s little bro aka Big Spain found the soft touch to deliver one of the biggest…

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Uno Derrota

Written on:April 22, 2017

HUMBLE. – If the last six months have taught us anything, it’s that whining can take you a long way in Donald Trump’s America. Case in point, Memphis Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale. Congratulations, Fizzy. Whining has now earned you a playoff victory against the San Antonio Spurs. In the least surprising development of the 2017 playoffs, to date, Memphis defeated San Antonio 105-94 on Thursday night to close the…

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Dos Triunfos

Written on:April 19, 2017

Good – What are we talking about? Data? We’re talking about data, man. We’re talking about data. We’re talking about data. We ain’t talking about the game. We’re talking about data, man. Different bat time, different bat channel, same bat story. The San Antonio Spurs have now defeated the Memphis Grizzlies an impressive ten straight times in the postseason after vanquishing our division rival 96-82 in Game 2 of the…

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Uno Triunfo

Written on:April 16, 2017

Forever – Last name EVER, first name GREATEST, like a sprained ankle, boy, that Black & Silver franchise ain’t nothin’ to play with. Wasn’t this whole thing supposed to have ended six years ago? I mean, I listened to the “experts” back then. When the San Antonio Spurs failed to advance to the conference finals for three consecutive seasons, starting in 2009, the “experts” told us the dynasty was dead….

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Thank You, Matt Bonner

Written on:January 7, 2017

Matt Bonner joined the San Antonio Spurs on June 21, 2006 via trade. The Red Rocket (along with Eric Williams) was traded from the Toronto Raptors for Rašo Nesterović and cash considerations. Despite only averaging 4.9 points in 11.7 minutes during his first season in San Antonio (2006-07), Bonner erupted in his second season to lead the Spurs to their fourth NBA championship, carrying former stars Tim Duncan, Tony Parker,…

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Four Behind

Written on:October 23, 2016

Take the Power Back – I’d never spent that much time thinking about it. I never really needed to. His performance was too consistent, his presence too permanent. Few things in life were as reliable. Tim Duncan was the San Antonio Spurs and the San Antonio Spurs were Tim Duncan. It sounds so simple yet it’s the simplest things that are the easiest to take for granted. Sure, the unthinkable…

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Three Behind

Written on:May 12, 2016

Us and Them – I didn’t get to see it. I listened to it on the radio on my way to the airport. So, no, I didn’t see it, but I heard Bill Schoening tell me how player of the game Danny Green was tripped by Steven Adams into Kevin Durant with 54 seconds left in a ball game that was tied at 90 a piece. Yep, I heard all…

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Two Behind

Written on:May 10, 2016

Check the Rhime – Just before Thanksgiving last year, while back home visiting family and friends in Texas, I returned to the AT&T Center for the first time since the San Antonio Spurs fifth championship banner had been hung in the rafters. This was also my first time back in San Antonio since my wife and I moved to Denver, Colorado a few short weeks after our beloved Spurs had…

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Ten Ahead

Written on:May 8, 2016

Point of No Return – Well, that was not for the faint of heart. What a dogfight. I think it’s safe to say we can add this one to the list of legendary playoff street brawls on the road that the Tim Duncan led Spurs always seem to find ourselves in year after year. Thankfully, somehow and someway, San Antonio escaped Chesapeake Energy Arena (one of the most hostile environments…

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One Behind

Written on:May 6, 2016

Something in the Way – It’s funny what a difference 48 hours can make for a tribe of true believers who are in the middle of a noble quest to recapture basketball nirvana. For two weeks, we had been on top of the world. Invincible. Food never tasted better. The sun never shined brighter. Ordinary, day-to-day problems didn’t seem so bad. How could they if the Spurs are undefeated in…

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Eleven Ahead

Written on:May 1, 2016

Gotta Lotta – Every available player entered the game for the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of our Western Conference Semifinals series against the Oklahoma City Thunder last night. Not only did all thirteen players enter the game, but impressively, all thirteen players scored at least one field goal during the contest. When it was all said and done, the Spurs had compiled a combined 51 made field goals…

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Twelve Ahead

Written on:April 30, 2016

The Background – It was the Fourth of July around 10:00 am when I heard the news. My wife and I were getting ready to head up into the mountains to visit with family and celebrate the holiday. Despite the fact that we were running late, as soon as the texts started popping up on my phone I had to stop packing my bag and investigate for myself. Sure enough,…

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Thirteen Ahead

Written on:April 24, 2016

Thieves in the Temple – Friday was Earth Day. One day after the passing of Prince, the world was still blanketing itself in purple showers. A resplendent purple Earth. At least that’s how I imagined our beautiful planet might have looked on Friday from outer space. I spent a fair amount of my day that day thinking about that sort of thing. Thinking about the precious gift that is our…

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Fourteen Ahead

Written on:April 22, 2016

Idioteque – Ice age coming, ice age coming. Let me play both sides, let me play both sides. The NBA has been put on notice. The Spurs are coming. Not only are we coming, but (over this past season) our starting small forward completed his mutation from an ordinary White Walker into the best two-way player in the game. It has been quite a transformation for the quiet, humble kid…

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Fifteen Ahead

Written on:April 19, 2016

Ignition (Remix) – Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines a remix as “a variant of an original recording (as of a song) made by rearranging or adding to the original.” As a musician, I love remixes because they have a funny way of making things you’ve heard dozens (or even hundreds) of times before feel fresh and exciting. As we parted ways this past July, I left with this feeling that I get…

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Four Back

Written on:July 27, 2015

A Sky Full of Stars – Give hime credit. Chris Paul hit the shot of his life. The ball left his hand and passed by Tim Duncan’s finger tips (as the greatest active basketball player on the planet was closing quickly to block it) by the width of a piece of paper, but somehow it got by. The rejection of not only a basketball shot but also of Chris Paul…

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Three Back

Written on:May 2, 2015

Dreamcatcher – On Thursday nights, the Los Anegeles Clippers defeated the San Antonio Spurs 102-96 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio to tie the best-of-seven Western Conference First Round series at three games apiece. The decisive game seven will be played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in about two hours. The player of the game for the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night was Marco Belinelli. Marco…

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Three Forward

Written on:April 29, 2015

Over – I’m living life right now, man, and this what I’mma do ’til it’s over…’til it’s over. It’s far from over. In One Back (my first blog post of these 2015 playoffs), I predicted that “there are going to be moments of panic and moments of doubt for Spurs fans” during this title defense journey. Man, I wasn’t lying. Last night was intense. I have never been to Disneyland,…

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Two Back

Written on:April 26, 2015

Pompeii – Against my better angels, I did it. I’ll admit it. I know better, but somehow it still happened. I’ve been to this rodeo way too many times and yet I still couldn’t help myself. How does the proverb go? As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly. Yep, that about sums it up. I allowed myself to get overconfident after the 27 point…

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Two Forward

Written on:April 25, 2015

Deliver – ¡Viva la Fiesta! Going into the AT&T Center in San Antonio as the road team and winning a playoff game is a difficult proposition. Going into the AT&T Center as the road team and winning a playoff game during Fiesta? There are few things harder in the NBA. Obviously, it is not impossible. Last year, the Dallas Mavericks came into our home during Fiesta and stole Game 2…

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One Forward

Written on:April 24, 2015

Ready or Not – Whew. Let me catch my breath. It’s been almost 48 hours, but I’m still feeling the effects of all the nervous energy it took to watch the most entertaining game of the 2015 NBA Playoffs thus far. That was big. On the verge of falling into a disastrous 0-2 hole on Wednesday night in Los Angeles at the Staples Center, the defending champion San Antonio Spurs…

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One Back

Written on:April 22, 2015

What’s Up? – As my good friend and bombastic pop culture writer, Ken Adams, might say: howdy boys and girls. Welcome to the third installment of the Black & Silver blog series. I’m thrilled to be embarking on yet another San Antonio Spurs playoff run with all of you, the loyal readers. What an exciting time. It’s spring, it’s Fiesta back home in San Antonio, and the Spurs are defending…

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The San Antonio Spurs Visit the White House

Written on:January 13, 2015

On Monday, January 12, 2015, the San Antonio Spurs were invited to the White House by President Barack Obama for a ceremony in the East Room honoring the team’s 2014 NBA Championship. This is the fifth White House ceremony for the Spurs as an organization spanning 15 years and three U.S. presidents. Head coach Gregg Popovich and power forward Tim Duncan, having been in those roles for all five championships,…

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Spurs Special Forces

Written on:January 9, 2015

A new and exciting vehicle for expressing adoration for the professional basketball franchise located in San Antonio, TX has emerged on the blogosphere over the past couple of years. What, you ask, is this new phenomenon that I’m referring to? I guess I would most accurately describe it as Spurs Fan Fiction. It is, indeed, a quite recent phenomenon thats arrival I would best pin point to the summer of…

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Sixteen Down

Written on:July 31, 2014

Wish You Were Here – I clutched the rose on my necklace and peered blankly at the television screen. Moments earlier, I had been standing with my wife, Jenn, in the center of the living room. After screaming, receiving a spectacular hug and then exhaling when it finally happened, I subsequently retreated to the couch and sat down utterly exhausted. I couldn’t move. I quickly realized that my momentary euphoria…

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One Left

Written on:June 15, 2014

Juicy – It was all a dream… All thirteen players that suited up for the San Antonio Spurs in Game 4 of the 2014 NBA Finals dotted the box score with at least two points. Yes, thirteen players scored for one team in an NBA Finals game. This has never happened before. The NBA expanded the active roster for an NBA game from 12 to 13 players during the lockout-shortened…

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Two Left

Written on:June 12, 2014

City of Blinding Lights – It has been quite a long time since the San Antonio Spurs have had a superstar basketball player on our roster who was born on the American mainland. 29 years to be exact. “How could this be?” you ask. Well, Tony Parker obviously doesn’t fit that criteria. He was born in Bruges, Belgium on May 17, 1982. Manu Ginobili obviously doesn’t fit the criteria either….

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Seven Right

Written on:June 9, 2014

Starin’ Through My Rear View – The Miami Heat lead the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals five to four after coming into the AT&T Center last night and stealing Game 2 of this year’s series 98-96 in front of 18,581 properly cooled off Spurs fans. My fear coming into last night was that the Heat were capable of stealing Game 2 by forcing the Spurs into committing an…

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Three Left

Written on:June 7, 2014

Revolution 1 – “You say you got a real solution, well you know, we’d all love to see…” the fan. “You ask me for a contribution, well you know, we’re all doing what we can.” It is true. The San Antonio Spurs had not paid the electric bill for the power used at the AT&T Center in almost a year. However, this is not a story about a sports franchise…

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Four Left

Written on:June 5, 2014

Here Now – It was a devastating way to lose the NBA Finals. When you’re up three games to two and you have a lead on the road in the last minute of the fourth quarter of Game 6, you have the trophy so close within reach that you can almost scape a fingernail on it. Even though no lead is ever safe in the NBA, the reason why you…

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Five Left

Written on:May 30, 2014

C.R.E.A.M. – Championships rule everything around me, C.R.E.A.M., get the trophy. Baller, baller skill y’all. For the seventh consecutive home playoff game, the San Antonio Spurs blew out our opponent last night defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder 117-89 at the AT&T Center to take a 3-2 lead in the 2014 Western Conference Finals. In a surprising tactical adjustment, Coach Pop started Matt Bonner instead of Tiago Splitter in order to…

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Six Right

Written on:May 28, 2014

Californication – Last night, an irrationally unsettled Scott Brooks played Russell Westbrook 45 minutes in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 105-92 victory over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals. Midway through the third quarter, with the Spurs down by 20 points, Gregg Popovich pulled his top six players and let his third string play the remaining 18 minutes of the game. After the Spurs bench…

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Five Right

Written on:May 26, 2014

Hot – The writing was on the wall from the first Oklahoma City shot attempt of the ball game. When Serge Ibaka calmly drained the first bucket with his lethal mid-range jumper and the crowd exploded as if Jesus had taken the stage at a Pat Robertson led evangelical revival, it was more than clear that the Thunder had meticulously planned for Game 3. This meticulous planning, however, did not…

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Six Left

Written on:May 24, 2014

All Along The Watchtower – There are two things that you need to know about Danny Green. The first is that Danny Green loves animals. And the second? Danny Green lives downtown and apparently his property is conveniently located near a KFC with a great lunch special because if you give him an ounce of daylight, Danny Green gets buckets. The Oklahoma City Thunder are quickly learning that the San…

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Seven Left

Written on:May 20, 2014

Around the Block – Legend has it that there is a gunslinger who resides out west with a draw that is so fast that it defies the physical laws of time and space. They say that he is so quick that he can do what takes the fastest of shooters almost a second to do (namely catch, TURN, and shoot) in just a fraction of that time. Yes, rumor has…

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Eight Left

Written on:May 18, 2014

B.O.B. – When the hip hop duo, OutKast, released their debut album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, on April 26, 1994, Tim Duncan had just wrapped up his freshman season at Wake Forest. Fast forward twenty years and OutKast is the most buzzed about act on this year’s summer music festival circuit and Tim Duncan is making his twentieth appearance in the NCAA or NBA postseason. In the past 20 years, OutKast has sold…

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Four Right

Written on:May 14, 2014

Santeria – It was just one of those things. On the way to the Moda Center for Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals, a Portland TriMet bus came out of no where to inappropriately violate the space of one of the Spurs’ team buses. Or maybe the driver of the Spurs’ bus simply swerved after seeing that a snake was suspiciously slivering right smack dab down the center of…

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Nine Left

Written on:May 11, 2014

Time Is The Enemy – At the St. Mary’s University graduation ceremony yesterday, one of the graduates ripped off his robe after walking the stage to reveal that he had written “Go Spurs Go” on his chest. Now, besides being hilarious, that was just about as #BlackAndSilver…#playoffs as it gets and, as it turns out, it was also just about the most dramatic thing that happened yesterday with regards to…

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Ten Left

Written on:May 9, 2014

Heirplanes – In another brilliant performance, two-time NBA all-star and first-time MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard took the air out of the Staples Center last night with a suffocating all-around display of his versatile skills as a basketball player. The Los Angeles Lakers seemed flabbergasted with their inability to contain Leonard on either end of the court as Kawhi, who is this generation’s closest attempt at reincarnating the talents of Scottie…

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Eleven Left

Written on:May 7, 2014

Public Service Announcement – “Allow me to reintroduce myself, my name is…” Marc – O, B to the Elinell – E, I used to move them J’s by the O-Z. I guess even back then you could call me, CEO of the T-R-E. When Marco Belinelli hit two long jumpers curling off of screens to score five points during the fourth quarter of the San Antonio Spurs blowout Game 7…

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Twelve Left

Written on:May 5, 2014

Wild International – The San Antonio Spurs organization should strongly consider sending a case of HEB salsas to Paul Pierce of the Brooklyn Nets, as a small token of our appreciation. Pierce provided a valuable assist in the effort to save the Spurs season yesterday afternoon when he blocked Kyle Lowry’s driving layup attempt at a series clinching game winner for the Toronto Raptors in their first round match up…

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Three Right

Written on:May 3, 2014

Free Fallin’ – At the precipice of climbing all the way out of the eleven point first half hole that San Antonio had dug for ourselves, and clinching a hard fought first round series in the process, the Spurs defense fell off the cliff with 11 minutes left in Game 6 against the Mavericks last night. Ahead by seven, and on the verge of pushing the lead to double digits,…

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Thirteen Left

Written on:May 1, 2014

The OtherSide – Within 24 hours of the birth of his first child, son Josh, and on little to no sleep, Tony Parker came up aces in Game 5 of the Western Conference, First Round series with Dallas. The Spurs defeated the Mavericks 109-103 last night at home in front of a fiery crowd at the AT&T Center to take a three games to two lead over our in-state rivals….

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Fourteen Left

Written on:April 29, 2014

With a Little Help From My Friends – “What would you think if I sang out of tune, would you stand up and walk out on me?” Last night, the San Antonio Spurs endured another big stretch in the second half where we couldn’t find the right pitch on offense and, as a result, we came dangerously close to having every fair weather fan in South Texas jump off of…

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Two Right

Written on:April 27, 2014

The National Anthem – Apparently, Two Right makes a wrong and it is now apparent that something is noticeably wrong with the San Antonio Spurs since I’m having TO WRITE this only three games into the 2014 NBA Playoffs. In contrast, last year, we didn’t lose our second game of the playoffs until Game 4 of our second round match-up with the Golden State Warriors. Call it a miracle, lucky…

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One Right

Written on:April 25, 2014

Zambony – On Wednesday night, the Dallas Mavericks came back to the AT&T Center to challenge the San Antonio Spurs to another game of basketball. Unfortunately, the Spurs players came to the arena expecting to play Dallas in ice hockey. San Antonio might have actually fared better had we sent the Rampage players out on to the court because it appeared that, to a man sans Manu Ginobili, the Spurs…

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Fifteen Left

Written on:April 23, 2014

Free Bird – On the evening of Thursday, April 3rd, I turned the television off after having watched the San Antonio Spurs’ 19 game winning streak come to an end on the road and at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder. My good friend, Ryan, called me almost immediately after the game ended but I didn’t answer the call because, given the fact that he is not a Spurs…

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Six Up

Written on:July 27, 2013

Shake It Out – Intellectually, I understand the merits of the worldview that argues that it is irrational for me, as a spectator, to get emotionally invested in the outcome of a sporting event when it does not have a direct impact on my own life. I understand the rationale behind treating sports as escapism, as a distraction from the rigors of everyday life, and to enjoy the injunction from…

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Five Up

Written on:June 19, 2013

One More Time – Potentially seconds away from the roof being blown off the building, and with the AT&T Center the loudest I have ever heard it in all of the countless visits that I have made inside the arena that Tim Duncan built, 18,000 people were simultaneously stricken with the same nightmare. What was setting up to be one of the most special places to be in America late…

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Fifteen Down

Written on:June 17, 2013

Come Together – Sometimes, when a photogenically challenged former Weight Watchers spokes model whispers softly into the vast open spaces of an empty arena, the fleeting sounds still travel far enough to awaken a sleeping giant. Manu Ginobili erupted out of hibernation last night to add another chapter to one of the most Paul Bunyanesque folklore inspiring legends of a sports career that our generation has ever seen, earning player…

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Four Up

Written on:June 15, 2013

Not Afraid – The San Antonio Spurs lead the Miami Heat in the 2013 NBA Finals 382-377 (cumulative scoring). Win by 36 or win by 16, San Antonio and Miami are now tied at two victories a piece and in case you haven’t noticed…it is really, really, really close. On Thursday night, the San Antonio Spurs spoiled a growing hope in the city to celebrate a championship by winning this…

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Fourteen Down

Written on:June 12, 2013

Party Like It’s 1999 – What if I were to tell you that a thunder storm and a high school graduation ceremony caused one of the greatest shooting performances in NBA Finals history? If you would like to know how, you have a choice to make. [Note: I have just held out a blue pill in one of my hands and a red pill in the other] If you take…

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Three Up

Written on:June 10, 2013

All of the Lights – Shane Battier put a three up from 25 feet out with 18 seconds left in the game (5 seconds left on the shot clock) and with the Miami Heat ahead of the San Antonio Spurs by 18 points. Battier would probably say, if asked, that his motivation was simply to try to put up one more attempt to see if he could get himself out…

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Thirteen Down

Written on:June 8, 2013

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door – Welcome to the circus. The White Stripes blared through the PA system while nearly 20,000 hysterical Miami fans chanted in unison as the Birdman led a contingent of the Heat players in some sort of strange ritualistic hybrid bounce-dance number with periodic fire flames flaring behind them. This Miami pregame introduction was reminiscent of the obnoxiously premature pep rally held by the Heat upon the…

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Twelve Down

Written on:May 29, 2013

Same As It Ever Was – Patience is a critical attribute for people of faith. Without the fortitude to believe with steadfast patience, people are likely to lose faith sooner or later. A prolonged void from seeing hope manifested with one’s own two eyes does not bode well for keeping faith over the convenience of instant gratification, especially in today’s culture of lighting fast information and perpetual distraction. Without patience,…

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Eleven Down

Written on:May 26, 2013

Hustle & Flow – For the second game in a row, the San Antonio Spurs went to overtime against the Memphis Grizzlies and for the second game in a row, Tim Duncan came through in the clutch. The Spurs defeated the Grizzlies 104 to 93 last night to take a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals. The 93 points put up by Memphis is the most that the Spurs…

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Ten Down

Written on:May 24, 2013

Once It Hits Your Lips – And the Tony goes to…Tony Allen hit the floor, holding his head, writhing in pain. If you had missed the play and you had just seen the aftermath you would have thought that Manu Ginobili had grabbed Allen out of mid air, body slammed him to the ground, bent down and karate chopped him in the head, and then spit in his face for…

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Nine Down

Written on:May 20, 2013

Coming Home – The San Antonio Spurs defense continued to impress yesterday afternoon as they held their opponent to under 92 points and 47 percent shooting for the third straight playoff game defeating the Memphis Grizzlies 105 to 83 in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. The Spurs most dominating performance of the playoffs (thus far) came at an opportune time given that this opponent had parlayed a Game…

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Eight Down

Written on:May 18, 2013

Back to Black – The San Antonio Spurs are heading back to the Western Conference Finals for the eighth time during the Tim Duncan era after eliminating the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals on Thursday night. The Spurs defeated the Warriors 94 to 82 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California to win a hard fought series and squelch the infectious hopes of a nation…

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Seven Down

Written on:May 15, 2013

The Show Goes On – Last night, for the first time in this hard fought second round series with Golden State, San Antonio played Spurs basketball consistently for 48 minutes en route to a 109 to 91 blowout victory over the Warriors. Mark Jackson’s self-proclaimed “greatest shooting backcourt in NBA history” was completely locked up by Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson managed a combined 13…

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Two Up

Written on:May 13, 2013

Us Against the World – After going up against 19,596 fans, 5 players, and apparently 3 referees, the world was definitely against the #BlackAndSilver yesterday afternoon in Oracle Arena as the Spurs fell in overtime to the Warriors 97 to 87. San Antonio, up 8 points with 4 minutes to play, blew a golden opportunity to put a stranglehold on this series. On the verge of going up 3 games…

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Six Down

Written on:May 12, 2013

Going (going) back (back) to Cail – The San Antonio Spurs are often referred to as the Silver and Black. When I decided to start a Spurs blog as a subsidiary of theLeftAhead, one of the reasons for landing on the name Black & Silver was that throughout their dynastic era, the Spurs have proven time in and time out that they can go into the most hostile of situations…

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One Up

Written on:May 9, 2013

Kawhi’s Quest to Curry Favor as the Second Coming of Bruce Bowen (A Novel) – Kawhi Leonard’s ability to defend Stephen Curry will be a key factor in whether or not the Spurs will prevail in this series. Last night, in chapter two of this saga, Kawhi did an admirable job limiting Curry to 22 points on 7-20 shooting. I can only recall a couple of times that Curry scored…

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Five Down

Written on:May 7, 2013

Warriors, come out to play (e-ay) – Well, they sure did. Stephen Curry lived up to the hype, torching the Spurs for 44 points and 11 assists last night. Curry broke a close game wide open in the third quarter by going absolutely bonkers. He had 22 points in the period, compiling that insane total by hitting ridiculous shot after ridiculous shot. It didn’t matter who we threw at him…

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Four Down

Written on:April 29, 2013

Lights Out, Guerrilla Radio – It was two minutes into the third quarter when Dwight Howard, well, went all Dwight Howard and got himself ejected from Game 4 of the Los Angeles Lakers first round series with the San Antonio Spurs last night, effectively ending one of the worst experiments of throwing team chemistry out the window to chase the allure of superstar talent melding in NBA history. After Howard’s…

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Three Down

Written on:April 27, 2013

The Battle Of Los Angeles – Last night, the LA Lakers waved the white flag of surrender rather than making a stand against the San Antonio Spurs in their home city. The #BlackAndSilver manhandled them 120 to 89, dealing the historic franchise their worst home defeat in playoff history. While the writing has been on the wall for some time regarding this disastrous season for the Lakers, keep in mind…

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Two Down

Written on:April 25, 2013

Last night the #BlackAndSilver held strong on their home court defeating the LA Lakers again 102 to 91. Even though the Lakers injury problems just seem to keep getting worse, we shouldn’t feel sorry for them (they have had more than their fair share of good luck over the years) nor should be write them off; they’re still dangerous. Game 2 was a much more focused, dominant performance with several…

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One Down

Written on:April 21, 2013

In a thrilling addition to an already amazing first weekend of Fiesta, the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Los Angeles Lakers this afternoon 91 to 79 at the AT&T Center. There is no place quite like San Antonio for this time of year. Can’t nobody check the city right now. ¡Viva la fiesta! …from the top of the world.                 #BlackAndSilver #GoSpursGo

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That Good Ole, Dreadful Feeling

Written on:June 1, 2012

You had almost forgotten how a day like today feels. The nervousness. The doubt. The utterly terrible nagging that permeates deep in your gut from the moment that you wake up. Upon noticing it while yawning after your alarm goes off, you already know that it won’t subside at any point during the day. Sure, you rise out of bed, grab a cup of water and three Advil to dust…

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