Jub. Jub. Jose Juan Barea was simply stunning off the bench.Â The Spurs clearly expected him to play like a reserve. Pass when Parker stepped up on him, miss runners, fail to execute. Jub-Jub was having none of that. He lit up the offense, and hustled on defense. The best thing about him on Parker was that Parker would burn him, and Barea would go right back to work. That’s a big thing to do against the Spurs. They’re effective against everything, but if one thing works 8 out of 10 times, then you look stupid 2 of the 10, you should still do it. Barea risked Parker going to the rack and breaking his ankles to not give him the first step of his explosion.
Josh Howard didn’t talk, didn’t strut, just went. to. work.
The Spurs had the same problem over and over again against Nowitzki. Nowitzki’s release point is so high and the Spurs have no one extremely tall or extremely athletic to challenge. It’s like trying to stop an artillery cannon with a reinforced wall. They did a good job of sending more doubles at him, but by that point, Howard was in line and Barea was bringing it.
At the beginning of the year, I was questioning the Spurs because Matt Bonner was a consistent part of their rotation. Graydon kept telling me how he was leading the league in 3 point % and how he could be a contributor.Â I even turned around and admitted it after watching him hit big shots against Boston. As they say, the playoffs are a different animal. Bonner got embarassed. I felt terrible for the guy. At one point in the third, he gave Nowitzki the baseline. And you could see Popovich, his teammates, the fans, even the announcers were like “DON’T GIVE HIM THE BASELINE!” Dunk. It was just sad.
Pop needs to pull Oberto off the bench. Go with the one that brung you.
Popovich has never seemed like a prideful guy. So it’ll be interesting to see if he recognizes the mistake of not playing George Hill. The Mavs biggest advantage in this series is their backcourt depth. Parker’s greatness (and he wasn’t that great last night, particularly late in the game) isn’t enough to overcome Kidd, Barea, Terry, and Wright.
Finley was the second best Spur on the floor yesterday, finishing with 19 on 7-10 shooting. If he can keep that up, that might neutralize Terry. Of course, that’s a lot of points for the old guy.
Kurt Thomas was having a nightmare of a time. These young whippersnappers coming in here and outrebounding him and taking him to the basket at every chance.
Losing a lead like that is not the mark of Spurs teams of old.
Matt Moore is a Senior NBA Blogger for CBSSports.com's Eye on Basketball blog, weekend editor of Pro Basketball Talk on NBCSports.com, and co-editor of Voice on the Floor. He lives in Kansas City due to an unbelievably complex set of circumstances and enjoys mid-90's pop rock, long walks on the beach and the novels of Tim Sandlin.