The Good: Tim Duncan was back, and he played relatively well. Other than that, not much. I like the Blazers. LaMarcus Aldridge is an underrated big man (I knew I should’ve drafted him in my fantasy league instead of Marc Gasol at pick 16) who slays us every time he plays us, Nicolas Batum is a fantastic all-round player, Damian Lillard is a dynamic young point god and Wes Matthews is a dead-eye shooter. They might be one or two pieces away from being legit in the West. Heck, they might get there this year as is. Either way, I’m sold. They’ve got a bright future. And given their unfortunate past, I hope its smooth sailing from here. The team and the city deserve it. I’ve never been to Portland but it’s on my bucket list. They won their only championship in the year I was birthed, 1977.
I get that Pop is tinkering with different lineups to start the season, but some have me confused. One combination that I am loving, however is as follows:
Okay, so the defense suffers a little but man does that offense just hum like a busy bumblebee! And so good to watch! I’m loving the Belinelli addition already. We’re running part of our offense through him and I think it will only get better as he learns the system. He’s a smart player.
The Bad: Where to begin? I might just be your typical spoiled Spurs fan, but man we screwed the pooch on this one. Never mind the first half, where we stunk it up for 39 points on 40% shooting. I don’t like our depth so far either. Patty Mills and Aron Baynes should not be earning regular NBA minutes (apologies to my fellow Oceanic brothers, but they know I’m right). Mills has no playmaking ability and Baynes, while possessing an impressive build for low-post play, has no offensive game whatsoever.
I officially hate Tiago Splitter. If you’re reading this Tiago, which you no doubt are, it really is nothing personal. It’s just that you suck beyond belief and my team just gave you a 4 year, $36 Million contract this past July. You didn’t score and grabbed four rebounds tonight. Paul Millsap signed with Atlanta for 2 years and $19 Million. For an extra half a mill a year, and for only a two-year commitment, we could’ve had Millsap instead of Splitter.
The Ugly: Kosta Koufos. Seriously. He so ugly, he made this list despite not even playing in this game! He looks like a bird of some description. Maybe a chicken-hawk. No matter, that man is uglier than a hat full of butt-holes. His Grizzlies teammate, Nick Calathes, isn’t too far behind. The Dallas commentators made light (and fun) of it, but this man cannot be 24 years old. His scalp is patchier than Manu’s, and at least Ginobili can shrug his off as typical male pattern baldness for the mid-30’s male mammal. Seriously, Calathes looks like they grabbed some dude out of IT somewhere and slapped a uniform on him.
To the actual game itself…it was a fairly ugly affair all-round, which is to be expected on the second of a back-to-back for both teams. It was Portland’s first home game of the year, and you know they were going to come out firing in front of their home crowd.
Other Notes: Did I mention I caught Memphis tonight? They played the Mavs in Dallas and lost. Good to see DeJuan Blair – a former Spur – get some decent minutes out there. I always liked him and remain confused as to why he stopped getting burn under Coach Pop. It seems that once he doesn’t like you, you’re done and there’s no turning back. It seems that Matt Bonner, Nando de Colo and Cory Joseph are this year recipients of the Pop’s Doghouse award. Conversely, each year Pop falls in love with a random player and overplays him to the point of distraction. Early nominees for this are the aforementioned Mills and Baynes. I love Pop, but sometimes he’s too stubborn for his own good.
Anyway, the Grizzlies-Mavs game. I caught the last half, and it was pretty good. Shawn Marion played well, which was good to see. I’ve hated him since the Phoenix days and kind of forgot that he was still in the NBA, but he impressed me tonight. Dallas are a weirdly constructed team. They seem to have taken a leaf out of the Lakers book, in that they’re not title contenders but are probably too good for the lottery. They reside, it would seem, in that nebulous space called NBA purgatory – which really is the worst place a franchise can be. The half empty arena in Dallas only supports this argument. Mark Cuban’s offseason additions leave me perplexed – what kind of team is he trying to build? Does he even know at this point? Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon? Samuel Dalembert? If I were a Mavs fan I’d find it hard to get inspired by these additions. I feel for Dirk Nowitzki in this case. Like Kobe, it’s sad to see them go out like this.
The Sixers are now 3-0 following an unlikely win over the Bulls. So now they’ve beaten the 1st and 2nd ranked teams in Bill Simmon’s NBA preview on Grantland. Tank fail, and BS fail.