San Antonio

Spurs Minus MVP Are Less than Warriors

Philip Maymin
Basketball News Services 

The Spurs continue to lose with reigning MVP Tim Duncan, dropping the latest game by a 97-80margin to the otherwise woeful Golden State Warriors. If only one of the Warriors had had some kind of monster game, or even if there were some overwhelming turnovers committed by the Spurs, then you could chalk it up to a one-day lapse, or just plain bad luck. Perhaps if the game had been close and a shot had rattled in and out, or a desperation shot by the Warriors had sunk the Spurs, then you could think, fine, it just wasn't meant to be this night, we gave it our best, what can you do.

Unfortunately, it was never even close. The Spurs committed just two more turnovers than the Warriors for a total of twelve. None of the Warriors had monster games: their scoring load was evenly balanced four players reached double figures and two others scored nine points each. What sealed the Spurs' fate was the lack of an inside presence. Without Tim Duncan, the Warriors blasted away for 42 points in the paint. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili valiantly tried to answer from the outside, scoring 29 and 16 points respectively, but the Spurs big men were simply not ready for the task at hand.

Malik Rose had four fouls in only 24 minutes of action. Rasho Nesterovic had three blocked shots and seven rebounds but was not able to contain the interior single-handedly.

The Spurs never led, and what's worse, they never outscored the Warriors, not for a single quarter. Only in the third quarter did they even break even, matching Golden State's 23 points. Otherwise, they were outscored by three in the second quarter, by five in the fourth quarter, and by a whopping nine points in the first quarter, as the Warriors raced out of the gates to a 22-13 lead after one.

If you are looking for excuses, then you can say the Spurs were playing the second of a back-to-back set on the road, and were tired from their loss to the Kings the night before. Fine. We can forget this game and move on. But the risk is that if Duncan needs to miss a single playoff game, or gets in foul trouble for a single quarter, the rest of the team needs to know that it can continue to play at a high level, even when their biggest superstar is not in the lineup.

The Spurs get a couple of days of rest before hosting the Minnesota Timberwolves and Kevin Garnett, the presumed front-runner for this year's MVP crown. Tim Duncan will be a game-day decision. The game starts Thursday, March 18, at 8:30pm and will be broadcast on Fox Sports South West and TNT.

The Iceman Cameth: George Gervin was in the house for last night's game against the Warriors. Golden State often brings in former legends such as Gervin or Connie Hawkins to treat their suite holders.

The Spurs have only one road game -- against Minnesota next Tuesday -- of their seven remaining March games.

Tim Duncan(sore left knee) continues to sit, and his status for the Minnesota game on Thursday won't be decided until the day of the game.Matt Carroll(left knee tendinitis) was officially moved to the injured list Wednesday March 10th.Alex Garcia(right knee contusion) was placed on the I.L. January 10th.Sean Marks(left knee tendinitis) has been there since November 18th.


Our own Emmett Shaw writes on the free side of's pick-your-poison time for the San Antonio Spurs. A few weeks ago, you could rightly say "who cares" about who the Spurs face in the first or second round of the NBA Playoffs. In the Western Conference, the competition is so tough that there is no easy way to get through it. And the way the Spurs had played all year, they had shown enough game to take their chances in any Spring scenario. But now the Playoff picture is becoming clearer the way it always does when the buds begin to push out of the bare branches. We see much better in mid March who has what in the NBA, and who doesn't have enough to contend. And who does.

Johnny Ludden ofThe San Antonio Express-Newswrites: The Spurs don't expect to know whether Tim Duncan will be able to play Thursday against Minnesota until the day of the game. Duncan will practice with the team Wednesday and will be evaluated the next morning at the team's shootaround. Duncan has played only 15 minutes since injuring his left knee at Dallas on Feb. 26. He said he felt fine during his limited appearance against the Los Angeles Clippers last Wednesday, but his knee stiffened the next day. Duncan has continued to strengthen his quadriceps muscles while playing some one-on-one and doing aerobic conditioning.

Johnny Ludden ofThe San Antonio Express-Newswrites: TNT elected to broadcast the finish of Phoenix's overtime victory at Houston on Monday night, denying its national viewing audience about half of the Spurs' first-quarter performance against Golden State. Not that the Spurs minded.If it were up to them, they likely would have preferred TNT black out the remainder of the game. A day after they played three competitive quarters against Sacramento only to collapse in the fourth, the Spurs opted to not waste anyone's time in their 97-80 loss to the Warriors at the Arena in Oakland. They made only nine shots in the first half, matching the franchise record low, then didn't play much better in the second. Manu Ginobili missed a wide-open dunk with less than a minute remaining and the game already decided. It was a fitting conclusion to the evening, at least until Robert Horry followed by throwing away an inbounds pass, which helped sum up the Spurs' performance even further.