"Let us do something, while we have the chance! It is not every day that we are needed. But at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not. Let us make the most of it, before it is too late!"
- Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot
If the Spurs are going to pull out this series, Wolves killer Manu Ginobili had better be found, and quickly. The Spurs are NOT the Mavs; they play much better defense and are the toughest minded ballers in the league. Plus, they have two of the dirtiest players in the league in Bruce Bowen and Robert Horry. There's no telling when Chris Paul or David West will be tripped, leg whipped, body checked, or kneed into a game changing injury. In the end, the Spurs need to find their offense, and that means waiting for Ginobili to show up. Will he ever come?
The Spurs are settling for too many threes, and letting the third quarter deflate their chances in the second half. I doubt that will happen back in SA, but they're going to have to break through in Orleans, and that means Parker and Ginobili relentless offensive attacks must be front and center. Duncan has his hands full otherwise. NO's youth and athleticism are making San Antonio's backcourt look a little slow; no one can yet keep up with Tony Parker on offense, but Paul had him literally turned around on defense. There is also a major difference down the lane between Duncan and Tyson Chandler. Chris Paul is able to penetrate the lane in the half court offense; since Duncan only occasionally blocks shots, he can shoot or distribute with impunity. Last night on the fast break he found Stojakovic trailing the pack; all he had to do was collapse the opposition just inside the key, then kick it back out to Peja for a three pointer.
Contrast that to Chandler, who's been clogging up the middle more effectively and stopping Parker's ball pentetration. Chandler still doesn't actually block a lot of shots, his length and activity down low gives the impression that the shot could be altered or blocked, thus the hestiation on the part of the opposition's back court. Again, for Wiolves fans, this is why Big Al can't be playing center, and if they were to get lucky with the number one pick, a Beasley/Jefferson tandem would fill up stat sheets, but not compete for championships, unless the K-Stater can move over to the three and let Gomes come off the bench. Finding some sort of defensive threat at the 5 will help the Wolves defense, who generally don't defend either the interior or the perimeter well at all.
In the end, the Spurs need a catalyst, and his name is Manu. 13 points on 4 of 10 shooting isn't going to get it done. San Antonio awaits; will he finally arrive in time to save the defending champs, before it is too late?