A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
NBA ROUNDUP: San Antonio Looking Forward to Romp With Shaq, Wade
SAN ANTONIO, TX
SAN ANTONIO, TX— – The Golden State Warriors may have awakened the competitive juices of the San Antonio Spurs but it’s the contest with the Miami Heat on Friday that many players and coaches are waiting for.
“It’s going to be a good match up,” said Spurs guard Devin Brown. “We’ll have to contend with their athleticism as well as the big man in the middle.” The Spurs came into the contest against the Warriors after losing to the Seattle Supersonics, 113-94.
“The team was highly motivated after Sunday’s loss,” head coach Gregg Popovich said after the 91-71 win Wednesday night. “They were ready to play and that’s good at this stage in the game.” While the Warriors were the opponents of the evening, one would have to ponder just what kind of match up problems the Spurs would be facing against the Heat on Friday. Dwayne Wade is playing excellent ball for a second year player and is averaging 24 points per contest. He’s also making others play better with his unselfish tendencies as Eddie Jones and Shaquile O’Neal flank him.
“The Heat are formidable on many fronts but this year they are especially talented with having veteran players both in the starting line up and coming of the bench,” one noted NBA scout said.
For the Spurs it’s going to come down to execution. In order to win Friday, the Spurs will have to limit their turnovers and control the tempo of the game for any chance at a victory.
“They [Miami] have been playing well,” Tim Duncan said. “And as expected, Shaquile and Dwayne have really gotten off to good starts. They are similar to us in that they are a defensive minded team.” A NEW BEGINNING FOR THE WARRIORS During dinner, I hade the chance to talk with Golden State’s TV analyst, Jim Barnett. I had asked him about the new changes that were taking place with the Warriors and how new head coach Mike Montgomery would pan out.
“Mike is going to do fine in this league and won’t be like many other colleges coaches who tried to make the jump,” Barnett said. “Guys like Rick Pitino and John Calipari are great college coaches but it seems that their egos got in the way at this level. Montgomery doesn’t seem to have that problem and only wants his team to succeed.” Barnett went on to tell me that this year’s team is full of promise but like so many teams in transition, they are having problems with the offense at times.
“This team has got to get better shooting or else they will not be able to compete. Some nights they are right in it and others they are just flat out of it. But they are young and they want to win.” REMEMBERING .4 IS NOTHING NICE If you ask any Spurs fan they will tell you that Derek Fisher is now one of the most hated NBA players in the league right now. Fans still remember what Fisher did last year in the playoffs and it is still painful as evident by the numerous boos he received whenever he entered the game or made a shot.
“It still hurts and then has wears the jersey number of ‘4’ for the season? He’s definitely not one of my favorite players in the league right now,” said one season ticket holder.
Fisher left the Los Angeles Lakers and signed a six-year, $37 million contract with the Warriors this season. In Wednesday’s loss only had two points but said he didn’t want to be too amped for the game.
“I didn’t want to get to emotional for the game but when the fans give you a nice welcome like that it’s hard not to. But when they boo you, that means they respect you,” Fisher said.
GAME BALLS AND JOCK STRAPS GO TO… Give Manu Ginobili a few game balls for his efficient play and give his teammate, Tim Duncan a couple as well for having a double, double night before the second half tipped off. The one jock strap for the Spurs is going to go to Tony Parker. The fourth year player needs to play a little more under control and it seemed that he had a hard time with former teammate Speedy Claxton. Other jock straps are going to the Warriors. Fisher only scores two but his backup, Claxton scores ten points. What’s up with that? Also their fifteen turnovers contributed mightily to the twenty-point blowout they experienced. Combine that with a bad shooting percentage and things are indeed hairy for a team that is now 0-6.