Spurs’ Victory Over Rockets Still Not Awe Inspiring For This Writer

By Gregory Moore
Updated: March 27, 2005

SAN ANTONIO, TX – I’m a firm believer that if a club can take care of the basketball and shoot well, they will win 75% of their games. The other twelve percent of the games that would get you into the playoffs are games where anything goes and it usually does for a team like the San Antonio Spurs or the Houston Rockets. Today’s 83-70 win for the Spurs fits in that twelve percent bracket as this team shot horribly from the field and really didn’t control the tempo of the game like they were capable of.

The Spurs did the little things that are usually the trademark of this club. While they didn’t shoot particularly well from the floor, what they were able to do is to actually shut the Rockets down in the fourth. The Rockets 42.6% from the field in the game but in the last twelve minutes of the game, the Spurs held them to shooting percentage of 35.3%.

“The Spurs played well today,” Rockets’ head coach Jeff Van Gundy said after the game. “This is the second time we have been here and cracked in the last seen or eight minutes of the game. We didn’t play with the poise needed to win a game like this.” The win for the Spurs ties the series but it also allows this team to get some confidence into playing up tempo squads like the Rockets without their big men. However this win isn’t really awe inspiring right now because they needed to focus heir attention now o the Seattle Supersonics that come into the SBC Arena on Wednesday night. The Spurs needed this win as a confidence booster so that other players such as Brent Barry, Rasho Nesterovic, and Mike Wilkes can get a taste of what the playoffs could be like with teams like the Rockets or Memphis Grizzlies just to name a couple of teams under the microscope right now.

THE WIN CAME FROM SHUTTING T-MAC DOWN So what was impressive about this win? Well it had to be the fourth quarter surge that the Spurs employed their standard defense to the situation and kept McGrady to only two points in the fourth quarter. McGrady had twenty-four points through the first three quarters but the team as a whole held him to only two points in the fourth quarter.

“I wasn’t holding back because I wanted to, I had no choice,” McGrady said. “I didn’t feel so quick as I wanted to today [in reference to the hip].’ McGrady was 1 for 7 from the field in the fourth quarter with just one assist. In the fourth. The Rockets felt the defensive pressure from the standpoint that a lot of turnovers were committed on their end of their end of the floor. You couple that with Nesterovic fronting Yao Ming well in the post along with some other intangibles and this team was able to pull this victory out.

“He’ll [Rasho] never get the credit due him,” Spurs head coach Greg Popovich said. “People will always complain about this or that with him. He had ten points, seven rebounds, three blocks and two steals; those are pretty good numbers but they are not “David Robinson” numbers.” With this win the Spurs move a half a game behind the Phoenix Suns but the win also shows that the Spurs also need to just play the game and let everything else take care of themselves down the road.

“Obviously we played a pretty good game,” Popovich said. “They should be proud.” Well they can celebrate for just one day but the hard ask of staying consistent rears its holy head but if the Spurs want to stay in the playoff chase for the best record, they will need performances like this from everyone on the roster. The more important wins will come when they finish out these last few games on a high note and a positive winning mark without Duncan and then go into the playoffs ready reclaim that confidence that they lost just a few games ago.