November 27, 2007

These Things Are So Irritating

As sports fans, we have very little trouble finding reasons to disagree.

I like the Braves, you hate them.

I would pay money to see the Hawks; you would pay money to see them contracted from the league.

For some reason, you thought this was humorous. I did not. (And for the record, you are a sick bastard.)

This is just the beginning of a very long list.

But there is one thing I feel very confident that we can agree on: Neither of us wants to see the Spurs reach the NBA Finals again in 2007-08. I hate watching them, you hate watching them, hell -- even Francis Scott Key would have hated watching them if he hadn't been too much of a cheapskate to pay for cable TV back in his day.

The unfortunate news is that with a 12-3 record so far, it looks like little has changed in San Antonio this year to give us hope that we won't have to watch that gut-wrenchingly methodical juggernaut compete all the way into June again.

But on Monday night, a decidedly piddling Sacramento team handed the Spurs just their third loss of the year, and in doing so, Reggie Theus' Kings exposed the blueprint on beating the Spurs for all of the NBA to see. And as it turns out, the formula is actually quite simple. Here are the key ingredients:

1. Play the Spurs at your arena. San Antonio is 7-0 at home, 5-3 on the road. Playing them at the Alamodome is a statistical disadvantage. The solution is simple: Don't do it.

2. If you can, make sure to play them on the second night of a back-to-back on the road. If there's one scenario that can make any NBA team look weak, it's playing the second of two games in two days on the road. The home team wins those games (or at least has a good chance to win) a staggering amount of the time. That's what happened in Sacramento on Monday night.

3. Get a crucial revenge performance from a former Spur. In this case, that would be Beno Udrih, the former Spurs backup PG who lit up his old team for a career-high 27 points (on 8-of-12 shooting) Monday.

4. Get an inspired performance out of your talented but often disappointing center who had a really bad year in 2006-07 but has shown some signs of life this season. That would be Brad Miller, who went off for 17 points, 10 boards and 7 assists in the win.

5. Catch Manu Ginobili on his worst night of the year thus far. Ginobili, who averages a remarkable 19.2 ppg in just under 29 minutes, was held to 9 points on 3-of-12 shooting against the Kings on Monday.

The only other thing you have to do:

6. Shoot 55% from the field, only miss two free throws (21-for-23 on the night), take care of the basketball and have your mediocre power forward (Mikki Moore) shoot an unexpected 8-for-9 to help offset the fact that Bruce Bowen is shrink-wrapping your best offensive player's testicles. (Kevin Martin, averaging 24.1 ppg, had a season-low 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting.)

Take care of all six of these steps, or at least four or five of them, and suddenly the Spurs are very beatable.

See? There's really nothing to worry about.

I don't know about you, but I feel relieved.


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