The Lone Star Advocate

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Archive for the month “January, 2012”

Spurs Struggle…

After a span of four games in five days, the Spurs escaped Florida with a 1-1 record, losing in Miami, and edging the Magic in overtime, only to return home to drop a stunner to the Kings of Sacramento in a devastating home loss, the first one the season, then going on the road to Houston and dropping another game. Amassing a 1-3 record through those four games, a low for the season, when having a four games and 5 days stretch for the season.

Despite the losses, the Spurs played rather good basketball, losing all three of the game in the final moments, in the case of the Miami game, the Heat amassed 71 points to the Spurs’ 35 in the second half, a blow out by the final score’s appearance, a game that the Spurs wanted to win and gain the confidence of beating the most hyped team in the NBA. but alas, they could not muster up the energy to keep up with the Heat in the second half. An amazing first half to say the least, and it seemed that the Spurs could have put the Heat away had they put up a performance in the second half that was similar in any way to their first half’s performance, but their entire second half was the equivalent of their first quarter, point wise. Read more…

Home is Where the Wins are

The advantage of the home-court in the AT&T Center is absolutely undeniable for the San Antonio Spurs, winning all 9 games they have played in the AT&T Center, and having the 6th man on the court with them at all times, from the Baseline Bums to the Silver & Black Pack, the Spurs’ fans are arguably the most loyal and dedicated to their team.

The streaking Spurs are at it again, with another 3 game win streak, are undefeated at home, bringing in crowds in to the AT&T Center in droves, a great cause and effect that benefits both; the fans pack the AT&T Center, cheer the Spurs to victory, the Spurs win, bringing in more fans to cheer for them and help propel them to victory. An amazing cycle that all teams would love to have, ala Milwaukee Bucks whose upper deck seats were practically empty. Read more…

What’s Next For Houston?

After a more than successful campaign for the Houston Texans, the question now, is the same question we always ask, what do we do now to improve? No matter how successful a team is, there is always, always, always room to improve, a wise man once said “Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.”  and the Texans certainly want to improve as the other teams in the league certainly will. The task presented to the Texans coaching staff and front office is: What can the Texans do to improve? What aspect of the game needs tweaking?

At this point, it isn’t completely clear on what to do, for instance what is going to happen with Matt Leinart, third string possibly? Should they even keep Leinart? He is signed through next year, and maybe he should be released to clear up cap space to sign other players whose contracts have just expired. Read more…

Falling Back to Earth, A Bright Future Remains…

Many Texans fans had high hopes for the Texans as they woke up on Sunday morning, riding high from the momentum of the first ever postseason win in as many appearances. How fitting it was to face the Ravens in our second postseason match up, the same Ravens that beat us in a heartbreaking loss at home in a Monday Night Football classic, the same Ravens that defeated us in the previous meeting in the regular season; many Texans fans saw it as a chance for revenge, and revenge is what they wanted.

Filled with excitement and exhilaration, the Texans went into Baltimore looking for their first AFC Championship appearance, a team that could essentially win almost any game set in front of them. Only defeated by themselves. making mistakes in late, critical game clutch situations. As was the case in the game with Baltimore; miscues, and errors simply became the downfall of the Texans. Read more…

Another Rematch…

Fresh off a stellar win against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Texans will advance to the AFC Divisional round to face the Baltimore Ravens, a team whom they played during the regular season, but was blown out by. Despite that loss, this Texans team is far different from the Texans of Week 6 of the NFL Regular Season, a team that Baltimore had beat without their star, clutch wide receiver Andre Johnson.

A deflated Texans team went into the Baltimore with Matt Schaub who was still healthy, as this game was prior to his injury from the game against Tampa Bay, a sluggish offense who only managed to put up 14 points and accumulate 293 total yards of offense. A struggling Arian Foster was just beginning to work out the kinks still in his return to the team after returning to action in Week 4, in his return he ran for 155 yards against the Steelers’ stingy defense, but struggled against the Raiders, only getting 68 yards rushing, and only ran for 48 against the Revans. Foster is at full capacity and with Ben Tate behind him to relieve him of the primary pressures, he can expose the Ravens weaknesses and play better than his less than stellar performance against the Ravens in their previous match up. Read more…

Condensed Consequences

In the condensed NBA season this year due to the lockout, or work stoppage, many teams are forced to play a number of games, in as many of nights. The exhaustion shows this early in the season, as the Spurs have lost all the games where they traveled the night after had a game, first a loss to Houston after a prominent beating of the Clippers in San Antonio.

An hour flight from San Antonio to Houston, but nearly not enough to fully rest, throwing their rest rituals out of whack. In the game versus Houston, the Spurs looked like a shadow of themselves as the Rockets made quick work of the Spurs.

The following consecutive game night was a home stand against the Golden State Warriors and the Dallas Mavericks, winning both games and winning them rather easily, the thought sprung into my head that this would be a litmus test for the team as they had their first consecutive night home stand.

The game versus Golden State had the Warriors fly in after a loss in Phoenix two days earlier, not having to face the Spurs on consecutive nights, so they came in with rather fresh legs and as well rested as they could have been, but the Mavericks, however, came in to San Antonio fresh from a win versus those same Phoenix Suns on their home-court in the American Airlines Arena.

The Mavericks came in worn out and tired off of a flight from Dallas, and lacked the necessary rest to play a team who had a well night’s rest after a win in San Antonio, Dallas, who looked defeated from tip-off, hardly put up a challenge against the Spurs, only scoring 29 in the ENTIRE FIRST HALF, the Spurs scored 31 in the First quarter alone! So, the test can be invalidated due to facing a weak opponent on the second night, but nothing should be taken away from the Spurs in that game. Read more…

Spurs Overwhelm Mavs

In what appeared to be an offensive clinic in the AT&T Center, the San Antonio Spurs routed the Dallas Mavericks, fresh from a win within the past 24 hours, the Spurs carried that momentum into the first quarter of the game on a Mavericks team that had flown in from Phoenix where they played game the previous night. Despite the back to back games, the Spurs came out firing on all cylinders, producing a game that flaunted the team’s threat from beyond the arc; making 16 total thee-point shots team wise, the Spurs shot just below 50 percent shooting in three-point range.

All but two Spurs scored, only goose eggs on the stat sheets are DeJuan Blair, and new Spur Ike Diogu, but despite missing all three of his shots, Blair contributed to the victory with rebounds, steals, and defensive presence on the court, Diogu played just under five minutes towards the end of the game and is trying to get into the rhythm of the Spurs system. With five Spurs scoring double digits and launching a full offensive attack, the Spurs as a team were simply too much for the tired Mavericks to handle; in the first quarter alone, the spurs put up 31 points, a season high for the first quarter and muscled up 55 at half. Read more…

Always Remeber Your First…

The Texans’ 2011 regular season campaign was certainly extraordinary, to say the least, punching their ticket to the franchise’s first ever postseason bid. Never a slacking on a play, never a nap game, and never giving up, playing whistle to whistle, smash-mouth football; providing their hometown fans with something they had not seeing in a long while, great, entertaining football.

Not to knock the Texans’ previous seasons in recent years, but the Texans of this year brings tears of joy and memories of yesteryear, as they’d shout “Luv ya, Blue” in the Astrodome, and their hearts out when the theme song came on. And who better to accompany the Texans to the playoffs than the son of the most beloved Houstonian, former Oilers’ head coach Bum Philips, and arguably one of the best defensive minds in the game, Wade Philips. Read more…

Set Back, Amazing Recovery

After a sluggish start in the first half against the Golden State Warriors, the San Antonio Spurs came out in the second half with a fire lit under them, the Warriors had out played the Spurs throughout the entire first half and went into half time with a rather commanding lead. A deflating loss versus the Minnesota Timberwolves took its toll on the Spurs, losing their spark plug player, and game MVP in the first few games, Manu Ginobili. Ginobili who broke his fifth metacarpal on his left hand while reaching in for a ball against a driving Timberwolves’ player, causing the injury to his hand, forcing him to leave the game.

Ginobili, who had been the driving force behind the Spurs’ offense, will undergo surgery Thursday to repair it, consequently, he will miss up to two months, possibly more to rehab the injury and get back into the rhythm. In his absence, Danny Green will fill in, as well as new addition to the Spurs’ roster, NBA journeyman Ike Diogu. Diogu, at 6’9 has played on four different teams in his young career. Adding much needed size to the Spurs’ roster, quite a bit of pressure will be taken from Tim Duncan and focused on Diogu.

While Diogu learns the ins and outs of the Spurs’ system, the task of filling in Ginobili’s major role has fallen into the lap of the entire Spurs team, and in the game against Golden State, many of the Spurs stepped up to fill the role, making a team effort to propel themselves to victory after the Warriors built a decent lead at halftime and into the third quarter, but the Spurs showed resilience as TJ Ford and the young gun Danny Green made head-ways up and down the court.

Every Spur who was on the court scored at least one basket, with four in double digits, Tony Parker with 21, Richard Jefferson scored 17, Duncan netted 15 (getting a double double with 11 rebounds), and DeJuan Blair made 12 points. With the high scoring potential of Ginobili out, the rest of the line up will have to score more to make up for the lost points, multiple players in double-digit scoring is the key to victory for the Spurs.

A minimum of at least 5 players need to score double digits, and points off the bench is dire the success of the team, as these back to back games are hell on the legs of the players.

Thursday night, the Dallas Mavericks roll into town, an always tough game between two bitter rivals, while the Mavs are having their own struggles as well, it does not mean that they will be an easy game. The Mavericks always play tough and fresh off a two game win streak, they are looking to hit three. The Spurs are going to be tested against the Mavs, and have a great opportunity to win, but have to keep playing the way they have played in recent games.

Despite this game being their third in four days, the Spurs are on a home stand till Saturday when the Denver Nuggets will roll into town, the back to back games worsened by traveling, losing rest due to having to catch a flight and constant moving about and not being able to fully rest, but a well deserved night’s rest in the Alamo City is what the Spurs need to rest and prepare mentally for the back to back game.

Unlike their earlier back to back game where the team took a one hour flight to Houston, the players can rest up and better prepare themselves, the home stand back to back games will be the mental foundations for the players to get themselves ready for a traveling back to back game.

– Richard Perez

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