nditions of the spectators. ... Before the gamin Einsteigerforum 28.12.2019 04:16
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Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork. Tai Streets Jersey .com) - We take things for granted, and not necessarily in a bad way. One of the things we as an NBA world have taken for granted is the greatness of the San Antonio Spurs, though is it actually taking it for granted when this group has been so successful for so long? Theyve earned so much of our respect that no matter what, we universally agree theyll always be fine. Though that concession comes with an important caveat - so long as Pop patrols the sideline, Timmy patrols the paint, Tony patrols the point and Manu patrols the bench. All pegs are in place for San Antonio, yet is it fair to question the Spurs now as theyve lost five of their last six, including three of those at home? They are 18-12, which is respectable, but thats seventh in the Western Conference. They are two games out of the eighth spot in the conference and three from being lottery-bound. Can you believe that? Are the Spurs really in danger of missing the playoffs? At this stage of the game, its too early to make any judgments, but the reality is, yes, they could miss the postseason in the ultra-loaded Western Conference. Nothing is a guarantee in the west. One minute, the Phoenix Suns look dreadful and destined for a return to the lottery. Now, theyve won four straight and are semi-comfortably a game ahead in the race for the eighth seed. The Oklahoma City Thunder made up a 5 1/2-game deficit for the final spot in less than two weeks when Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook finally played together. At the heart of the problem is that the Spurs arent built to battle for a postseason berth - they are built to contend for titles. Theres a huge difference. Head coach Gregg Popovich has been able to maximize his players performances in the postseason so brilliantly because hes been able to rest his aging guys during the regular season. The Spurs are older than the Golden Girls cast, so thats both wise and necessary. Tim Duncan (38), Manu Ginobili (37), Matt Bonner (34), Boris Diaw (32) and Tony Parker (32) are not children. On top of counting the inner rings, or drivers license showing their age, this group has a lot of tread on the tires from prolonged runs in the playoffs. Pop has strategically benched them throughout recent seasons. The players need it and Popovich could afford to do it considering the Spurs were always near the top of the standings. If the Spurs remain in a three- or four-team hodgepodge for the final two spots out West for the remainder of the season, one game makes the difference. Can Popovich sit Duncan, et al considering the value of each contest? Hard to say. Pops a mad genius -- equal parts mad, equal parts genius. I still think hell sit his guys, but theres nothing guaranteed to these Spurs. Thats possibly another major issue facing San Antonio and Popovich brought it up after a disappointing Christmas Day loss at home to the Thunder, who were without Durant. I think we floated around like were entitled, so that was disappointing, he said. Thats a new dilemma for the Spurs. Never during this epic run of titles would anyone believe the Spurs felt entitled to anything. Their professionalism is the thing of legend. Maybe its not whats going on with the Spurs, but there is something missing from this group. Perhaps its a hunger issue, or it could be injuries. Parker has missed time and Patty Mills, who was huge in the championship run, hasnt played yet, although hes clear for 5-on-5 work. The big setback is Kawhi Leonard. His hand is in bad shape and theres no timetable for return. Of course Kawhi is huge for us. He was the MVP of last seasons Finals. We need him, Ginobili said after the Thunder loss. But they were missing Durant. No excuses. There are no excuses for the Spurs, but theres reality. Age could be catching up. That seemed like a far-fetched problem entering the season after they steam-rolled the Miami Heat in the Finals. Watching them dissect the Heat like terminal Kermits was breathtaking. We didnt want to see it end, nor would a loss to Father Time be expected. But, Father Time is undefeated as they say. No one wanted to believe it after the precision we watched in June. Injuries arent excuses, theyre explanations. The core group of Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, Leonard, Diaw and Danny Green havent spent much time together on the floor. Duncans play has been tremendous, but his minutes have been high during December. He has sat out four times since the start of the month, but of the 10 games hes played in December, hes logged over 32 minutes eight times and over 39 minutes three times. To be fair, there were two triple-overtime marathons in there, but thats still a heavy workload for a 38-year-old. The sad part is, Tim Duncan comes out and plays every night. We cant find a group around him that can consistently compete and execute, Pop said on Thursday. Its got nothing to do with schedule and injuries. Every schedule for a Western Conference team is brutal. Almost every team is already hampered by injuries. The Spurs just arent themselves right now. Theres plenty of time to remedy it, but their current plight is something to keep an eye on. Nagging injuries dont get any better for guys in their 30s. Trust me, I cant sit up straight anymore. If Popovich cant get these guys some rest throughout the season, the Spurs chances at a first-ever repeat could be in jeopardy. Fighting for a playoff berth is no way for this team to prepare for a title defense. Theyll have nothing in the postseason. Pop and company have earned our faith. I believe theyll get it all together, but theres no reason to take anything for granted when it comes to the Spurs and the Western Conference. RANDOM THOUGHTS - Resting Kobe Bryant wasnt a masterful stroke of genius, it was common sense. Not only is Bryant 36 years of age, and coming off two major leg injuries a year ago, but over his last seven games, hes shooting a roasting- hot 31.6 percent from the field. Plus, Bryants shooting percentage has declined over the last four games from 35 percent to 26.7 percent. The problem is, sitting Kobe frequently isnt a great plan since theres no long-term youngsters to take a look at and build for the future. - Anderson Varejaos absence isnt quite crippling for the Cavaliers. They can go small with Kevin Love or Tristan Thompson in the middle, but theyll need a more stable, true big man at some point. - Maybe Jermaine ONeal will have a bidding war for his service. Most assume hell go to the Dallas Mavericks, who also need a true pivot man, but the Cavs should inquire. I imagine Kosta Koufos will be on Clevelands list as well. - Im very happy to see that John Wall is ahead of Kyrie Irving in All-Star voting. Same goes for Marc Gasol in the Western Conference. Its early returns, but this is an encouraging start. - Josh Smith made the easy choice. More money, starting role, playing with his best friend and playing for a title made the Houston Rockets the obvious landing spot. - Movie moment - I loved sitting around the dinner table with my family on Christmas Eve talking about their favorite movies of the year. Sure, I saw one movie in the theater - Planes: Fire & Rescue 2, but it was comforting knowing my father saw, and liked, Gone Girl and St. Vincent. Hes the same man who didnt see a movie in the theater from Dragnet to Charlie Wilsons War, a span of 20 years, and now hes the family Ebert. - TV moment - New record - SIX viewings of A Christmas Story this year. You used all the glue on purpose! Lamar McHan Jersey . He just didnt expect them to be this good. Darrun Hilliard scored 19 points to lead No. 6 Villanova to a dominating 77-59 victory over Georgetown on Saturday, preserving the Wildcats hopes of a No. Jim Plunkett Jersey . Selected by the Titans in the 2007 NFL Draft, Johnson rejoined the club last season after a five-year stint with Indianapolis. http://www.custompatriotsjersey.com/custom-john-brodie-jersey-large-1041f.html . - Rookie Kyle Larson will start from the pole position Saturday night in the NASCAR race at Richmond International Raceway after a thunderstorm arrived just in time to wash out qualifying.MIAMI -- Nate Freiman hit a three-run homer in his 2014 debut and the Oakland Athletics beat the Miami Marlins 4-3 Sunday to complete a three-game series sweep. The Athletics trailed 1-0 in the sixth inning before breaking out against rookie Andrew Heaney with four consecutive hits, including Freimans home run. Freiman, who spent all of last season with the As, was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento before the game when right fielder Josh Reddick returned to the disabled list because of a right knee strain. Tommy Milone (6-3) allowed two earned runs in seven innings to win his sixth consecutive decision, a career best. Closer Sean Doolittle was given the day off, and Ryan Cook pitched the final 1 1-3 innings for his first save. The As, playing in Miami for the first time since 2003, came from behind in all three games. They won their fourth in a row, improved to 7-1 in interleague play and reached the halfway point of 2014 a season-high 21 games above .500 (51-30). The highly touted Heaney (0-3), making his third career start since being recalled from Triple-A New Orleans, allowed four runs in six innings to raise his ERA to 5.29. The Marlins will have an off day Monday to lick their wounds after playing 17 consecutive days and going 5-12. Miamis Marcell Ozuna hit a pinch-hit homer, his 14th, but the Marlins totalled only six hits and hit into three double plays. They had the best home record in the majors earlier this month, but have lost fivve in a row at Marlins Park. Joe Montana Jersey. Heaney was nursing a 1-0 lead with two out in the sixth when the AL West leaders made their move. Consecutive singles by Alberto Callaspo, Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Donaldson scored one run, and the 6-foot-8 Freiman pulled a pitch into the nightclub beyond the left-field fence. Cespedes single extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games. Christian Yelich, back in the Marlins lineup after being sidelined for 15 games by a back injury, made an impact with his first swing. He tripled off the wall to lead off the first inning, and when second baseman Callaspo made an errant relay throw, Yelich scored standing up. NOTES: The game was halted for 10 minutes in the seventh inning while medical personnel treated two fans struck in the face by the same foul ball. There was no immediate information on the conditions of the spectators. ... Before the game, the Marlins recalled LHP Dan Jennings from Triple-A. ... Milone became the first As pitcher to bat in consecutive games since Ken Holtzman in 1972. Milone flied out as a pinch-hitter Saturday. ... As C Derek Norris (back) was unavailable for the second game in a row. ... The Athletics open a series Monday at Detroit when LHP Scott Kazmir (9-3, 2.66) pitches against RHP Anibal Sanchez (5-2, 2.64). ... RHP Henderson Alvarez (5-3, 2.32) is scheduled to start when the Marlins open a series at home Tuesday against Philadelphia. ' ' '