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Blogcat's Take, 2/20

"I thought we had a whole lot of All-Star (break) rust," Coach Sam Vincent said after the Bobcats managed to pull off the rare feat of holding the opposition to 85 points and still getting blown out.  I really don’t know how one can chalk this up to “All-Star rust,” considering we had no involvement with the All-Star game whatsoever.  We didn’t even have any Rookie-Sophomore Game participants this year.    So we ought to just call it “Sitting-Around-On-The-Couch-And-Playing-Lots-of-Halo-3-Break Rust,” because Emeka Okafor, Jason Richardson, and Gerald Wallace combined to shoot 5-of-29 in a loss to San Antonio that was more rambling and incoherent than Michael Jordan’s latest ESPN: The Magazine interview.  Based on our collective 28% shooting, we’re also not going to be a threat to send anyone to the All-Star H-O-R-S-E competition either, if the NBA ever creates one. 
Tim Duncan, against whom Okafor normally plays fairly decently, shot just 2-of-12 himself, but he was a key component anyway in the Spurs win.  “(Duncan’s) defense at the rim and that sort of thing is always important to us,” Coach Gregg Popovich noted (5 blocks, 5 assists, 15 boards, and a steal was presumably the “sort of thing” Popovich was talking about).  Duncan also held former teammate Nazr Mohammed to a paltry 5-of-13 shooting and a measly 6 boards.  Mohammed was our biggest bench contributor, but possibly I only mean that literally and not figuratively, because Vincent somehow thought it was a good idea to give Jeff McInnis 33 minutes of “run.”
Tell me we’re showcasing McInnis for a trade, Coach, please?  Just do that and all my pain will go away!  Apparently, Memphis’s Kyle Lowry is on the trading block.  You know Lowry only makes about a mil?  We could give the Grizzlies McInnis (or, more accurately, McInnis’s expiring contract) plus either Jermareo Davidson or Ryan Hollins and it’d be nearly even.  And here’s a really scary thought: we trade them Othella Harrington ('s expiring contract) for Lowry and they’d actually owe US a million.  Welcome to the wacky world of bad contracts!  I know these are stupid and—with any other team—borderline insulting trade proposals, but considering the shrewd deals Grizzlies have been pulling lately, I thought it was worth mentioning.  Boy oh boy.  33 minutes...Four points...No assists.  This guy should be the 5th PG option for the Sacramento Kings, behind Beno Udrih, Anthony Johnson, Tyronn Lue, and Quincy Douby.  Instead, he gets 33 minutes for us.             
Anyway, besides the decision to play Jeff McInnis for 33 minutes, the Spurs relied heavily on Manu Ginobli (18 points, including 9-of-11 FT shooting), and they also got random contributions from Michael Finley (14 points) and Ime Udoka (12 points).  Because of his first name, I’m sort of hoping that Udoka someday develops a reputation as a selfish prima donna and gets traded to the Knicks—the headline writers for The Daily News and The New York Post would have a field day with that one.  The Spurs also defended their way through a memorably muddled first half for everyone involved, and they leveraged our cold stretch before halftime to take the lead for good.             
“Cold stretch”—like we were ever hot.  Gerald Wallace was a total ghost, as was Jason Richardson.  Raymond Felton attacked the hoop with his usual gusto, but he frequently failed to finish on the Spurs’ bigs.  21 Spurs turnovers (the first 11 on steals) and their own poor shooting were the only reasons the game was ever competitive.  Their 54 rebounds to our 33—sorry, 38 (I can’t seem to get that number out of my head)—was one of the many reasons it eventually wasn’t…