No disrespect to Pop, Timmy, and the other Spurs, but San Antonio's regular-season NBA campaign began in earnest last week when Manu Ginobili, the Alamo City's favorite-adopted son, made his home debut in a 98-88 victory over the Chicago Bulls. While IUPUI godsend George Hill was the nights MVP, it was Ginobili who electrified the crowd by simply gracing the hardwood in his first appearance since serious ankle surgery. Manu finished the night with 15 points, 4 dimes, and 3 boards in almost 18 minutes, along the way reminding us that on the court in San Anto he's still the straw that stirs the season.
Rookie George Hill is a certified baller. The likes of which haven't been seen in South Texas since Lil' Troy dropped wax or Tony Parker's own franchise altering debut. If Gary Payton is â??the Glove', Hill could easily one day become â??the Gauntlet.' He out-hustled the NBA's #1 draft pick, Derrick Rose, to the tune of 19 points and 11 rebounds, and perhaps more importantly, continues to reaffirm faith in the Gregg Popovich/R.C. Buford braintrust after some questionable moves. Giving up on Luis Scola for basically nothing and exiling Beno Udrich still stings, but the Spurs, at least for now, are alright.
San Anto followed up their win against the Bulls with another, courtesy of the Memphis Grizzlies, before faltering in Houston to the Rockets in somewhat embarrassing fashion. Their record then stood at 9-7, thanks in large part to the Roger Mason Jr.'s hot hand and Tim Duncan's consistently overlooked brilliance.
Prior to the Spurs' contest against Allen Iverson and the Detroit Pistons I took some time to soak in the NBA atmosphere and catch up with a fellow bloke. “I look at Manu and wish he was French, and I look at Tony and sometimes I wish he wasn't,” he said as we watched Ginobili shoot free throws. New Spurs P.A announcer Kevin “Big Kev” Brock is an awesome upgrade, and we can now realistically cross our fingers for a competent arena DJ, cough, Donnie-D. A.I.'s only S.A. regular-season appearance resulted in an 89-77 reality check loss for the home team. Manu started, Tony started, and unfortunately so did Matt Bonner. It's obvious we need another rebounding big man, and by the end of the night, things looked bleak for the venerable Spurs.