This team is so much fun to watch. They never give up and even when they are down by 23, you keep waiting for them to come back, which they do. There was no logical reason for them to be within 4 points of the San Antonio Spurs at the end of the game. They play with such heart and remind me of the little train who could, which has always been one of my favorite books. In spite of the losses, there is so much to be excited about with this team. They play with heart and several players are stepping up. There were a couple of bad calls (or non calls) that helped the Spurs to win. Tony Parker tripped over Al's feet when Al was heading in the other direction and they called a foul on Al. Then, the refs let 5 seconds tick off the clock while Gomes was trying to foul Findley at the end of the game and they didn't call the foul until 3 seconds were left on the clock. These were two very obvious cases where the refs affected the end of the game. I hate when they do that.
Al once again had a tremendous game. He played Duncan pretty evenly the entire game. He finished with 26 points on 11-20 shooting to go with 14 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks. Al is finally becoming the player we all hoped for when he was drafted. Perk is very obviously hurting. He told Dickerson that his pain is at a level of about 6 right now. But I have to give it to the big guy because he was hustling up and down the court in spite of the pain. He finished with 4 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal in 23 minutes. Powe got into the game for only 2 minutes. I really would like to see him get more playing time.
Gomes had another very solid night with 20 points, 7 rebounds and 1 steal. Green struggled shooting 1-7 for 2 points with 3 fouls. He seems to be forcing things and plays so much better when he lets the game come to him. He will be ok, he just has to get his confidence back and quit trying to push so hard. Once again, Allen Ray got more minutes with Green's struggles and scored 6 points on 2 3's and pulled down 3 rebounds and dished out 2 assists.
West started at Point guard and was the game high scorer with 27 points on 11-17 shooting with 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block. He hustled all over the court and was a big reason that this team came back from the 23 point deficit. Rondo got the bulk of back up minutes and often was on the court with West moving to the 2 guard. Rondo finished with 4 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals. Doc called him out during one time out for walking the ball up the court but he played hard and disrupted the Spurs offense time after time. Telfair played only 4 minutes and had just 1 rebound in that time.
I see progress in every game in spite of the losses mounting. In this game, we turned the ball over 12 times through 3 quarters but just once in the 4th and finished with only 13 for the game, which is a huge improvement. The Spurs had 18 for the game, 5 on steals by Delonte and Rondo. In spite of facing the daunting Spurs front line, points in the paint were even, mostly due to Al's work in the paint. Doc still does things that make me scratch my head at times. Like when he put a lineup of Telfair, West, Rondo, Allen and Gomes on the floor for awhile against the Spurs with a much bigger unit including Duncan in the game. I also question his not giving Powe any minutes. But I think Doc needs to remain the coach for this team for now as the young players obviously like him and changing coaches now would be hard for them mid year. But I am still hoping that we have a new coach next season. There are bright spots in every game and we see players improving game by game. When they put it all together and finally figure out how to win, this team is going to be very fun to watch and scary for other teams to face.