Visiting Diverse Past of Texas

Created Tuesday, 26 June 2007 09:36

Institute of Texan Cultures: Visiting Diverse Past of Texas

Written by Randy Watson

San Antonio is nothing if not a melting pot for different cultures and ethnic groups, and the University of Texas at the San Antonio Institute of Texan Culture is a 50,000 square foot monument and museum dedicated to exploring and investigating this history.  Each year, the institute produces exhibits, hosts talks and workshops, and maintains a comprehensive library filled with works on cultural and ethnic history.

The Institute of Texan Cultures is located at 801 South Bowie Street, San Antonio, Texas, in HemisFair Park beneath the Tower of the Americas and adjacent to the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center.

 

The museum was opened in 1968 as the Texas State Exhibits Building for the HemisFair celebration of that year, and renamed to its current moniker after the fair concluded.  In 1986, the Institute was accepted as a campus of UTSA.  The Institutes funding comes primarily from grants, donations, and sales from their products, admissions, publications, as well as government funding.

The Institute is certainly not your average stuffy, buttoned-down type of affair.  It is a living, breathing entity in which, visitors are welcomed and encouraged to touch certain exhibits, and interact with the performers portraying the colorful characters from Texas’ past.

The Texans One and All exhibit focuses on the many multicultural groups that make up the demographics of the state of Texas.  Here visitors can listen to German oompah bands, learn how to write Chinese numbers, hear stories of the Japanese interred in WWII, learn about Texas baseball legend Frank Robinson, and find out more about the Tejano culture.  Texas\’ social fabric is so dense with populations from other parts of the world, that to learn about each of them is to learn about the world itself.

Creation and Cosmos is an exhibit dedicated to examining American Indian spirituality and mysticism.  Visitors to this exhibit are able to walk through caverns and caves resembling those in which the Indians lived.  This exhibit asks guests to travel through time to an older time, and to see the world as our ancestors might have seen it.  Religious artifacts, pottery, and other clues offer glimpses into this vision of the ancient world.

The Living Texas exhibit asks guests to no only view how early Texans lived, but to actually take part in it!  This is the institute’s most hands-on exhibit, and visitors are able to talk to those who settled the land and built the basis for what Texas was to later become.  Guests are invited to see how a real chuck wagon works, make thread on old spinning wheels, go inside Indian tipis, learn how quilting was done with authentic materials, and send mail from an old-style post office.

The Institute of Texan Cultures also has many temporary events that change throughout the year.  Currently, the temporary exhibits are:

  • Here Be Dragons—many cultures throughout the years have believed in dragons, and many of the settlers of Texas were no different.  Throughout modern Texas, dragons are still used as symbols for various reasons.  This exhibit explains why.  Running until November 4, 2007.
  • Conjunto—visitors can learn about this musical style through a series of photos, sculptures, performances, and instruments.  Until October 3, 2007.
  • Heritage to Horizons: U.S. Air Force History Through Art—an exploration of the USAF history through paintings and photos.  June 29-August 12

Schools are encouraged to visit the museum for field trips and to take advantage of the institute’s educational programs.  The institute is always able to host group tours, and can provide guides, as well as tailor a tour to the needs, if the teachers wish to emphasize certain exhibits more than others.

Operating Hours

Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Sunday 12 p.m.–5 p.m
Monday CLOSED

UTSA\’s Institute of Texan Cultures is closed on: New Year\’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year\’s Eve. Days and hours of operation are subject to change for special events.

GPS Coordinates
29.4167
-98.4822

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Wedding Approaches for Eva and Tony

Created Monday, 25 June 2007 16:53

As Eva and Tony\’s Wedding Approaches, Expenses Adding Up

Written by Randy Watson

Since winning their latest NBA Championship, the San Antonio Spurs, no doubt, have largely been taking a much needed and deserved vacation – that is all but star point guard, Tony Parker.  Certainly, Parker deserves a break, what with leading his team to the pinnacle of success, on his way to winning the 2007 postseason MVP award, but these days, he is certainly got more important things on his mind.  Important things like marrying his fiancee and hottest-woman-on-the-planet, Eva Longoria.

Parker revealed to a French paper last week that the July 7th wedding, will take place in Paris, at the 16th century castle, Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte.  The star power for the festivities should be set to 10, with Micheal Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jamie Foxx, Keifer Southerland, Jessica Simpson, Lionel Ritchie, and all her co-stars from Desperate Housewives planning to be in attendance, among others.  After the wedding, the couple plan to remain in Paris for the honeymoon, where rumour has it that they will stay in the posh Hotel George V.  The price tag for the wedding is estimated to be around $5 million.

Other wedding details include:
· A $15,000 wedding cake, that will be made in Los Angeles and shipped first-class to Paris with an escort.  The cost of shipping is estimated to be around $23,000, bringing the total to roughly $40,000 just for the cake!
· Tony is very superstitious, and feels that the wedding date, 7/7/07 will bring them lots of luck.
· Eva will be wearing a $600,000 engagement ring.
· Eva wants her pal, Kenny Chesney to sing at the wedding.

Both stars seem to be excited about the upcoming nuptials, but both also say that they are ready to get back to work after it’s all over.

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Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center is Leading the San Antonio Latino Arts Movement

Created Tuesday, 19 June 2007 09:37

Guadulupe Cultural Arts Center

Written by Randy Watson

 The city of San Antonio is known for many things – great food, wonderful colonial architecture, and a rich history – but its burgeoning dedication to the arts is quickly making it one of the most important cities for Latino artists in the United States. San Antonio is home to some of the finest museums in the state, and has long been home to artisans, craftsmen, and artists of all sorts. The city\’s Latino community makes up the backbone of the community, and the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center is one such organization that certainly does its part to keep San Antonio\’s art scene thriving and relevant.

The center was formed in 1980, and since then has dedicated itself to serving the community through several disciplines including, dance, literature, media arts, visual arts, and Xicano music. Each year, the organization puts on several events to showcase the talent that it cultivates. Guadalupe produces the San Antonio Cine Festival, Tejano Conjunto Festival en San Antonio, San Antonio Inter-American Bookfair and Literary Festival, as well as the Hecho a Mano series of plays annually to rave reviews. Also, the group puts on numerous productions by their own dance company throughout the year, and hosts open rehearsals for the public to view.

 

In addition to staging exciting and interesting productions, the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center also offers classes and education opportunities to people of all ages looking to nurture their creative gifts. The center\’s media arts program has existed since 1977, and is the biggest and oldest Latino film and video exhibition in the United States. As the only competitive Latino festival in the U.S., the San Antonio Cine Festival celebrates quality and excellence in Latino filmmaking each year, and brings the community together though screenings by its most creative members.

The literature program is possibly the most important aspect that the center undertakes. Every year, Latinos from throughout the world attend to present their works in the forums, and to participate in the workshops, panels, and readings. The San Antonio Inter-American Bookfair and Literary Festival is the most important literary event in the southwestern United States, and is the most important place in the country for new Latino writers to debut and hone their craft. The program also sponsors a children’s day during the year, in which children are invited to attend readings and storytellings. Afterwards, the children receive free books.

The center\’s education program is designed for more than just learning and teaching; it is designed to bring together people from different ages and backgrounds, but who share a common heritage. The education program serves as a positive outlet for students to not only practice their crafts, but to demonstrate and share their gifts through public exhibitions, recitals, and performances. Young people ages 8-18 can apply for scholarships.

The center, although relatively new, does have an important historical tie to the preservation and restoration of one of San Antonio\’s landmarks – the Guadalupe Theater. Built in 1942, the theater was home to a variety of different forms of entertainment, before falling on hard times in the late 60s. The early 80s saw the restoration of this historic venue, and since then, has regained its place at the front of Hispanic cultural events. Throughout the year, the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center uses the theater to host all its productions and events.

Some upcoming events that the center is sponsoring include:
· S.A.S.S.—San Antonio Second Sundays – an open mic series held on the second Sunday of each month at 7 PM at the Teatro Space 1304 Guadalupe St.  Features poetry readings, songs, and performance games.
· Momma’s Boyz – an award-winning play highlighting the TeatroFest at the Guadalupe Theater.  The last performance is June 23 at 3 PM.
· Tejano Music Gala – July 13 at the Guadalupe Theater, featuring music by Jimmy Edwards, Los Texmaniacs, Guadalupe Mariachi, and the Guadalupe Dance Company.

Visit the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center online.

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Luling Texas Watermelon Thump

Created Monday, 18 June 2007 09:07

Luling Texas Watermelon Thump

Written by Randy Watson

 

Nothing says that summer has arrived like juicy, ripe, cool watermelons . . . and nothing celebrates the venerable watermelon quite like the Luling Watermelon Thump, held annually in Luling, TX for the last 54 years.  The carnival is a four-day affair, featuring a midway, arts and crafts market, car show, exhibitions, rides and entertainment for the kids, seed spitting contests, watermelon eating contests, and plenty of great musical acts.

The Thump began in 1954 as a way to draw attention to the watermelon growers in the region, and has grown in size as well as in its events.  Its popularity and fame has grown also.  For years, many of the winning watermelons have been sent to famous people such as Ronald Regan, Art Linklater, and Johnny Carson, and many of the winners of the seed spitting contest have appeared on TV talk shows, increasing the renown of the Thump.  The record in the seed-spitting contest was set in 1989 by Reed Wheelis at an incredible 68 feet, 9 1/8 inches.  This year the winner will receive a prize of $500, and another $500 if a new record is set.

 

The festivities get underway on Thursday, June 21, and goes until the 24th. Day one gets started at 5:30 PM, with the carnival, midway, exhibitor\’s market, arts and crafts, kid\’s rides, and food and beverage booths, all which go until midnight. At 7:00 is the coronation of the Thump Queen, who will watch over Saturday\’s parade. Starting at 8:30 is the night\’s free musical entertainment, Lembo Allen, which also lasts until midnight.

Day 2 starts early, with the judging and awarding of the melon champion for the year at 10:00 AM. At 5:00, the children\’s seed-spitting, and children\’s team seed-spitting will be judged. The musical acts for the night see Billy Bacon & the Forbidden Pigs from 7:30-9:00, and Jim Byrom from 9:30-11:30 on the free stage. On the main stage, starting at 8:30, Aaron Watson will be opening for the Randy Rodgers Band. Tickets are on sale for $20.

Saturday\’s events start off with the Thump Day 5K Fun Run at 8:00 AM, followed by the parade at 10. The parade is one of the grandest traditions, featuring floats, bands, and other festivities.  Visitors are welcome to bring their lawn chairs and relax in style as the parade passes by. At 1 PM is the watermelon eating contests followed by the auction of the champion melon. 4:30 brings the famous World Championship Seed Spitting Contest for the adults. Also, during the day, many musical acts will be performing free of charge at the Spitway Stage. Starting off at 2 PM is the Shiner Hobo Band, followed by Ponty Bone at 8 PM and Kyle Park at 10. Headlining the event is Kevin Fowler, with the Mike McClure Band opening at 7 PM.  Tickets for this show are $20, and children 11 and under get in for free.

Sunday brings an end to the festivities, but before it does, motors will get revved up at the Thump Car Show which starts at noon, with awards given out at 5. There is also a full day of music planned with Johnny Dee and the Rocket 88s and TZR playing throughout the day.

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2007 NBA Champions A Dynasty

Created Friday, 15 June 2007 19:15

2007 NBA Champions A Dynasty

Written by Randy Watson

The San Antonio Spurs finished off the overmatched Cleveland Cavs Thursday night, 83-82, and by completing only the eighth sweep in NBA finals history, became a legitimate dynasty.  By hanging their fourth title since 1999, the Spurs have demonstrated that they are not only the best team in the NBA this year, but certainly one of the best of all time.  And with a core group of young, but experienced players (Duncan, 31, Ginobili, 29, and Parker, 25), the Spurs seem to be perfectly situated to continue their championship run over the next few years.

Although the analysts, sportswriters, and a fair number of fans seem to feel that the series was boring, it certainly was not that way to San Antonio, or its players.  Tim Duncan said that this one was the sweetest of all.  Robert Horry, on the other hand, has more to compare it with since this is his seventh championship.  But for Tony Parker, it was probably just a little bit sweeter than for anyone else, as his determination, grit, and hustle proved too much for the Cavs, and resulted in his being named Finals MVP.  Parker was too fast, too deadly, too good for the Cavs, and time after time, the petite Frenchman slashed through Cleveland\’s defense for layups, assists, and hit key jump shots when his team needed them.  Parker shot 57percent in the finals and averaged 24.5 points.

Although this game was closer than the first three in the series, San Antonio\’s stifling defense combined with cool, veteran leadership, allowed them to hit the key baskets and make the key plays down the stretch.  Time after time, San Antonio managed to negate any Cleveland rally in the bud.  When the Cavs would make a basket, San Antonio would make a three.  If Cleveland would make a three, San Antonio would make a three and then get a steal.  If San Antonio missed a basket, there was usually someone there to tip in a rebound.  Time after time, the Spurs were just a little better, just a little quicker. While the Cavs are no doubt a quality team—winning four straight against the Pistons in the conference finals proved that – they are young, inexperienced, and do have a few holes to fill.

At the end of the game, Tim Duncan did not have a great night scoring only 12 points on 4-15 shooting, although he did grab 15 rebounds to go along with 2 blocks.  Manu Ginobili bounced back from a terrible Game 3, going for 27 points (to lead the team), and hitting clutch free throws down the stretch.  Tony Parker ended up with 24 points and 7 rebounds.

The current Spurs team is certainly one that has all the right pieces:  a strong inside presence with Duncan; good outside shooting from a variety of sources; a point guard who can score, dish, and manage the game; and a defensive stopper in Bowen who can make life extremely difficult for opposing superstars.  But probably the most important thing that they have is a willingness to work together as a team, and not snipe at each other over minutes, shots, and individual numbers.  Contrast that with the implosion that the Lakers suffered after winning with selfish superstars, and one can see why the Spurs might be on the verge of something more than a dynasty.  They might be on the verge of total league domination for the next few years.

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Texas Veterans Land Board

Created Friday, 15 June 2007 18:50

Texas Military Vets Have an Array of Loans Available

Written by Randy Watson

Since 1946, the Texas Land Board has been offering great benefits, in the form of below market loans for purchasing land, houses, and even home improvements, exclusively to Texas military veterans. In addition to these offers, the Board also offers retirement homes and cemeteries with dignified, specialized care, as well as a full array of amenities to those Texans who have helped to keep America, and Texas, safe and free.

In 1836, when Texas declared its independence from Mexico, and many Texans fought to insure this freedom, the state sought to reward those who sacrificed so much for the nascent republic. Unfortunately, as a newly-formed entity, Texas was not yet wealthy, and had little means at its disposal. So poor was the republic, that it didn\’t even have enough money to pay its soldiers. Although short of cash, there was one resource in which Texas was extremely wealthy: land. Thus, the Texas Land Board was created to grant land in lieu of cash payment.

Over the years, as the amount of public land has decreased, the system has been adjusted to still assist Texas military veterans, all the while keeping up with modern times. In 1946, soldiers returning from the WWII were greeted with the creation of the Texas Veterans Land Board, which remains an updated version of the original. Since there was a shortage of land and Texas, at this point, was fairly well-developed, the Veterans Land Board offered below market loans that would allow vets to purchase land. In the 1980s, the plan was further adjusted to allow for loans to be given to purchase houses and even make home improvements.

It is safe to say that the program has been a resounding success. Last year, the program lent $1 billion, and reports indicate that every dollar lent results in six dollars for the local economy in the form of real estate, construction, materials, and labor. Perhaps the best part is that the taxpayers pay nothing to keep this program alive, as it is self-funded and self-sustaining, and the vets who use it are some of the most dependable and responsible members of the community. Although over 180,000 Texas veterans have taken advantage of this program, nearly 1.5 million have not.

The plan is continually being updated, changed, and modified to insure that Texas vets will always receive the best benefits package in the nation. The past few years have certainly seen quite a few improvements across the board. For example, the land loans project has not only dropped its minimum land purchase amount from 5 acres to 1, but has also raised the loan amount from $40,000 to $60,000. The home loan project has raised its maximum loan amount from $240,000 to $325,000 and also offers a 15 or 30 year term, which can be used with other loans, such as VA, FHA, or conventional loans. The Texas Veterans Land Board\’s home improvement loans have a maximum of $25,000 on a 25-year note, and all of these loans can be used more than once, if the original has been paid in full.

Elderly vets also have another option at their disposal in the form of Texas State Veterans Homes, which offer first rate accommodations with specialized nursing care at much lower rates than private care. These homes are available, not only for vets, but for their loved ones as well. Currently, there are homes in El Paso, McAllen, Big Spring, Bonham, Temple, and Floresville, with one opening in Amarillo this year, and others planned.

For those veterans who have passed on, the program also offers them a peaceful and dignified final resting place in the Texas State Veterans Cemeteries. These cemeteries are fully modern, offering all the amenities and services that Texas veterans deserve. Currently, there are two such facilities – the first opened in Killeen in January 2006, and the second in Mission later that year. The Land Board also is planning on unveiling more of these in the upcoming years.

The Texas Veterans Land Board is a win-win-win situation for the entire state of Texas. In addition to assisting veterans to be able to afford quality housing; the benefits to the state itself are many. By injecting money into local economies across the state, the plan insures building and development will continue, communities will benefit from having the leadership and stability of veterans around, and all of this comes as absolutely no burden to the taxpayers of the state. By offering these below market loans, but also at a longer term, the number of defaults is lessened, which should mean that the program, started with the founding of our great state, will remain in place for many more years.

Vets interested in learning more about the loan rates, and getting more information, can call 1-800-252-VETS from M-F 7:30 AM-6:00 PM, or log onto www.texasveterans.com.

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One Win From Championship Spurs Hold off Cavs

Created Wednesday, 13 June 2007 18:17

One Win From Championship Spurs Hold Off Cavs

Written by Randy Watson

It might not have been pretty – in fact, it was pretty ugly – but the Spurs managed to grind out a tough victory on Cleveland\’s home court, and now remain just one victory away from their fourth NBA championship, and that is a beautiful thing.  San Antonio overcame bad shooting nights from their stars, but reserves and role players managed to make a few crucial baskets, and all but sealed San Antonio\’s place in history and this year\’s championship.

The Cavs came out determined and focused after getting run off the court in the first two games, and the hometown crowd cheered them on loudly the entire night.  It was still no match for San Antonio\’s brutal defense and veteran leadership.  In Game 3, that leadership and toughness was demonstrated best by Bruce Bowen.  Not usually known for his scoring ability, Bowen was as tough on the offensive end as he normally is on defense.  All night long, Bowen found himself open and dropped in big baskets when his team needed them.  He finished with 13 points on 4-5 shooting from behind the arc and grabbed 9 rebounds, all the while playing stellar defense on LeBron James.

The Big 3 of the Spurs all had off nights.  Duncan only managed 14 points on 6-17 from the field, but did grab 9 rebounds and had 2 blocks.  Tony Parker, likely the Finals MVP, was defended well by Cavs\’ rookie, Daniel Gibson, but still was able to score 17 points, although on 7-17 shooting.  Manu Ginobili had one of his worst shooting nights in recent memory, going 0-7 from the field.  Although he only scored 3 points on free throws, they were important points. The Argentine star went to the line twice in the final seconds with the game on the line and made 3-4 to help give San Antonio the victory.

The game was ugly the whole way, and turned out to be the second-lowest point total in Finals\’ history.  San Antonio shot 41percent from the field, while Cleveland shot 36percent.  Cleveland was a miserable 15percent from behind the 3-point line.  The first half found James and Duncan both in foul trouble, each picking up three fouls, and watching large stretches of the half from the bench.  The ugliest play of the night came late when Cleveland\’s James, down by two with less than a minute left, passed to Brazilian big man, Anderson Varejao, who spun wildly and flung up an awful-looking shot that barely scraped the iron.  Ginobili was subsequently fouled and made a free throw to extend San Antonio\’s lead to 3.  After that, San Antonio was free to celebrate their latest win.

At the end of the night, all the ugliness resulted in a San Antonio victory, and with one more they will have their fourth NBA title in 8 years . . . and the talk of a legitimate dynasty will start.  San Antonio will join the Celtics, Lakers, and Bulls, as the only teams to have won four or more titles.  If history is any indication, the title is all but San Antonio\’s.  No team has ever come from an 0-3 deficit to win a series.

Go, Spurs, Go!

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San Antonio Past Meets Its Future at the Pearl Brewery

Created Wednesday, 13 June 2007 16:13

San Antonio\’s Past Meets it Future at the Pearl Brewery

Written by Randy Watson

When most people think about San Antonio\’s history, the obvious things that come to mind are the missions, the Alamo, and the deep cultural ties with the Spanish and Mexico, but the history goes deeper, and is much more varied than those pillars of San Antonio.  The Pearl Brewery, established in 1883, is a San Antonio landmark, full of history, but now is in the process of becoming not only a piece of San Antonio\’s unique past, but a beacon for the future of Texas, as well.

Many Texans know the Pearl Brewing Company for brewing their famous Pearl beer, their fierce competition over the years with Lone Star Beer, and perhaps their association with Judge Roy Bean.  Over the years, the success of this small brewing company aroused the curiosity of larger breweries, who tried to buy out Pearl.

For years, Pearl shrugged off these attempts, and actually did their own acquiring of breweries, buying up the Goetz Brewing Company in 1961.  But eventually, Pearl was forced to sell.  In 1995, the S&P Company bought out Pearl and eventually went on to close the historic San Antonio brewery in 2001, and moved production of Pearl to Fort Worth, Texas.  The closing marked an end to a colorful local tradition, but now, the building where Pearl made their beer for many years is undergoing a facelift, and is set to make a new sort of Texas history.

The brewery is being turned into the largest solar project in the state of Texas, and is in the process of being redeveloped into live/work lofts, cafe\’s, offices, retail, and restaurant space.  The developers, Silver Ventures, is putting $1.35 million into 758 solar panels, that will supply about a quarter of the energy needs of the structure.  Currently, the largest solar project in Texas is at Fort Sam Houston, but is closed to the public.  The Pearl Brewery will certainly get the public’s attention.  So much so, that the building will feature information stations that will allow the public to view how much energy is being produced by the panels, and view actual usage statistics as they occur.

The project is also mixing some of the older, existing technology available at the brewery with some newer aspects, by collecting rainwater in the old cisterns once used for storing beer.  The rainwater will then be saved and used for irrigating the grounds, and will act as a backup water supply in the case of drought.

At the end of the day, the whole experiment is set to be, well . . . just that: an experiment.  From the funding to the technology, the whole operation is breaking new ground by reusing old, historic grounds in an interesting and responsible ways.  The funding is a public/private joint venture, with about 2/3s coming from Silver Ventures, and the remaining 1/3 from the city\’s utility company, CPS Energy.  If the technology aspect is successful, Silver, along with many green groups, hopes to see solar power become a viable way to power homes and businesses.  The final aspect the group hopes to find success in is the financial one.

With the residential rents starting on the expensive side at $1.40-$1.50/square foot, living in this modern creation will not come cheap.  Office spaces will rent from $2.00/square foot, making this some of the more expensive real estate in San Antonio.

Still, interest seems to be high, and the developers hope that these grounds which once housed one of the most important historical businesses in San Antonio, will once again claim its place as a draw for tourists and citizens of San Antonio, as well.  Who knows, in another hundred years, perhaps people will come to see this as the beginning of a newer San Antonio, rather than the end of an old landmark.

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Spurs Halfway to Championship

Created Monday, 11 June 2007 23:05

Spurs Clip Cavs 103-92

Written by Randy Watson

For 3½ quarters, the Spurs had their way with the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.  Then, over the last few minutes, the Spurs allowed Cleveland to scratch their way back in a flurry of steals and baskets, and make what had been a one-sided affair a bit closer than it actually was.  Still, at the end of the game, San Antonio handled the Cavs easily, and now sits within two games of another NBA Championship.

The Spurs have three legitimate superstars on their team, but it is uncommon for all three to put up numbers like they did Sunday night.  Tim Duncan was unstoppable on the inside, scoring 23 points, 9 rebounds, and leading the team with 8 assists.  Off the bench, Manu Ginobili scored 25 (on 4-6 shooting from behind the 3-point arc) and grabbed 6 rebounds.

But the star of the game was the little French point guard, Tony Parker.  Parker was simply amazing from start to finish.  The whole game Parker drove the lane for layups, knocked down long jump shots, and even scored some on rebounds and put-backs in the paint.  At the end of the action, he had finished with 30 points on 13-20 shooting, even knocking down a three-pointer, something he’s certainly not known for.  At halftime, the Spurs had a 58-33 lead, and the \”Big 3\” of San Antonio had outscored the entire Cavs team by 10 points.

Still for all the great play by San Antonio, the Cavs did finally show a spark late in the game.  Trailing by as many as 29 points, the Cavs managed to go on a 22-4 run late, to cut the deficit down to as few as 8 points before the Spurs finally put a stop to it.  The Cavs great LeBron James, coming off a lackluster Game 1 was quiet for most of the game, getting into foul trouble early, but did come on strong late, to finish with 25 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists.  He also had 6 turnovers.  Cleveland\’s sensational rookie, Daniel Gibson, had 15 points on 6-12 shooting.

For the Spurs, the blueprint to this game was all too familiar.  Yes, they came out with the win, but letting a team come back late when they should be finished is never a good thing.  Still, the game was hardly in doubt, even when the Cavs got the lead down under 10, the Spurs veteran leadership took over, as Manu Ginobili got Gibson to bite on a pump-fake, drawing the foul, as he buried a long three-pointer and subsequent free throw to end the comeback and close out the game.

The way the series has gone so far, the Spurs look to be in total control, and seem to be a lock to win their fourth championship, quite possibly in a sweep.  The Cavs, however, have shown that, although they are young, they are fast learners.  Against Detroit, they dropped the first two games, only to go on and win the next four.  With the next three games coming in Cleveland, the Spurs need to take the energy that they have built, and come out strong, as they have so far.

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Go Spurs Go

Created Friday, 08 June 2007 15:14

Go Spurs Go

Written by Randy Watson

Strong Defensive Effort Downs Cavs, Spurs Take 1-0 Lead. Say it Loud and Proud, Go! SPURS GO!

San Antonio\’s Big Three were terrific.  Cleveland\’s Chosen One, was terrible.  Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginobili had their way against the Cavaliers and used a tremendous defensive effort to thwart LeBron James and his young upstart team in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, 85-76.  After being off for a week since finishing the Utah Jazz in five games, San Antonio showed no signs of rust, starting off shooting 7-9 from the field, and taking a 5 point lead into halftime.

Cleveland never had an answer for Tony Parker, who was a one men wrecking crew throughout the game.  He sliced and darted to the rim so many times, that the Cleveland defense, regarded as one of the best in the league, looked tired and slow all night.  Parker led all scorers with 27 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds.  He didn\’t shoot a three-pointer the entire game, instead choosing to slash and drive, and consistently knock down 15-foot jumpers.

Tim Duncan had another one of his patented playoff performances, scoring 24 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 blocks.  Duncan\’s defensive performance was likely the highlight of the game.  Time after time, when a Cavs player entered the lane, Duncan was there for a block or to cut off the lane to the basket.  He also had two steals and went 4-5 from the free throw line.

Bruce Bowen, tasked with the most unenviable jobs of having to guard LeBron James, was magnificent in his effort.  All night long, Bowen was in James\’ face, cutting off his way to the basket, and slowing him down just enough for help defense to arrive.  James missed 9 of his first 10 shots, and didn\’t score his first basket until midway through the third quarter.  James shot 4-16, and had 6 turnovers.  He ended up with 14 points, most of which coming after the game was all but decided.

Although the Cavs did manage balanced scoring—5 players scored in double digits—their shaky defense and poor shot selection in the third quarter, allowed the Spurs to build a 70-52 lead.  For a long period, the Cavs would come down and immediately shoot a three, only to have San Antonio rebound with a fast break score the other way.  A couple of bright spots for the Cavs, would have to be the continued good play of Daniel Gibson (7-9 shooting, 16 points, in 27 minutes off the bench), and the aggressiveness of Sasha Pavlovic, an young player, who shot 6-12 for 13 points, and had no fear of driving to the basket again and again.

Despite the fact that the Cavs managed a mini-run in the 4th quarter which cut an 18-point lead down to as few as 8, the Spurs were in control from the tip, and the outcome was never really in doubt.

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