Spurs Week 4 in Review

Created Wednesday, 28 November 200

Although the Spurs had a good week last week, winning three out of four, the team fell into second place behind the surprising New Orleans Hornets.  The half game lead that the Hornets have over San Antonio is due to N.O. having played a game more than the Spurs, although in head-to-head competition, the Spurs bested their conference foes two weeks ago.

 The Spurs started the week off with a 113-88 thrashing of the Milwaukee Bucks in what was, oddly, a revenge game for the boys in black.  Last year, the lowly Bucks swept the Spurs in their two regular-season games, so payback was certainly on the players’ minds.  Tim Duncan scored 16 points with 10 rebounds to lead San Antonio who lead by as much as 40 points in the game.  Manu Ginobili, who is averaging just under 20 points per game, scored 21 in the contest.

Two days later, the Spurs went up against the Lakers and perennial all-star/drama queen Kobe Bryant.  Normally, stopping Bryant is almost impossible, so teams key in on shutting down the teams other players.  With Bruce Bowen having a career night, holding Bryant to 18 points on 9-19 shooting (0-5 from 3-point range), the Spurs’ defensive specialist played the role of offensive guru for a change.  Bowen was 6-6 from three point range, on his way to 23 points.  Tony Parker lead the team with 26, as San Antonio cruised to a 107-92 win.  Duncan had a terrible game, only scoring five points on 2-13 shooting.

Next up was an in-state, division battle with the Dallas Mavericks.  If you were to look at the box score, everything would point to a San Antonio victory, but it was not to be.  The Spurs’ defense held Dirk Nowitzki to only 3 points in the second half, and the San Antonio bench outscored Dallas’, yet it wasn’t enough as Dallas ripped off runs of 17-1 and 11-0 in the first half to build an insurmountable lead.  Tony Parker only managed seven points in the game, and missed ten of his first eleven shots.   Tim Duncan rebounded from one of the worst games of his career with a 24 point effort on 11 of 21 shooting.  Michael Finley did not score, and San Antonio’s starters (aside from Duncan) only scored 15.  Before the loss, the Spurs had won four straight.

After losing to one Texas team, the Spurs were able to avenge the loss against another division rival from just down the road by beating the Houston Rockets, 90-84.  Earlier in the month, the Rockets gave the Spurs their first loss of the season when the won, 89-81.  This night, the Rockets were without Tracy McGrady, but still gave San Antonio all they could handle.  Tim Duncan denied the Rockets, as he went for a season high 25 points and 13 rebounds.  The rest of the team managed to bounce back from the previous night’s lackluster performance.  Michael Finley scored 17, Tony Parker had 14, and Ginobili came off the bench for 19.

The Spurs have looked great for the most part so far, but in a few key games the team has looked disturbingly tired and some key players have had horrible off-nights.  The good news is that the team is just a half game out of first place, and after each loss has bounced back to rip off several wins in a row.  Let’s hope that they get one of those streaks going this week!

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Spurs Weekly Recap

Created Wednesday, 28 November 2007 12:08

The last week for the Spurs was off to a good start.  The team was in the middle of a five game winning streak, and things seemed to be firing on all cylinders. . .until a trip to Sacramento and a showdown with an ex-player derailed the plans.

San Antonio’s biggest win of the Thanksgiving week was a shootout, wild west style, as the Spurs went up against the surprising Orlando Magic, who lead the league with 13 wins, and are having a great season of their own.  On the night before Thanksgiving though, it was the Spurs who had reason to celebrate, as they carved up the Magic like a fat turkey, 128-110.  The Spurs are known as one of, if not the top defensive team in the league, but their offensive skills were on display against their foes from Florida.  Dwight Howard’s 34 points and 16 rebounds weren’t enough for the Magic, who couldn’t find a way to shut down Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.  Parker had 32 points and 9 assists, while Ginobili poured in 27 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists.  Tim Duncan added 20 points and 16 rebounds.

San Antonio continued its high scoring act in the next two games, beating Memphis 101-88, and Seattle 116-101.  Against Seattle, San Antonio allowed 64 points in the first half, but started off the second half with a 12-0 run, and turned up the defensive intensity to pull away in the end.  Parker and Ginoblili each had 22 points, but Duncan was the leader with 26.  The loss sent Seattle to its worst start ever at 2-11.  Meanwhile, with the win, the Spurs ran their record to 12-2, which is the best start in team history.

Unfortunately, the next night, they seemed to forget all the good things that got them to that point, dropping a game to the lowly Sacramento Kings.  Granted, the game was the second in a west-coast, post-holiday tour, but the Kings are 5-9 and in last place in their division!  Unfortunately, they also have a former Spur, Beno Udrih, who was bent on revenge against his old team, and led all scorers with 27 points.  Ouch!  You also know it’s an off night when Tony Parker is the team’s leading rebounder.  He had seven in the game.  Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 15 points, as the whole team contributed to the clunker.

Anyway, one poor game aside, the Spurs have shown that they can score with the best of them, but should probably get back to doing what they do best, which is shutting other teams down with stifling defense.  At 12-3, they have the best record in the Western Conference, and are a surprising 2.5 games ahead of Dallas and New Orleans in the division.

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Spurs Continue Winning Ways

Created Monday, 12 November 2007 20:34

After two weeks of play, San Antonio remains tied for first place in the division with the Houston Rockets, although the Spurs got last week off on the wrong foot.  Last Tuesday, the boys in black traveled up the road to face the rival Rockets, and couldn’t come up with the win.  The Spurs did have a four game winning streak at Houston’s home arena before the loss.

In the game, Tim Duncan was no match for Yao Ming, as the Rocket’s center put up 28 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 blocks.  Duncan had an uncharacteristically off-night, only managing 14 points (on 5-15 shooting) with 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks, but he also had 5 turnovers.  San Antonio did play well in the contest, shooting over 46% from the field, and making 37% of their 3-pointers, but Houston was just a little better, getting good play from bench players, Bonzi Wells, 14 points, and Mike James, who had 13.  Aside from Manu Ginobili’s stellar 23-point game, San Antonio’s bench only managed 9 points.

The following night, San Antonio was back at home as the struggling Heat came to town.  Playing without Dwayne Wade, the Heat were no match for the Spurs, who were led by Parker’s 23 points and Ginobili’s 25.  Tim Duncan continued to underwhelm, scoring 12 points and pulling down 8 rebounds.  San Antonio’s bench played well, with Francisco Elson chipping in 12 points, and corralling 14 rebounds in 36 minutes of action.  Shaquille O’Neal scored 17 points, but only managed 3 rebounds for the lowly Heat.

New Orleans had started the season off strong, and were tied with Houston and San Antonio for first place during the first week, so Thursday’s game was an important one.  Tony Parker certainly realized the importance of the game, as he poured in 27 points and dished out 8 assists.  Tim Duncan finally found his stroke as well, scoring 24 points on 11-14 shooting, while grabbing 12 rebounds.  He also had 4 blocks.  The Hornets made a run at the end of the game, but it was too little, too late.  The Spurs moved on with the final score of 97-85, giving New Orleans its second straight loss.

Currently, the Spurs are tied for first in the division with Houston, at 6-1.  New Orleans and Dallas are close behind, while Memphis struggles along with only one win.  Duncan has had a few nights where he hasn’t looked quite like the all-star that everyone knows he is, but the Spurs have still managed to keep rolling.  Ginobili continues to be a demon off the bench, and any questions about Tony Parker being too tired after playing for the French National Team during the off-season have been put to rest.  The speedy Frenchman has been playing lights-out and is averaging over 20 points per game, 37 minutes, and almost 6 assists.

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Hill Country Dude Ranches

Created Wednesday, 07 November 2007 14:40

Hill Country Dude Ranches

If there is one thing that Texas is known for, certainly the state’s cowboy heritage is high on the list.  From the way Texans dress, to the food eaten in the state, the cowboy is one of America’s most popular icons.  Of course, 150 years ago, cowboys and horse riding were as common as cars and driving are today (well, maybe not quite), but sadly, the modern world has fenced in the American outdoors, and replaced the Pony Express with UPS, and much of the wild west with Las Vegas and strip malls.

Texans, however, are proud of this heritage, and are increasingly bent on saving this piece of Americana.  In fact, less than an hour outside of San Antonio, in Bandera, TX, the cowboy spirit is alive and well at the many dude ranches located there.  Certainly, for anyone who has never been to a real Texas ranch, the experience will remain forever, and kids will especially enjoy the numerous activities offered.  Many of these getaways resemble resorts as much as ranches, ensuring that cowgirls as well as cowboys are cared for, and that, although guests may get dirty out on the trails and ranges, they will be well cared for upon returning.

 

Here are a few of the ranches located in Bandera.

  • The Flying L Guest Ranch:  Going strong for 60 years, this ranch was founded by a retired WWII fighter pilot, and has since become more than just a ranch.  The Flying L offers horseback riding for those looking to enjoy the beautiful scenic Hill Country.  Others may want to take in the sights via golf cart, as they make the rounds on the Flying J’s 18-hole course.  The ranch also features a spa and lagoon to cool off in.  The accommodations are top notch, and guests will spend their nights inside their own villa, complete with fireplaces, entertainment centers, and patios or balconies.
  • The Dixie Dude Ranch: While certainly offering all the luxuries that demanding guests require, the Dixie also is a working ranch, featuring longhorn cattle, goats, pigs, and real cowboys participating in rodeos.  The ranch also offers daring guests the chance to truly get into the cowboy spirit by taking an overnight trail ride into the Hill Country where, rather than roughing it, they will be fed by the trusty chuck wagon cook and sleep in trail cabanas.  The ranch also offers wireless internet, massage therapy, fishing, and a pool.
  • Rancho Cortez: Fully equipped for any type of meeting, wedding, or other event, Rancho Cortez prides itself on offering guests a wide range of activities.  Horseback riding for every level is available, as are luxury accommodations, children’s adventures, mountain biking, and tubing or rafting on the Medina River.  For guests looking to get in shape, the ranch also offers a fitness center, complete with a program to get you into shape.  The program is complete with healthy food, personal trainers, horseback rides in the afternoon, and your choice of activity (hiking, kayaking, and biking).

The Texas cowboy spirit is alive and well in Banderas, TX, and these working ranches are just a few of the many, located just an hour northwest of San Antonio.  Whether it’s for a weekend or longer, getting into the Hill Country and spending time on a real ranch is as Texan as you can get.

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Spurs Week One Off to a Great Start

Created Monday, 05 November 2007 20:55

The NBA season is finally underway, and the Spurs have started out this one just like they finished the last one…winning. San Antonio has won their first three games and are tied for first place in the division with Houston and New Orleans. The Spurs started the season on Halloween eve in style, hanging their newest championship banner alongside the others, and handing out diamond encrusted rings to the players like it was Halloween candy. Life is good for the Spurs and for their fans.

With all the hubbub and excitement, one wouldn’t have been surprised if the Spurs didn’t bring their A-game, but they did, dispensing with the Trail Blazers 106-97 to start the season off on the right foot. The Spurs got some more good news, as management announced that they had signed Tim Duncan to a contract extension for two more years. The Spurs main man in the middle is inked through 2012, which means he’ll likely finish his career as a Spur. Duncan celebrated by going off for 24 points and 13 boards in classic fashion. Tony Parker had 19 points, while Ginobili had 16 and 8 assists.

Halloween took the Spurs to Memphis where they faced off against the Grizzlies in a game that was frighteningly close. It took a Manu Ginobili basket with just 32 seconds left to get the victory. The Argentine finished with 30 points, nine of which came in the closing minutes, and added 7 assists. He also drew a charge late in the game to help preserve the victory. Duncan and Parker each had 17 points, and Duncan also nabbed nine rebounds. The game was tied at the half, and had numerous lead changes.

Finally, on Friday, San Antonio was back home, hosting the lowly Sacramento Kings. As close as the first two games were for San Antonio, this one was a laugher. The Spurs led by as much as 29 points, before cruising to a 96-80 victory. Some Spurs players who don’t normally find their way into the stat line, and some of the new blood on the team, got into the act. Ime Udoka drained 3 three pointers, and had a nice game with 14 points. Fabricio Oberto matched Duncan with 10 rebounds. Duncan and Parker each had 15 points. The Spurs defense was in top form, holding the helpless Kings to 19% shooting in the first half.

Three and Oh! It’s a great start for a team looking to defend its championship title, but the road gets tougher quickly. Up this week for the champs, Houston, Miami, and New Orleans. Houston and New Orleans are also out to a hot start, and should both be much improved over last season. Now that the Spurs have redecorated the arena, and are outfitted with some new eye candy for their fingers, it’s time to get on with the season, and keep the winning going!

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