Spurs Drop Season Opener Against Phoenix

Created Thursday, 30 October 2008 08:30

 

Spurs Drop Season Opener Against Phoenix, Oberto Out

 

 

The Spurs kicked off their season Wednesday night, but someone may have forgotten to tell the team that the games count from here on out. Although, on the other hand, the team didn’t have a particularly stellar pre-season either, so they might as well get started with the real games. The idea behind the pre-season is to practice working together and knock off the rust from the summer. The idea is to get better through practice. Unfortunately for the Spurs, the team’s pre-season record was 3-4, so hopefully they weren’t practicing bad habits. After dropping the first game of the season to Phoenix, 103-98, one has to ask.

The Suns have a new coach this year, as ex-Bucks coach, Terry Porter, was tapped as the head man after Mike D’Antoni left to go to the Knicks. As all Spurs fans know, Phoenix is a heated rival, and many times have the teams met in the playoffs, with the Spurs usually getting the best of the match ups. While Phoenix may have some new wrinkles this year, especially on the defensive side of the ball, San Antonio’s tried and true game of tough-as-nails defense and a powerful inside scoring should be much the same as it has been the last few years. Of course, with Manu Ginobili out until mid-December, someone else will have to step up and fill in the missing defense and scoring in the meantime.

In the season opener, the Spurs defense was not up to its usual standards, as the team allowed five Suns’ players to score in double digits, allowed the team to shoot almost 50% from the field, and 40% from behind the three point line. As expected, the Spurs Big 2 did most of the damage, with Tony Parker and Tim Duncan each scoring 32. Roger Mason did his best to come off the bench with a Ginobili impersonation, and logged 12 points and 4 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough in the end. Kurt Thomas, Udoka, and Jaques Vaughn only managed 2 points each. Bruce Bowen didn’t score. As a team, the Spurs shot fairly well from the field (50%) and adequately (33%) from behind the arc, but the Spurs also got a bit of unfortunate news when Fabricio Oberto felt a flutter in his heart and was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat. He missed the season opener and is being monitored daily. If things go as planned, Oberto is expected to return next week.

We all know that the NBA season is long (from October to June, seriously?) and getting off to a great start is not all that important. Finishing it is, and there are months and months to go before things get decided. The key for the Spurs is to keep afloat and in the division mix until Ginobili gets healthy.

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Day of the Dead

Created Tuesday, 28 October 2008 12:50

San Antonio’s Day of the Dead

San Antonio is a unique city for many reasons, but at the beginning of November, the city displays one of it’s truly authentic cultural occasions–the Day of the Dead.  The Dia de los Muertos is a Spanish event which celebrates the ancestry of families by communing with those who have passed on.  In San Antonio, there are many concerts, art shows, and carnivals around the city which offer a way to experience an event that doesn’t exist in most parts of the country.

On the surface, communing with the deceased may seem like a creepy or macabre event marked by skeletons, skulls, and other ghoulish symbols, but the holiday is actually a cheerful celebration of the lives of the deceased and is meant to praise, rather than to gloomily ponder our existences.   Indeed, the event is an artistic celebration as much as anything, marked by singing, parades, costumes, the eating of candy and sweets, and the building of alters.  The Day of the Dead can be thought of as Halloween with a purpose.  While Halloween is little more than a time for the kids to dress up like the latest cartoon character and ask for candy, the Day of the Dead offers to opportunity to dress up and eat candy too, but at the heart of the event is a bringing together of the family–both alive and dead–in a celebration of this life and the next.

San Antonio supports a strong and varied artistic community, and the Day of the Dead is one of the spectacular and influential times of the year.  Galleries, cultural centers, and even restaurants and bars all across town (and throughout Texas) will have displays, showings, poetry readings, and other Dia de los Muertos-inspired events during the celebration.  Cemeteries are popular locations to visit, as many people spend the holiday having a picnic at a loved one’s graveside, decorating headstones with flowers, and eating ‘dead bread’, sugar skulls, and other delicacies.

Some of the other celebrations around town include:
Market Square, November 2–Come by to see more than 30 altars created by tenets, schools, and merchants, and with musical performances.
El Sol Studios, November 2, with the exhibits on display throughout the month.  Features altars by some of San Antonio’s well-known artists, and also a procession.
Say Si, November 1, exhibits on display throughout the month.  Stop by to see folk art, arts and crafts workshops for the entire family, food, live music, dance performances, altars, silent auctions, loterias, and much, much more.

Most events around the city are free, but some do charge admission and require tickets, so be sure to plan ahead and make sure that tickets aren’t required.  The Day of the Dead is one of San Antonio’s most interesting and unique celebrations–a bit of Mardi Gras mixed with Halloween.  So, get your ‘dead bread’ in the oven, your sugar skulls ready, and your face paint kit out, and get ready for the festivities, San Antonio!

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Spurs Preparing for the Season

Created Friday, 17 October 2008 17:35

Spurs Preparing for the Season

The NBA’s preseason is underway, and that means that the 2008 season is just weeks away!  The biggest question for the Spurs during the offseason has been, and continues to be the ankle of Manu Ginobili.  Manu’s ankle has been an issue for much of the last year, culminating in the Olympics injury which required surgery last month.  Ginobili is expected to miss the entire preseason, and perhaps as much as two months of the regular season.

The good news for the Spurs and their fans is that Ginobili was recently seen at the team’s training facility with no limp, no crutches, and with no protective boot.  Although it’s still too early to tell exactly when he’ll be back, Ginobili is hoping to be ready for the first game of the regular season.

As far as the offseason is concerned, the team should look fairly similar to the one of the last few years, except for some minor changes in the supporting cast.  One of the key players that will be missing from this year’s version is Brent Barry.  A new addition to the team is George Hill at point guard.  Hill is the team’s draft pick from this year’s draft, and the team hopes that he can become a reliable option at point guard.  If Hill’s first summer league game is any indication of what is to come, the Spurs will have a back up for Tony Parker.  In that first game, Hill scored 17 points, pulled down 8 rebounds, and outplayed OJ Mayo.

Another addition to the team is Roger Mason, Jr.  Mason’s four-year career has been spent bouncing from team to team, before having a breakout season for the Wizards last year, filling in for the injured Gilbert Arenas and starting 9 games.  Mason averaged 9 ppg, shot 44% from the field, 40% from behind the arc, and 87% from the free throw line.

The Spurs got off to a rocky start in the preseason, dropping their first two games to division rivals Houston and New Orleans.  Recently, San Antonio has managed to even up their record by going on the road to beat Detroit and Cleveland.

One issue working against the Spurs is their age.  San Antonio has managed to keep their core together, but age is certainly something that will be a factor at some point in the future.  Tim Duncan is 32, Bruce Bowen is 37, Ginobili is 31, and Finley and Kurt Thomas are 35.  Parker is still a spry 27, but the Spurs certainly need some of their young talent to step up and begin to take on active roles.

While age is an issue, the one thing that San Antonio can always count on to keep them in every game is their defense.  Bowen, Duncan, and Kurt Thomas are tough, hard-nosed defenders that should be able to help the Spurs stay in the hunt until Manu Ginobili returns.

San Antonio has won at least 56 games for an amazing 8 straight years, and are hoping to keep that streak going.  This year will be a test in that regard.  Starting the season without Ginobili, or with a recovering version, will require other players to step up and fill in.  Last year, injuries caused most of the Spurs’ top players to miss significant time, and the results showed.  The team was never able to play with consistency and as a result, failed to meet their lofty expectations.  Time will tell if this year will be different.

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Multifamily Construction Surges

Created Tuesday, 07 October 2008 14:39

TEXAS (globest.com, Real Estate Center) – Despite nationwide economic woes, construction of multifamily housing is surging throughout Texas.

There are 55,516 units under construction in the four major metros. Currently, 20,585 units are being built in North Texas; 16,282 in Houston; 13,018 in Austin; and 5,631 in San Antonio. Dallas–Fort Worth is seeing its highest building level since 1999.

This adds to the existing inventory of 562,465 units in Dallas–Fort Worth; 162,280 in Austin; 497,010 in Houston; and 136,455 in San Antonio.

Occupancy climbed slightly. Dallas–Fort Worth units held just over 93 percent occupancy; Austin, 94 percent; Houston, nearly 92 percent; and San Antonio, just under 93 percent.

Average monthly rent statewide jumped up $23 to $771. Averages also increased within the four major metros. Dallas–Fort Worth recorded an average of $776; Austin, $838; Houston, $764; and San Antonio, $712.

“The Texas multifamily market has always been highly cyclical,” said Dr. Jim Gaines, research economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. “Now we’re seeing an uptick because of the slowdown in the single-family housing market. Most of these projects reflect financing put in place before the financial crisis began to escalate. It will be interesting to see if any new projects begin in the new year.”

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