Spurs Recap Jan 14 to 21

CreatedWednesday, 23 January 2008 00:13

The Spurs choppy season continues, and as the team struggles to overcome the injury bug and regain its championship form of last season, San Antonio finds itself sinking in the standings.  A team who possessed one of the best records in the league during the early part of the season, now finds itself in third place in one of the most competitive divisions in the NBA.  The good news is that San Antonio finally has everyone healthy and can now focus on regaining the chemistry that has been lost.

San Antonio is 3-2 over their last 5, with the three wins coming over Minnesota, Philadelphia, and Charlotte, the NBA’s version of the Sisters of the Poor.  The two losses were against stiff competition—Cleveland and Houston–and were close games, even though the Spurs came up just short.

Minnesota is the worst team in the league, having only notched 6 wins so far this season.  The Spurs were able to have their way in the 105-88 win.  San Antonio actually trailed by a point at halftime, but started the second half with an 11-2 run and the game was all but over.  Manu Ginobili led the team with 22 points, and Tony Parker added 21 more.  Duncan had a quiet game, only scoring 15 points and 9 rebounds, but added 3 blocks to make his presence felt on the defensive end.

Up next, Philadelphia traveled to San Antonio for what would seem to have been another fairly easy win, but the 76ers had other plans.  In the end, the Spurs managed to pull off the 89-82 victory, but Philly held the lead several times in the last quarter.  For the first three quarters of the game, Ginobili was simply awful, going 0-6 from the field.  In the final period, he was simply unstoppable, hitting four three pointers, and scoring 14 points in the fourth.  Duncan had 18 points and 16 rebounds in the effort.

Against the Cavs, the Spurs were looking to keep dominating the team that they swept in the finals last year, but LeBron James had other ideas.  James was good for 27 points in the contest, and his squad played tough defense all night.  One Spur that the Cavs couldn’t stop, was Manu Ginobili, who scored 31.  Tony Parker scored 23, but uncharacteristically missed two free throws with less than an minute left, which would have tied the game.  For all of Ginobili’s heroics, though, he too couldn’t come through in clutch time, as he missed a three to win the game as time expired.

Two nights later brought a chance for redemption against the resurgent Houston Rockets.  Again the Spurs were involved in a game that came down to the final seconds, and again they came up short, losing 83-81.  San Antonio didn’t have an answer for Yao Ming, who scored 21 points and had 14 rebounds.  San Antonio had owned the series recently, having won 8 of the last 13.  Tim Duncan had an All-Star caliber game, pouring in 24 points and grabbing 17 rebounds, and San Antonio actually outrebounded the Rockets 37-32, but were terrible from the free throw line, shooting 57%.

In the NBA, nothing cures a two game losing streak like a trip to Charlotte to visit the struggling Bobcats, and the latest trip resulted in a 95-86 Spurs victory.  The Spurs offense has been off lately, but the team seemed to find its footing against Charlotte.  The team shot nearly 50% from the field, and although no one broke the 20 point barrier, Parker, Finley, Duncan, Ginobili, and Udoka all scored in double figures.  In fact, Francisco Elson was the only Spur not to score in the game.

Although San Antonio has slipped to third place in the division behind Houston and New Orleans, they still are only 1.5 games out of first, and still have the sixth best record in the West.  If the Charlotte game is any indication of what is to come, the Spurs may regain their spot atop the division soon.  Of course, all San Antonio fans know that the team is built for the post-season, and a few injuries and losses won’t matter to this team once the playoffs start.


Spurs Recap Week 12

Created Sunday, 06 January 2008 23:51

For struggling NBA teams, there’s nothing like visits from the New York Knicks and the Memphis Grizzlies to set things right.  The San Antonio Spurs are struggling with injuries, and Manu Ginobili continues to remain on the bench with a sprained finger.  Since Christmas, San Antonio is 3-2, and struggling to maintain its lead in the division.  Just one game back are Dallas and surprising New Orleans, who seem to be waiting for a Spurs’ slip.  Houston, who was expected by many to challenge the other Texas teams, remains seven games back, and are struggling to stay at .500.

The day after Christmas, the Spurs hosted the Chicago Bulls, and were the first lucky team to face them after axing their coach on Christmas Eve.  The game was not much of a contest, as San Antonio easily dealt with the team from the Windy City, 94-79.  Tony Parker led the team with 28 points, and Michael Finley added 15.  Tim Duncan was a bit off, only scoring 8 points, but did add 11 rebounds and 6 assists.  The game was not totally full of holiday cheer for the Spurs, as the injury bug bit again.  This time, Brent Barry was the victim, tearing a calf muscle.

Next up was Toronto, who had dropped three straight games, but also was coming off a week off.  The rest certainly showed, as they owned the fourth quarter.  Coach Popovich was ejected in the final period and Matt Bonner and Tim Duncan each got technicals called on them which helped to seal the game.  Things weren’t much better before then either, as San Antonio shot as poorly as they have all season, only managing 32% from the field.  The 73 points they scored was also a season low.

Two nights later, though, San Antonio was able to take their frustrations out against cellar-dweller, Memphis, winning handily, 111-87.  In that contest four Spurs caused major damage, as Parker scored 24, Finley poured in 22, hitting 5 threes, and Matt Bonner scored 24.  Tim Duncan scored 24 and also cleaned up 17 rebounds, had 7 assists, and 3 blocks.  The team shot 45% from behind the arc, and outrebounded the Grizzlies 46-32.

It seems for every step forward, this season, the Spurs take one back and four days later against the Denver Nuggets, the team stepped back.  The Spurs are the team that prides itself on defense, but the Nuggets gave them a taste of their own medicine.  Tim Duncan managed 20 points, but was hassled all night by the Nuggets trio of Kenyon Martin, Marcus Camby, and Eduardo Najera.  Duncan only made 7-20 shots from the field, and had four turnovers, one with 45 seconds left, which was converted to give the Nuggets the lead.  Kenyon Martin was terrible on the offensive end for Denver, but had seven blocks, one against Tony Parker late in the game to preserve the victory.

Friday night, San Antonio was back home to host the NBA’s best soap opera team, the New York Knicks.  Things normally go well for San Antonio when they can get points from players who don’t normally score a lot, so when Bruce Bowen leads the team in scoring, things usually turn out well for the silver and black.  The defensive specialist had 15, and they were much needed, as Tim Duncan and Tony Parker only scored 12 each.  San Antonio forced 16 Knick turnovers in the contest, although Eddy Curry had his way on the inside, scoring 25 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.  Considering that the Knicks are 8-23 and firmly entrenched in last place in the Atlantic, the 97-93 victory was probably closer than it should have been.

The Spurs are not playing terrific basketball at the moment.  The loss of Ginobili is hurting the team, depriving it of a needed spark, and the chemistry has suffered from all of the other injuries.  Matt Bonner is playing well and logging quality minutes, but the team must get healthy and start playing consistently in order to hold onto the spot atop the division.


San Antonio Mud Festival

CreatedFriday, 04 January 2008 18:42

San Antonio is a city that enjoys two things, and does them both well: keeping itself clean, and throwing a party whenever possible.  If the two can be combined, then all the better.  Knowing this, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the city, that the Mud Festival does just that.

One of the city’s most interesting and bizarre events, the Mud Festival takes place each January for one week, and commemorates the draining and cleaning of the river.  Early in San Antonio’s history, the river was thought to be dangerous, dirty, and was even declared off-limits to military personnel for a time.  Today, these ideas have softened quite a bit, as the River Walk is now a world-class tourist attraction, in and of itself, which, of course, requires maintenance.  Each year the City Parks and Recreation Department drains the river and cleans up the debris that litters it.  It’s hard to know what will be found, with so many restaurants and commercial enterprises nearby, that pulling tables, chairs, and other things from the river is almost a certainty.

The Mud Festival occurs each year after the river has been filled up again, and is put on by a group called the Paseo del Rio Association.  The festival features balls, parades, and arts and crafts exhibitions, which normally draw around 15,000 people.  Each year a Mud King and Queen are selected from participants, normally made up of local celebrities and business people.  The king and queen are chosen by who is able to raise the most money for the organization.

The river is drained from the 2nd of January to the 9th, and the festival will take place from the 10th through the 13th.  The arts and crafts show is slated to run from the 11th until the 13th.  All events will be held in various locations and businesses along the River Walk, and for more information call 210.227.4262.


2008 San Antonio Rodeo

Created Thursday, 03 January 2008 22:20

San Antonio is many things: a vibrant cultural city; a growing technological center, and a sporting capital.  It’s also home to a wide variety of shows and contests that are based in the city’s Wild West roots.  The annual San Antonio Rodeo, started in 1950, has long been a favorite of residents of South Texas, and has grown in popularity such, that today over 1 million people attend each year.  In the 40s, the Joe and Harry Freeman Coliseum was built to house the rodeo and show, and served this capacity well until the AT&T Center (formerly known as the SBC Center) was opened in 2003.  Since then, the rodeo has been located in San Antonio’s most modern and comfortable sporting arena.

This year’s event will take place Jan. 31-Feb. 17, and tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

Although it’s called the San Antonio Rodeo, the event is certainly much more than that.  For over two weeks, visitors will enjoy horse shows, livestock shows, auctions, art contests, lots of amazing food and beverages, and, of course, all the favorite rodeo events.

For those who aren’t up to speed on all the events that a real rodeo features here’s a brief refresher.

  • Barrel Racing:  Times horse riding around a series of barrels.
  • Saddle Bronc Riding:  Cowboy versus unbroken horse.  The cowboy must hold on to the horse, as he thrashes around.
  • Bareback Bronc: Cowboy must hang onto a rigging strap of bucking horse.
  • Bull Riding:  The most dangerous of events. A cowboy must must hang on with only one hand to an angry bull for 8 seconds.
  • Tie-Down Roping:  A cowboy on a horse must throw a rope around a running calf, then dismount and tie three of the calf’s legs together.
  • Steer Wrestling:  The easiest event to understand, but much more difficult to execute.  The cowboy must jump off his horse, grab and wrestle a running steer to the ground in a timed event.
  • Team roping is an event that cowboys riding horses rope steers for time. The first roper is referred to as the header, the person who ropes the steer’s head; the second is the heeler.

The livestock show featured judging of poultry, dairy cattle, beef cattle, Boer goats, Angora goats, breeding swine, heifers, and assorted other of Texas’ and the Unites States’ finest animals.

One of the rodeo’s most beloved events (especially by younger visitors) is Mutton Bustin’.  During this event, youngsters between the ages of 5 and 7 have the chance to see who can stay atop a running sheep for the longest time.  All participants receive gifts, and one winner will get a belt buckle to commemorate his victory.

Another favorite is the Xtreme Bulls bull riding competition.  This year’s event will be the 5th in a row, and will be aired on ESPN.  Not only will audience members get to see some of the best riders in the business show their mettle, but the night also features performances by some of the best musical acts in the country.  The event takes place on two nights—the opening Tuesday, and the last Saturday, so don’t miss out!{mosimage}

One aspect of the rodeo, and the Wild West, that is often overlooked, but helps perpetuate the mythology and lore of the life, images, and culture of Texas and the great outdoors, is the art these things inspire. The frontier life and Western Art still holds a powerful place in the annals of Americana, and the San Antonio Rodeo helps keep this spirit alive through its art exhibition, and Western Art Contest.  High school students from the area are invited to submit their work for judging by professional artists, and the top 25 have their works auctioned off, and the earnings are given to the students in the form of scholarships.  Other student-artists are invited to a three-week art workshop in Kerrville, TX, where they are able to hone their skills with professional artists as their mentors.

The rodeo also features a series of events that are not necessarily associated with rodeos and the West, such as golf tournaments, fashion shows, BBQ cookoffs, and a casino night, so there should certainly be something available for all tastes!  The rodeo is a family event, and children are encouraged to come, and even to take part in many of the events, so everyone is welcome!