The second hand hasn’t slowed down yet for Father Time, Tim Duncan. The big shot hasn’t escaped his point guard, Tony Parker, either. Duncan showed up early and often, while Parker’s 13th and 14th points (he added 11 dimes) came on the game-winning bucket over an outstretched Serge Ibaka in San Antonio’s 86-84 win. The shot came because of a steal on the other end on what was supposed to be OKC’s game-winning attempt, yet that aforementioned steal by Kawhi Leonard gave it to the Spurs. Earlier in the game, Gregg Popovich tore apart a question during a sideline interview about how “happy” he was, saying it wasn’t a word San Antonio used during games. Happy now? … Mr. Fundamental (20 points, eight boards) is so consistently good it’s not hard to forget about him for a while and focus on the flashier aspects of the NBA. Given that Spurs-Thunder was the only game on the NBA schedule Thursday night, Timmy’s first half was a reminder that he’s still very, very good. And that this is a fun-as-hell rivalry to watch … Because of his length, Kevin Durant (23 points) can hold the ball outstretched away from defenders until the last minute, but the 36-year-old Duncan stuffed him on a first-half drive like it was 2000 again. Then he did the spin move thing and the bank-shot thing, per usual, until he rained murder on a late-to-rotate Ibaka (four points, nine boards) in the third quarter. … Hasheem Thabeet‘s yellow spot of hair on the back of his head was certainly weird, but what caught us even more off guard was his between-the-legs dime to Nick Collison. Is this real life? … San Antonio fans have a sense of their team’s psyche better than most in the NBA. OKC might be an incredible atmosphere but it’s all just a blare, all the time. The AT&T crowd sensed Duncan out front on the fast break before the ball was even out of Kawhi Leonard‘s hands (he stole five passes with his six points) in a key point in the second quarter. … Meanwhile, a development we didn’t see coming was Boris Diaw getting the ball kicked to him at the top of the arc and driving at least three times right to the rim. You don’t need camera-tracking software to see that he’s moving well. … Despite all of Duncan’s play, and Parker’s Euro-step that left Russell Westbrook‘s jock on the floor, as well as a 10-point Spurs lead in the third quarter, Eric Maynor‘s 55-foot heave to end the third put everything square for the sixth time. KD did his own weave in the key to start the fourth to dunk on Duncan, and it was on all the way ’till TP’s jumper. … Oh yeah, KD became the second fastest to 10,000 career points in NBA history. … Hit the jump to hear about Kobe’s rant on critics. …
Kobe Bryant has freedom his boss doesn’t. Mike Brown has been on a testy year-long audition for why Laker fans should trust him — Kobe, he has five Larry O’Brien Trophies to attest to why we must take him seriously. So we weren’t surprised when Kobe called the BS about the “panic” around the Lakers’ 0-2 start. “I’ve won, so I can,” Bryant said to reporters on Thursday. “Mike, it would be a little tougher for him to say that. So I’ll say it for him: Everybody shut up. Let us work.” Kobe didn’t stop there, calling the concern “idiotic” and “stupid.” This isn’t Kobe calling out his city like Ron Burgundy, but he’s giving it to everyone just as straight by doing the correct thing and saying, everybody — chill. It’s our nature as basketball fans to dissect everything about the Lakers, and those flaws in L.A.’s game are very real, but these are things fixed by time. Remember the Heat in 2010? … “The Association” is always appointment viewing for basketball fans, but the audience isn’t much bigger than that. The second episode, scheduled to air Friday on NBA TV, should be appointment viewing for anyone wanting a great, new spin on Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath. NetsDaily had the story today that the second episode has been edited by the league to focus on the storm’s effect on Brooklyn and Tyshawn Taylor, who was stuck in his Hoboken apartment for two days. The third episode is likely to include the drama surrounding the postponed season opener against the Knicks at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. It was supposed to be the jewel of tonight’s schedule. … Whether you take this as a promise or a threat, Michael Jordan is saying he’s in it as owner in Charlotte for “the long haul,” via the Charlotte Observer. Another point we barely touched on in that post was how the Bobcats, named after former owner Bob Johnson (what, a vanity license plate with his name on it wasn’t cool enough?) are interested in reclaiming “Hornets” as their nickname. Should New Orleans go for a new identity under new ownership, it could still mean the Hornets name would live in an unbroken streak since 1988 despite being used in four different cities. … We’re out like Westbrook’s defense.
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