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A conversation with J.R. Wilco of Pounding the Rock after Clippers-Spurs

The day after the Spurs edged the Clippers in San Antonio, I chatted online with J.R. Wilco of the Spurs blog Pounding the Rock. Some highlights of that conversation are below.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Unfortunately it's taken me a bit of time to get it posted, but I thought you might enjoy reading through this gmail chat between myself and J.R. Wilco of the San Antonio blog Pounding the Rock that occurred after the Clippers-Spurs game Friday. J.R. and I have always had a strong relationship and love just talking hoops, so when we were both hanging out online Saturday night, we got to chatting.

The conversation is a tad disjointed, as asynchronous chatting tends to be, but I've done a little editing to hopefully bring out the more interesting points. The bottom line is that Clippers-Spurs game was highly competitive, and one encouraging sign from an otherwise very difficult week. Yes, the Clippers lost, but they gave themselves a chance playing in San Antonio in late March. Hopefully it means that they can also compete if they run into the Spurs in the playoffs.

By the way, if that happens, J.R. and I have vowed to continue this conversation, and go into more depth on Friday's game.


J.R.: hello, sir

me: howdy

J.R.: what did you think of last night?

me: I think Tim Duncan has found a time machine...

J.R.: no doubt

me: good game... could have gone either way

I thought the final play was a pretty obvious foul... was surprised they gave a call to Duncan but not to Paul in final seconds

J.R.: I was weirded out by the officiating all night long

out of curiosity, and because I've watched it a dozen times myself, can you tell me exactly what it was about the final play that upset you?

me: pretty simple really... did Parker get the ball? No.

Did he contact Paul's arm? yes.

was he vertical? no.

that's a text book foul. Really not debatable.

J.R.: he wasn't vertical

me: is that a question?

J.R.: nope

I'm agreeing

me: ok

plus it altered the shot, unless you think Paul airballs 3 footers

J.R.: The only thing is that, and this is a critique on the refs, I think the fact is that they take the defenders' stillness into account too often.

When a defender is there before the ball, or before the shot, I think they do a horrible job of calling the fouls correctly.

me: oh, rule of verticality is missed all the time... though usually in the other direction

J.R.: I see WAY too many fouls called when the defender is vertical

and WAY too few fouls called when the defender is hovering over the guy with the ball

me: yes... usually it's too many calls against the defender, attacker gets the benefit of the call even when defender is vertical

J.R.: yup

and I HATE them both.

but you're right about the frequency

and I was BLOWN AWAY that they called the contact on DUncan's game winner

it was minimal

but then again, I thought Tony's holding of Paul's jersey was minimal too


me: the whole "refs won't call the foul in the final seconds because they don't want to affect the game" thing is such a stupid thing... by not calling the foul, they're affecting the game... and it doesn't take a genius to realize that

J.R.: YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

a foul is a foul is a foul

and it should always be a foul -- regardless of any of the circumstances

But it's clear that I'll never get my way on this

me: the Duncan play was clearly a foul... but also one you see ignored frequently

I thought it was strange that after the game, Paul complained about Duncan not being called for a travel, but didn't complain about the no-call on Parker

J.R.: I was thinking about that myself

It seemed that Duncan hopped a bit, but it wasn't enough for me to think that he didn't keep his toes on the ground.

me: did Timmy slide his pivot foot? sure, a bit. But talk about something that rarely gets called in the NBA regardless of the game situation

J.R.: Ha!

In my biased eyes (and viewing the reply on my phone 4-5 times) it appeared as though he might have kept his toes on the ground.

still, you're right about that being a weird thing for Paul to gripe about after the game. It certainly made me raise an eyebrow

me: it was just weird... he took the blame for getting stripped by Diaw (play of the game, btw), but then went ahead and made a gripe.... but it was, to my eyes, the completely wrong gripe.

J.R.: wrong gripe, we agree

also, you know Paul so well, did it look like that last shot was more, a) Paul trying to draw contact and the call, or b) trying to make the shot?

Because, with Tony's arms over Chris before he shot, it looked to my biased eyes as though it was more "a" than "b".

me: oh he was trying to draw contact

J.R.: you thought so too?

me: of course, with 2 seconds left, he can't be choosey

J.R.: see, that's annoying

I'd rather my best player have the ball in his hands with the game on the line and play expecting NOT to get the call

me: I was thrilled on the inbound that they got him the ball in that spot...

J.R.: by that point, Tony had held him all he could and he was positioned in front of him flat-footed

if Paul had shot a fade-away, he'd have been completely uncontested

Parker was standing completely upright

seems like a missed opportunity (albeit one that has to be judged in a split-second)

me: as for the stated preference that he play not to get the foul -- Parker was obviously crowding him... the fallaway is a tough shot, and Paul is so smart, he absolutely knew that Parker was in an illegal guarding position and went thru his arms...

the only mistake he made in terms of getting the result he wanted was that he had to count on refs to make the call

J.R.: yeah, I assume (as an offensive player) that my team won't get the call on the final play

me: he went to draw the foul and succeeded... but did not get the call

Did you realize that 34 points against the Clippers is the most Duncan has scored in 5 years? so thanks for that

J.R.: I knew it was his season high, but ... that's gotta be annoying that it came against you

but seriously, it's LA's own fault

not one but TWO double handed shoves in his back on two plays in a row

he got mad, and you guys paid the price

just saying ...


me: I remember the Hollins shove... what was the other?

J.R.: either just before or just after the Hollins shove

and I don't think either was called

Duncan got up and you could see he was WAY ticked off

me: well they called the Hollins one... Duncan got a three point play

J.R.: ok then

the OTHER was the no-call

and it was (to my biased eyes) egregious

me: I remember now... yeah, he made the hoop and yelled at the ref... It was actually surprising he didn't get T'd up because he was really upset

J.R.: he was asked about that in post game

he said he was so upset that even though he knew he shouldn't have yelled at him, he couldn't stop himself

and he admitted that he SHOULD have gotten a tech

pretty funny

me: which means the ref knew he blew it... gave Duncan some leash

J.R.: =]


but Tim will never say THAT

me: Clippers managed to reduce Spurs to Tony and Timmy show... but that was enough

J.R.: well, the 2nd unit was in shock -- unprepared to play without Manu. that had something to do with it

but yeah, there wasn't anyone showing up besides TNT

me: second unit was terrible, but yeah, not really fair without Manu... and Kawhi was strangely quiet, as was Green. Tiago was good

J.R.: Kawhi was SO active on D. And Tiago's been very hit-or-miss lately

me: Kawhi is so freaking long...

J.R.: it's insane how long he is

me: I went through the draftexpress database with my kid the other day... he was wondering which player had the longest wing span

Leonard and Beaubois are the highest "wingspan to height" ratio in the league

J.R.: 7'4" on a 6'7" frame is ILLEGAL!


The conversation kind of petered out at that point. I wanted to watch the other Spurs (Tottenham) on my DVR and it was getting late. But as I said, we're going to revisit this conversation prior to a Clippers-Spurs playoff series if such a thing comes to pass, so stay tuned.