"That's the best thing about the NBA," James said. "In the NBA you can play as bad as you ever played one night and the NBA schedule allows you to make up for it the next night."
A great quote by Tony Parker: "I wanted Timmy to play," Parker said. "I was worried in a game like that everybody would run out of gas because the last two games we spent so much energy in a back-to-back, especially coming off a long road trip. I was just scared we didn't have enough in the tank, and it showed tonight."
Shorthanded all week, Parker scored a combined 76 points to carry the Spurs in victories over Dallas and Portland. But Cleveland wasn't a one-man job.
The Spurs didn't even play Duncan in the fourth quarter after Portland led by as many as 29 points.
"To start the game that way against a team we had beaten pretty good quite recently was disappointing. It shows possibly a laissez-faire sort of attitude," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "I would have expected us to come out knowing we were in for a heck of a battle. I'm not sure we came with the approach or respect we needed."
So what can be concluded from this? The Spurs went on a road trip, played hard and focused. They came home and played back to backs without Tim Duncan- they won both, showing they played hard and were focused. Then they played another game at home with Duncan a late scratch. They weren't emotionally or energetically ready to play without T.D. and were flat. They lost badly.
Then they went to Portland and played a team they beat badly only now it was at home. Portland ran them out of the building. Also, Parker scored a bunch of points in the back to backs, so he was drained. Its a classic case of a player stepping up his game during an injury to a team mate. But with every step up comes a step down. No one can exceed their normal efforts for too long without requiring rest.