Spurs open archives for classic-games series

By Mike Monroe

Spurs games are returning to local TV screens this week.

While there has been no breakthrough in attempts by the NBA’s owners and players to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement, the Spurs are reaching into the video archives to fill the void left by games fallen victim to the lockout.

Thus far, the NBA has canceled games through Nov. 30.

The Spurs plan to produce a two-hour weekly telecast on Fox Sports Net Southwest that will feature some of the most memorable games in club history.

The first of nine telecasts, scheduled for 8 p.m. Wednesday, will feature the Spurs’ 106-102 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 31, 1991. David Robinson scored 31 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, offsetting the 36 points scored by Bulls great Michael Jordan.

Each game will be turned into a two-hour “Spurs Flashback” show, hosted by Sean Elliott and Andrew Monaco and taped in front of a live audience of invited Spurs season-ticket holders. Elliott and Monaco will interview special guests during the taping. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is to be the guest for Wednesday’s show.

Additionally, pre-taped interviews with various observers will be included, from Spurs staffers to game-night staff and local media. Among those interviewed will be Spurs Hall of Famer George Gervin, former owner B.J. “Red” McCombs and former general manager Bob Bass.

McCombs’ knowledge of the club’s colorful history will find its way into several episodes, according to Spurs director of broadcasting Mike Kickarillo, producer for the series

“Red was fantastic,” he said. “I could probably take his interview and turn it into a show by itself about the history of the team, stories that you’ve never heard.”

The production project included its share of frustrations.

“We wanted to show David’s (1994) 71-point game and Gervin’s (1978) 63-point game,” Kickarillo said. “Sadly, neither was televised.”

Because of the lockout, the club is prohibited from airing games in which active players participated, eliminating any of the team’s NBA Finals games with Tim Duncan.

In addition to one show about the ABA days, other games include: a 1979 Eastern semifinal win over Philadelphia; a 1983 Western semifinal win over Denver; a 1983 Western finals win over the Lakers; a 157-154 regular-season win over Denver in 1984 in which John Lucas had 24 assists; a 112-111 win over the Bulls in 1990; an OT win over the Knicks in 1991; and a 1993 OT playoff win over Portland.

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