2-3 is tired
After playing high level basketball on the Rodeo Road Trip, the Spurs are now 2-3 after losing at home to the Clippers tonight.
Both teams seemingly scored at will—the Spurs’ 48.7% from the field would have been great, if not for the Clippers’ returning volley at 51.2%.
The game was lost in the final five minutes after San Antonio let a 103-103 tie sink to 109-103 by giving up consecutive Mo Williams three point shots. But, in truth, it wasn’t the shots the Clippers made so much as the opportunities the Spurs missed. From 103 all, Danny Green missed two layups and threw a turnover, Tiago missed a shot near the cup, Manu Ginobili missed a pair of jumpers, and Richard Jefferson shot a three off the side of the backboard. The Spurs went cold at the wrong time.
What are we to make of 2-3, and should Spurs fans worry?
In short, I wouldn’t sound the alarms.
Part of this is injury, or the funky chemistry that comes from return from injury. Tony Parker sat tonight with various bumps and bruises. Manu Ginobili is still working his timing and wind into game shape—Ginobili had moments of pure Ginobili tonight, but he was also decidedly out of rhythm on several possessions. “Getting healthy” is a process, not a moment in time. This is true at the team and player level.
But, from my subjective viewpoint, the Spurs simply look tired. Tiago Splitter is playing sluggishly and hasn’t regained the adroit around-the-basket touch that he boasted prior to his recent injury. Six weeks ago he was a peacock spreading its fan. In recent games he’s more like a cat in the rain.
Wayne Vore recently posted a fascinating statistic. Even though Tim Duncan is averaging a career low in minutes, he’s actually playing more this season than he did last season. I invite you to read the article, but the math works like this. Because of the condensed schedule, Duncan is playing more minutes per day than he did last season, despite the fact that he is averaging fewer minutes per game.
What’s my point? This season’s condensed schedule is grueling. The Spurs aren’t lacking for effort, but their legs may be aching for rest. San Antonio will only play one game in the next four days. Let’s see if the rest doesn’t sharpen their overall play.