Dallas Mavericks 103, San Antonio Spurs 94: Where we see that Tony Parker can have a bad game

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AT&T CENTER — If Wednesday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves was the ugliest game of the season, Friday night against the Dallas Mavericks was the slightly better looking sister who shut you down. Not as ugly, but way more stuck-up. Definitely not a night you would brag to your friends about.

San Antonio’s 12-game winning streak finally came to an end at the hands of the rival Dallas Mavericks. In some early-season evidence that the Spurs can have an off-night offensively, San Antonio got only 13 assists on 31 field goals. The Mavs assisted 28 of their 39 field goals.

“I think it was mostly lack of ball movement,” Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich said after the game. “Just not being very sharp tonight.”

The Spurs struggled to move the ball well in the loss to the Mavericks, often forcing contested shots off just one or two passes. Swinging the ball from one side of the floor to the other and opening up the defense was not on the agenda.

Credit goes to the Mavs defense, though. Dallas did a great job rotating on defense and getting hands in sight lines and passing lanes. The Mavericks were tough on denying the ball to players who were just one pass away, forcing Spurs players to either attempt cross-court skip passes or try to make something out of nothing. Oftentimes, the result was nothing.

“We didn’t take care of the ball very good and it cost us,” George Hill said.

Dallas forced the Spurs into 18 turnovers and allowed the silver and black to shoot only 36.8% from the 3-point line. Although, if you take away Manu Ginobili’s 4-8 from behind the arc, the Spurs were just 3-11 from 3.

“We had too many guys that were basically out to lunch tonight,” Coach Pop said. “So as a group, we didn’t execute very well on either end of the floor.”

Perhaps the night’s biggest disappointment was Tony Parker. TP came into Friday’s game averaging 19.4 points and 7.7 assists per game. But against the Dallas defense, which cut off driving lanes and didn’t allow easy layups, Parker got just nine points and one assist.

I remember the days when it was the Spurs playing tough defense inside and grinding out wins against the offensively-elite Mavs. San Antonio would bully the Mavs inside and execute down the stretch.

Back in 2010, it was Dallas doing the bullying and executing. These days, it seems the Mavs and Spurs have done a role reversal. San Antonio is the offensive team and Dallas is the club doing the scrapping on the defensive end.

“I think they were a bit hungry and a bit more competitive than we were tonight,” Coach Pop said.

Let’s hope we don’t get that quote from Pop very often this season.

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Len

    Don’t forget about the free throws when noting the role reversal.

    Spurs shot 25/27

    Mavs shot 20/31

    It’s like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” out on the court.

  • junierizzle

    Ehhh. The streak had to end sooner or later. I’m kinda glad. Now they can focus on playing better and not focus on keeping the streak going.

    Even though TP had an off night and they shot poorly and Dallas played good D, I guess?? That game could have gone either way with about 3 minutes left.

    They’ll be okay.

  • DorieStreet

    Didn’t see game, but reviewing play-by-play from 4:45 mark in 4th qtr to 1:44, the Mavs made baskets (4 for 4 with a FT) while the Spurs did not (0-4). We can look at problems that occurred throughout the game (18 turnovers, unbalanced scoring- Manu/Hill accounting for 54 of the 94 points) and the 4th qtr defense (32 points), but going scoreless for 3 minutes in the last quarter AT HOME cannot occur again. At least 2 players have to take it upon them-selves that the team gets points down the stretch, no matter who the opponent is or the circumstances-low- or high-scoring game. Work to get wide open shots, or drives to the basket to force shooting fouls. (One very good positive from the game- making 25 out of 27 free throws–lets definitely keep that up!!

  • Anoop

    Now the monkey’s off the back, the streak is over, this match did bing out a few weak spots in the spurs line up and game plan.

    First the big men adjustment, clearly when facing an opposition which lines up two 7 footers, playing an undersized centre in Blair, is an experiment not working. Given the limitations in Bonner’s defensive game, pairing Splitter with Duncan against opposition’s which could field two 7 footers needs a flexibility from the coaching staff. Also, given the stage of Duncan’s career, such a pairing does not have luxury to be deferred indefinetly. Clearly, blair ill have his role, esp against players like Collison of OKC or other similar sized centres like Elton Brand, but against an opposition like Lakers, Mavericks and even the Timberwolves, the enthusiasn and energy of Blair cannot make up for the size he gives up.

    Secondly, the usage of Richard Jefferson regrads ball movement which was clearly at a premium in today’s game. So, adjustments need to be made by the coaching staff. Similarly, the sub-par performanc of Tony Parker and the above par performance of Hill against this opposition needs an introspection, clearly this trend annot become the norm while playing the Mavs.

    Thirdly, earlier it used to be Josh Howrad, today it was Shawn Marrion, who troubled the Spurs on the defensive end. Earlier, a 20+ game from Howard signalled a victory for the Mavs, now a a double-digit game from Marrion seems to be doing the trick. A significant portion of Marrion’s points came courtesy the offensive rebound.

    The lack of size, could become a critical issue as the season progresses, Spurs seem to be uniquely positioned at the undersize at every position except Duncan. Could this be the biggest drawback for the Spurs going all the way?

    A tougher test awaits, this sunday, after the schedule is a bit forgiving. Would love to hear views of 48moh on the above.

  • Jim Henderson

    Keys to the loss:

    (1) Turnovers – 18, and a minus 4
    (2) Tired offensive execution: 13 assists, and a minus 15
    (3) Sloppy defense: opposing FG% 53% — 69% in the 4th Q – and putting Chandler on the line 16 times is ridiculous.
    (4) Out-rebounded for the 3rd straight game – the 3rd best rebounding team is now 6th: a minus 3 tonight.
    (4) Ineffective minute allocation: Parker was listless all night – at 38 mins., he should have received fewer minutes – more minutes to Hill & Neal, and maybe even Udoka instead of so much 3-guard units since RJ clearly had an off night. Bonner was also ineffective for the 2nd straight game – should have received less than 23 mins. – in favor of more minutes for Splitter (8) & McDyess (13), and/or perhaps even DeJuan Blair (13).

    Pop has done a very good job for the most part in his substitutions & minute allocations this season. Tonight’s game was not one of his best outings in this regard in my view.

    Let’s get the Hornets on Sunday. That’s the more important one of the two because we’ve already lost to them.

    A warning: It’s not a good idea to let our rebounding advantage continue to slip. We’re getting too enamored with our new-found offensive fire-power, and overlooking the down & dirty stuff that makes one a winner on a more consistent basis. Lets get back to basics.

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  • AmyfromLA

    You nailed it right on the head, Jim!

    I’m glad the streak is over so maybe we can go back to flying under the radar. Before the Wolves game, I thought our D was getting better. But it looks like it’s been declining. =( Let’s hope these 2 games were outliers. Although the game was close until the last 3 minutes, I didn’t have a good feeling about it. I expected the D to tighten up in the 2nd half like all the other games, but we just weren’t getting the stops we needed. Not to mention we started turning the ball over like crazy. You can’t turn the ball over 18 times and win. We edged one close game that we shouldn’t have won against the Wolves. I didn’t expect it to happen again tonight. Here’s hoping the team picks it up and learned a valuable lesson tonight. =)

    I hope the team brings their A game to the Big Easy! =) Revenge is due!!!

    Win or lose, Go Spurs Go!!!!! =)

  • mikrobass3

    mostly agree with anoop and jim. totally agree with doriestreet…with 4:30 left to go, it was anyone’s game. the mavs gutted it out at the end, the spurs did not. (jim’s point #3.) the spurs need to step up and gut out a win in their next close game. easier said than done, yes, and this is the group that can do it!

  • SG

    Spurs frontcourt – 24 pts, 18 rebs
    Tyson/Dirk – 45 pts, 16 rebs

    What will a line-up of Bynum/Gasol/Odom do this Spurs frontcourt? Eat them alive….if Pop keeps playing Tiago 8min a game, we’re doomed…

    We all know that living by Bonner’s 3’s is hit or miss…

  • SG

    3-guard units only work if you have a solid big man protecting the rim, rebounding the ball and scoring from the post. TD is not that big anymore….Pop will have to use him more like a David Robinson towards the end of his career and not rely on him as much for all those crucial aspects of the game. Timmy, now more than ever, needs an effective big man next to him who can help on PnR defense, rebounding and effective post play. Can someone here please explain why Tiago doesn’t get a chance to play? He’s our big free agent signing this offseason….from the sparing minutes he’s had, it shows that he can do all those things the Spurs need in their front-court.

  • agutierrez

    I would disagree with one point in your cap: Dallas did not “force” 18 turnovers. At least 5 or 6 were completely unforced. Just stupid, unfocused. Tony played like shit. If he can’t dominate a 37 year old with his speed and quickness, he needs to be on the bench. RJ reverted to last year’s form … passive, lost, no clue. And what’s with Pop and Tiago? Dirk had four fouls the entire fourth quarter and we never went at him. Couldn’t we at least experiment to see how Tiago does against him?

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  • zeanocril

    Has any of you seen NBA.com’s Top ten plays? The play by Hill in the fourth quarter that gave us our last lead of the game, was Top 3. I believe it was indeed an out of bounce play, he obviously stepped in the line there. But i guess the reason why he wasn’t called for it was because it was actually the referee’s fault that he stepped out of bounds. LOL. It was a dumb positioning by the official and so he couldn’t call the turnover because he was blocking Hill’s way. Haha.

    Anyway, I thought I’d feel bad all day because of this loss, but the Lakers’ loss to Jazz just made my day. The streak was going to end anyway, might as well end it in a day LA loses as well. Haha.

    Go Spurs!

  • JCA

    Every time Pop uses “small ball” strategy, the Spurs lose! Let Tiago play with Timmy to match up with Dirk and Tyson. Small Ball doesn’t work in Spurs system!!! Evident with David Robinson, Fabricio Oberto, Rasho Nesterovic. Play the twin towers!!!

  • http://www.sanantoniospurs.com SPURS FAN SINCE 89

    Spurs still don’t get any respect around the league. Everyone Barkley, Smith, Mullin has L.A. number#1 and going all the way to the finals. Well L.A. just lost to Utah in Utah last night who we beat previously.
    What will it take for the Spurs to get to the Finals and get past L.A.
    1. Defense – Stops and especially transition.
    2.. Taking caring of the ball better- turnovers
    3. Better rebounding- defensive and especially offensive.
    4. Protect the rim more- shot blocking
    5. More people producing than just Ginobli all the time. R.J. needs to get involved in the offense more especially if he’s the Spurs 3rd leading scorer.
    I’m not sure how many points the Spurs are allowing but they need to get back to holding teams to under 90 a game.
    2010 SPURS- REFUSE TO LOSE
    BEAT L.A.

  • http://www.sanantoniospurs.com SPURS FAN SINCE 89

    SG good points I feel the same way.
    I know Splitter played in the off-season in Europe but there is no excuse to not use him more, especially after an 18 point game. Especially when we are getting outrebounded, out hustled, alot of times out shot blocked around the rim.
    Yes Duncan is not that same defender that he used to be. He’ll show up big in games when we need him, but I agree with you that we need to stop depending on him so much. We need to get Splitter more involved with the offense.
    Well we’ll see on December 28th when the Spurs play L.A. And yes we will get eaten up by L.A. if we start this lineup against L.A. especially with Blair as center and Timmy playing power foward with bad knees. And what about when Bynum comes back.
    I don’t get it. The celtics are winning with their big, Shaq, so why can’t we use ours more. What are we saving him for? If we keep playing him for 8 minutes a game we can’t expect him to be ready for the playoffs.
    This is our last chance. Next season a lockout will be almost certain. By the time the next season comes Timmy will be like 36 years old. Also Mc Dyees told Mark Jackson that this would be his last season. So eventually sooner or later weather Pop likes it or not Splitter will either be starting or subing for Timmy. Lets not wait until it’s too late.
    BEAT L.A.

  • http://www.sanantoniospurs.com SPURS FAN SINCE 89

    zeanocroil: I feel you. I felt bad all last night and this morning but then when I realized that L.A. ; (and there cheating refs) lost to Utah in Utah ,who we had beat I felt alot better.
    BEAT L.A. SINCE 1999

  • http://www.sanantoniospurs.com SPURS FAN SINCE 89

    Lets get “Nawlins” tomorrow afternoon with great D-fense.

  • ruel

    After all those Nice Words and Good Praises to Tiago early this Season by our Coaching Staff? Now, I started to wonder where those Nice Words and Good Praises by our Coaching Staff goes if they can only afford/award Tiago less minutes, less playing time, or sometimes not even playing? It’s all Politics!!! It’s true our Team was already good without Tiago but truly he is a big addition to our Team or just our Coaching Staff says that to gave us something to believing? Many of us as a San Antonio Spurs fans honestly believe on Tiago and we all know he can play this Game but I don’t know about our Coaching Staff believe on Tiago if they can afford and award him less minutes, less playing time, or sometimes not even playing? Forgive me if I’m wrong or offend someone and I honestly apologize? I wish somebody there can tell and explain it to me? Would be nice to hear and open to know. It’s always nice and good to have many win games to have early in the Season but having Tiago with less action? It’s very hard to guess late in the Season or Play off times if all ups in the air? I rather to see Tiago much more actions early as the Season rather than what might future’s hold? For sure there will be early struggles but surely will help Tiago grow and learn to understand the game late on the Season which I do believed we need Tiago most? So many games we won closed games early this season with smaller line up but as the season goes? For sure many of Teams will gear up, makes a bigger adjustments for the late runs and easy baskets will be hard to come by? Many Teams already know what Tiago Splitter can do and there’s nothing there for our Coaching Staff can hide? We already lost big time about Scola and very much chances are high we gonna lose Tiago also in different reason if this thing keeps going? As we all remember before the Summer Camp start? Tiago come with the right reason, positive mind, and honest personality which he didn’t disappoint us early this season not by number but so many variety of things what he can do on the floor and we all see and witness it? As a San Antonio Spurs fan we need to earn and get his Trust back on us and I hope our Coaching Staffs and Front Office realized that or otherwise we might lose him as well by losing his Trust, Confidence, having a Disappointment year, and what he can do on the Floor. My Honest Opinion? Our Team should be much more differ Team early Season having Tiago along side with Tim? Tiago is not a League MVP for NO Reason and absolutely Not a Coincident either? I know it’s a gamble to take but we do really needs Tiago that we appreciate him and understand that he can play this game and he has our back/trust in him and the result will be a positive long 2010-2011 Season. Win or Lose Go Spurs Go!!!

  • SG

    Tiago needs more minutes. Period. He’s not a rookie…the dude played pro ball in EU for several seasons. His ceiling is way higher than Blair’s…if Pop doesn’t start developing him soon, it will be too late for this season + playoffs for him to reach his peak. I think he can play at Chandler’s level, but he needs more playing time to develop that consistency in his game. Also, he needs time on the court with the other starters to get used to their flow of the game.

    I really hate the 3 guard line-ups! Ugh….nothing good comes out of it. Worse is the 3 guards + Jefferson at 4. Bad for everyone…Please Pop dont be small ball Nellie.

  • The Beat Counselor

    This loss can be a good thing. One of my biggest fears was going on a big win streak like Boston did in ’09 to start the season and as a result certain players get overused to keep the streak rolling. Next thing you know one of the key guys is injured for the playoffs and it takes a historic effort to get past the first round.

    With our mediocre play against Min and the fact that we bounced Dal out of the playoffs last year, this should’ve been expected.

    Our ball movement has dissappeared and Dal was fueling their fastbreaks with stops and our turnovers.

    Does Pop really have the patience to develop the bench like we thought he might earlier this season?

  • Jim Henderson

    SG
    November 27th, 2010 at 11:38 am

    “Tiago needs more minutes. Period. He’s not a rookie…the dude played pro ball in EU for several seasons. His ceiling is way higher than Blair’s…if Pop doesn’t start developing him soon, it will be too late for this season + playoffs for him to reach his peak.”

    At this point the competition between Blair & Splitter should not be the focal point. They are both very good young players that do different things on the court. I happen to disagree with one of your points because I think Blair has the overall higher ceiling, but that’s not really the point right now. BOTH of those guys need as much time/development as possible all season long, and part of that development is sufficient minutes, including with our 1st unit, and against the opposing team’s top players. The real problem is that Bonner is getting too many minutes. The 30 year old Bonner is always going to be a role player. Blair & Splitter can both be long-term starters in this league. Bonner has never helped us in the playoffs; in contrast, we’re dead in the playoffs if Blair & Splitter don’t have an impact for us when it counts the most. We’ve rode Bonner’s hot hand in some games, and he has given us a better shot at winning some of them during his hot streak. That streak has come to an end, as all hot shooting does in due time. It’s time to get Bonner back into the situational role he was designed for: depending on match-ups etc., and his early game shooting results, Bonner should usually come in between 10 & 20 minutes per game. In the last seven games Bonner has averaged 25 minutes per game. That’s about 10 mpg. too much, which are minutes that should now be going to Splitter (about 7 mpg more), and Blair (about 3 mpg. more). We don’t have to worry about TD & Dice’s minutes. They’re fine. Bonner’s shooting escapades were nice while it lasted, but let’s get back to basics.

  • agutierrez

    As much as he hates it, I think Manu may have to start wearing one of those protective masks like Rip H. It’s pretty obvious that Manu is not the same player with his nose stuffed full of cotton. He can’t breathe and his mouth gets drive. Can’t imagine why he can’t focus on his shot. If he started now, maybe by the playoffs he’d be used to it. You can bet other teams will take note of his drop-off after his bloody nose and will start whacking him. Obviously, we’re not going anywhere without Manu at his best.

  • DorieStreet

    @ Jim Henderson- I don’t understand this limited role for Splitter, either. We wait 3 years for him to join the team, while he becomes a 2-league star & MVP, and he gets minutes like that Euro guy we drafted in 2005. I disagree somewhat on Bonner. He was retained with a nice salary increase for a reason–we need his timely production–each game. While he can’t be Vinnie Johnson of the 80’s Pistons, Bonner is supposed to (3) hustle; (2) play defense the best he can; (1) shoot the ball–score when presented a good opportunity to do so. you mention he’ 30–that makes him 6 yrs younger than McDyess/ 4 less than Tim / 3 less than Manu & Udoka. Until Anderson comes back & ppg for Jefferson & Blair increase to 18-19 / 10-12 respectively, Bonner’s minutes will have to stay around 20. To be honest, I want another tall PF on the roster who rebounds and blocks shots. The younger guys (Love, Milicic, Chandler, etc.) know Tim has lost 2 steps–Blair & Tiago will have step way up to counter the increased attacks by oppenents’ bigs.

  • rj

    our starters looked a little gassed out there. the substitutions looked strange toward the end with duncan and ginobili playing nearly the entire quarter. if bonner is looking ineffective, he needs to be pulled. dallas shot poorly for most of the game, but the law of averages caught up when butler and terry’s shots started falling. despite poor ball handling and movement, we actually had a chance to win this game. ian mahinmi actually looked like an nba player. way to go, buddy. i hate these long win streaks…

  • rj

    there were points in the game where ian was covering splitter and duncan. knowing his history of fouls ans being a sub par position defender, why didn’t pop expose this?

  • viper160

    The loss to Dallas should not have come as any surprise given the way the Spurs have been playing that last few games. Mental errors, players in a coma and lack of athleticism at the big position cost the Spurs the game. RJ and TP’s lack of interest in the game were apparent-something I’m sure Pop will address with them behind closed doors. Turnovers because of mental errors will be replayed adnauseum by Pop in video sessions and the players will need to get the focused for NO. An issue that will require moving players from the Spurs is the lack of an athletic big. For those of you that see upside to DeJuan Blair – lets look at the facts, first he 6 foot 5 and is not going to grow height wise, secondly he has no outside shot and has made no effort to add one. DeJuan Blair rebounds great but his height in the West is a liability and when you throw in the fact that he has no shot he is trade bait. Matt Bonner is a defensive liability he just cannot guard anyone with size and athleticism. Antonio McDyess’s value comes in the playoffs, and Tiago simply cannot play 40+ minutes a game-he does not have the stamina to run up and down the court. Tim is not 20something and he needs his minutes kept down
    so he and his knee can go in the playoffs. The game Sunday will show whether this team mentally and physically can handle another athletic team. If Pop and the front office are going to make a move to get an athletic big better to do it now so the team can mesh-otherwise well we saw firsthand last year Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol shot over DeJuan Blair consistently.

  • Ted

    The Spurs needed to pick up a couple bigs while we had the chance- maybe Amundson, Barron, or even Dampier if he still has anything. I agree with all who are saying the lack of size in these lineups for the Spurs are going to hurt us.

    Play Tiago, coach! Give the boy some minutes!

  • Jim Henderson

    DorieStreet
    November 27th, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    “I disagree somewhat on Bonner. He was retained with a nice salary increase for a reason–we need his timely production–each game. While he can’t be Vinnie Johnson of the 80′s Pistons, Bonner is supposed to (3) hustle; (2) play defense the best he can; (1) shoot the ball–score when presented a good opportunity to do so. you mention he’ 30–that makes him 6 yrs younger than McDyess/ 4 less than Tim / 3 less than Manu & Udoka. Until Anderson comes back & ppg for Jefferson & Blair increase to 18-19 / 10-12 respectively, Bonner’s minutes will have to stay around 20. To be honest, I want another tall PF on the roster who rebounds and blocks shots. The younger guys (Love, Milicic, Chandler, etc.) know Tim has lost 2 steps–Blair & Tiago will have step way up to counter the increased attacks by oppenents’ bigs.”

    First of all, on Bonner’s salary: as a free agent if you sign with the same team you can be given a significant raise without it effecting your salary cap — apparently the Spurs wanted to keep him on the team in a stretch 4 role, and may have felt that there was another team that might pay him that 4 mil. if they didn’t give it to him — I don’t know — in any event his salary went up less than a mil. per year, and since Bonner is in the top fifteen all-time in career 3-point percentage, the FO felt he was worth it (I disagreed at the time, and still do). But the point is, Bonner is more worth his money for this team playing on average 15 mpg. as opposed to 20-25 mpg. The reason is because he is a below average defender (including being poor at steal & blocks), rebounder, and passer, and ends up hurting the team if he doesn’t make at least 2 out of his first 4-5 attempts from behind the arc, and those “attempts” need to be taken within his first 12-15 minutes on the court because that is BY FAR what he does best: shoot the three ball (spread the floor), particularly if he’s wide open.

    Regarding the items you said Bonner was supposed to do, 2 of the 3 are not particular strengths of Bonner’s: “hustle” – that is absolutely mandatory of every player in every game; “play “d” as best as he can” – again, that is an expectation of every player on the floor. And the fact is we don’t need Bonner’s 3-point threat for more than 15 mpg. on average. Even without Bonner our 3-point % as a team would be more than adequate, probably in the top 5-10 in the league. On the other hand, if we keep playing Bonner 20-25 mpg. our total rebound rank will likely drop from about 3rd in the league to outside of the top-ten. We, as are most elite teams, are not constructed to win consistently without a top-five rebound ranking. And we don’t need Bonner’s scoring that much. In fact Splitter has a higher ppg. average per 36 than does Bonner. As a 3-point threat off the bench for about 15 mpg. he’s fine (at least during the regular season), anything more than that and he becomes a liability over time.

    “….I want another tall PF on the roster who rebounds and blocks shots.”

    You’re preaching to the choir here. If you’ve followed this blog over the past 6 months you will have noticed that I was the most prominent advocate for the type of “big” that you’re talking about. Of the those who were realistic to acquire without a major trade, Amundson was the most prominent of my suggestions (I would have signed Amundson, and not Bonner — but we could have done both if we had wanted to). In fact most recently I would have also picked up Dampier. But the fact is we have who we have, and I doubt the FO will be making changes to our front line this year. As a result, we must develop Splitter & Blair aggressively right now, because Bonner as our 2nd or 3rd big (in terms of minutes) will not give us a chance against LA for the WC title.

    viper160
    November 27th, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    “For those of you that see upside to DeJuan Blair – lets look at the facts, first he 6 foot 5 and is not going to grow height wise, secondly he has no outside shot and has made no effort to add one. DeJuan Blair rebounds great but his height in the West is a liability and when you throw in the fact that he has no shot he is trade bait.”

    I already addressed this with you before. You apparently don’t want to listen. I’ll briefly try one more time. Players do not “physically” play with their head. I think we can all agree on that. While “tallness” can be a general advantage for front court players, MANY of them are successful more so because of their long “wingspan”, “standing reach”, vertical leaping ability, and oftentimes as a result of their relative “girth”.

    So let’s take a brief look at some measurements. First of all, Blair is not 6’5″, he is 6’6.5″. Splitter is about 5 inches taller, but Blair has the same 7’2″ wingspan that Splitter has, and Splitter’s standing reach is just 3 inches higher off the ground (as an example, Blake Griffin’s standing reach is 1.5″ less than Blair’s, but his vertical about 2.5″ higher). Blair also has a good 25 pounds on Splitter, is a bit quicker laterally, has about a 1.5″ advantage in vertical leap, and is a better rebounder than Splitter regardless of his “height disadvantage”. By far the biggest reason for Blair’s relatively large number of his shots being blocked is because of his “lack of experience” (as opposed to his height). He needs to learn how to use his girth better, and his shot selection is still inadequate, although it will improve in due time. Splitter does have the “experience” advantage over Blair, and as a result of that he could be a legitimate threat to Blair’s starting role “this” year. However, this is no panacea against the likes of LA. We’ll need all of our bigs to make important contributions to have a shot against them.

    Regarding his outside shot: the idea that he’s made no effort to work on a mid-range jumper is an expression of ignorance. For a player with his background as a center in college that was not asked to do anything else but rebound and score at the rim, it will take some time for him to develop that outside shot at the NBA level. It’s not like taking set shots out in the back yard. In fact Blair’s excellent free throw shooting this year gives one an example of how making an outside shot within the offense is an entirely different proposition, and much more difficult than it looks.

    “…..otherwise well we saw firsthand last year Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol shot over DeJuan Blair consistently.”

    The fact is LA’s front line is so talented they shoot over, around, under, through most players on our team, and most front courts around the league. No point in pinning that one on Blair. DeJuan needs to continue to work on his position defense in the low-block and out on the perimeter, but his height is not his major problem.

  • annie

    Some points like to make/reiterate

    1-This is ONLY game 15 of the season. The Spurs have obviously performed better than was preordained/or expected. So lets not let panic set in and colour the rest of the season.

    2-Splitter needs to play more- that goes without saying. Why Pop holds him out is beyond me at times. he can not become a force in the playoffs if he is not gaining valuable experience in these early contests.

    3-Agree that there is relief that the streak is over. We can just start another one! It was ironic that my brothers were watching the Lakers build a 19 point lead and John Ireland saying the Spurs were losing. And what happened- Lakers go down to defeat.

    4-Bad shooting nights are going to happen. It will happen to Dallas/Orlando/Celts and any one else in an NBA uniform.

    5-Pop will make the necessary adjustments as the season goes along. Hopefully, the Spurs will continue to improve and be a force in the second half of the season when it will matter most.

  • senorglory

    Who is this “Splitter” I keep reading about in the comments? I’ve watched every game this year, and I’ve seen neither hide nor hair of anyone named “Splitter,” much less, some mythological seven foot Euroleague/Fiba scoring defensive stud that the Spurs hypothetically have had me waiting three frickin years to see, at least one year of which the Spurs seemingly suffered through with no starting center whatsoever. Nope, no “Splitter” here.

  • junierizzle

    I think we need more SPLITTER. In both of this season’s losses, the Spurs gave up easy lay-ups in the 4th quarter. TD can’t cover the rim all by himself.

    More TIAGO, but I won’t lose sleep over his minutes. POP does what he does……………………

  • sg

    Tiago was a mvp in eu league right? Weren’t manu & Scola also mvp’s? I think he has enough of a track record in a serious pro league to warrant more playing time in the nba. I will go on the record and state that we simply will not win this year without adequate contributions from Tiago. What does adequate mean? I can tell u what it does not mean….8-10 min of playing time, guarding 2nd unit bigs, no impact on the game.

  • Manou

    Here’s the difference between Pop and Phil Jackson. Pop cares less about winning during the regular season and it was evident after tonight’s game. Manu Ginobili was extremely hot starting the game, he couldn’t miss but Pop substituted him out after 6 min in the first and put him back in mid-mark through the second quarter. Phil Jackson would never have done that if Kobe got hot like that, and he would allow his superstar to take over the ballgame, forcing the opposition to make adjustments which would put them at a disadvantage, like we were all night guarding Nowitzki.
    NBA IS a superstar based league, as much as I hate to say it if one of the big-3 is hot you can’t take them out, another example of sacrificing a win for “hopefully” Healthly come play-offs.

  • Jim Henderson

    sg
    November 28th, 2010 at 7:33 am

    No argument there. The point is at this time of Tiago’s transition to the NBA & learning the Spurs system he should be stealing minutes from Bonner, not Blair.

  • http://www.sanantoniospurs.com SPURS FAN SINCE 89

    The reason I’m so upset about this lost is that 1. I hate the Mavs, 2. we were at home, 3. the Spurs gave the game away. The fact that the streak ended didn’t bother me. What bothered me was everytime we had a 3-4 point lead we would turn the ball over. What was it 18 turnovers. Manu and Hill had to do everything themselves. Timmy had an okay game I guess. It’s not good to give a team a false sense of hope, and especially when it’s one of your rival teams and your at home. Simply not acceptable. No matter if it’s game 1, or game 82. RJ and TP picked a great game to take the night off. Where were there heads, who knows?? Maybe they were out too late the night before. Maybe Tony’s been feeling emotional stress from his divorce. Whatever the excuse is it’s not acceptable when your playing a rival opponenet at home. You need to protect your home court. I don’t even care about the streak. Lets get back to the basics and start palying better D and taking care of the ball better. As a consulation we still have the best record in the NBA and are still #1.

  • Bankshot21

    Tiago should be getting more minutes. Duh. Blair’s minutes are on the decline. Duh. Tiago will get more minutes. I’m beginning to think Blair in the starting line up is a novelty. Like a lucky baseball cap that the pitcher always wears. Or like MJ wearing his UNC tights every game. While it’s working for us let’s not tinker with it. That’s the only explanation I can come up with.

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  • D

    It would be very interesting to see if Dallas could beat the Spurs without Dirk elbowing Manu in the nose.