El Conclusión: Houston Rockets 105, San Antonio Spurs 102
|Richard Jefferson, SF 25 MIN | 2-11 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | -1
Struggling with his shot, but more concerning is recently he’s been passing up shots and it’s been easier to chase him off the three-point line.
|Matt Bonner, PF 33 MIN | 5-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 16 PTS | -6
Got the start and finally hit some shots. Hopefully a performance he builds on, the Spurs could really use some front court depth that Bonner isn’t providing right now.
|DeJuan Blair, F 18 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | -12
Forced the action far too much. And the -12 in the plus-minus category was validated by the Spurs getting torched in the fourth quarter when Popovich had to give Splitter a breather.
|Tony Parker, PG 34 MIN | 10-23 FG | 4-5 FT | 4 REB | 13 AST | 24 PTS | -4
Took an ill-advised three-pointer in the closing minutes. But I’m not going to kill him for his inability to be Manu. Torched one of the better defensive point guards (if not the best) in the league. Is carrying the Spurs offense as the lone playmaker.
|Kawhi Leonard, SF 39 MIN | 4-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | -9
Kevin Martin isn’t the best matchup for Kawhi. He looked like a rookie tonight. Still, admirable job on the boards. Needs to develop an offensive skill to play key minutes down the stretch.
|Daniel Green, G 21 MIN | 1-5 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 3 PTS | +7
Struggling the past couple games. Something tells me teams have started factoring him into their game plans a little bit. He’ll have to adjust to that.
|Gary Neal, PG 25 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | 0
Miscast as a point guard, but continuing to show that he’s more than just a spot-up shooter.
|Tiago Splitter, C 32 MIN | 11-13 FG | 3-5 FT | 10 REB | 4 AST | 25 PTS | +9
Put up a Tim Duncan-like box score, minus the ability to completely destroy the opposing team’s pick and roll attacks. That’s okay, Duncan can’t anymore either.
|Cory Joseph, G 14 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 PTS | +1
Still trying to find a glimpse of what Joseph’s calling card in the NBA might be. Right now he’s just in because he’s the only other player besides Parker with PG next to his name in the lineup.
Five Things We Saw
- Tiago Splitter deserves more minutes. The Rockets never really had an answer for him and his assortment of ball fakes and up and under moves. I actually like him better from the mid post right now, where he can get the defender moving and show a fake, as opposed to just straight up backing someone down.
- If you want to know why Tiago Splitter doesn’t start all you need to do is look at the 4th quarter when Popovich had to give him a breather. Matt Bonner and DeJuan Blair need to play alongside either Tim or Tiago at all times to be effective. The Spurs took a beating during that brief stretch.
- Matt Bonner is not really spacing the floor at the moment. Even when he doesn’t get any three-point shots, he normally contributes by keeping one big out of the paint. But right now teams are not afraid to help off him. He needs to get his reputation back, and to do so he’ll need better nights than even tonight.
- Tony Parker can still get it done. I know many will bash his ill-advised three-pointer, or that late drive with something cliche like “He’s a point guard! Pass!”. But I’m not going to criticize him for not being Manu. He carried the offense for stretches against one of the best defensive point guards in the NBA.
- The defense is not great with Tim Duncan, and continues to be downright atrocious without him. Hopefully the situation remedies itself in the playoffs when the Spurs worry less about conserving minutes and can pair Duncan and Splitter more.