El Conclusión: Houston Rockets 105, San Antonio Spurs 102

by

San Antonio Spurs 102 Final
Recap | Box Score
105 Houston Rockets
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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

/*

  • Bushka

    I would rather eat my own legs than end up with either of those trades.

    Your getting worse at PG by a considerable margin.  Randolph is the young big we need?At least your proposing stuff though.    I need to put it out there that I think Anthony Randolph is one of the most likely to dissapoint players in the game today.

  • Bob

    They can still play like that with TD and Splitter on the court together.

  • Lvmainman

    Anthony Randolph is an upgrade over Blair or Bonner. In his 1st game subbing for Kevin Love, he scored 31 pts and had 13 rebounds. The 2nd game, he had 24 pts and 15 rebounds.

    The Timberwolves already have Love, Tolliver, and Williams ahead of him at the 4 position. Randolph would help the Spurs immensely.

  • TD BestEVER

    We would actually be getting more production than we have now considering that Anderson is giving us nothing.   Heinrich and Teague will combine to give you a little more that what TP normally gives and we then wouldn’t need to play Joseph who has been a Non factor to this point.  And Randolph really would shine of our bench or in our starting lineup in about 20-25 min per game.   We could rest Duncan a lot more and really let him get in to his groove.  We wouldn’t have to play so much Small Ball and could actually have a replacement for TD one day.

  • Tyler

    Propaganda? It’s an opinion. Just like everything else on this site, just like your take on the grades. Whether I agree of disagree is irrelevant.

    But put simply, Blair was bad. No way around that. He deserved a bad grade.

  • TD BestEVER

    but that speaks more to our poor perimter D than anything else.  That they have to rely so heavily on our bigs to make them look good.  Another reason to trade TP.

  • JustinFL

    No more idiotic than throwing away good money for and to get rid of RJ’s corpse.  Nobody’s amnestying Scola that’s for sure.

  • JustinFL

    Good points and strategy.  I would also add trade Bonner for anyone with an expiring contract if possible.  And I mean anyone.  We’ll need all the capspace we can muster.  Besides, like I read from someone on here before, Pop’s affinity for him will be (or if it hasn’t been already), his downfall. 

  • JustinFL

    He has more talent than Bruce had at 20 and has adjusted well despite  a shortened training camp.  He is developing nicely for a 20 year old.  I would like to see him make better and quicker decisions after grabbing the offensive board.  He has a knack for grabbing offensive rebounds which is something we need.
      Bruce was awesome and tough as nails, but he also played with an up and coming Tony, plus Manu and Timmy in there prime. 

  • JustinFL

    Is that you Jim?

  • JustinFL

    It IS you.  Yeah! welcome back

  • Tyler

    I think points per possession (or per 100 possessions) is a better indicator since it takes pace into account. Similarly, opponents’ FG% can be a good tool.

  • TD BestEVER

    And here is another idea that could 1 footed  DROP KICK our championship window back open.  

    espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=6w7sd4q

    Toronto get some STAR POWER(They have lost 8 in a row – nobody wants to suck forever)

    New Orleans = Salary dump – they are going nowhere so why pay Okafur all that $ to ride along. 

    Minn – has Beasly and Love in their Final years.  They will need alot of $ to keep their team together plus they don’t want Randolph to just walk for nothing and they need a SG.

    We get a GOOD YOUNG PG to rebuild with that is still capable or helping us win now. and the Defesnse that we had when we were on top. 

  • Bushka

    Right then is this enough evidence for you?

    I said…. 

    “I think Tiago and Blair can play together just fine.
    I think Dejaun doesn’t do enough of the little things on D as a Centre.  I think he does better at those things as a PF.”
    The top 20 Spurs 5 man units all year.

    http://www.82games.com/1112/1112SAS2.HTM 

    There is not one single Bonner / Blair lineup.  More importantly there is not one single lineup where Blair is the Centre.
    Every top 20 lineup has either Duncan or Splitter playing at Centre.  Its why Dejuan got a pants rating for this game.
    When he had to hold the middle on D and Tiago rested he was terrible.  

    Is that his fault?  No I don’t believe it is actually.  

    I think thats more Pop setting him up to fail than anything else.  The days of pretending that Blairs a 5 in this league are gone.  There is no 5th Big who can give us 10 mins as Centre.   

    You’ll also note our best 5 man unit is Parker-Leonard-Jefferson-Blair-Duncan.  Blair features in a lot of positive line ups.
    However he does not feature once in a lineup where he plays defensively as the C.

  • Bushka

    We don’t need to upgrade Blair or Bonner though.
    We need Blair playing PF with Bonner being used in limited minutes off the Bench.
    We need a 3rd proper Big right now.  Randolphs a finessey no rough stuff kind of guy. 

  • Bushka

    I think giving away the guy who is playing the best ball on your team in TP for also ran projects is not a good thing.
    Bayless is not a good young PG.  He can’t get past Jose Calderon and he has had two seasons to do it.  That includes Calderon being injured.

    I’m going to go look at this tradeamajigthing.

  • Anonymous

    Having read all your logic then why is Bonner starting for Timmy? And if you’ve heard Sean on the broadcast in the last 10 games he considers Splitter to be a crafty more athletic player then Oberto. He’s always campaigning to get Splitter the ball down on the low block. Haven’t you heard him during the games it’s like he’s having fits over it. His defense will get better than worse.

  • Anonymous

    So he had a crappy game last night and looked lost. He’s a rookie. That’s what everybody said about Tiago last season and look at him now with every game is an improvement providing Pop doesn’t screw with his minutes and gives them to Bonner. KL will be fine by the end of the playoffs. I just hope Pop doesn’t screw with his mind like he has with JA.

  • Anonymous

    I meant “by the end of the regular season”

  • Anonymous

    I agree Bowen wasn’t 20 years old when he was kicking some ass with the Spurs. this kid needs a real chance so don’t blow it Pop.

  • Anonymous

    And like Sean said at the post game show those two misses Tiago had were basically shouldn’t have been attempted. No need to throw up a prayer with time running out. He would have been 11-11.

  • Anonymous

    Hey they got us a -9 wins! Don’t you think that’s too many players in a shortened season to learn this genius system of Pop’s. 

  • Anonymous

    - 4 wins! Were getting better! At this rate were going to have to learn almost a whole team to get this super genius system in they’re heads and again in a shortened season.

  • Anonymous

    They just need to go home after each game and rest and have no sex, eat well, rest and no sex, play a little perimeter defense, and knock down a few 3’s and let Tiago play a little. “Hey Pop can Tiago come out and play?”

  • Anonymous

    WOW!!!

  • Anonymous

    No…it speaks of the perimeter players having to play off their intended targets in order to help shrink driving lanes.  In that…they have too much area to patrol rather than just playing a little tighter to who they are guarding.

    And when they do play tighter…there’s nobody in the paint that can adjust properly or has the dominant skills to defend the paint.

  • Anonymous

    Upon rethingking and your rebuttal…not a bad idea.  But I still don’t think the Spurs go for such a deal.  Like it or not…Parker is just too important to this team this year.  The only deal I would think the Spurs entertain is if they got another all star caliber player in giving up one of their all stars.

    Like I said…the players you mentioned no doubt have talent…but probably not retain-able after a season with the Spurs.  Then what?

  • Anonymous

    If the Spurs make the playoffs it will be the only post tandem that would be close to providing what they used to do regarding interior D.  Not sure it would be as effective though.

  • TD BestEVER

    That doesn’t take into effect how much better on D we would be with Oak and Duncan playing together.  So the rankings are a little off.  We would probably come out the same.

  • TD BestEVER

    Bayless is a good young PG….. and he started with NO last year.  And will be a starting PG in the NBA in the next 2 years. Jarred Jack also played behind Calderon and is now starting in NO and playing very well. 

    And We will more than make up for TP’s  20 and 7 per game.  

    Bayless will be some where around the 13-15 point mark with 5+ assists.   That leaves Oak/Randolph to come up with 7 point and 2-3 assists in the 30 min per game or so that they would play.   I’m sure they could do that just fine.

  • Bushka

    I agree you can make up for the numbers in the aggregate, however I don’t know why you force yourself to cover a position by platoon when you already have a really good player at that spot.

    Neither of those guys are as good as TP is now, or are ever likely to be as good.  We can get guys like that in free agency or draft someone better.  If we just wait till next season.

    I like Okafor, i just don’t like his contract.  He suits perfectly but he is owed massive cash.

    If there was a big trade where we win and it makes us truly better then i’d buy into it.  I just don’t believe that trade exists in the current climate.  
    I feel confident the front office see’s things in this same light as well.

  • Anonymous

    Agree with this 100%.  This year is going to be a great year which otherwise we would not see rooks and first year players getting very many minutes.  It’s going to provide as a great evaluator of who the Spurs would like to keep for further development or possibly include in a trade scenario for picks.

    The right situation IMO will arise because of this in order for the Spurs to land a talented youth to fill holes where they are needed most without having to relinquish one of their all star players.

  • Anonymous

    “Do i need to keep doing this?”

    If you haven’t noticed before he (Thomas) likes pissing matches.  :)

  • Thomasholdren

    true, but then it goes right back to the question; if all you can do is score are you really good? I say no, which is why I would never say Martin is a top sg. 

  • Thomasholdren

    Im confused on how he was bad….? And again its not an OPINION when the opinion is not true. 

    That would be like me saying that stop sign is blue….

  • Deeds130

    These 3 proposals all have some merit and are worth considering, imo. And I do believe that ATL will make a trade partner of anyone willing to take back Williams. However, MIN is looking to let Beasely go though, and Coangelo is quoted saying that they (TOR) are tanking to get another top pick, so TDBestEver has overestimated the trade urgency of those 2 clubs. MIN will be playing even more 2 PG attacks once JJ returns and could use an SG or two, but I don’t think SA will take back a contract like M Williams, or give up young pieces to land Randolf since he’ll be available come summer anyway. SA can make Randolf a free agent offer with a real opportunity at a big role, and retain the ability, if need be, to move those other assets for prospects to play with Randolf.

    I agree with Bushka that changes won’t come this season, they’ll wait it out.

  • Thomasholdren

    Its odd to me that positional D could be such a factor yet has no bearing on Tiago’s statistics. That is, if he is that much better at position D than Blair, should his defensive stats show this? 

  • Thomasholdren

    Again, that is not my point, whether Blair is playing C or PF. My point is STATISTICALLY he is better than Tiago. STATISTICALLY we are a better team with him in the game and Tiago out. We are also a better scoring team. 

    UNFORTUNATELY, Pop is going to go with Splitter playing a majority of minutes even though Blair’s numbers are better and our team numbers are better than him in the game and Splitter out. 

    It seems like the second point is what we can agree on. Pop has a strange favoritism thing about him where he plays guys that really suck and sits guys that perform. Why? I have no idea. But if you could give me a take, I would appreciate it. 

  • Thomasholdren

    That is totally false (sagging D). They dont “patrol” an area or they would be in zone not help-man. 

  • Anonymous

    But they are “patrolling” an area “zone” while playing help-man defense.

    Man defense is just that…staying with your man.  In it’s current state…The Spurs are incorporating more of a “zone” type of D.  Maybe not defined by traditional types of zone defense…but still more of a zone defense than their traditional help-man defense of the past.