El Conclusion: San Antonio Spurs 100, Utah Jazz 94
|Tim Duncan, PF 29 MIN | 9-17 FG | 4-6 FT | 12 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 22 PTS | +5
Yet another amazing performance from the Spurs’ ageless cornerstone. It’s his third consecutive double-double, and he’s only gotten better as the season wears on. The early struggles seem far behind him at this point.
|Jeff Ayres, PF 12 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -8
Ayres has had his moments recently in Tiago Splitter’s absence, when he’s done well on the boards and in pick-roll-situations, but this wasn’t good. Utah does have a strong front line, but he was overmatched in the win on Saturday night.
|Kawhi Leonard, SF 31 MIN | 6-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | +11
This has started to become the norm for Leonard — it’s all about efficiency. And Gordon Hayward, who went for 30 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists in Denver on Friday, but Leonard managed to hold him to 18 points on 16 shots in 40 minutes in this one. Kawhi was nothing exceptional, but he more than got the job done.
|Tony Parker, PG 30 MIN | 6-15 FG | 3-3 FT | 5 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | +14
Tony was nothing spectacular as a scorer against Utah, and Trey Burke got going a bit for the Jazz, but Parker managed to get others involved with seven assists in the 30 minutes he played. Not to mention, he had the highest +/- in the starting lineup with a positive-14 point differential.
|Danny Green, SG 17 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +9
Danny’s struggles continued on Saturday against the Jazz as once again his shot was off the mark. Green has scored three points in the last two games and hasn’t contributed a ton in other categories. But as long as he plays solid defense and occupies defenders out on the perimeter (because he’s absolutely a threat), he still has value on the court.
|Aron Baynes, PF 17 MIN | 4-8 FG | 1-1 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +11
Baynes is back in this B! The Big Bangah was back after a two-game absence with a sprained ankle, and man, was he good again. This has become somewhat of a revelation, but the guy has been playing with a ton of intelligence, confidence and aggressiveness. He’s rebounding, scoring and playing defense, and he hasn’t been committing the silly fouls that plagued him so often in his young career.
|Matt Bonner, PF 15 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +1
Bonner comes in and drains a few threes to put some separation on the scoreboard, as he typically does. He struggled a bit at times with that Utah frontcourt, but that’s not really why he’s there in the first place. Because dealing with Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter on the boards is, ya know, difficult.
|Boris Diaw, PF 23 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +23
There wasn’t much need for Boris to be spectacular in this one, but he did his job, as he almost always does.
|Cory Joseph, PG 1 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -5
One minute. One steal. One rebound. Offset by two missed shots. Incomplete.
|Patty Mills, PG 17 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +7
Patty was a hell of a spark plug once again. He was great on both sides of the ball, and his propensity for snagging steals in the backcourt has become unreal (and borderline hilarious). When he’s hitting his shots, wreaking havoc on defense and igniting transition opportunities, he’s been a very valuable backup to Parker. Mills is having an unexpectedly great season.
|Nando de Colo, PG 2 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0
No. Not enough court time.
|Manu Ginobili, SG 21 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | +3
There were some very Manu moments tonight, on both sides of the ball. This is another case of the Spurs not needing anything spectacular from a guy who exerted a ton of energy the night before.
|Marco Belinelli, SG 24 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +9
It’s getting to the point where it’s surprising when Belinelli misses, and he played well once again. It’s becoming the norm.
Pop has been pulling the right strings lately, especially during this brutal four-games-in-five-nights stretch. The recap generator has a permanent ‘A+’ designation next to his name, and there isn’t much reason to think about changing that.
Five Things We Saw
- One night after giving up 110 points in regulation to the Timberwolves, the Spurs did well allowing just 84 points in Utah. The defense has fallen off since Tiago Splitter was injured, but Aron Baynes has actually been a very serviceable as a defensive big man in his stead.
- And more on Baynes: Utah shot just 30 percent in the 17 minutes the big man spent on the floor, including just 36.4 percent from inside the restricted area during that span. The Spurs allowed the Jazz to score at a rate of just 77.4 points per 100 possessions while Baynes was on the court.
- The offense is starting to look great. Even with Danny Green struggling, the starting lineup is scoring again. The trio of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard is putting up better than 113 points per 100 possessions over the last five games, and much of that has to do with Leonard’s recent shooting success.
- Kawhi’s shooting struggles were well-documented, but that’s starting to look like a thing of the past. Leonard is now 7-for-15 from deep over the last five games, a trend that will be interesting to watch going forward. Leonard said after the Minnesota game that there was never an issue with his shot, it just wasn’t going in. ”Never really thought of it. I just kept shooting. I was comfortable just trusting in it,” he said. “I hit a couple with my toe on the line. I just kept shooting.”
- The Spurs play the Los Angeles Clippers for the first time this season in L.A. on Monday, and there’s no word on whether or not Splitter will be available. He would certainly be valuable against that front line, but with the way Baynes has been playing, getting all the rest he possibly can might not be the worst thing in the world.