El Conclusión: San Antonio Spurs 102, Phoenix Suns 91
|Tim Duncan, C 31 MIN | 10-14 FG | 4-6 FT | 11 REB | 4 AST | 24 PTS | +5
The Phoenix Suns really are the fountain of youth. Vintage Duncan night, his first 20 and 10 game of the season.
|Richard Jefferson, SF 31 MIN | 3-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 8 PTS | +16
He’ll never be the fourth star some envisioned when he got here, but Richard Jefferson is quietly a very reliable player. Had a key steal and dribble pull-up in the fourth.
|DeJuan Blair, F 32 MIN | 7-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 14 PTS | +2
Won’t always have the advantage of being matched up with Channing Frye every night, but exploited mismatches, created shots from the post, and was active. Would have quite a few more points if Parker looked for him running the floor and sealing defenders off for a quick lob pass.
|Tony Parker, PG 35 MIN | 8-20 FG | 1-3 FT | 4 REB | 9 AST | 17 PTS | +11
Tonight Parker showed why his footwork is just as important as his speed, befuddling Suns’ defenders with a variety of spins and ball fakes.
|Kawhi Leonard, SF 33 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 12 PTS | +9
Quickly becoming a reliable double digit scorer and nightly double-double threat. The two three-pointers were nice, but his jumper was still too flat to be consistent from range.
|Matt Bonner, PF 17 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 8 PTS | +9
Hit a pair of three-pointers, hit the boards, and hit some open teammates with smart passes. Overall a much better display from Matt Bonner.
|Daniel Green, G 24 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | -1
Still putting in quality minutes, but was a bit of a generic night from Green.
|Gary Neal, PG 9 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | -2
Appendicitis, gashed head, and now a thigh contusion to continue what Pop called a mess of an early season for Gary Neal.
|Tiago Splitter, C 17 MIN | 3-4 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | +6
Was the Spurs one-man 6-0 run to start the second. Had a few nifty fakes and, more importantly, hit his free throws–a development to watch as the season goes on.
|Cory Joseph, G 13 MIN | 0-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 PTS | 0
The primary backup point guard to start the game. Didn’t mess up, didn’t contribute in the box score. But there is hidden value we’ll discuss later.
Five Things We Saw
- Tim Duncan his finding a rhythm with the team relying on him just a little more. Averaging roughly 16 points, nine rebounds, and four assists over the last five games.
- Tiago Splitter has nifty footwork, some great fakes, but a terrible hook shot. Early in his NBA career his greatest offensive strength is an ability to generate free throws. He is now making them, making him a valuable offensive weapon to go with the quality defense he provides.
- Kawhi Leonard is not an explosive athlete, but his strength and balance are underrated athletic attributes that allow him to create contact and still finish. Sort of like a taller, longer, more perimeter oriented version of DeJuan Blair.
- Even before Neal went down, Cory Joseph entered the game early as the primary backup point guard. While individually he has little impact on the game, his presence keeps players like Green and Neal off the ball and working off screens–roles they are far more comfortable with.
- Shooting guard is the most abundant, generic position in the NBA. How the Phoenix Suns do not have a single viable one on their roster is beyond me.