El Conclusion: San Antonio Spurs 103, Memphis Grizzlies 82
|Tim Duncan, PF 31 MIN | 9-17 FG | 1-1 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 5 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | +18
Given a day or two to rest and collect himself, Tim Duncan found his rhythm tonight, hitting five jumpers from near 15 feet and out. He did a masterful job picking the defense apart from the wing and high post with pinpoint passes. Furthermore, he continues to anchor an increasingly stingy defense blocking shots at career-high rates.
|Tiago Splitter, PF 28 MIN | 5-6 FG | 0-1 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +9
This was as impressive a performance as I’ve seen from Tiago Splitter. He matched Zach Randolph’s physicality, hounding him into an inefficient 4-of-11 shooting night. Several times Splitter could be seen holding Randolph at bay with one arm, emphatically grabbing the rebound–in a crowd–with the other. Splitter was also excellent in transition, changing ends from defense-to-offense quickly and beating Memphis down the court for easy baskets.
|Kawhi Leonard, SF 23 MIN | 5-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | +5
An efficient game. Rudy Gay is a rough matchup for anyone. He combines so much length with a smooth shooting stroke it’s almost impossible to bother his shot. Yet Kawhi managed to get into his space in the second half and disrupt his rhythm. Offensively his shot looked excellent–great balance, even off the dribble, and a consistent release point and follow through.
|Tony Parker, PG 35 MIN | 6-11 FG | 5-6 FT | 1 REB | 11 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 17 PTS | +11
Tony Parker did some damage in the previous games against Memphis and tonight they perhaps overreacted with their rotations. More important than the impressive stat line he put up, Parker repeatedly collapsed the Grizzlies defense and created driving and passing lanes for his teammates.
|Danny Green, SG 20 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +7
On many occasions Danny Green’s stat line is a good barometer for the Spurs offense. When the ball is flying around crisply, Green is getting easy looks. And when Green is making said looks the Spurs have no weak link on offense and it stretches defenses out past their breaking point.
|Matt Bonner, PF 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +2
Thanks to the development of Tiago Splitter, Bonner is no longer needed for extend Zach Randolph duty.
|Stephen Jackson, SF 24 MIN | 3-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | +15
The days of Stephen Jackson blowing past a defender are over, but he does a great job creating space with his body and high release. Jackson was big in the second quarter, somehow getting into the middle of the Grizzlies defense repeatedly for four of his five assists.
|DeJuan Blair, C 3 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0
Active in limited minutes.
|Boris Diaw, C 29 MIN | 7-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | +14
The Spurs offense started showing signs of life in the previous game against the Timberwolves, and it broke out in full force tonight with one of Diaw’s more impressive games. Diaw was constantly moving into open spaces and found the perfect balance between taking shots (10 attempts!) and finding better shots for teammates.
|Nando de Colo, PG 5 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | +1
That sure was a nice layup from Nando De Colo in garbage time.
|Patty Mills, PG 13 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +10
The Spurs aren’t asking for much from Patty Mills right now, but he does manage to keep the tempo and pester defensively.
|Cory Joseph, PG 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0
I’ll have to make a trip to Austin someday to get an evaluation of Joseph.
Found bench combinations that worked and whatever adjustments the Spurs made at halftime helped hold the Grizzlies to 28 second-half points.
Five Things We Saw
- Tim Duncan is sarcastically proud of his ability to block shots without leaving his feet, and he’s built an impressive streak doing so. It was a streak that almost ended late in the second quarter when Duncan left his feet for the block, but didn’t actually make the play until his toes touched the ground. With five blocks tonight, it’s time for Duncan to start getting some Defensive Player of the Year love.
- The Manu Ginobili steal: one of Ginobili’s most impressive early signature plays was pulling an opponent’s pass out of thin air just fractions of a second after it left their fingertips. With his length, few people can bother Rudy Gay’s passes, yet Kawhi Leonard managed to steal a pass from Gay just by sticking his hand in the air at full extension. It was impressive until he botched the proceeding fast break.
- After the game, Stephen Jackson spoke of the chemistry he developed with Boris Diaw on the Charlotte Bobcats. It was on full display tonight, with Jackson finding his once-again teammate on several plays.
- Between Duncan’s resurgence, Splitter’s development, and the size added on the wing with Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Jackson, the dynamics of the matchup have shifted some since 2011. That is, of course, when the Spurs aren’t turning the ball over at insane rates.
- I wanted to highlight once more the job the Spurs bigs–especially Tiago Splitter–did changing ends. They beat the Grizzlies front line up and down the court for easy buckets and to establish prime real estate.