El Conclusión: San Antonio Spurs 104, Charlotte Bobcats 100
|Boris Diaw, PF 33 MIN | 5-9 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | -5
Boris looked good after missing the Brooklyn Nets game with food poisoning. He shot the ball well, and his 33 minutes helped a lot with Tiago Splitter missing this game due to a calf contusion. Al Jefferson was a little much for Diaw to handle, but that was probably to be expected. Maybe one of these days everyone will be healthy. *Crosses fingers*
|Tim Duncan, PF 32 MIN | 6-13 FG | 4-6 FT | 13 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 5 TO | 16 PTS | -3
He just continued to grind away. He’s been so spectacular lately that these kinds of games don’t register much in the ‘sexy’ category. He wasn’t great offensively, but he continues to hit that mid-range jumper that was such a problem in November and December. Duncan is up to 42.9 percent from that distance since Jan. 1 (per media.nba.com/stats), which is a tenth of a percentage point better than he was last season, when Tony Parker called him ‘automatic.’
|Tony Parker, PG 26 MIN | 3-13 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | -14
This dude is hurting. He left the Washington game on Wednesday due to tightness in his lower back, sat out the Brooklyn game and played only 26 minutes in this one. He’s just a step slow with every move he makes, and it looks like he’s really struggling to get to his spots and go-to moves. I’m not sure any grade here would be fair.
|Cory Joseph, PG 33 MIN | 3-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +8
Cory’s gotten a lot of run with all these injuries, and he’s been really solid. He plays good defense, typically against bigger shooting guards, he rebounds well and he hits enough jumpers and attacks the rim decently enough to remain a big enough threat to force defenses to account for him. He’s filling in the gaps nicely, but he still has a few too many defensive brainfarts.
|Danny Green, SG 21 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | -8
Didn’t have much of an impact against the Bobcats. The Spurs’ offense was bogged down while he was on the floor, and despite playing decent defensively, he wasn’t able to help out much with Gerald Henderson (23 points). But I always value defense, and he’s always solid in that capacity.
|Matt Bonner, PF 19 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +7
Got knocked around a bit again, but Bonner’s presence really helped open up the offense. He missed the only shot he took, but the numbers don’t always reflect his impact (unless you’re looking at plus-minus stuff). The Spurs scored 140.7 points per 100 possessions in the 19 minutes Bonner was on the floor because of the spacing he provided against a stingy Bobcats defense, but he struggled defensively. Good thing San Antonio was scoring so much when he was on-court.
|Jeff Ayres, C 22 MIN | 3-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +14
Ayres had a very well-rounded offensive game against the Bobcats. He struggled defensively, but he did a little bit of everything when the Spurs had the ball. That give-and-go with Nando was especially nice.
|Patty Mills, PG 25 MIN | 10-13 FG | 8-9 FT | 7 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 32 PTS | +15
Holy hell. Patty just went bonkers on his way to a season-high 32 points, and he did so on just 13 shots. Mills took the backup point guard spot out of training camp and hasn’t come close to giving it back; in fact, he’s only gotten better as the season has gone on. Over the last 11 games, Patty’s averaging 14.5 points on 51 percent shooting, and he’s hitting 2.7 threes per game at nearly 48 percent.
|Shannon Brown, PG 0 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -1
Only garbage-time minutes for Brown in this one, even without Marco, Manu, Kawhi.
|Nando de Colo, PG 28 MIN | 5-11 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | +7
Nando is showing how valuable consistent playing time is to a young NBA player. He had another good game and is showing off his decent skill-set as he becomes more comfortable. He’s been aggressive and confident, and his impact on a thinned-out backcourt has been important.
|Aron Baynes, PF DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS |
He had the biggest bench reactions to everything Patty did in this one. Proud of his fellow countryman.
|Tiago Splitter, C DNP RIGHT CALF MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS |
Gregg Popovich did not have glowing words for his starting center prior to tip. The coach was reportedly unhappy that Splitter was not available to play, and he had some criticism for him. “Robert Parish would have played hurt, right? I think Larry Bird played hurt,” Pop said in regard to Tiago sitting this one out with a sore calf. You don’t hear this stuff very often from the Spurs’ coach, so it’s a little eye-opening. And these were just his on-the-record quotes…
|Marco Belinelli, SG DNP BACK SPASMS MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS |
Deserves a break. He’s been one of the more consistent players (especially in his availability) throughout the rash of injuries.
Popovich’s pre-game comments about Tiago were pretty telling of his current feelings toward his big man. I’m not implying he’s unhappy with Splitter beyond just this evening, but he did not mince words about the subject. We’ll see how Tiago responds on the court. Other than that, he did a great job of mixing and matching once again, and the decision to let Patty just play it out and leave Parker on the bench was probably the difference-maker.
Two Things We Saw
- I’m starting to wonder if the Spurs should shut Parker down through the All-Star break. He’s clearly in pain, and 10 days off could be REALLY nice. His injuries are affecting his play, and with the way his backups are rolling along right now, maybe it would be a good thing. Besides, it would give him an excuse to vacation during All-Star and let Goran Dragic have his spot. But I do think Tony enjoys the festivities, and furthermore, he takes great pride in his role as this team’s leader. But Pop might have to convince him to take a breather.
- We’ve talked about this at times this season, but if the Spurs could somehow manage to trade some point-guard depth for a little more wing depth, that might be a huge help in the long run. This has been an issue, though, because guys like CoJo and Nando just weren’t getting any playing time with a healthy Parker and a resurgent Mills. I’m not suggesting anything here, but this is at the very least a good learning experience for these guys, if not a showcase prior to the Feb. 20 trade deadline.