El Conclusión: San Antonio Spurs 104, New Orleans Hornets 102

by

San Antonio Spurs 104 Final
Recap | Box Score
102 New Orleans Hornets
Tim Duncan, C 34 MIN | 11-19 FG | 6-8 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 28 PTS | -2

A night of rest put some life, if not lift, into his legs and jump shot. Had more access to his previously great offensive repertoire tonight. Only defense and rebounding prevent the + and a truly vintage Duncan game.

Richard Jefferson, SF 37 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | -11

It was a good night for Richard Jefferson to find his shot again. Offensively, did everything the Spurs expect of him.

DeJuan Blair, F 22 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -15

Too undersized to guard even undersized power forwards.

Tony Parker, PG 38 MIN | 8-14 FG | 4-5 FT | 2 REB | 17 AST | 20 PTS | -3

Coach Popovich – “When he scores, I want him to assist, when he assists I want him to score.” Tonight he did both.

Kawhi Leonard, SF 7 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -7

Forgot the Spurs had a rookie named Kawhi Leonard until I saw him check in to guard the last play, and even then it was merely a passing observation.

Matt Bonner, PF 16 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 3 PTS | +13

An impressive quadruple-single (1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 three-pointer).

Daniel Green, G 24 MIN | 3-5 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 7 PTS | +14

Most promising for Danny Green going forward is he continues to find multiple ways to contribute outside of Spurs stereotypical spot up shooters.

Gary Neal, PG 21 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | -3

Started in the third quarter to help generate some offense, had the most Gary Neal like game since last season.

Tiago Splitter, C 23 MIN | 5-8 FG | 2-4 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | +8

With each game growing more confidence and making the case for more minutes. Good footwork, hitting that ugly hook shot more and more.

James Anderson, SG 10 MIN | 1-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | +13

Got a few minutes, wasn’t a train wreck.

Cory Joseph, G 6 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 2 PTS | +3

Did enough to warrant Danny Green operating as the backup point guard.

Five Things We Saw

  1. A game after Popovich had to sit a gassed Tiago Splitter in the fourth quarter during a crucial stretch against the Rockets, the Spurs coach switched up the rotation. Splitter sat the entirety of the third so that he and Duncan could finish the game together. I expect this to happen more and more as the season moves along.
  2. Another important development regarding Splitter is his ability to overwhelm smaller front courts. If he can punish teams for going small it can stop teams from dictating match-ups and carve out more playing time for him alongside Tim Duncan.
  3. Richard Jefferson did not hesitate tonight, nor was he chased of the three-point line as easy as he had the previous couple of games. Results were obviously much better.
  4. Tony Parker has posted All-Star numbers over the past five games (22 points, 9.6 assists) and in particular has been doing a much better job finding teammates as obvious by his 17 assists tonight. His ability to carry the offense in Manu’s absence is crucial as the Spurs defense continues to implode.
  5. The Spurs gave up the first 100-point game to the Hornets this season, allowing them to shoot 50 percent. Without Eric Gordon.
  • Bushka

    I’d be ALL over sanders.  I’d guess the bucks could get a better deal for him though.

  • Anonymous

    Wasn’t talking about his stats.  I was relating to his mistakes.  The one’s he constantly makes and doesn’t improve upon.  It’s why he doesn’t see the end of games though he may have “better per stats” than Splitter…Splitter makes fewer mistakes.

    Hey…I’m all for Blair seeing more minutes with the production per he can provide.  But his mistakes can cost the team as much as his positives.  As soon as he can control that part of his game…the team wouldn’t be as weak in the interior as it is now.

  • Bushka

    Nah i get the assist numbers.  I just think you undervalue what he brings.

    I think he is a good player at a reasonable price, and he still wont bring in a sure fire winner in a trade.

    I’m literally certain we don’t make a trade this year.  There seems no point or real upside to it.

  • Bentley

    TP is puttin the team on his back right now. Over the last 5 or 6 games he has averaged over 20 points and 9 assists, all-star caliber numbers. So he may not be the greatest defender, but without him this team is sitting at the bottom of the conference.

    What is alarming is how horrible the defense is, especially the perimeter D. Watching the game play out is different than reading a box score. And anybody who has been watching the last few games can see that our perimeter one on one defense is horrible. Our guys give the opposing shooters way too much airspace to get shots off. 

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    We don’t get real bigs for Matt Bonner.

    P.S I truly believe that Bonner has Photos of Pop in flagrante Delecto.  Nothing explains his minutes.

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    We played a lot better D last night in the 4th than the Box score gives credit for.

    Vasquez hit a nutso 3 as the shotclock ran down from several metres behind the line.
    Bellinelli hit another contested long 2 as the shot clock ran down.
    Okafor (with that deadly mid range jumper…) hit a J after we ran great D and blocked the shot attempt at the rim and the ball rolled straight to him.
    Jarret Jack hit with a hand squarely in his dial on pull ups..Long contested twos are the shots we want the other team to take.

    So yep the D wasn’t superb but Tim & Tiago challenged everything in that 4th quarter they just got all the rolls their way.

    (apart from Kaman throwing the ball into Bonner to claim the Big White Stiff Dodge ball victory of 2012).

  • Cheynneharty

    I like your post-game report cards, but I’m sort of missing last year’s 48. Some of those articles were so creative and well done (a piece on George Hill juxtaposed with a documentary on robotics comes to mind). While these report cards are nice, they seem better suited as a complement to a more thorough piece of journalism.

  • Deeds130

    I’m saying that Duncan + Splitter + Randolf is about as hopeful as we can get in the TD era. Your opinion against Randolf to SA only serves to underscore that SA REALLY (as in: REALLY, Really) should “start engineering a rebuild through the draft.” And ASAP. What basketball reason is there to keep TD on board any longer, if we can’t add a project with potential simultaneously?

  • Anonymous

    “Our guys give the opposing shooters way too much airspace to get shots off.”

    It’s what I’ve been noticing all year.  The question is “WHY” our perimeter players are playing off so much this year?  They don’t play as tight as they used to in the past.  Instead you see them hanging back towards the paint.  Now, on ball defenders are staying close to their man but…the results of playing too far off the non ball movement players is resulting in higher than usual in the past “open” looks.

    Perhaps it’s an implementation of new defense strategy that just hasn’t perfected yet because I can see the team has better perimeter defenders than it’s had in some time but…for some reason (as you mentioned)  too many opportunities are there for opposing teams to score.

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    Theres not much point trading now.

    Condensed season.  No time to learn the system.  Finding someone who doesn’t kill cap space for next season with a multi year contract thats too big (like okafor or haywood).

    Patience is the key here.
    Keep pants firmly fastened around waste.

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    1.  Lakers are not doing this.

    2.  Garret Temples a scrub compared to TP and can’t measure up.

    3.  Your not winning anything running Heinrich, Livingston, Sessions or Barea as your #1 Guard.

    4. Thank god Pop has input on personell. Then again he keeps playing Matt Bonner.

  • Deeds130

    In 48′s defense, this packed schedule may make these report cards more do-able game to game. But I agree the writing was terrific and is missed, a true article somewhat regularly would be much welcomed.

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    Tim will dictate his range.  I think the 4-5 Million mark if he decides he wants to bring in help.  

    All up to Tim.

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    I’ll grab Randolph for Bonner for sure.  I see it almost as a Billy Bean situation.

    The only way we stop Pop from OVER Playing Bonner is to make sure he isn’t on the team :)

    I see the front office targeting a young PF/C in the draft next year and moving up to get him.

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    Yep.

    I miss the volume of content.  I prefer it to the live post game stuff. 

    Appreciate that the sites being pushed in a newer direction, I just want more to sink my teeth into.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Who’s finishing?

  • TD BestEVER

    We have been saying that since last season.  The other team was just on fire.  etc etc.  You can’t keep fouling yourself, there is a reason why the other team shoots so well vs the SPURS.  We give up a ton of points in the paint and then they get there confidence up and then they are hard to stop

  • TD BestEVER

    Young players don’t have the disciplined to stay with in closing distance of their man.  Take Green, he is pretty good on ball defender, but ever time ANYONE post up, he naturally wants to help down and sag.   There is a time and place for the Double Team.  We are just using it way too often.  

  • TD BestEVER

    Again, where have you been?  Have you been in a cave sleeping the past 10 years?  The Lakers won with a washed up old Fisher and Steve Blake running the point.  Dallas with 36 year old Jason Kidd and JJ Barea, Memphis beat us with Conley and Vasquez. You don’t need a stud PG. Just a smart one.  We even won our 1st way back when with Avery Johnson

  • Thomasholdren

    Wait, so you are telling me that even though Blair has better stats, defensively, offensively, and TO wise, Splitter still plays better than him? 

    I guess I am confused, because what I saw the other night, was a chance for Tiago to put away the game and then got blocked… 

    But please, PROVIDE EXAMPLES of these MISTAKES instead of worthless generalities. 

    You’re argument; Blair is worse than Splitter because he makes mistakes. Your proof; not cited. 

  • Thomasholdren

    PLEASE PROVIDE AN EXAMPLE INSTEAD OF WORTHLESS GENERALITIES. 

    We just saw Tony F up against the Rockets, giving up buckets, turning the ball over, not making his shots which has typically been the case when he is/was the focal point of the team. 

    Tony has this weird habit to be able to finish extremely well throughout the course of a game, until the final minutes… See playoffs basically every year. Even when he had his best Playoffs 08-09 (scoring wise) he still failed in the fourth qtrs by HUUUGE Turnovers and defensive wet farts. These “series killers” were overlooked though because of the “IF YOU SCORE YOU ARE GOOD” theory. And you all have it. For years I was subjected  to the Matt Bonner justifications; “he is the best 3pt shooter in the league… He spreads the floor… (insert other hillbilly comment about matt bonner being anything but a liability here)”  

    Tony is a good compliment to a great big. Hes not a top PG. Hes not a build your franchise around him PG. He was the PERFECT PG for our system 5 years ago. Tony doesnt have the intangibles necessary to be the leader on our team, let alone a top PG. Keep in mind our SG is a better PG than our PG….. 

    Finally the only big play tony has made was when he was hitting Mrs. Barry and Eva at the same time. Kudos! 

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    Fisher was in the triangle.  He wasn’t a PG he was a spot up shooter.

    Barea wasn’t the lead guard for Dallas.  He was a spark plug.  Your confusing him with Jason Kidd.Memphis didn’t win the whole thing so that doesnt count.

    Avery is a good point though i’ll concede that one :)

    None of those guys you mentioned though are great.  You can carry mediocrity at the point if your loaded everywhere else.  We are not.

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    Theres been plenty of examples provided throughout threads in teh last few days for you.  You generally ignore them.

    I’d point you toward the absolute myth of crunch time legends.  He is named Kobe Bryant and statistically he sucks with the game on the line.Obviously he’d be no good for your new age Spurs.  

    I do remember Tony stepping up and getting MVP of the finals at some point. He also hit the game winner for us the first time New Orleans took us to 7 games, a big top of the left key jumper.  The series Peja Burned us at the start before Bowen kung fu’d him.

    He carried the scoring load with a couple of 55 point games when Timmy & Manu went down and ripped the league apart before running out of gas in the playoffs.

    Whatever.

    This BIG play malarky is anecdotal rubbish mate.  Don’t fall for that romantic nonsense.  The truth is always in the numbers.

    I don’t really think you know a lot about what it takes to put together a good team. You seem pretty ESPN centric.

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    Fred Silva had a great writeup over at PTR.  Not going to link it here because i’m not sure if thats cool.  He broke down the 4th quarter play by play and the D was very solid.  Those things really happened.

    Not saying we are rocking twin towers style but we are not as bad as everyones chanting.

  • Anonymous

    I already know how. Now you read this and understand! If you can?This could be Blair’s last season as a Spur because Splitter eventually is going make him sit longer than you want. Seems like Splitter is there now finishing games. Harsh reality for you and that holdren genius. Are you sure the two of you aren’t related?

  • Anonymous

    So then why are analysts that get paid for what they do insist Parker is putting up all-star numbers? You and TDBE should go over each other’s place and watch the games and bitch about 48′s report card. Get over Tiago dude already. He’s going to keep leaving Blair in the dust. Blair might have his moments here and there and it will only be when and if the match ups favors him. He has reached his ceiling. But Splitter is going to be playing better and better and still hasn’t reached his ceiling. If it pains you that much start following another blog or sport. Ok sport?

  • Anonymous

    Who’s finishing? Your a joke dude. 

  • GMT

     Yeah, that was hilarious. I think it was Ariza, or some other guard, trying to pass to Kaman. Lo-and-behold, Bonner intercepts the pass with his back.

  • GMT

     So why aren’t the Lakers doing any better?

  • GMT

     And why would they trade a good big if a near all-star level PG can be had any ol’ time? You do realize they are the Lakers? If they can’t make do, how could we possibly do better in signing such a good PG?

  • Deeds130

    Just to comment on TDbestever and nudityfango’s PG debate…

    The L’s were fine until last year… It was more to do with preference than the inability to “make do” in how they built their roster. They didn’t really need a PG, as much as they needed to be able to defend quick ones. They went with Fish and it worked, again winning the WCF 3 out of last 4.  KB is the lead guard, Fish and Blake are off-guards. They built a team to give KB the glory on offense, spending money on 3 bigs (one of whom was a point-forward for the 2nd unit), and spent on Ron-Ron to take KB’s burden on Defense. After getting torched by Barea and a deep, excellent team, they have started to reevaluate their style, and now they do need scoring help. But with Lamar gone, they have can easily spend exception money and get help with another guard. They’ll be fine, but it wasn’t due to PG shortage that they built the current roster, they just built around a bratty primadona and spent a ton of money elsewhere.

    Now, in SA we have 2 starting guards that are both well above average whether the lead guard or off the ball. Manu is pretty much superior at all aspects of the game, including awareness & passing ability. But he can’t handle a huge workload. TP is an asset for sure, but flawed, and hjs once sparkling FG% has dropped. He’d make a terrific combo guard as an exceptional 6th man for instant offense as we saw in ORL and versus POR. As a PG he’s really good in the PnR, and even last season Tiago always looked better when playing with TP, as Tiago was otherwise ignored. 

    That said, the bigman problem is the bigger problem, and it has to be solved (Gasol wont be a Spur though, too bad). Outside of reliable and virtually unstoppable easy baskets inside, a championship offense in the NBA needs distance shooting and clutch scoring. If TP provided those 2 things in spades, he’d probably be off the table… but he doesn’t really.

  • Tim in Surrey

    Doesn’t your last comment kind of contradict your handle? Just sayin’…

  • Tim in Surrey

    And let’s not even DARE to compare him to Lou Amundson.

  • Hicksy73

    Like a hook shot to win with 2.0 (ish) on the clock? Although that missing piece has a cast on his hand : )

  • Justin-ray

    I just laught and shake my head at fairweather fans.

  • Justin-ray

    Everyone is too f***in trade happy these days, like giddy school girls. Ooooo oooh i want him…. and him… and him!!!! Pathetic

  • TD BestEVER

    You don’t have to play Defense to be an ALL-Star.  Or even be a complete player.  You just really have to score.  And TP has been doing that + getting a ton of assist lately. But that doesn’t make up for years of under performing and his inability to make others better.  Just like when ever Bonner hits his 3′s doesn’t make up for his inefficiencies.    TP can be easily replaced in this team, and should be dealt.  He is not a top talent but still has a NAME that garnishes some ATTENTION that SA should use to their advantage.  

    As far as Blair/Splitter debate.  Splitter is outplaying him. PERIOD.  

    1st 7 games Blair was better
    Last 7 games it has been Splitter.  

    We will see what happens over the next Month or so including the Rodeo Road Trip.  

  • TD BestEVER

    If you know how to read then READ THIS…….. I don’t care if Blair gets traded……..I don’t care if Tiago gets traded…… I WANT TP and have for  5 years to be traded.  

    I’m a TD/Manu fan and want them to not end up like Steve Nash.  Fighting to keep The Spurs in the playoff hunt with no real chance to advance in the playoffs.

    So this Splitter is better fight that you are trying to pick is irrelevant. I can care less who wins between the 2 of them as long as TD/Manu win.   I’m not so hung up on players that I loose focus on the Prize.  and the prize is my name

    TD = BestEVER – Not best PF ever, but BEST EVER, i want him mentioned next to Jordan.    

    SO if TP/DJB/TS are in the way of that they NEED TO BE REMOVED!

    Got that – Good

  • TD BestEVER

    We would be alot more loaded with Okafur.  

    You are confusing the point.  Those teams didn’t win by scoring alot of points, they won with Defense and scoring in the Low to mid 90′s.   So even with TP gone, we can do that.  

  • Anonymous

    A sampling of per 36 for Blair and Splitter.

    Blair:     http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/b/blairde01.html
    Splitter: http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/s/splitti01.html

    Statistically they’re almost even. One having slightly better numbers than the other in different categories.

    What you’re asking me to provide “statistically” with regards to mistakes made on the floor is not something listed as a category.

    Gambles, Out of position, Playing within one’s self, Chemistry on the court are all intangibles that play just as much as a factor as stats.

    What I’m seeing (and you certainly don’t have to agree) is that Tiago makes less mistakes in those non-statistical categories than Blair.  Blair has had 3 (ample opportunity) years to improve yet demonstrates little to no improvement since starting.  Tiago is now in his second season (yet first to get any meaningful minutes) and has already demonstrated to make less mistakes in those categories as Blair makes now in his 3rd season.

    You want to talk about BA’s in giving an example…you do some work and look for the B/A category for Blair and Splitter.  Don’t know for sure but I would think there would be more b/a’s listed for Blair than Tiago.

    But let me clarify something.  I’m not on the side of Blair or Splitter.  I like both in what they provide for the Spurs.  Wish there was a way BOTH could play at the same time and be “statistical” giants for this team.  That would go a long way in helping Duncan to manage his minutes.  That said…Blair makes too many mental mistakes on the court that keeps him off the court…wish that aspect of his game would get better.

  • Manolo Pedralvez

    The scarcity of in-depth articles on the Spurs in this blog lets me pine for the times when “Big Brother” ESPN wasn’t as pervasive here as now. 48 Minutes of Hell? More like purgatory to me, and then some

  • Anonymous

    “There is a time and place for the Double Team.  We are just using it way too often.”

    Because it’s the players being young and inexperienced OR it’s what Pop’s instructing them to do?

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    To all those wondering about the lack of content lately, allow me a bit of an explanation. It’s not “big brother” ESPN telling us what to do or anything of the sort. That’s kind of the problem, actually. ESPN has no editorial direction over the site. While this is good, it also means they don’t pay us for anything. Which means we have other jobs. And right now, we’re all pretty busy at our day jobs, and with the hard and fast schedule the NBA is subjecting us to, we’re struggling to put out original content right now. Hopefully things are settling down for us and we’ll get back to doing the things that everyone comes here for, but please have a little patience. Things will go back to normal soon.

  • Anonymous

    Sander’s ceiling might be higher given he gets more experience.  White’s solid positional D in the post is what I like best about him.  He may not be the most prolific shot blocker…but he’s starting to play good positional defense in the post.  Combine that with his boarding and ability to hit the short turn around J…to me he’s more valuable in how the Spurs utilize their post players than just being a shot blocking presence.

    Either or… Either type of player would be an improvement.

  • TD BestEVER

    Unless POP is brain damaged or something it has to be the players just doing it.   
    POP NEVER Doubled back in the day.  Even when playing against Shaq, Dirk etc, he didn’t want others to go off…… So I doubt he has forgotten how to play Defense.

  • Justin-ray

    Trade trade trade trade trade trade……. TRADE TRADE TRADE TRADE TRADE TRADE TRADE TRADE TRADE TRADE TRADE TRADE TRADE

  • Justin-ray

    By the way, this whole “grading” crap is lame as hell. How about you actually write a complete piece about each game, the good and thr ugly aspects. How about some effort and originality. Otherwise just discontinue this site…. because its useless.
    There are far better sources for spurs updates and stories than here. Step your games up damn….

  • Justin-ray

    Yeah right like tony didnt deserve an A+ …. i guess he needed 30 assists and 35 points. Smh

  • Juanito

    I can pay you, señor. I have a small company (of 1) and am willing to pay top dollar to advertise my habañero peppers, mister McNeill. That way you can quit your day jaub and live lavishly. Tell me what you think of this.

    -Juanito

  • Anonymous

    Those must be expensive peppers!