El Conclusion: San Antonio Spurs 105, Phoenix Suns 91

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Phoenix Suns 91 Final

Recap | Box Score

105 San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan, C 24 MIN | 9-14 FG | 1-1 FT | 11 REB | 1 AST | 19 PTS | +31In consecutive games Tim Duncan has made easy work of two quality centers in Marcin Gortat and Marc Gasol. Duncan had a ridiculous first quarter and continues to get stronger as the season goes along.
Kawhi Leonard, SF 24 MIN | 5-6 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 14 PTS | +24Hit open three-pointers, crashed the boards, made defensive plays, and pushed the ball in the open court–finding Tony Parker with a nice pass. This is the quintessential perfect game from Kawhi Leonard this season.
DeJuan Blair, F 22 MIN | 5-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | +25Very active and treated Channing Frye as the absolute mismatch that it was. I enjoy the body control Blair exhibits in the air, to go up as powerful as he does, take contact, and finish softly. Very unteachable skill.
Tony Parker, PG 21 MIN | 6-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 14 PTS | +27Tony Parker was aggressive in spurts as needed. He’s carried the team so much this season, and if the result is that Tim Duncan has been able to stay as fresh as he has, then Parker has earned a well deserved rest.
Daniel Green, G 12 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 3 PTS | +23Coach Gregg Popovich gave Danny Green some much-needed rest, not playing him in the second half. This Spurs team is so deep that they manage to find rest for the guys that give other guys rest.
Stephen Jackson, SG 24 MIN | 2-7 FG | 4-6 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | -10After the game Stephen Jackson admitted that this is still somewhat of an extended training camp for him. He did not play much early on and he’s still getting his legs under him as evident by the “and one” opportunities he missed at the rim. Played solid defense, and when his shot wasn’t falling, got to the free throw line.
Matt Bonner, PF 12 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -1“It was the best dunk of the year. You have Blake Griffin, then Blake Griffin, and then Matt Bonner.” — Tim Duncan, on Matt Bonner’s dunk.

“I was torn between the windmill and the 360, and as a result I went with a one-hand power dunk.” Matt Bonner, on Matt Bonner’s dunk.

Boris Diaw, PF 17 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 5 PTS | -11Hit a three pointer and took two more shots. Boris Diaw’s passing is a nice addition, but he has to fully utilize it, he has to at least present himself as a scoring threat.
Manu Ginobili, SG 21 MIN | 2-6 FG | 3-3 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 7 PTS | +1After a rough game against the Lakers, Manu Ginobili is back to making layups over length. Wisely dialed back the El Contusion act.
Gary Neal, PG 19 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 7 PTS | -16A generically average Gary Neal game.
Tiago Splitter, C 15 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -9Seven rebounds in 15 minutes. Got some time with Boris Diaw, was unprepared for a pass or two from him. But I absolutely love the potential for a Splitter-Diaw-Ginobili lineup.
James Anderson, SG 13 MIN | 0-3 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 3 PTS | 0There was no way that James Anderson was going to dunk that ball, but I appreciate the effort to make it look like he was.
Patrick Mills, PG 16 MIN | 2-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 8 PTS | -14The game got a little sloppy with Mills at the helm, but circumstance probably dictated that as much as the player. It appears at least once an appearance MIlls gets Pop out of his seat with a hustle play at the defensive end.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Tim Duncan is faster than centers again. The lost weight might have affected his ability to hold position in the low block (he only had one real post up against Gortat, a turnaround jumper he nailed), but his faceup game the past two games has been superb. Drawing double teams again.
  2. Kawhi Leonard is far from a lockdown defensive player so far. But he is a defensive player that makes a lot of plays. A disruptive force on the perimeter.
  3. The Spurs tallied a season-high 24 turnovers, many of them unforced. Long outlet passes to no one in particular, over passing in the interior, or just flat out losing the ball off the bounce. Forgivable given the game.
  4. Matt Bonner is a legitimate rotation player. The Phoenix Suns start Channing Frye. Just saying.
  5. Oh hey, another Division title.
  • kris

    Sorry but Manu doesn’t deserve a B. Didn’t do good on defense and really seemed to sleep walk through the game. It’s not his first. Even the other night when he had the really good game he seemed to sleep walk through most of the game until he got angry at Bonner and then he seemed to wake up and start playing well. I guess it doesn’t matter as long as other guys step up.

  • Hobson13

    Didn’t get to see the first half, but saw the second. I believe this is actually the first time I have been able to see Diaw and Jackson play and I must say that Diaw, with all his shortcomings, is a very intriguing piece on the offensive end. Even though he passes well, I don’t know why he doesn’t pull the trigger quicker on the jump shot since he has 3pt range.

    Glad we were able to rest the big 3 with such a tough schedule coming up. Spurs should cruise on Monday vs Golden State and probably win on Wednesday vs Sacto, but that Lakers game will be huge.

  • http://www.48mintuesofhell.com Bry

    I predict that Pop sits guys against the Lakers; probably all three of them. If he does so he removes the back-to-back effect completely. He can probably bank on wins against GS and SAC, and then sacrifice the game against LA. He’ll reveal little to nothing of how he plans to play LA in the playoffs. His big 3 will stay rested with limited minutes and – like Utah – it will give the bench important playing time and put all the pressure on LA. I do expect the players to at least travel with the team this time. Also, I am not sure why everyone is freaking out about LA in the playoffs. It is a bit strange to ASSUME the Spurs will ever even play LA, especially when NONE of the seedings are set this late in the season. The teams I’d like to avoid, in order, are LA, Dallas (just because it’s Dallas) and Memphis. Of course the Spurs in all likelihood will only end playing ONE of those squads, and I would favor them against all three of those teams (yeah, I said it). LA is worse than last season. Nevermind the blowout against the Spurs, Sessions is no All-Star, World Peace has faded badly, and even Bryant and Gasol are down. They lost Odom, and their bench is one of the single worst second units of any playoff team. There’s a reason they got destroyed in the playoffs; and they have no addressed those shortcomings. In fact, all three of those teams have lost one or more key players, and are worse than last year. I’m optimistic.

  • agutierrez

    Good recap. I hope you are right about Stephen Jackson. At least on the offensive end of the floor, he sure as hell hasn’t shown much so far. If he says it’s that he’s still “getting his legs under him,” I’ll take him at his word. At his best he brings both attitude and skills. Right now, it seems to be mostly the former, but if he can get the latter going as well, he’ll be most helpful come playoff time. I fear that the years have taken their inevitable toll, but will continue to keep hope alive.

  • NYC

    I still can’t believe my eyes, but did you see Matt Bonner dunk the hell out of that ball???
    I could have sworn that was a guard making that play.

  • spurzztop

    yeah the dunk by the red rocket rocked