El Conclusión: San Antonio Spurs 106, Utah Jazz 102

by

San Antonio Spurs 106 Final
Recap | Box Score
102 Utah Jazz
Tim Duncan, C 38 MIN | 7-14 FG | 6-6 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 20 PTS | +8

The Jazz out rebounded the Spurs by 8 and out scored them in the paint by 26. With numbers like that, you’d expect that Tim Duncan played poorly. But considering the state of the Spurs’ front court rotation, Tim Duncan played well. He contested shots at the rim and played smart defense against one of the league’e better scoring tandems of offensive bigs.

Richard Jefferson, SF 21 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | -3

RJ’s performance raises a philosophical question: are we grading players based on their overall game or on their impact on the game? If the former, RJ gets a D. But he knocked down two big shots in the fourth quarter and claimed a timely steal on Devin Harris. RJ gets an A for impact. He played well when it mattered.

DeJuan Blair, F 27 MIN | 7-11 FG | 1-5 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 15 PTS | -9

Offensively, Blair knows his way around the basket. But tonight he didn’t do much other than score.

Tony Parker, PG 38 MIN | 7-16 FG | 9-10 FT | 6 REB | 11 AST | 23 PTS | +4

At this point I want the UFC to sponsor a point guard grudge match between Jeremy Lin and Tony Parker. My money is on Parker. Tony Parker is awesome. That’s my profound thought for the night. Tony Parker is awesome. Rah!

Daniel Green, G 16 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -14

Danny Green only played 16 minutes. Not his night. Green is in an interesting spot. Even thought he is now starting, his overall play in recent games is slipping.

Matt Bonner, PF 31 MIN | 6-8 FG | 3-3 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 20 PTS | +13

When Matt Bonner is making shots, the Spurs’ offense hums. Tonight he made his shots.

Gary Neal, PG 29 MIN | 4-13 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 14 PTS | +12

4-13. Too many forced shots.

James Anderson, SG 8 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | 0

With Danny Green struggling, Popovich inserted James Anderson into the game with hopes of generating some offense. It worked.

Kawhi Leonard, SF 29 MIN | 1-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | +5

With Splitter out, the Spurs will need their wings to help them board. I’m not sure if Leonard is answering that call or just being himself. It doesn’t matter. He helped the Spurs where they needed help.

Cory Joseph, G 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 0 PTS | +4

Cory Joseph is living proof that assists follow those who throw the ball to Matt Bonner. Otherwise, Joseph was dreadful. Danny Green ran reserve point in the second half.

Three Things We Saw

  1. This winning streak began with the moral victory in Dallas. I’m not sure what that means, but it means something. That was a watershed game for the Spurs.
  2. It looks like the Spurs are filling out their big rotation by playing Tim Duncan more minutes. It’s the smartest play available to Gregg Popovich, and also the riskiest.
  3. This team might not be so bad if they had Manu Ginobili, T.J. Ford, and Tiago Spliiter. For now, they’ll just have get by, I suppose.
  • junierizzle

    If Manu can get healthy come playoff time…………….I’ll stop there.

  • DorieStreet

    @ S@junierizzle:disqus 
    TIJL;  didn’t write down that internet link to watch the games, and did not find it when I reviewed several of the last 48MOH blogs. Please send it again–although I may not use it since you go me thinking I am the good louck charm—Spurs undefeated since I saw the Mavs game Jan. 29th.

    Welcome aboard, Eric Dawson–come on  in and make a contribution to this squad!!!

  • Justin-ray

    If im not mistaken, there were a couple of people in here that said the spurs may not win a single game on this road trip…. idiots

  • MSteele_in_Eire

    I think after all these weeks, I’m finally beginning to understand what you were talking about Bonner’s D. Bonner is a very solid team defender. He does seem to be in the right position a lot of the time. One on one he’s gonna struggle but he battles and that’s all we can really ask of him.
    Kawhi Leonard is so disruptive defensively. Off the top of my head, I remember 3 occasions were he forced live ball turnovers. He has the perfect size, strength, foot & hand speed, temperment (?)….. etc to be a really good wing defender in this league.
    I think Blair played slightly better than advertised today. I remember him stepping in and taking a charge on Jefferson, which is definitely a step forward from the last couple of years. He was good finishing around the basket but I actually think he could have had a few more points, I remember 2 very short range shots he missed but his rebounding has gotta improve, I think he’s taken a step back in each of the last 2 years. I don’t know what has happened but he’s gotta start focussing in on that area of his game again.
    I think your very harsh on Joseph and have been since this started. We draft very well and usually the rookies we play are able to contribute straight away (think Parker, Blair, Leonard, Anderson, Neal…. etc, they have all been pretty NBA ready) but Joseph is basically a project. He’s a 3rd string point guard and should be judged as such. He seems to have good foot speed and appears to be a defensive minded player but he’s still learning to play the game so chill out with all the negativity surrounding him.
    P.S Tony Parker is at least a top 5 MVP candidate right now, maybe top 3, I only see LBJ & Durant playing better than him right now.

  • MSteele_in_Eire

    Yeah, Tim Varner, I think he also said that we didn’t have ‘that’ good of a squad but we’ll forgive him, because we’re winning.

  • junierizzle

    I’ve been saying that all along about Bonner’s D. He works hard. Bodies up one-on-one and plays good team D. I don’t know what else he can do. Guys are going to score no matter how good the D is. I don’t know why people are so hard on The Red Rocket. Besides when has someone truly been stopped. Oh yeah, Rudy Gay had one point in that one game. Lol.

  • Rubadub

    WOW – Corey Joseph was dreadful!!!!  thats harsh.  The guy is a rookie played 4mins. On the basis that Spurs had the ball 50% of that time ie 2mins.  He probably had the ball 50% of that time as the point guard.  And got 3 assts.

    Oh you say thats only because Matt Bonner was making shots — well isnt that smart he got him the ball???

    Over time he may prove to not be very good but fair go!!!  to call him dreadful in that time is classless.

  • NYC

    Elementary, dear Tim Varner. To answer your philosophical question: just average the two!

    And about point 1, I said it then and I’m happy to see it is bearing out now: that was the right choice letting the bench squad play it out to the end. It has become a defining moment of the season, hasn’t it?

  • NYC

     Also, about point 2: I agree. Extremely, extremely risky. Duncan goes from 20 minutes a night to 41 min one game followed by 38 the next?! This can’t possibly end well. I advocated for Duncan getting closer to 30 min a game than 20 min, but this is too much! Parker plays nearly 40 min every night.  I can’t see the team continuing to rely so heavily on these two stars without something giving. This is insanity! (And I don’t mean Linsanity). I hope this is temporary just to get us to the all star break.

  • theghostofjh

    A C+ for Blair? Sorry, but Blair deserved at least a B- for his 15 points (7-11 FG), 4 rebounds, and 2 assists in 27 minutes. Sure he had a few turnovers, but he also had a steal and two taken charges causing the opponent to turn it over. It would be nice if we could try and keep the favoritism to a minimum on the grading (e.g., as long as Bonner, an experienced 9 year vet, makes a high percentage of his mostly wide-open threes he gets an A-  —  really? One rebound, one assist in 31 minutes is just fine from a 6’9″ PF who’s been in this system for 5+ years?). Blair should get a B-, Bonner a B+. That is more accurate.

  • ziijordan

     You guys should just subscribe to NBA League Pass.

    $120 to watch every team play for a whole season is not that expensive.

  • ziijordan

    I thought RJ was HUGE hitting that clutch 3. We shouldn’t be too hard on RJ, as he is playing within his defined role in the system. I like his game, and wish he gets back his shot.

    I understand that people say he is under-utilized, and that his strengths are not being utilized, but don’t forget that when he got here, his 3 point shooting was near awful.

  • ABC

    GOOD WIN…….!!! TONY PARKER DESERVE THE……”MVP”…..THIS YEAR…..!!! THATS WHY THE MEDIA THEY DONT WANNA TALK ABOUT THE SPURS STREAKING…BECAUSE THEY DONT LIKE TO GIVE THE MVP AWARD TO THE PERSON THAT CAN DESERVE IT……..HOW CAN LBJ DESERVE IT DWADE,CBOSH WAS THERE………WTH……BONNER,NEAL NOT EVEN ON THE 3pts contest…..they more desrve it than the person they select it……..NBA,MEDIA WAS SO UNFAIR OF WHAT THEIR DOING……..WTH..!!!

  • STIJL

    Time and time again somebody steps up and helps ignite another victory.  Didn’t expect this victory.  Hurray!!!!

      It would seem the score card is just an ongoing daily grade more so than a test grade.  You know…Not going to get you much except a pat on the back or a jab in the side.  True test will come during playoffs.  Which… if Duncan HAS to play this many minutes before playoffs…how do Spurs keep up or stay contentious if Duncan can’t perform at his best if exhausted by playoffs?

    Who will it be next?  Sans Ginobili and still winning?  Stirring the pot.

  • STIJL

     Tried to send again.  Was removed.  Sorry.

  • Titletown99030507d

    I think there were a couple posters here that were in anguish about Pop not letting the starters finish in that Dallas game and that moral victories were nonsense. Seems like that moral victory had an effect on them wouldn’t we say? The young ones are growing up before our eyes and that’s a good thing. Let’s get healthy and gelled by the playoffs because we are not flying under the radar anymore. Everyone will start coming at us. I’m sure every coach in the league and fans for that matter are saying “here they go again they’re like cockroaches”! New roaches same effect.

  • Titletown99030507d

    At some point very soon Pop will sit Timmy, then Bonner, Blair, and Dawson will be thrown to the fire. Not a good thing to see but it’ll be good for them in regards to building character. Win or lose those three need to get the most out of it and if they do it will be a bonus when Splitter and Manu get back. Pop is squeezing as much as he can out of Timmy right now because he does care about standings seems like. But like I said he’ll get some rest soon he just can’t keep going like this. 

  • Titletown99030507d

    Who care’s about the grades at least you know he played better than he has in recent past. He has to or he won’t be in the league too long. Better effort from DJB. He’s taking in account the offensive play with the defensive play overall. I think both Bonner and Blair did a good job last night it just took Blair some minutes to get in sync. Do you blame him he’s only been playing limited “it matters minutes” as of recently but know it matters so good that he’s doing something. That’s probably the best we can see Blair do and that’s not bad.

  • Titletown99030507d

    My feeling is if Pop can keep this team at the top 3 positions in the west within the last 10 games of the season he’ll sit Timmy a lot and let the other 4 bigs go at it. There will be time for him to rest I just don’t want him to get hurt right now while he’s playing huge minutes.

  • njspurs

    spot on with most all of your points.. tony parker is awesome, dejuan and kawhi played better then their grades (in my opinion), and corey joseph should be held to a lower standard. in other news tony parker is awesome. 

  • njspurs

    hahahah read this one next.. good work done here with this post

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  • DorieStreet

    Get enough basketball (except for Spurs) on TNT/ESPN,  in addition to college hoops (conference tournament time drawing near).

  • theghostofjh

    Most of Blair’s grades have been “C’s” in the recent past. So if he played better, why doesn’t his grade reflect it? And my point was, if you’re going to issue grades (and brief comments) at all, they should be balanced in a way that truly reflects that particular player’s performance and overall contribution to the team in that game. The Blair/Bonner grades above do not do that.

  • Bentley

    Yeah, nobody around here forgot what happened in last years playoffs…so winning lots of games doesn’t really matter to me anymore. Its more about the quality of play (especially on the defensive end) and having all our guys healthy come playoff time.

  • grego

    If it makes you feel better, he should have been getting D’s for his earlier performances. So his grades have improved like his last game. He’s turning it over way more than he should so that should hurt his grade. He turns it over on a per minute ratio is at 0.070. Not good considering his 21.6 mpg average.
    For comparison sake, TP is at 0.074, TD at 0.063, Manu at 0.066 (in limited minutes). Ford (PG new to the team with limited minutes) and Splitter (leader of second unit) leads the team at 0.116 and 0.083 respectively. Green and Neal, the pseudo PGs are at 0.054 and 0.048 . He negates a lot of the good things he does in this realm that hurts the offense a lot.There’s a reason why Blair was a -9 in the game and is -30 for the season. Additionally, some extra statistical information per Zach Lowe’s good article on SI.com. http://nba-point-forward.si.com/2012/02/20/monday-musings-believing-in-the-spurs/ “Let’s start here: The Spurs actually rank as the third-stingiest team in terms of points per possessions allowed on post-up shots, per Synergy. They ranked 24th last season. Bonner, the alleged weakling, has held power forwards to 8-of-34 shooting (23.5 percent) from the post. Blair checks in at 18-of-39, a so-so number (46.2 percent), not a terrible one. But watch the tape, and you see how much help the Spurs must send these guys against good scoring power forwards such as Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Dirk Nowitzki, Luis Scola and Kevin Love. Neither Blair nor Bonner is long or particularly athletic, and Blair, in particular, is prone to reaching or gambling himself into bad positions.”Both guys get help defense from the wings and other bigs, but The difference is pretty staggering. So yes, maybe Blair does deserve a B for this game, but overall, he’s still got a long way to go. One game isn’t enough. Portland should be a good test because they are athletically big. Utah matches up well with Blair since they are a lot slower and don’t play much D aside from fouling a lot. 

  • theghostofjh

    Meant to make this post in reply to Grego – see below.

  • theghostofjh

     Again, you focus on the negative, and downplay the positive (What’s Blair doing on the court 21 mpg this season if he should have been averaging a “D”? Why not give Leonard, Bonner, and Splitter even more minutes? Why haven’t they traded for a better performer?) It’s not just you, this is a common feature on this blog — rag on Blair incessantly — and it’s pathetic. I’m not going to even bother wasting my time in rebutting your comment in some detail. I’ve learned long ago that one can’t force people to see what they can’t and/or don’t want to see.

    By the way, I don’t buy those synergy stats on Bonner’s post defense (I’d need to know what they were for all of last year, and “what players” they were against this year & last year – Blair goes most often against 1st string bigs, Bonner against mostly 2nd string). Bottom line: I’d take Blair over Bonner in the post defensively against a first string big.

    And my main point in my comment was that Blair deserved a B- in last nights game, which you reluctantly conceded within a fairly extensive and generally negative narrative. 

  • grego

    I was defending the grades he received, so I’d have to focus on the negatives, right? If I focus on the positives, then I can’t defend the low grades he’s had. 

    So stats now lie?  Especially from Synergy which is a paid service? 

    Bonner plays the closing minutes with Duncan a lot of times, which are the key guys. Or are the Spurs blowing out everyone and Bonner is just feasting on garbage guys? 
    He played better than his previous games. It was a good start, but it’s consistency that is key. If he plays horrid then he deserves the bad grades again. 

  • theghostofjh

    If you remember, my initial comment was about Blair’s “grade” in THE JAZZ GAME LAST NIGHT. You brought up previous grades, and then launched into cherry-picked negative stats on Blair that covers the entire season ytd.

    I also didn’t say the “stats lied”. I raised questions about their validity in comparing Bonner & Blair’s defense (e.g., small sample size). I also didn’t say that Bonner only played against back-up forwards. My point was that Blair plays a higher percentage of his minutes against starters compared to Bonner, and that that fact she be accounted for when comparing the two. 

  • Wynham

    kawhi leonard has potential to score more i think