El Conclusión: San Antonio Spurs 107, Oklahoma City Thunder 96
|Tim Duncan, C 30 MIN | 5-16 FG | 3-3 FT | 15 REB | 3 AST | 13 PTS | +24
Duncan never found his offense, but I love the pride he’s shown this season, especially in this game. After having a handful of shots blocked or altered by the Thunder’s interior defense in the first half, Duncan went hard at the hoop in the second half and was fouled on a couple strong plays at the rim. Defensively, he played well and controlled the glass the entire game. The old Tim Duncan has at least one thing in common with the young Tim Duncan. Neither player gets enough respect.
|Richard Jefferson, SF 33 MIN | 3-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | +15
Offensively, Jefferson quietly connected on three three point baskets. Defensively, he held his own against a team that typically gives the Spurs fits. Nothing spectacular, but a solid performance from RJ.
|DeJuan Blair, F 22 MIN | 1-3 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | +11
When DeJuan Blair was a rookie he had a monster game against the Thunder. That seems like such a long time ago. It was certainly before the emergence of Serge Ibaka and the arrival of Kendrick Perkins. Tonight, he stunk. Blair contributed almost nothing to the offense and was mistake prone and over-matched on defense.
|Tony Parker, PG 39 MIN | 16-29 FG | 10-12 FT | 3 REB | 9 AST | 42 PTS | +20
Let me add ++++++ to that A. This was Tony Parker playing like Tony Parker plays when Tony Parker is an All-Star. A special night for Parker, who coupled a huge scoring outburst with the historic accomplishment of becoming the Spurs’ all-time leader in assists. Lost in all that is Parker’s defense. He bothered Westbrook the entire game and came up with a pair of timely steals. Tonight Parker gave us the best individual performance by any Spur this season.
|Kawhi Leonard, SF 31 MIN | 5-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 5 AST | 15 PTS | +15
Leonard gave the Spurs a gigantic lift in the first half by knocking down a couple threes. But his fifteen points and six boards are not nearly as impressive as his five assists. Leonard is still rough around the edges, but his overall game could eventual challenge for an All Star appearance.
|Matt Bonner, PF 19 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | +3
Poor Matt Bonner. He was fouled (obviously fouled, I should add) on a non-call dunk attempt in the first half. Had Bonner connected on that wicked, New Hampshire-style two-handed tomahawk, I might have been tempted to give him an A. As it stands, Matt Bonner made a trio of threes. That’s enough for a B-.
|Daniel Green, G 26 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -3
Not one of Danny Green’s better performances. His game was undone tonight by a series of mental errors and questionable decisions. Despite all this, Pop stuck with him. This tells us more about Green’s place in the rotation than this game tells us about Green’s skill set.
|Gary Neal, PG 20 MIN | 1-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 3 PTS | -13
His shooting numbers say it all.
|Tiago Splitter, C 17 MIN | 1-5 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 5 PTS | -9
Splitter never got going on offense. But his defense, rebounding, and screen setting were once again superb.
Three Things We Saw
- The Spurs were getting buried in the first quarter before Popovich called an early, stop-the-bleeding timeout. He didn’t make any changes to his lineup, but the Spurs came out of the timeout to storm ahead on the scoreboard. From that run forward, the Spurs never relinquished the lead. It would be fun to study the tape to see what changes, if any, Popovich made during that timeout.
- How long before one of our readers makes the argument that the best part of Parker’s big game is that it increased his trade value? Not too long, methinks. But before we arrive at that sadly inevitable discussion, let’s say it’s great to see Parker claim the Spurs’ all-time assist record on a pass to Tim Duncan. Poetically appropriate.
- So the Spurs didn’t slump to .500 this past week. Mea culpa.