El Conclusion: San Antonio Spurs 114, Utah Jazz 83

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Utah Jazz 83 Final

Recap | Box Score

114 San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan, C 27 MIN | 5-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 13 REB | 1 AST | 12 PTS | +36The Utah Jazz are facing many different problems this series, chief among them is of course defending the pick and roll. But right behind that has been Duncan’s ability to defend Al Jefferson without the need of a double team. The Spurs have employed them more as a different look than an absolute necessity, and Jefferson isn’t a good enough defensive player to justify the offensive impact he hasn’t had so far.
Kawhi Leonard, SF 25 MIN | 6-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 17 PTS | +36Any worries about Kawhi Leonard and the playoff stage should have been answered by his Duncan-like demeanor. But if there remained any questions, they were all answered in the first quarter. It was a nightmare scenario for the Jazz as both Leonard and Green came alive offensively while playing their typically solid defense.
Boris Diaw, PF 28 MIN | 5-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 11 PTS | +41Netted an impossibly insane +41 on the night. Played solid defense, showed off an impressive baseline spin on the block, and played an all-around brilliant floor game.
Tony Parker, PG 28 MIN | 6-10 FG | 6-6 FT | 4 REB | 9 AST | 18 PTS | +34Any plans the Jazz had to come out aggressive on Parker were quickly squelched. Right now the only concern for Parker in this series has been playing enough minutes to maintain his conditioning.
Daniel Green, G 21 MIN | 5-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 13 PTS | +31Matched Utah’s starting backcourt combined with 13 points, a tribute to an equal parts brilliant offensive and defensive game for Green.
Stephen Jackson, SG 21 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 5 PTS | -2No ego in playing garbage time minutes. It’s fun watching Stephen Jackson off the bounce as each trip through the lane has the potential for a brilliant pass or horrible shot/turnover. Intangibles.
Matt Bonner, PF 9 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -5No points, no rebounds, no steal, no anything. And yet, I couldn’t take my eyes off Matt Bonner’s work fronting the post and defending Millsap. Took a hard spill in the first half, after the game said he’d be okay.
Manu Ginobili, SG 19 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 4 PTS | +2The only concern this series has been Ginobili’s inability to find any offensive rhythm. Still, the hustle and playmaking have been apparent, so it’s not too much of a concern at this point.
Gary Neal, PG 15 MIN | 5-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | -5Repeatedly broke down the Jazz secondary rotations.
DeJuan Blair, F 23 MIN | 5-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS | -5The Bonner-Blair pairing is unfair for both players when it comes to evaluation. But in place of Splitter, Blair worked hard and well as the second unit’s primary screen setter, helping keep the spacing and floor balance previously provided by Tiago Splitter via his ability to draw a defender into the paint off his dives to the basket.
James Anderson, SG 10 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -5Garbage time minutes, and a sure bet to take at least one pull-up fadeaway jumper a game.
Patrick Mills, PG 14 MIN | 4-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 9 PTS | -3My new favorite garbage time pastime is guessing the number of shots Patty Mills gets up. My guess was nine. I’m a little peeved at Utah for finally deciding to trap all screens in garbage time, ruining my prediction.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Remember when Devin Harris was tabbed as a quicker, better defensive version of Tony Parker? What happened? The only chance Utah has in this series is Harris somehow reclaiming some of that luster.
  2. Before the game reporters asked coach Corbin about using his big lineup more. The simple answer might be that their defensive deficiencies guarding the Spurs spaced pick and roll attack might be too much for the positives of such a lineup to overcome.
  3. If they can re-sign him the Spurs may have found a perfect complement to Duncan in Boris Diaw. His floor game, versatility, and basketball IQ takes the Spurs offense to another level, making them perhaps the best passing team in all the NBA. And he’s worked as a surprisingly solid defensive player.
  4. Before the game Popovich said that Tiago Splitter is available and his status is more of a pain tolerance thing. He compared his injury to a sprained thumb, noting it can be fine but one good hit can take it back to square one.
  5. Readers in San Antonio, any thoughts on a possible road watching party? Suggestions?
  • Junierizzle

    Great win. Gotta win game three and end this thing.

    As far as Manu is concerned, I think he is perhaps trying too hard on offense. He wants to make up for last season. Hell be fine.

  • kris

    Manu deserves an F. He was killing us being out there turning the ball over time and time again. Of course he couldn’t score one bit. Fortunately we had other guys were able to step up tonight. The thing I’m concerned about is he’s been pretty bad in both games 1 and game 2. We might be able to get by without him playing well for the first round but we’re going to need him to show up in the later rounds. Even though our other guys can step up and score we’re still going to need him to start playing well.

  • junierizzle

    @kris
    I wouldn’t say Manu is killing us. They won by over 30 points.

  • Tom

    Manu was iffy tonight, but in sync with several brilliant passes in game 1. I got the feeling that the team as a whole tried to be too “cute” at times tonight. Too many “extra passes”, and almost a lackadaisical “this is too easy” flair. Hard to blame them on some level. Manu’s shot’s been off, but I really see that as more coincidental than anything else. He did seem to have quite a few minutes without Parker this game.

  • taylorjarred

    My suggestion for a road watching party would be Bonds 007 located on Soledad, downtown. I watch every Spurs game I can here mostly because everyone else is at the Ticket and/or Fatso’s, so it is nice to be with a select few and their beer prices are off the charts! $4 32oz Rolling Rock to go along with $5 32oz Shiner, Shock Top, Budweiser, Alien brown ale and $8 dead guy ale(which is delicious). not to mention free popcorn! Sound good?

  • NYC

    Boris Diaw: Great game tonight, but seriously, would it kill him to shoot the ball? I appreciate his unselfishness and excellent passing skills, but someone should tell him he doesn’t always have to pass the ball. It’s OK to take the open shot, Boris. In fact, he needs to take the open shot if he expects defenders to not sag off him and double up whomever he ends up passing to. He made a few passes too many tonight when he could have just made a simple lay up. I’ve never wanted a player to shoot the ball so much in my life as I wanted him to_just_shoot_the_friggin’_thing. Otherwise fine performance.

    Stephen Jackson: Action Jackson on the other hand could stand to take a few less shots. Someone should tell him that just because the ball ends up in his hands at some point doesn’t mean he HAS to shoot it. Geez, you would think these two could get together and work it out.

    Kawhi Leonard: is everything we thought Richard Jefferson would be. I love this kid.

    Manu Ginobili: I’m worried about Manu, you guys. He was turning the ball over a lot tonight and making some awful passes. He seemed to be forcing the issue and perhaps is frustrated? I hope he gets back to form in time for the second round. We need him.

    Final thought: I don’t have the stats on hand but it seemed like we were still getting ostensibly beat on the boards. Somehow we still slaughtered Utah, so that’s cool, but I worry what will happen if the trend continues while facing a better, more dangerous team, such as Memphis or LAL. Utah is clearly outclassed, but the Lakers have the fire power to make us pay for not taking care of the boards. Thoughts?

  • Mori1040

    Anyone notice that Kawhi changed up his braids again, back to straight rows? Definitely works better for him (lol) as this is how he had his hair for all those jaw dropping dunks (Ibaka & Sacramento reverse dunk).

  • deeds130

    was visiting the Hill Country and got to see the game live…

    early on, green and leonard seemed to be beating the Jazz by themselves.

    I wanted to see a better game out Manu, but I think he’ll come around. As long as he’s just getting the lead out, I gladly take his poor games early in the post-season and catch fire in the later rounds. I lost count of how many errant passes he threw tonight, and was also thinking that he’s starting to look like he feels old out there, but he’ll redeem himself.

    my dad said at one point, “If I was Utah, I wouldn’t bother guarding Diaw at all. That guy just wants to pass it every single time.” He later started taking and making some shots, but passed up so many more. Man, you gotta be ready to get the ball at any and all times on this team! I don’t think there’s any question that this is the best passing team in the league, unless you start deducting for over-passing, which they surely do (and not just Manu and Diaw), they all get a little over-zealous at times.

    Utah gave us this one, they weren’t hitting ANYTHING, and though they grabbed a respectable share of offensive rebounds and we rebounded much better this game, they just didn’t put up much of a fight to get those balls. I don’t foresee any of the other teams we’ll meet missing the basket as terribly as UTA did tonight.

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Jesse Blanchard

    The Jazz out rebounded the Spurs pretty badly when they went to the Bonner-Blair combination. As a tandem, that’s just something that’s going to happen. Other than that the Spurs did a fantastic job on the boards.

  • RGVSpurs82

    I love the fact that the Spurs have been playing so well that we’re all finding things to complain about, knitpicking about Manu’s play (I think we all know, he’ll flip the switch when he needs to), Boris’ unselfishness (only 2 TO’s and most of his passes result in assists/hockey assists) and Jack’s inability to pass up a shot (a little overblown in my opinion). It’s the playoff’s, we won by 31 points and no one played over 28 minutes!!… albeit it is Round 1 against an inexperienced inferior opponent.
    We’re staying healthy, resting players and still playing at a high level. Though, I don’t think Game 3 is going to be anywhere near this easy – it may be the first true “playoff feel game” we’ll have played in the last month.
    @NYC we actually out rebounded Utah by 1 (44-43) and judging by my eyeball test (I’m not certain), I would say we were comfortably ahead in the stat prior to the 4th quarter.

  • Kev

    @NYC – Though Diaw could probably help himself by taking a couple extra shots you have to remember, the guy went 5-6 for 11/6/4 and posted an absurd +41. I believe that to be a significant increase from the last game, or even what he was doing in the regular season, pretty much just doubled his shot-attempts. 6-8 shots for Diaw is plenty, because it doesn’t take 12 shots to pull the defender on you. If you’re 5 for 6, the defender will collapse and that’s what helps with the 4 assists. Plus, he only played 28 minutes. Jackson’s role is to shoot the ball. He’s just like Neal. I would be lying to you if I said I never cringed when they pull up 3′s on fastbreaks. But, that’s what they are asked to do. Get into an offensive rhythm to help score points. I remember just last year (and the Spurs have always been notorious for this), where they would go stretches in a game without scoring a point Last year against Memphis, their 3-pt% plunged into the 20′s, from shooting 40+ in the regular season. That was unacceptable, and a contributing factor as to why we got stomped in 6. But I will agree with the observation of Manu’s lack of…patience? And I say patience because, just like that ill-timed dunk attempt in game 1, Manu just seems to be going too fast, or looking for things to develop too fast, almost like a rookie. These may be nerves? May be lack of playoff-level intensity for him the last couple years? Or, worse — He’s playing scared with not wanting to get injured. Whatever the case may be, I presume he’ll bounce back and slow down with adjustments he’ll most likely assess during film study. That 5-foot-over-the-head-of-Parker-across-court pass was atrocious. He won’t do that again.

  • Vermont Spurs Fan

    Another round of gloom and doom in the comments! Who are you people? I am worried about Manu…I am worried about Diaw…Well, let me say that I personally am worried that in this economy if any of lose our job we won’t be able to pay our rent/mortgages, but I am not worried about the Spurs!

    The Spurs just won by 30+ and instead of resting for the final 2 minutes the big three rested for the final quarter. Did you guys happen to watch the game? Manu was not needed on the offense. He still does those things (drives and assists) that no one else can do and his defense and rebounding are at the top of the league for a guard. He will win us games when we need him. Have no fear.

    Meanwhile, every other team in the West is struggling in some way. Close games won by lucky bounces (OKC), one player suspended and another about to be arrested (the Lakers). Injuries (Clippers), and that collapse in game 1 that lost them home court (Memphis).

    Save your worries and concerns for your friends and family, and make sure you have something lined up for mother’s day, which is a week from Sunday. As for the Spurs, just enjoy. You have the coach of the year steering this ship!

  • Ken Billings

    My only quibble with the Spurs right now is that at times we over-pass. (I know, I know, this seems to be a bit nit-picky, but hey, what else is there to complain about?) NYC mentioned the same thing above. I love Diaw’s passing, but sometimes he is basically alone under the basket and then he will shovel it to Timmy or someone else. Often it works, but sometimes no. Same thing on the perimeter. Pass pass open pass pass shot. I love it, but sometimes, dang it, just shoot the ball!

    (I just realized that this is like complaining that your spouse is too nice or generous. Or a husband complaining that his wife is, um, a bit too frisky.)

    If the Clips and Griz go to 6 or 7 games and we (cuz, you know, I play for them!) finish off the Jazz in 4 or 5, I am worried about rust. Manu seems rusty now, and perhaps that is why he was out there for a bit in the 4th quarter when we were up by 30+.

    How perfect is the playoff seeding, though? Clips and Griz will beat each other up before they get to us. The Lakers and Thunder presumably will do the same. I just wish that the Heat would face some better competition. I know, I know, I’m getting ahead of myself, but, dang, this Spurs team is fierce! Love em!

  • SpursFan20

    What is the severity of Thiago’s injury? I would much rather have him at 100% for the 2nd round than risk him by helping out in this series.

  • idahospur

    At this point, shouldn’t the Jazz call this a 5 game series? I think even if the Spurs sweep and Memphis-Clippers go 6-7 games we should be fine. Manu, Parker, and Duncan all sat out the last 2 regular season games and everyone was ready to go for the playoffs.

    Spurs, stay healthy, my friends.

  • DorieStreet

    @ NYC:
    http://www.nba.com/2012/news/features/fran_blinebury/05/02/parker-diaw-connection/index.html
    Diaw’s very subdued game drew (more)ire & venom towards the Hawks franchise for yet another in a long line of failed 1st-round picks. Yet when traded to the Suns for Joe Johnson, he sparked that first year in Phoenix, then plateaued. The same pattern repeated itself when Diaw was traded to the Bobcats.
    It may take Pop dressing him up and down, along with Tony force-feeding the ball on-court to have Boris fully engage and bring his A-game to the playoffs from this point forward. His value to the Spurs will really show when we go against the big front lines.
    Jackson is still trying to settle his offensive game in the framework of the Spurs’ second unit. But his real value will be curtailing the SFs/3s encountered in the next round.
    To me, it seemed like a pogo-stick contest at the Jazz rim— missed shots were hardly ever controlled on the first or second grab by a player for a secure rebound.

  • Bankshot21

    Our point differential during this 12 game winning streak is off the charts. Literally off the charts.

  • Daniel T

    When Blair and Bonner were in the game together, the Spurs started with an 11 point lead and ended with a 9 point lead. While the Jazz may have had 4 offensive rebounds, they only turned two into scores. The Spurs likely would have maintained the 11 point lead or expanded it except for turnovers and their one brief stretch of shooting only 3-10.

    A minute or so after Tim came back in for Blair, Utah had 3 offensive rebounds in a single possession and then a 4th OR a bit later on which they did not score but Green threw the outlet on his DR out of bounds. It seems at least an exaggeration to say that the Blair/Bonner combo was badly outrebounded and that the Spurs were otherwise fantastic on the boards. If Green’s pass hadn’t been overthrown, it was about to expose that Utah had everyone going to the offensive glass and they were vulnerable to a fastbreak when San Antonio got a defensive rebound. It was another 5 minutes before Utah had another OR and then about 7 minutes into the 3rd quarter before another one. It did not seem that Utah tried to gang up on offensive rebounds with as many players again after Green’s rebound and outlet pass. Burks had two of the OR just prior to that point, and none thereafter.

  • DorieStreet

    @ taylorjarred –will be in town during second round– sounds good to me.

    @ RGVSpurs82 and VermontSpurs Fan: the negativity is a hangover from last season’s unexpected and quick exodus is hanging over this first round—and will be there if the conference semifinals is a matchup vs. the Grizz. Let Memphis roar back and dispatch the Clippers in 6 or 5 games, and most of the ESPN basketball pundits (led by Jon Barry, of course) will pick the Grizzlies over the Spurs.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Blair was no match for Kanter on the boards and he easily scored over Dejaun as he helplessly looked on but on the bright side yes the bright side he’s flowing well on the offensive side setting screens and tearing to the basket. There’s nothing you could do about the size thing but as long as he’s active and helping his team mates on help defense and putting them in position to score is ok. We won big who care’s about the size thing. As I said before game 2 the Spurs need to run like hell and play good perimeter defense and wear the opponent out by switching out players often. The rest of the playoff teams in this league can’t do that and we can. We win because we have more striking power and endurance. That is our strength wearing out teams.

    And as for Captain Jack. We were all complaining about RJ not going to the rim or taking shots not near the arc when he was open. WHAT! We should be estatic the guy feeds on those opportunities. He’ll be fine.

    Oh and Manu. Please this dude is going to explode if not in this series it will be the next. Besides he knows Green/Leonard is taking it to the next level. No sense of urgency just yet for Manu. Although I think he’s making one last push for that MVP finals that got away in 05′. I know Manu it was yours but go get this one before Tony gets it again.

  • Stijl

    I guess chime in time has come.

    The game was one of the best orchestrated small ball games I’ve seen from the Spurs. Which was what I was thinking they would run against a dominant front court team like the Jazz. It paid off.

    As mentioned by DorieStreet…Diaw has always exhibited his best performances as a new comber. Fortunately for the Spurs his “new combing” to the team is at the time of playoffs. Keeping this pace can only help the team’s chances at getting number 5.

    Difference from this year to last when the Spurs had to insert the Blair/Bonner combo…the Spurs have more depth in their perimeter and are more advanced in their pick and role execution than last year. Otherwise…here’s to hoping Splitter can return sooner than later. Going against a Memphis, Denver or Laker team would be less fortunate without Splitter being able to play 100%.

    Finally…nice post “Title”. I’m all for keeping it positive with a dose of reality. And…I too mentioned the “run” scenario prior to this game to compensating for the lack of height in the post against the Jazz. Fortunately…it worked against the Jazz in this game.

    The drawing board is in overtime for the next game. Who makes the best adjustments will win…(again) :)

  • Tyler

    Just posted about it earlier before I saw #1, but seriously, what happened to Devin Harris? Has he just not worked on his game the last few offseasons? It’s striking the quickness he showed in Dallas compared to now. He’s not even one of the quicker PG’s in the league now, something I never would have thought 5 years ago.

    And Josh Howard? Wow…why not start Demarre Carrol? He’s more active, a better 3 point shooter? Given the play of Howard, you have nothing to lose.

  • Jimbo

    Howard and Harris = two players who did not age well.

  • Tom

    As for boards, Utah got a lot more offensive rebounds, but that’s not surprising. They had a LOT more opportunity. Overall, 44-43 in rebounds to San Antonio. It’s the league’s best (at least in the regular season) offensive rebounding team (Utah) against the best defensive rebounding team (SA). San Antonio’s average in rebounding overall, with a pretty low offensive rate. That was expected to be a significant advantage to Utah, but it’s really been a near push.

  • Tom

    Regarding Diaw, he’s always been best when playing as an undersized power forward (at least offensively), but teams always sour on him as his defensive liabilities flare. He’s been astoundingly successful as a defender so far this series/year, and even shown some real strength in the low post (Millsap isn’t trivial to body out of the way, and he’s done it at least twice). Mayhaps he’s gotten strong enough now to be sort of a very, very poor man’s Vlade Divac, a slick-passing cog in a high-octane offense who does enough defensively not to stand out in that area.

    All-in-all, it’s nice to watch a team where “passing too much” is a tentative “flaw”. They have fun in the game and on the bench (see “DNP – Old”), and seem to have great chemistry and rotating parts. Instead of fixating on players’ lacks, they put them in positions to accentuate their strengths. It may take an especially selfless personality to thrive in that scenario and accept 20 minutes a game, but it’s a joy to watch.