El Conclusión: San Antonio Spurs 121, Denver Nuggets 117

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Denver Nuggets 117 Final
Recap | Box Score
121 San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan, C 20 MIN | 4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 10 PTS | +3

Some interesting minutes for Duncan. Didn’t rebound well but passed well and ended up with five assists.

Richard Jefferson, SF 33 MIN | 7-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 19 PTS | -9

Made some plays, made some shots, making a habit of playing well.

DeJuan Blair, F 30 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | +1

Struggled on defense to contain Danilo Gallinari when the Nuggets went small. Worked hard on the boards.

Tony Parker, PG 32 MIN | 8-16 FG | 3-5 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 19 PTS | -5

Has done well setting the table for other since Manu went down. Not creating the same openings, but he’s racking up assists.

Gary Neal, PG 21 MIN | 5-11 FG | 0-1 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | -5

Didn’t shoot great, but Neal hustled, helped on the boards and worked on defense,

T.J. Ford, PG 21 MIN | 2-5 FG | 4-5 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 8 PTS | +9

Turning into a great free agent pickup for the Spurs. It’s nice to have someone to find others for open shots on the second unit.

Matt Bonner, PF 7 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | +9

Very quiet night. The shots just weren’t available for him tonight.

Daniel Green, G 33 MIN | 9-13 FG | 3-3 FT | 7 REB | 2 AST | 24 PTS | +2

Continues to play great. I’m going to start having to grade him tougher if he keeps this up.

Tiago Splitter, C 19 MIN | 4-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | +10

Logged some good minutes for the Spurs tonight, especially as Pop was trying to keep Duncan’s minutes low for tomorrow night.

James Anderson, SG 4 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | +3

Again James didn’t play much, but again he produced with what little time he has. He’ll get another shot soon enough, the Spurs are just going with the hot hand at present.

Kawhi Leonard, SF 20 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | +2

Looked better tonight than he has the last few games. He has a knack for making plays at opportune times.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Danny Green is playing well, and that’s great, but I’ll be interested to see how he reacts when he has some bad stretches.
  2. Pop didn’t play Duncan at all in the second quarter and little in the fourth, even though it ended up a tight game. With Thunder on the end of a back-to-back-to-back tomorrow night, it appeared Pop was trying to escape with this one while keeping Duncan available for tomorrow.
  3. The Spurs went down the stretch with a funky small ball lineup of Parker, Ford, RJ, Green and Blair. It did alright.
  4. Richard Jefferson had a big play late in the game where he chased down Ty Lawson on a fast break and blocked his shot (though it was probably a foul) and hit a three on the other end. Big swing.
  5. Kawhi Leonard was back to making cuts off the ball and reaching his enormous hands in dribbling lanes on help defense. He looked tentative the last two games.
  • grego

    People often forget Green since he was on a star studded team, but he was a big part of UNC’s National Championship. I’ve been saying it was a solid pick up since last year. He finally has been given the time and now is making the best of his opportunity. 

  • http://radsci.uthscsa.edu/index.php/User:Nima Nima K.

    24pt career high! Wow! I certainly hope he keeps it up!

  • Hobson13

    Green and Ford are turning out to be real nice pickups.  Even though getting high draft picks would be better for the Spurs long-term future, maybe the Spurs can weather Manu’s injury with such ridiculous depth.  It seems like the Spurs are almost 11 deep even without Manu. 

    Bonner and Anderson had subpar games, but Green, Blair, and Splitter had good games.  When one young player is struggling, another is having a good night.  I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but this MIGHT be the deepest Spurs team I’ve seen thus far.   

    I wasn’t able to watch the game, but was Green just hitting open shots or was he actually creating for himself?  He has played REALLY well (against a VERY young, athletic Nuggs team) for a kid that we basically picked up off the trash heap. 

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

    Green did both. He knocked down open shots and was able to create a few buckets off the dribble. Really an impressive performance.

  • grego

    Green had solid drives to the basket. He’s not going to take it off the dribble like Manu, but if he gets a good screen and has the first step he can get to the basket. He has a pretty good dribble game. If he keeps on hitting his shot, he has the quickness to pull the fake and drive to the basket. 

    You forgot RJ, who had another solid game as well. 

  • Hobson13

    You’re right, RJ had another good game too, but he did the same last year only to fade late in the season.  We’ll see how he does this year, though.

  • Anonymous

    You get the feeling that he’s looked at James Anderson and at the Spurs’ well publicized dissatisfaction with RJ and started to feel confident as hell, saying to himself I am better than this Anderson guy… I can steal myself a home on this team. If Gary Neal and DeJuan Blair can do it, so can I.

  • STIJL

    Feel sorry for Blair.  As much as he hustles and produces in points and boards…he cannot defend.

    A mantra I’ve been saying since last year….When Blair on the floor, the other team score. And for Tiago (though not as much as before)  When Splitter in the paint, scoring be faint.

    Thankful T.J. is on the team…as stated…nice to have someone who finds others.  Something George Hill didn’t do even if they were wide open for an easier shot.

    Perimeter players are developing nice.  Both in production and chemistry.  Danny Green is a steal. (How do the Spurs do it?)  Now if only the Spurs could find a diamond in the rough to play in the post.

    By far (out of all NBA games I’ve watched this year) the most entertaining.  Dam*, Denver is freakishly fast.  Even with the Spurs dropping back they managed to blow down the court.

  • Kingofamericans

    Danny Green is the future of this team; he’s so awesome.

  • Kingofamericans

    Daniel*

  • STIJL

    Elliott even commented how “Ginobili-esque” Green had been playing.  I made a comment when Manu got hurt that unless somebody on the team became “Ginobili-esque” until his return the Spurs were doomed.

    Enter…Danny Green.  Hope he keeps this up.  The team including Ginobili has 6 starting caliber players on the perimeter.  Parker, Ford, Ginobili, Neal, R.J. and Green.   Great problem to have.

  • grego

    You had to see the game, but his plays were much better than they were last year. The team is also running him more screens to get shots as well. 

    He’s different than he was last year. You can see it when you see him play. Stats don’t tell you everything. 

  • grego

    Well, he knows Pop likes defense. He’s an above average defender, so it only took some time, but he got noticed. That offense doesn’t hurt either. 

  • STIJL

    + 7 boards, 2 assists and 2 blocked shots.

  • grego

    Danny is OK. you are more likely to hear “Danny” than Daniel. 

  • Anonymous

    Crucial part of the game was RJ’s block and getting back and nailing that 3. That pretty much took some air out of the Nuggets at the 2 minute mark.

  • Lvmainman

    Kawhi Leonard reminds me of a Stacey Augmon type player, long arms and big hands grabbing rebounds in a crowd, getting steals and making flip layups around the basket. I hope he keeps working on his ball handling and his outside shot.

    Green is a surprise. I hope he can keep it up on the road.

    Will Jefferson make 3 ptrs in the playoffs? He’s been on fire.

  • Anonymous

    As for TJ he has turned it around for me. Like the post game show mentioned he and Splitter are starting to connect.That’s more Splitter’s game to get open going to the rim after a screen and TJ is picking up on it. I like that. Blair had a good game with a double double.
    If the 2nd team continues to improve this will benefit the first team in regards to having fresh legs for the playoffs. It’s far off but any added minutes in rest the first team piles up will be beneficial. Starting to lean towards gunning for playoff success and abandoning a high draft pick. Who know’s? Seems like the whole team is contributing and the success of some of the young ones is rubbing off on the others. This is a crazy season.

  • Anonymous

    Opportunity makes such a huge impact on a guy’s career, just ask Mario Chalmers. Lamarcus Aldridge was looking like nothing more than an inferior Chris Bosh until Roy and Oden’s repeated injuries motivated him to develop his now elite low post play to go with his deadly face up game. Marcin Gortat. Chuck Hayes. Had TJ not battled injuries he might have become a franchise PG long ago. Clearly Green is earning his opportunity, but just think if MG had stayed healthy, and Anderson had played better… Green’s future in the NBA would look alot more dire. Meanwhile, the MIP award is two-horse race between Spencer Hawes and Marcus Thornton; Hawes is finally capitalizing on his opportunity while he still has a starting job, and Thornton impressed the right people last year and is now capitalizing on his starting role.

    System has ALOT to with opportunity, as we saw with Channing Frye’s rise in PHX. Anywhere else in the NBA, Blair would either be not playing, or accepted as an overachieving dirtywork center off the bench (his natural role)… but a two-season starting PF by his 3rd year? That’s not development he would of gotten most anywhere else… we’ll see where it goes. Ftm, RJ’s 3rd year in SA may be just the opportunity that proves to extend his career by many years as an efficient shooter. Go figure. 

    2 seasons ago, Spurs fans were clamoring to trade for the widely-shopped Brandon Haywood, while Mahinmi wasted away on our bench. Ian is now outplaying Haywood in DAL… anybody surprised by this? Anybody not surprised by this?
     
    It certainly begs the question: what will become of Anthony Randolf? Could he and Jason Thompson be a respectable frontcourt duo on an elite team? 

  • JT

    Why probably a foul? looked like a pretty clean block to me.

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

    From my angle I thought it was a clear foul. Really surprised by the no call.

  • Bob

    This year’s team is showing alot more fight than last year’s team that got punked by the Grizzlies. I think with this tenacity they would have got past the Grizzlies even with the frontcourt disadvantage.

  • TD BestEVER

    I agree 100% and even Brandon Wright…….I don’t think Dallas will resign him and if they do we should match it and surpass it…….. We will need a young athletic Big after TD is gone and we have no one on our radar as of now…..So why not go for these guys…… Also Beasley from Minn. might be on the block….we should look in to him as well

  • Justin-ray

    Sometimes PLAYERS just appear out of nowhere……..

  • Bry

    Like we said all along, this compressed season will force Pop to really use his bench. Even before Manu went down, the young guys were going to get heavy minutes this year. So, tanking is pointless. These guys are gonna develop fast this year. Isn’t it weird that somehow Anderson is now getting LESS minutes than he did before Ginobili went out with injury?

  • Anonymous

    Either Beasley or Wes Johnson will probably be swapped for a shooting guard. One of them will share SF duties with Williams at SF in MIN for a long time. Bease might be less of a gamble than some guys, but we all know that size wins in the playoffs, and though small ball is now de rigueur practice, I see him more of an SF. I do like POR’s 3 forward (2-way) rotation of Aldridge, Wallace & Batum to go with centers Camby and Kurt Thomas (and technically Greg Oden) on the roster, we’ll see what they accomplish together.

    With the next generation of NBA stars in great shape to take over, I don’t see much the Spurs can realistically do to win another around TD and MG. The Spurs need to gamble on upside more than they ever have before. It’s much, much (so much) easier to assemble a playoff team than a truly contending team. I’d rather draft a guy like Arnett Moultrie… unfortunately Moultrie’s stock is suddenly rising higher than even Paul George did a few years back. My longterm choice had been Moultire to pair with Steven Adams… but both late bloomers are suddenly out of the Spurs’ drafting range… they’d have to trade for picks.

  • Anonymous

    Starting to lean towards winning, eh? The thing is, virtually every team, not just SA, is at injury risk. See: GSW; See also: MEM. In regards not just to lottey, but also playoff seeding, virtually every team is getting blown out due to tight schedule and fatigue. Wonder how a tired OKC team (3rd game in 3 nights) does against a Spurs team (b2b)… ugly ball, anyone?

  • grego

    Neal came back right as Manu went out. I don’t agree completely, but Neal has made shots so it helps his case even though his D has been nonexistant because he’s out of shape. 

  • grego

    OKC lost Maynor last night to an injury. 

  • Anonymous

    Bonner shot lights out the game before but that does that mean he’s playing better or be Winter shoes 2.0?

  • Anonymous

    Like I said in an another post this is a weird season and can’t be judged as seasons of past when all teams were reasonably healthy and predictable. Don’t know if after game 66 everything settles out and the big boys come to play. We’ll see if we can deal with the prototypical playoff team if there’s one?

  • Anonymous

    Not worried about Memphis this year it’s Minnesota that I dread playing in the playoffs straight away.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah but we definitely could be doing better than Blair. As much run he gets he won’t ever be an all-star or carry a team. We have 2 two of those already in Bonner and Splitter. Take your pick one of them has to go eventually.

  • Anonymous

    I’ll wait till the end of the season for the score card or report card. It means nothing to me now.