El Conclusion: San Antonio Spurs 87, Utah Jazz 81

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San Antonio Spurs 87 Final

Recap | Box Score

81 Utah Jazz
Tim Duncan, C 28 MIN | 4-10 FG | 3-3 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | -13The Jazz shot 36.4 percent overall from the field, and while Al Jefferson finally got going a little bit, Duncan was able to anchor a more than solid effort on the defensive end for the Spurs.
Kawhi Leonard, SF 20 MIN | 1-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | -6A rough shooting night for the young rookie.
Boris Diaw, PF 21 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 PTS | -12I’ll give some credit to guarding some of Millsap’s initial efforts. Had a rough stretch in the fourth quarter where he clearly was overpassing and the Utah Jazz finally keyed in on it.
Tony Parker, PG 27 MIN | 4-14 FG | 2-5 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 11 PTS | -13Finally had a rough game in the series and was out played by Devin Harris for what feels like the first time since 2006.
Daniel Green, G 25 MIN | 1-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 5 PTS | +16Helped on the boards, played his usual steady defense.
Stephen Jackson, SG 26 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | +12That last three-point failure aside, hit timely three-point shots to give the Spurs breathing room and made a difference on the glass.
Matt Bonner, PF 20 MIN | 1-4 FG | 2-3 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 5 PTS | +20Was more problem than solution on the glass, but played good defense on his match up’s initial offerings. Spread the floor and was part of the Spurs key second unit runs.
Manu Ginobili, SG 27 MIN | 6-11 FG | 2-4 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 17 PTS | -2Finally got his shot untracked and had his best game of a series in which he struggled to turn the corner on dribble penetration and hit shots.
Gary Neal, PG 18 MIN | 4-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | +13Was a steady presence. Gary Neal isn’y a dynamic ball handler, but he drives the lane effectively nonetheless, doing so at his own controlled pace.
Tiago Splitter, C 20 MIN | 3-9 FG | 4-5 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | +21Had a few shots absolutely destroyed by Favors, which momentarily created some hesitation from Splitter. But the big man ran the floor, got to the free throw line, and freed up shooters with his screens and dives. Got his hands on three steals, though regrettably fewer boards.
DeJuan Blair, F 7 MIN | 2-2 FG | 2-4 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -2Provided some nice energy in limited minutes.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Though Utah made one final glorious push, this was truly the first legitimate 8th seed==in terms of talent gap between them and the top see–we have seen in the Western Conference in some time.
  2. The second unit was huge all series and with Duncan and Parker struggling all night offensively the bench came up big again. The Bonner-Splitter-Jackson-Ginobili-Neal lineup might be as good as any non-Chris Paul pick and roll lineup in the NBA.
  3. The offense was in shambles at times, which actually allowed the basketball world to take a look at the Spurs improved defense. As is the case with their offense, present a weakness for the Spurs defense to exploit (in this case the lack of three-point shooting) and it can absolutely smother you.
  4. At several times throughout the game (and series) the Jazz were able to force a switch in the post with a guard or wing defending one of the Jazz big men. Many of those times the Jazz failed to make an entry pass, a testament to the Spurs added size on the wings, improved defensive rotations, and the deficiencies of the Jazz guards.
  5. I couldn’t tell you which team I fear more, but I can tell you I am hoping the Clippers advance just to witness another Tony Parker-Chris Paul gem.
  • Jimbo

    The ball movement immediately before Manu’s second 3 pointer from the left corner made me shed a few tears in appreciating its beauty.

  • Nima K.

    Is it me, or do I see KL fading in the playoffs?

  • Junierizzle

    Slow your roll, Nim k. KL is one of the reasons they won Game two.

    Great win. I ain’t gonna lie, I didn’t think the Spurs would sweep. I figured Jazz would win at least one. I also didn’t think the Spurs would turn up the D like that. Yes, it’s the Jazz, but the D last year would have let them win a game and maybe even tie the series.

    I like our chances against Clips or Grizz. Both play one-on-one basketball, no kind of system.

  • NYC

    Pfff. Screw Chris Paul. I want a Grizzlies rematch. Come on, Memphis. Make my year.

  • Bob

    @NYC. These aren’t the same Grizzlies.

  • Stijl

    Spurs “secret” weapon this playoff year…Their Defense?

    Known in the past for a smothering defense yet this year a well oiled machine on offense propels them into the playoffs. Apparently they did not forget how to play defense as some may have thought the case.

    Kind of reminds me of the movie “Quigly Down Under” when at the end evil villain (played by Allan Rickman) strips Quigley (played by Tom Sellek) of his weapon of choice being a rifle and forces him to a gunfight using pistols. Sellek promptly out duels 3 people with the colt pistol and tells evil villain as he is dying…”I said I never had much use for one. Never said I didn’t know how to use it.”

  • http://www.awakeat2oclock.com John Dini

    We obviously had issues with three bigs in the Utah lineup. Fortunately, we were playing two teams, the Favors-Millsap-Jefferson team and the one they threw out there when rest was needed by those three. It’s tough to get up for someone you’ve beaten handily three times, and when you know you have four shots at a win. The Spurs did what great teams are supposed to do- play well enough on nights when you aren’t really hot. Now let’s hope that they don’t get too much rest.

  • Titletown99030507d

    I think Splitter probably should be upgrade with +. When he’s on the court his presence for what ever reason it is probably for the reasons you mentioned the lead is stretched while on the court or the lead disappears when he goes off the court as you saw last night late in the game.They were way up when he left and then for some reason when Timmy and Diaw came back in the lead slowly went.

  • DorieStreet

    The Jazz team went all out to avoid the sweep (they will improve significantly next season), so it was a good closeout win. Ten players put in 18 minutes or more, but no one logged more than 28 minutes. Hopefully the coaching staff can come up with a technique and/or motivation to get Diaw to (1)look for his offense, (2)then SHOOT the ball.

  • agutierrez

    At the risk of sounding nitpicking: the only downer was Tony reverting to “bad Tony” in that whenever Devin Harris made a bucket or did something useful (his block of Tony’s layup), Tony would decide that HE had to show who was better rather than simply making sure WE scored, resulting in some shitty shot selection and basic one-on-one play with bad results. Pop should have pulled him much earlier but I assume he didn’t want to blunt his competitiveness, which is fine … up to a point. Hope that doesn’t happen if we play CP3.

  • Stijl

    @DorieStreet

    A read that might explain Diaw not taking shots. http://www.poundingtherock.com/2012/4/21/2964319/boris

    Perhaps the “secret” is that if Diaw would shoot more…teams would defend him differently thus causing less opportunity for him to find and make a great pass to a better scorer/shooter than himself?

    But I do understand the frustration when sometimes it appears he has a better opportunity to score than pass.

  • SAJKinBigD

    @Stijl: +1 for Quigley reference. I think you may be spot-on with your analogy!
    Love this team. Grit AND Beauty all rolled into one arrsome team!
    Go SPURS GO!!!

  • jwill1919

    While I love Gary Neal’s scoring ability, he is horrendous as a backup PG. His inability to bring the ball up court will be the single biggest scouting report blip for the rest of the playoffs. Every other team will hound him creating turnovers and poor offensive sets. He better figure out a better way to get the ball into the frontcourt or Pop will be forced to go to Patty Mills.

    Other than that, everything else looks fine, a few practices until the next series and all the guys will be ready. I’d rather face the Grizzlies honestly…..

    Have you ever seen a team flop more and get more fake calls than the Clippers?? makes me sick!

  • Graham

    @jwill Yeah I’ve noticed this too, but predominately he’s out with Manu who seems to get a lot of the ballhandling responsibilities in those times. As mediocre as he is on the ballhandling end, he’s still MUCH more useful and better all around than Mills is at this point. He still hits his clutch 3′s (haven’t needed them in a while) and his signature pull up run ending 3.

    Anyways, bring on the Grizz! I want retribution! Though if the odds win out Clippers would certinly be fun.

  • Alixander

    Great win by the good guys last night! What you saw at the end was a desperate Jazz team with a ton of pride, who did not want to go quietly. The Spurs will take that last 6 minutes of Game 4 as a Pop teaching moment, which is just as good to drive his points home as loss (without the yucky after taste). Tony is allowed a brain fart after an entire season of brilliance, don’t you agree? After all, Manu (who is my favorite Spur although Kawhi is climbing up the ranks) was off the entire series from a scoring standpoint but ended that drought last night with some timely 3s. The great thing about the 2012 Spurs is that they can have 1 or even 2 of the Big 3 not be perfect since they have the perfect bench. This is the best team that the Spurs have ever put out on the court, bar none. Can anyone else imagine a better place to be in June than on the Riverwalk, celebrating NBA Title #5? Keep your eyes on the prize, men in black and it will be so….Go Spurs Go.

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

    When they are hawking the ball like that it is up to teammates to move to the open spots to give him a pass. At one point Splitter was focusing on setting screens and didn’t realize that his man was off doubling the ball. Another couple of times the ballhandlers tried to play Carroll like they do a normal defended, which is a mistake. Just drive, even if he’s hedging you to your off hand, just drive. Inevitably he’ll have to let you get by, or there will be contact and he’ll foul you. It is also absolutely exhausting for the defender, so the 2nd or 3rd time he tries it, it’s extremely unlikely he can continue with risking a cheap foul. As an example, Chris Paul and Jason Kidd did it all the time. The 2nd a defender got up in their personal space they would make a one-step lateral move and then put their head down and drive. Just about every time they would collide, and the offensive player would get the call. That stretch reminded me of when Beno Udrih was having the same trouble in the playoffs. He had the same problem of thinking it’s about cross-overs and ball-handling rather than basic counter-aggression and drawing an easy foul. That’s why you often see a guy guard the ball closely coming up the court for only one or two possessions; because after that they are usually exhausted and/or in foul trouble.

  • AsGoodAs

    Have you ever seen a team flop more and get more fake calls than the Clippers?? makes me sick!

    THIS

  • Titletown99030507d

    @Graham

    Like Mills doesn’t have a clutch 3 in him? He’s a better ball handler as well. It’s not like Neal’s that much better of a defensive player than Mills either. I like what Mills brings. He doesn’t hesitate to take his shot either. I like them both just saying.

  • http://48minutesofhell spurzztop

    does it really matter who we play next round, personally id like a little payback vs memphis, but wouldnt mind taking out espns darlings blake/paul/clippers
    but again does it really matter???
    spurs will beat the crap out of either team.

  • http://48minutesofhell spurzztop

    thats right
    BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF EITHER TEAM !!!

  • http://48minutesofhell spurzztop

    thats right
    BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF EITHER TEAM !!! WHOA !!!

  • Grayson

    I know some people talk about depth not being that important since most teams only play 7-9 deep while in the playoffs. The thing I like about having such depth, is that Tony or Manu or…. can have an off night, and chances are, one or 2 other guys will be able to pick up the slack. One night, Kawhi might have the hot hand, the next night it might be Manu, and then Danny. If Gary has a bad night, so what? Or maybe we Kawhi just happens to match up better defensively one night/series, but the next series Danny plays that roll. Each team is going to field 12 chess pieces. It’s just that Pop is playing with only 2 pawns while the opposing team is playing with 6 pawns. And you know Pop will win that battle. (The more I think about it, I like the chess analogy. We should assign pieces to each player on the Spurs and their opponents each round.)

  • LukeDawg

    Hey Guys i’m from out of town, any word circulating in San Antonio when game 1 of round 2 will be if the clippers win tonight? I’m from Oklahoma and i know that it came out if the Lakers would have won last night, the thunder Lakers series would have started Saturday. I guess i’m just wondering if it was the same for the spurs?

  • Daniel T

    The earliest the next round can start is Saturday. The AT&T Center already has AHL playoff games with the Rampage scheduled for Thursday and Friday. Must be tough to do back to backs in ice hockey. The Staples Center has to help figure out a schedule for possibly two NBA playoff series as well as the NHL Kings next round of the playoffs.

  • Titletown99030507d

    @Grayson

    Pop = Chess player – using the system for the ultimate checkmate

    Duncan = King – bearer of all fundamental knowledge of the game

    Parker = Queen – (no disrespect)- able to direct all the King’s men

    Ginobili = Bishop – creating and controlling long, open diagonal passes to his forces

    Leonard = Rook – to deter the advancement of the enemy by moving left to right or forwards and backwards

    Splitter,Blair, Diaw, and Bonner = Knights – setting the screen and defending the castle

    Jackson, Green, and Neal = The other Bishops – catapulting long range artillery

    Anderson, Mills, Joseph, and Byers = Pawns – giving up their freedom for the betterment of the kingdom

  • Stijl

    LOL (in a good way) at “Title”. Good stuff off the cuff. That’s really funny.