El Conclusión: San Antonio Spurs 89, Memphis Grizzlies 84

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San Antonio Spurs 89 Final
Recap | Box Score
84 Memphis Grizzlies
Tim Duncan, C 32 MIN | 9-14 FG | 1-1 FT | 17 REB | 3 AST | 19 PTS | +6

The 17-rebound, five-block performance is just as encouraging as his outburst against Houston. The back-to-back blocks culminating in a jump ball after swatting Gasol were spectacular.

Richard Jefferson, SF 19 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | +4

I don’t have to criticize him for being invisible as a spot-up shooter in this system. But I don’t have to praise him either. Invisible.

DeJuan Blair, F 16 MIN | 2-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | +7

Need to rewatch the video to figure out the +7. Five rebounds in 16 minutes is okay.

Tony Parker, PG 37 MIN | 8-18 FG | 5-9 FT | 1 REB | 7 AST | 21 PTS | +4

I would like to take a moment to spotlight a fourth quarter play in which Parker fought over a Marc Gasol screen on OJ Mayo, rendering the pick useless and taking Marc Gasol out of the play. All too often we are content focusing on the scoring binges and improved passing to notice these little things.

Kawhi Leonard, SF 28 MIN | 1-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -4

Always impressed to see how Kawhi Leonard keeps contact with a player as he makes several cuts, and recovers off screens at just the right angles to avoid getting beaten on closeouts.

Matt Bonner, PF 29 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | -5

Played his role, dropped a Tony Parker teardrop. Did not have to deal with Zach Randolph or Darrell Arthur.

Daniel Green, G 30 MIN | 0-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 2 PTS | 0

Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News tweeted Danny Green might have had the best 0-7 shooting game of the season. I remain impressed by his ability to contribute outside of hitting shots. Two of those assists were huge, and a thing of beauty.

Gary Neal, PG 22 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 8 PTS | +2

Hit his three-pointers. Still struggles heavily as a backup point guard. It’s hard to evaluate Neal considering he’s playing so woefully out of position.

Tiago Splitter, C 20 MIN | 6-7 FG | 2-3 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | +2

Tiago Splitter is starting to draw double teams and continues to hit shots at a very high percentage. But we saw tonight that he and Timmy need to work together a little more before the playoffs to work through the kinks on that high-low combination. Needs more playing time.

James Anderson, SG 8 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | +9

James Anderson was active and hit a big shot.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Tim Duncan is playing better and as a result the defense is improving. Tonight the Spurs suffered long offensive droughts but were able to survive thanks to a defensive performance that held Memphis under 40 percent.
  2. Either Tony Parker is an All-Star or Gregg Popovich is a top Coach of the Year candidate. Few players are carrying as large a burden as Parker is on offense right now as the only player (aside from a just emerging Tiago) capable of forcing defensive rotations, thus allowing players like Danny Green to shrine against broken defenses.
  3. The Spurs second unit can really get after it on the defensive end, pressuring the ball and making offenses uncomfortable, which is why they’ve been able to get back into games. They can also hit three-pointers in bunches. Now if they could just find a playmaker to create better looks without exhausting Tony Parker. They really miss T.J. Ford.
  4. Manu watch: Before the game Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News told a local radio station that he was kicked out of a secondary shootaround so that Manu could get some shots up under the supervision of Popovich, with Tony Parker. Parker said after the Thunder game that Manu would be back during this road trip. The Spurs have a moment’s rest in New York–enough time to practice. Just saying.
  5. Rudy Gay (18 points, 9-26 shooting) say hello to Kawhi Leonard, and say goodbye to your shooting efficiency.
  • DorieStreet

    A fill up the basket/volume shooter all his life who just didn’t grow after high school.

  • DorieStreet

    I mean: didn’t grow after junior high AND didn’t grow (expand) his game.

  • DorieStreet

    Don’t you think we have to try out one of these tall trees that have been in the league from 3-7 years? (Of course at the right price.) Change of scenery, step up in game…

  • Anonymous

    Just my opinion but Lopez is Not good at all on the offensive end and has turned out to be somewhat a disappointment regarding his strength in the post game out of college which was blocks and crashing the boards.  He probably should have stayed in college at least another year.

    I would hope the Spurs could get better than that for Blair AND Anderson…but probably would be the best they could do being Blair has drastically fizzled and Anderson is yet to log significant minutes.

  • DorieStreet

    Team is flying under the radar (although a couple of ESPN rankings have the Spurs no. 5 each). Will pundits take notice if RRT winds up 7-2 or better?

  • Anonymous

    I could see that working in certain circumstances…  Otherwise, if the opponent is fronting with 2 solid bigs…I would think Spurs get demolished with that rotation.

    Regarding Manu off the bench…Neal, Ginobili, JEFFERSON, Splitter and Bonner would be a solid 2nd tier.  Start Parker, Kawhi, Green, Duncan and Blair being the Spurs play mainly a two man offense set anyway when Parker and Duncan are in the game.

  • JustinFL

    Well he’s really more of a defender/rebounder that can finish at the rim.  He’s on a team that doesn’t value defense.  Of course I’d love to get Gortat he would be perfect for our system, but I know the Suns aren’t letting him go. 
      Bottom line, we need someone who can be plugged in without causing any wrinkles.  He wouldn’t take away anything more than what Blair is bringing.  (I personally feel he would bring more).  He’s only getting 13 minutes per game, so I’m sure we can accomodate him. 

  • grego

    He can’t fit without anyone other than Duncan though, regardless of Manu. At least, if Pop wants to stay committed to defense, anyway.

  • grego

    It’s possible, but one of those guys is going to start. 

  • grego

    Yes, but he’s young and learning. He’s been given the green light to try things. Unfortunately, Parker is the only guy who can really create. Green’s strengths will be more highlighted and his weaknesses lessened once TJ and Manu start coming back. 

  • grego

    In an ideal system, Pop would likely bring him in for moments they need quick buckets. Pop would likely run him with Manu, for instance so he can have a ball handler, but then have him in for the offense. 

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    Again the Suns are in the same spot we’re in with TImmy/Tiago.
    Lopez & Gortat are really the only two centres they have on the roster.  Morris/Fry/Warrick are all PF’s.

    Lopez is cheap depth that they require.  If they blow him off for a tweener + SG (they already have shanno brown/Dudley/Redd/Price who’ve had a crack at SG this season) it would surprise me no end.

    I’d be happy to get Lopez, I’d prefer a serviceable big 4.  A Udonis haslem type guy, McDyess style player.  Good D rebounds well, can block a shot occassioanlly, and shoot a jumper.

    That way we don’t kill Tiagos minutes on the C time share with Timmy.  Any and all minutes would really come out of Blair/Bonners basket.

  • grego

    Even if RJ continued to start, Pop could change up his rotations so that RJ is featured with certain units. It’s almost like avoiding the Blair/Bonner roations, by having Tiago/Duncan always with one of them. Mostly just with Bonner, but Duncan with Blair (almost) always. 

    Prior to Manu’s departure, Leonard was first off the bench for RJ. 

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    Yep he is the epitome of a good hustling gunner.  

  • grego

    I don’t know. I feel like, the Spurs are slowly putting the carrot on the stick for Anderson. He got key/vital minutes in this past game and didn’t shy away when they needed him most. I do feel like his drop off happened right as Manu went out. 

    I think Neal is #1 go to for offense until Manu/TJ are back. Once he gets back, Pop has more options which allows him to shy away from Neal when he looks bad. 

    It’s weird, but as the team gets the depth back, there might actually be more opportunities due to better combinations of talent. 

  • DorieStreet

    Best way to ease him back into game shape since the team has developed a winning vibe without him. Man, going to have to catch more games on the feed–this is going to be interesting once Manu & TJ get back.

  • Anonymous

     Could easily be done considering the Spurs will be getting significant time off between games on this RRT schedule.  Going to be a great time to get some “practice” in as well.  Perhaps even the best time to make a move or trade being they could somewhat work in a new/different player with the few days off between games.

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  • Lvmainman

    7-2? Are you kidding? Spurs will be lucky that this won’t be the 1st losing rodeo trip ever. Spurs beating Grizzlies missing top 2 wing defenders from last year – Allen and Battier, missing 2 of their 3 top big men – Randolph and Arthur, and motivation of last year’s playoffs.

    Only sure wins appear to be Pistons and Nets. 76ers have beaten Bulls and Lakers at home and Spurs last won in Philly…  Raptors is iffy on a back to back. Then west coast, Clippers, Jazz, Trailblazers, and Nuggets is tough.

    If the Spurs get a winning record on this road trip, I’ll be completely surprised.

  • Bob

     Agree the Spurs should have won. The Grizz were playing the second of b2b after loss in Boston.

  • Deeds130

    My numbers above are regular season following Manu & TJ’s returns, not playoffs were TP & Manu will get heavier minutes.
    But to answer your question about Pop’s playoff frontcourt rotation… Who the hell know what he’ll do? Does Bonner get one more shot at playoff redemption and 18mpg? A lot will depend on who we draw in a given series.

    TD: 35, count on it.
    Tiago: 25 minimum. I have a feeling Pop will increase Splitter’s minutes substantially come playoffs. I’m halfway expecting 30mpg, and if he plays well 34+. There’s NO reason not to fully utilize him come playoff time, unless Bonner is lights out (or killing it in +/-, ha ha), or DB shows us something we can’t currently predict.
    Bonner: 20 (have you ever prayed to see more small-ball lineups, and sighed with relief more when you see it, then you will this postseason?)
    Blair: 12

  • Hobson13

    Yeah, a 7-2 RRT would be a great record even if we were a championship contending team.  If we go 5-4 it will be successful.

  • JustinFL

    Well of course it’s all hypothetical.  The Suns hate us and they’re not about to do us any favors.  The sales pitch would be that Dejuan’s scoring and rebounding matched with Anderson’s upside might make them think about it. 
      In all fairness for Lopez, he just hasn’t gotten the minutes to get better ever since the Gortat trade.  Gortat just does everything the same or slightly better on the defensive end and soo much more on the offensive side.  They use Channing to spread the floor, and Markieff has more explosiveness and athleticism than Lopez. 
    From what I have seen from him when he played before Gortat got there, was what you stated, rebounding, blocks, and hustle.  I’ll take that for what I’m getting from Blair and Anderson. 

  • JustinFL

    Yes I agree with you, I would plug him in for Dejaun.  20-22 mpg which is what Dejuan is getting.  Let Lopez start and bring Tiago in off the bench.
     I have been a Bonner hater, but after watching him play during this 5 game winning stretch, I have realized even though it pains me to say, how much we need him.  He has picked up his rebounding which was driving me crazy earlier in the season, and gotten slightly better in defensive positioning and rotation.  He also hardly ever makes mistakes. 
      I said that to say, we need his 3pt shooting and Timmy’s midrange.  We have 2 bigs that can shoot, so we just plug and play Lopez and Tiago.  Even if we got Lopez, I’d want Tiago getting at least 26 mpg when we got to the playoffs like most people are saying.  His postgame is starting to get noticed and put into scouting reports.  In this day and age in the NBA an offensive post game is a BOLO.
      It’s so funny I remember how everyone dogged him last year and called him a bust.  What a difference a year makes. 

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    I’ve always loved Bonner for what he is.  It’s Pops fault that he gets 30 mins a game some nights when he isnt really doing much of anything.  Thats the part that drives people nuts.

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    I find the back to back argument this season to be somewhat less appealing.

    Nearly every team is playing 4 to 5 games a week with a light schedule being 3.

    Those kind of numbers mean all teams are going to be leg sore, and carrying a heap of niggling injuries.

    We’ve played Memphis three times so far this season for three wins.  There was no fluke in last nights result.

    That said 7-2 is a hard bar to clear. I can see 5-4.

  • Justin-ray

    I like how tdbestever only really comments when the spurs lose :)

  • Justin-ray

    I think the spurs go 6-3 on this trip … win in philly … memo (duncan is back)

  • Justin-ray

    Oh and i would not at all be surprised if the spurs go 7-2 … this team has as good a shot as anyone in the west.
    Check that okc game … and both mavs games… and the blazers game… and the jazz game… and the nuggets game… and the clippers game… THE THUNDER ARE THE ONLY TEAM THAT CAN TAKE US DOWN IN UNDER 7 GAMES. thats the truth.

  • Anonymous

    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=6wjrdkn

    If all teams mentioned were to agree…it might be worth doing now even if it meant Spurs trading away one of their starters. Be it a starter who won’t be used to his full potential in this system.  And definitely better than amnestying him next year I would think.  (Unless the team has a “sure thing” lined up next year in getting a top free agent big)

  • JustinFL

    Would be nice.  I don’t see anyone taking RJ off our hands this year.  We should be thankful we got the amnesty rule or we’d be stuck.  Remember we’re not the only ones trying to get into the free agent pool next year and unfortunately we’re gonna need RJ this year.  Also seems kind of negligent for Cleveland to trade a big who is a fan favorite, hustles, has playoff and finals experience for a guy still wet behind the ears and has attitude problems.

  • DieHardSpur

    Dejuan Blair and Big Game James with Nash is kinda scary though.

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  • DorieStreet

    Okay- I’ll make a more objective prediction.
    Ls vs 76ers, Clips, Jazz, Blazers- all playing well at home. Nuggets is the fence-stradler- last game of RRT but DEN only 7-5 at home up to this point.
    Nets, Pistons and Raptors have all played 26 games but their win tallies at home are 3, 5 and 3, respectively. Spurs are the 5th contest of a 7-game homestand for TOR- but it is the 2nd of a BTB (Knicks will be on the court the night before). Spurs handled the Magic after being manhandled by the Heat the night before.
    I say we get the Nuggets game and go 5-4.

  • Anonymous

    I’d like KL instead of RJ at least he takes a look at the person down low.

  • Anonymous

    And Parker is enough for me on that aspect. He too ends up many a times at roadblock  with no one to pass to. Annoying. Funny how it usually happens late in games.  Green light or no green light it’s just annoying to see it a lot in crucial times of games.

  • Anonymous

    Green started to go to the person on the low block in this game when he had nothing but in past  games I’ve seen him ignore the low block and just go for it either a shot from the arc or  trying to slash down the lane. The good thing in this game (and future hopefully) he’s starting to realize Splitter can score  high percentage shots in the low block. 

  • Anonymous

    And a damn good one at that. That’s one player I would keep as long as I can in a Spurs uni. Spot minutes for quick 3’s.

  • Anonymous

    Yup.

  • Anonymous

    I saw some of his game this season and he just looked lost out there.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe I haven’t seen enough of him to get a good assessment. 

  • Anonymous

    I think Pop does it to the ones that matter. I think he’s given up on RJ.

  • Anonymous

    Love the +/- reference. LOL.

  • Anonymous

    I guess we’re a defensive team now compared to last season where the offense was our strength and we played into it. Then if we are now officially a defensive team than your statement rings true.