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.
  • http://twitter.com/blanchard48moh Jesse Blanchard

    Okay, the recap generator is giving us problems tonight. I’ll try and see what I can do. 

  • Johns_email25

    hey brother, you got the grades from the OK game…

  • http://twitter.com/blanchard48moh Jesse Blanchard

    Fixed. Resume commenting on the game. 

  • DieHardSpur

    I have to say – That Spurs defense is really coming around. Good win on the road to start the RRT.

    Is it just me, or did Blair single-handedly stunt our 3rd quarter mini-run? When is the last time he was effective? What I would give for him to be 6’10… oh well, I think he is done growing.

    Tiago Splitter is really coming into his own…

  • grego

    He usually plays 5-9 minutes in the second half, and most of the time it’s only play in the 3rd quarter. He’s the least versatile big on the Spurs, only being able to play with Duncan. 

  • Justin-ray

    Go spurs go

  • Justin-ray

    Tiago splitter is our key… no question! Tdbestever is a blind man… how often does blair draw double teams?? Blair is kinda embarrassing actually. Iys sad because i like the guy. Hes just too damn undersized and hasnt cared enough to improve his outside game. It is what it is. Bonner is better than him

  • Colin

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Leonard was the reason for Gay’s shooting performance as Gay could easily light him up for a 60% night tomorrow.  However, it is encouraging to see him play legit swing men in the NBA straight up.  Leonard is the real deal in this regard and it will be fun to watch him fully develop, especially on the offensive end. 

  • Colin

    People, again, Blair is good-AVERAGE role player at best!  I don’t understand why a lot of posters here go bipolar when he plays good or bad!  Don’t be surprised either way because he doesn’t have an offensive move to hang his hat on and his defense success is highly dependent on the night’s match up.  Either way, he isn’t dependable on a nightly basis.   He has admirable qualities of which I won’t fault him for but he simply isn’t a dependable player thus making him expendable on this roster. 

  • Andrew

    “…Danny Green to shrine” — it should be shine, but still a warm thank you for these grades. 

  • Justin-ray

    I would also like to point out that…. TIMMY IS BACK

  • Oroboros

    Soon I shall be screaming “Ginobili” at the top of my lungs along with Barkley.

  • NYC

    Didn’t see the game, but the account here gives me optimism. Seems like our defense is improving and the young guys are a big reason why. 

    You know, without Ginobilli and without TJ Ford, we are relying heavily on Parker and things could easily have gone south for us. Green and Neal seem to be doing a passable job of playing pg by committee, and that’s all we can ask. Leonard and Splitter have stepped up their games. RJ has reverted to mid-to-late season form, and poor Anderson has lost out. And yet, here we are still winning more than losing. 

    One down, eight more to go. Go Spurs Go!

  • grego

    Actually, Anderson played good meaningful minutes in a key stretch. He had a 2 solid looks at 3s. One fell. If Neal had lobbed the pass properly he’d have an alley opp layup or dunk. 

  • Anonymous

    Again I didn’t get to see the game.  As always thanks for the write up.

    Question:  Does anybody know where to find offensive efficiency opposing players are producing  when Kawhi is defending.  It appears as though their average percentage drops substantially when Leonard defends against some of the best in the league.

    Also regarding Jefferson… this says a lot without saying too much.
    “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.”

    I wonder with the return of Ginobili if he’ll become more visible or more “Invisible”.  Also with the return of Ginobili and Ford…which players do you think get less playing time?

  • Anonymous

    Actually Anderson hit a crucial 3 pointer to get us back in the game and if it weren’t for his (rookie/sophomore) bad luck he would have had a couple highlight ally oop dunks. He’ll come around as soon as that funk comes off his back. Don’t give up on this dude. 

  • Anonymous

    Makes you wonder what he’ll be like when Manu comes back. Manu serve’s him well around the rim. Manu is to Blair as Tony is to Tiago. His numbers will go up on the offensive side once Manu is back, then in all likely hood his confidence as well resulting in overall better player performance. He need’s Manu. And if that happens does Tiago start to see less minutes or does Bonner? Tough one Pop.

  • Anonymous

    He’s lost his confidence with Manu out. See my post above in reply to Colin.

  • Anonymous

    Good that Tiago is coming along and as I have said since last year this guy needs playing time. But to answer your question about when was the last time Blair was effective? When Manu was playing.

  • Team_BC

    Rudy Gay, efficiency??

  • Anonymous

     Is it a given Manu starts when he returns?  He just might be used more as the leader of the second unit in order to establish more effective cohesion when the second unit plays.  As it stands now…it appears the first unit plays efficient basketball without Ginobili in the starting unit.

  • Anonymous

    Probably not at first and will see only limited minutes due to his time out and needs to gradually get into game shape. But the 1st unit has only been efficient  as of lately because of Timmy’s play in the last few games. Did you forget about most of those down  early in the first only to see the 2nd unit bring them back games. And last night it was a mix between the first and 2nd unit that brought them back when they lost the  lead they had all night. The first units efficiency will be determined greatly by Timmy’s play and once Manu gets back it would serve him to be on the 1st unit asap. Who know’s maybe the 2nd unit will stretch leads even farther once everybody is on keel in the first unit.

  • Anonymous

    Forgot to mention  in reply that Blair will benefit from having Manu on the court with him as well.

  • NYC

    In response to Grego and Titletown: that is good to know. However, I just don’t see Anderson getting regular minutes in the rotation, especially once Manu returns. Seems that Leonard, Green, and Neal are the players to which Popovich has hitched the wagon. Anderson is there for insurance. That’s why they didn’t pick up his option. If he isn’t getting meaningful, regular minutes now, we won’t be seeing him at all once playoffs start. Sad to say, but probably true. I hope I’m wrong. 

  • NYC

    Ditto with regards to Jefferson quote. 

    I give you props for writing that, Jesse.

  • Agutierrez

     Couldn’t agree with you more. Blair has regressed on the defensive end. It was not coincidental that our 3rd quarter swoon ended when he went to the bench. Wish Pop would insert Tiago to start second half.

  • NYC

    What if Jefferson moves to the 2nd unit when Manu returns? RJ is the last one to see the ball among starters, which clearly does not suit his game. What if we started Leonard at SF and have something resembling a Bruce Bowen era lineup? 

    Manu would probably be the first to be subbed out, which means he would spend a good amount of time with the 2nd unit where his presence would benefit Jefferson and Blair. RJ would see the ball more on the 2nd unit, maybe produce more offensively. Maybe Blair moves to the 2nd unit as well and we start Tiago? 

    What do you think? A snowball’s chance in hell Pop would go for this?

  • Bob

     If KL can hit the 3 I think it’s no question he should start but right now Jefferson is the better option for spacing the floor.

  • GP bestEVER

     Blair has only really shone when playing in a small-ball format, and that is reliant on Manu.  Add to that the fact that Blair seems to have a boost in confidence when Manu plays (they just seem to have chemistry), and he has had a really tough go of things since Manu went down.  I still think he is a plus bench player in a specific role, but he clearly doesn’t fill the gap at big that the Spurs have.

  • Anonymous

     I don’t think it would matter one way or the other unless specific plays are run for R.J.  Being just a spot up option in the offense doesn’t lend well to Jefferson’s all around offensive talents.  He once was one of the best at getting to the foul line and once was used (prior to the Spurs) in a manner that had him attacking the paint.  I would tend to think “wasted use of talent” would be a factor to being “invisible” at this point.  And I don’t think any of us can with 100% certainty say it’s all R.J.’s fault if he isn’t being used in a manner that allows him to punctuate all his talents. 

    Perhaps that being a psychological reason he doesn’t perform consistently in all areas?  I say “psychological” because I’ve seen him physically play this year with all the fervor of a Richard Jefferson (both offensively and defensively) prior to joining the Spurs. So the ability IS still there.  Would he accept being first off the bench IF they used him to all his strengths and/or incorporated him as at least an option 2 in the offense?  I think we would see a Richard Jefferson playing more commensurate to his salary than we do now if that be the case.  Again…If they don’t get him more involved regardless if it’s starting or from the bench…this is the R.J. we’ll probably see the rest of the season.   With perhaps the exception of what might appear to be a “break out from his slump” performance in a few games as he did last year.

  • DorieStreet

    We Spurs fans can at least thank the man for remaining a professional about his situation and not being disgruntled about it (in public).

    Did not see the game; but – turn back the clock! 21’s stat line read like a game from February 2002! I hope he can continue this after his 36th birthday.

  • Deeds130

    It would be nice to see those stats regarding KL’s D, I second that.

    STIJL-  Once, TJ & Manu return… You gotta figure all the wings get less minutes, from TP on down. Our boy Anderson will, sadly, be getting the most DNPs of the group. That’s pretty much given. He only got 8 minutes tonite and hasn’t gotten minutes with those vets out. His role as “insurance” has just been served over the last 5 weeks, and it wasn’t much of a role. Neal will get minutes just to keep him ready for end of game offensive substitutions when clutch shooting is needed, but his minutes will go down. Green and KL will suffer the least, their minutes will be inconsistent to be sure, but they are the #2 and #3 wings. Tony benefits the most with the return of those too pointmen, getting more rest.

    For me, the question is how big a role TJ and Manu actually get. TJ will have to earn his, but I expect a pretty small role even though he should take minutes from Neal & Green. Come playoffs, he should have a slightly bigger role than some guys. But it all depends on Gino. Pop has ridden him too much the last two seasons. With this depth, he should NOT play as much every night. Will he take minutes from TJ, or will TJ take mins from Manu? I’d prefer no more than 28 mpg for our best player on most nights, I don’t need to see another injury this playoffs.

    Minutes:
    TP:  30 (but it will be more)
    Manu:  22-25 (but fear it will be more)
    RJ:  probably around 30 (26-28 would be better)
    KL:  22
    DG: 18
    TJ:  12? (Nah, probably more like 8. 19 would be fine by me.)
    Neal: 10? (Will be closer to 20, though 16 would be a reasonable compromise)
    Anderson: DNP-CD  (some nights might get 6 minutes or so. Hopefully he does good things with what paltry time he does see..)

  • grego

    Actually, as funny as it seems, he might see more time because Manu would give the team another ball handler. The same could be said with TJ. Anderson did see a decline in game once Manu went down. The same can be said for Blair, who’s fallen hard (although his defense is another story). 

  • grego

    On defense, Manu can’t save him though. That said, without Timmy in the lineup, he doesn’t fit any other lineups efficiently. Last year, he had McDyess who could fit since he had the jump shot. Duncan has that. Bonner has that (but we don’t want that). Tiago does not… 

    The big change is McDyess is no longer a Spur. 

  • Anonymous

    Spurs waive Thomas.
    http://www.nba.com/spurs/news/120207_spurs_waive_malcolm_thomas

    Not a surprise.  Team now stands at 13 on the roster. Wonder if they’ll try another D-league player? If they do I really hope they give Marcus Lewis from the Tulsa Drillers a shot.  Good defender/rebounder.  Nice Jumper too.  Plus…A Spurs kinda guy.

  • Bry

    I think you’re def right. With Manu out and TJ out and Neal in a shooting slump, this very stretch should be Anderson’s time to shine. Instead he’s getting very limited minutes and his option wasn’t picked up. I’m sure the Spurs will offer him a small contract as long as he’s learned the system and gets along well in the locker room, but his future as a Spur looks a bit grim to me. He’s fourth on the depth chart at shooting guard (his natural position) behind Manu, Green, and Neal, and Pop has even started Leonard and Jefferson at both wing positions already this season. Earlier, Pop also had TJ and Parker playing together on occasion as well. That means that there are six current Spurs that Pop (at least on occasion) feels more comfortable at the off-guard spot than Anderson. That doesn’t bode well for his future. 

  • JustinFL

    I think that James Anderson and Dajuan Blair for Robin Lopez of the Suns would be nice.  I don’t know how the Suns feel about Lopez, but they have Gortat, Fry, Markieff Morris, and Hakim Warrick, plus Blair if they want him.  Not deep at the SG either, they have Shannon Brown and Michael Redd. 

  • Anonymous

    Not talking about defense, at least he scored well when Manu was around. We have to do with what we got for now and this season. Just saying if his scoring goes up via Manu maybe he’ll feel more comfortable and play a little better overall. Confidence has to help in some faction.

  • Anonymous

     Nice!  Probably as correct of a minutes per game ratio we’ll see.  RJ just might be at the 26-28 (maybe less) mark if either KL or DG (or both) have good games.  I’d like to see TP “average” 30 for the rest of the season with some nights only getting 24-26 if TJ and/or Ginobili could handle those nights while also getting a win.  But hamstring injuries can sometimes be tricky to fully overcome.  Especially if it were a full tear.

  • Anonymous

    Tell me something I don’t know. Reason he’s been playing less minutes in the second half because he’s been having a difficult go at it since Manu’s been gone offensively. What would keep him in the game was if the rebounds kept coming and he was scoring 10 or more points in a game. That has declined hence the drop in minutes in the second half. 

  • Bry

    Wow, Gary Neal is playing ‘woefully out of position’ when he’s asked to play point guard? Is he that limited?! His only position is to be vertically and defensively challenged undersized shooting guard? That doesn’t paint a very pretty picture.

  • Anonymous

    Only when he’s rested and feels 29. Some of these games will catch up to him again, but Pop will make him sit him in order to refuel him. That’s not going away not this season or next season if he decides to continue his career.

  • Anonymous

    Does anybody here get annoyed with Danny Green on offense when the his shot is not dropping then decides to go into the lane only to find a dead end? Those kind of things annoy the hell out me especially when it’s late in the game resulting in lost opportunities. Anybody.

  • Anonymous

    No way! If he’s the uncoordinated one of the two brothers – pass.

  • Anonymous

    To add to your comment The only time you see RJ getting points is when he’s wide open and he has no one to pass to. “The obvious good looks.” I don’t blame him I’d shoot it to if I was wide open and had no one to pass to. Do you really think Pop pulls him aside before every game and says “Ok RJ we got 4 other damn good shooters out there as soon as you get the ball I want you to create your own shot”. Uh not likely.

  • Anonymous

     “I hope he can continue this after his 36th birthday.”
    With a little rest between some games and some jedi – mind tricks from Pop.

  • Anonymous

    Anderson’s got about 5-6 games to prove himself in the “lite” minutes he’s getting to prove Pop he’s worth using in the playoffs before Manu gets back. Pretty slim. But hey anything can happen. I know your accessing the 1-3 positions but where do you think Tiago fits in playoff minutes. I’d like to see no less than 20 minutes. 25-30 minute is where I would like him to be.

  • DorieStreet

    Title–
    very apt description – like a joyrider trying to elude the cops so he turns blindly down a street without any regard to if it’s a thuroughfare or not. But that’s basketball 101–if the J is off, get to the rim for an easy duece. I think the solution is for the staff to set up an option or two, or tell Green to be on the lookout for someone rolling to the basket (such as Duncan did in the highlights). Remember- after 28 games in 2 previous seasons (this year he’s already played in 26) Green is getting ample opportunity to contribute to this squad. He’s wants to prove he’s versatile. (Even Bonner and Neal have adopted the ‘Bowen twilight career shot’ – pump-fake a three and move in for a Tony teardrop).
    The last game I saw though was the OT in Dallas. But I do see his TO are 1.2 in 22 minutes, which equates to 2.6 per 48—that’s not good.

  • Anonymous

     “Do you really think Pop pulls him aside…”

    This statement says a lot about the R.J. situation.  We hear a lot of people saying he’s just not being aggresive enough or wondering why he plays at times with a lack of aggression.

    But if R.J. were playing as bad or doing as bad as others point out…wouldn’t we see the same Pop tirade towards Jefferson on the bench as he occasionally does going off on Parker or Manu or even Duncan.  Can’t recall a time when I’ve seen Pop (or heard of Pop) “going off” on Jefferson.  One would think that be the case if R.J were NOT to be playing according to what Pop expects. 

    I don’t know…strange to say the least.

  • Anonymous

    I’d like to see Manu, KL, Neal, Green, and Tiago in the 2nd unit when Manu gets back.