El Conclusión: San Antonio Spurs 98, Miami Heat 120

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San Antonio Spurs 98 Final
Recap | Box Score
120 Miami Heat
Tim Duncan, C 27 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 8 PTS | -5LeBron’d. Technical foul seemed to spark the Spurs early. Wasn’t heard from since.
Richard Jefferson, SF 23 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 0 PTS | 0LeBron’d.
DeJuan Blair, F 24 MIN | 6-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 13 PTS | -10For a quarter DeJuan Blair seemed intent on making all those old Chris (Like A) Bosh jokes relevant again. Joined Duncan in second half obscurity.
Tony Parker, PG 25 MIN | 7-12 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 18 PTS | -2Had a great first half. It was especially good to see the teardrop falling again. However, only two points in the paint in the third quarter falls directly on his shoulders.
Kawhi Leonard, SF 31 MIN | 5-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 12 PTS | -9LeBron’d. Kawhi had a good game and I’m not going to be too critical of him for not being able to stop something no one in the world could have stopped. When LeBron is hitting pull-up three-pointers there’s just not much anyone can do.
Matt Bonner, PF 21 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 3 PTS | -11Bosh’d.
Daniel Green, G 23 MIN | 7-11 FG | 0-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 20 PTS | -21At times looked like the only Spurs player not phased by Miami’s excellent closeout defense.
Gary Neal, PG 16 MIN | 5-12 FG | 1-1 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 12 PTS | -11Did not have his three-pointer going, but found ways to contribute going to the basket. Also, Mike Miller’d.
Tiago Splitter, C 10 MIN | 1-1 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -13Foul trouble. Showed a better looking hook shot when he finally got a minute.
James Anderson, SG 9 MIN | 0-1 FG | 3-4 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 3 PTS | -4When Danny Green broke into the rotation, Gary Neal returned early from injury. James Anderson just broke down.
Malcolm Thomas, F 8 MIN | 0-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 PTS | -4Austin awaits.
Cory Joseph, G 23 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 4 PTS | -20Cory Joseph will never be the reason the Spurs win or lose this season. He just exists, no more no less. His only role with this team is to keep Danny Green and Gary Neal in their comfort zones and away from point guard duty until T.J. Ford comes back.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Tonight Kawhi Leonard learned that sometimes no matter how solid your defense is, it won’t matter. There is no defense in the world that can stop LeBron James when he gets going like that. If there is a positive, it does not appear Leonard was overwhelmed by it. We’ll see how he responds.
  2. Miami’s defense in the second half was incredible. They were very physical, closed out perfectly on all of the Spurs shooters, and the Spurs folded. Their defense deserves just as much credit as LeBron.
  3. A difficult game to grade, and probably one to forget. It’s hard to completely fail everyone when Miami starts hitting step-back three-pointers like they were nothing. The Spurs got punched in the mouth and showed little resolve, but the game was so bizarre there probably isn’t a lesson to be learned from it.
  4. Danny Green finally looked like a rotation player on the road. Appeared to be the only decisive player on the Spurs in dealing with Miami’s closeouts.
  5. Danny Green is a better healer than the Phoenix Suns training staff. Gary Neal returned earlier than expected from injury and played well. Likely because he feels Green breathing down his neck for more minutes in addition to the one’s he’s already taken.
  • Anonymous

    Somebody here would like to see Tony and Splitter in a trade package I bet. I won’t say their names (TD=Bestever) make sure you send them to a playoff team in the west so you can see what an ignorant move that would be. Or if it makes you happy send them to the Bulls. Have it your way MMMM – Whataburger!

  • Bry

    Pointless double-teams are mistakes that young guys make. Guys like Leonard and Green are used to doing quick double-teams and ranging all over the court. What made them good defenders in college now causes mistakes in the pros where there way more shooters around and the 3-point line is further out (so they can’t get back to their man when the ball is kicked out to him). Those are the kind of things that training camp is for. On the break running to your man (or any open man) rather than running to the paint. Going over screens whenever your man has the hot hand and never leaving a shooter (especially a hot shooter!) to go double-team elsewhere. This is what happens with young teams (with limited practice time). Frankly, bad defense is part of rebuilding ESPECIALLY on the road against the elite monsters of the NBA. Leonard, Green, Anderson and even Neal all have to learn those defensive instincts. However, I think Pop is far better than most coaches in developing them in young players.

  • Deeds130

    The entire reason to trade guys is to get a jump on a rebuild. If the Spurs just go through the normal course of decline, they won’t have an early lottery pick until 2014 or something, and then only one each year. That is a VERY slow and long road. This should be the last year SA thinks playoffs for awhile. What they need to find a way to do is trade for picks and/or package players + later picks for earlier picks. Seattle made some moves to get 2 picks the same year (which eventually became Durant and Perkins), they followed with Westbrook, Harden, & Ibaka. I didn’t believe in Jeff Green for them from day 1, but they got value for him.

    Knicks should move Amare (he’s only compatible with a floor-spacing bigman on O who rebounds and does defends better than STAT at the other end, to go with a good PG). Whether they’ll move him idk, but either way SA has pieces NYK needs, though I don’t want what they have unless we can subsequently turn it into draft picks. We don’t need to trade for mediocre talent, just cause it’s younger talent… unless we can subsequently package it.

  • TD BestEVER

    Why would the Bulls want TP(they have Rose) or Splitter(they have Noah, Gibson, Omir Asik) already.  The only reason I keep putting Splitter in my trades is because he make 3million plus and NOBODY wants Bonner. 

  • Bry

    You’re acknowledging that SA is and should be thinking playoffs this year. I wish everybody would get that thru their heads for the next five months. Everybody speculating on dumping players, losing games, and trading Tony throughout this season is just an annoying distraction, and occasionally simply disgraceful defeatism toward our Spurs. As people have noted; Timmy and Manu are both old, and nearing the end of their sizable contracts. There are ton of franchises that went thru rebuilding, some started early, others started late, and most ended up being terrible teams for years with no guarantee (even with multiple lottery pix) of ever becoming a contender again. I’m in no rush to dive into that abyss. The fact that so many on this blog are pushing for that reflects a panicked impatience and ignorance of how fickle and unpredictable the NBA draft really is.
               I would love to see somebody do a piece on the fate of teams that have undergone rebuilding over the past dozen or so years, and show just how few of them are ‘successful’ in doing so. I’d love to see comparisons of Washington, Milwaukee, Portland, Sacramento, New York, New Jersey, etc.; all teams that have have entered the process and immediately had VERY HIGH pix in the draft (well, the Knicks gave away theirs) and haven’t even come CLOSE to becoming a contender again. Think of the talent those teams have brought in through the draft (Wall, Bogut, Oden, Roy, Evans, Cousins). All of them are struggling badly anyway (although Portland can be excused for their awful luck). Considering how many people on this blog have demanded dumping, tanking, rebuilding and defeatism it would be appropriate to have a piece to finally show us fans (clearly spoiled by our front office and the Duncan years) just how pathetic and permanent a turn to the lottery often is.

  • TD BestEVER

    A pass 1st PG and a Lottery Pick bigman that has game and needs a change on scenery would be great for us.  We would also prob get a pick or 2 in the deal as TP would by far and away be the best player in the deal.  So our team would have more balanced scoring now and the chance to grow and stay relevant as we rebuild. 

  • Bushka

    i actually think Splitter will develop at a steady pace all year long.  I also think Dejauns going to get a lot better defensively as the team tightens up its rotation and people get more comfortable with each other.

    Next year those two guys will be incredible value contract wise (not that they are not great value already).  

  • Bushka

    Theres no reason to make a move now unless its a gimme a la Pau Gasol to L.A.  

    Tanking for the draft is great when you have crap players that you want to give court time to and you wont win anyway.

    In our situation we have an opportunity here to actually realise the potential of  Green/Leonard/Splitter/Blair into better players without sucking.  I see that as exponentially important to their development.

    You guys do see just how massive it is that Pop is playing these guys. It’s way out of character for him to have two rookies on the court together with two second year guys, deciding the outcome of games.

    He is acid testing these kids and they are playing up not down.  Huge for us and fmuch better for the future.  

    Don’t get me wrong i’d love a high draft pick.  But not at the expense of our gameplay.  The better these guys get at moving within the system ESPECIALLY the defensive system the better off we are in the future.

  • Bushka

    I trust the spurs front office way more than I do message boards in matters of trades & talent.

    If they see a young big that fits and they want him they’ll do it. We all know how they operate come draft time.  They actually figure out who they want then work toward getting them.

    George Hill was an absolute steal.  Turning him into Leonard is even more ridiculous.  A starting quality defensive minded 2/3 who has a higher ceiling then George and is younger, as opposed to a combo guard.  

    They do that kind of thing constantly.  Splitter and Blair are turning out ridiculous production for their draft position / contract numbers.

    Trading Tony now for lesser players with potential is akin to giving up getting rid of Duncan & Manu as well.  

    They wont do that until Timmy leaves the building then its basically game on.

  • Bushka

    Tony passes fine.  Would get more assists in a run and gun offense.  

    Spurs don’t play that way.  It’s the schemes and the plays called that limit his assists numbers.
    Which by the way are good this year.

    I am no fan of giving away something that works for mystery bags that other teams want to offload.

    We don’t need a salary dump our Front office has managed the cap better than 90% of the league.  Let the kids develop and see what happens next season.

  • Deeds130

    New Jersey doesn’t count because, like NYK, they have showed no interest in rebuilding through the draft. 
    To your point, Portland’s bad luck DOES illustrate the perils of rebuilding through the draft,  but Lamarcus makes their lottery excursions worth it. Still Blazers ownership ran off their GM Patterson who butted heads against drafting B Roy (due to injury), and who also declared support for Durant over Oden (for the same reason). 

    Alot of those teams you mentioned just make horrible draft decisions. Wolves traded Mayo for Love, good move there. But drafting Flynn, Babbit, and Wesley Johnson was headscratching even at the time (ignoring their needs). Most of us here thought Favors should go #2, just imagine how that would effect Philly’s future. WAS is still in rebuilding, they just made a silly move adding Jan Vesely (I had KL going there), even in a weak draft. Milwaukee also overrates themselves and has tried to pretend they have a core, and are past rebuilding: dumb. I was AMAZED the Warriors passed on Greg Monroe, amazed! So many teams try to add FA stopgaps like Steven Jackson, Vince Carter, or David Lee when they should instead do things like OKC has done.

    Finally, aside from bad drafting practice, alot of the teams you’d call cautionary examples have struggled because they have had a bad headcoach. GSW, SAC come to mind (I won’t mention the Clips, b/c a good draft actually bailed them out by forcing terrible ownership’s hand to finally rise to their opportunity). Adelman is making Kahn’s imperfect core look promising, and the Bulls would look more flawed if not for Thibbs. SA has elite coaching, which is why they should try to expedite a rebuild asap. It takes some shrewdness to go with some patience, and yes some luck, but the current course is too predictable (you just know the talent isn’t there/is diminishing)… a promising future is more exciting by contrast.

  • Bushka

    Trade away your starting PG that works for guys the other team doesn’t want/need!  I like where your going with this :)

  • Bushka

    Splitters playing well.
    Is a young big.

    And is on a godly under the market contract right now. Earns less than Johan Petero and all the other massive white stiffs that can’t play.

    You want to trade him?  A good solid young big with potential to get better?  Thats who you want to trade? In a package with the starting PG who has a PER around 20 and is having a solid season?

    Awesome.  Can we get Baron Davis plus a second rounder back as well?

    I’m on board.

  • Anonymous

    We haven’t been to the lottery as many times as some other franchises have because our FO knows what to do with a lottery pick. Having said that it’s time for one.

  • Anonymous

    Exactly.

  • Anonymous

    Sarcasm on my part.

  • Anonymous

    You know what’s happening here it’s a repeat of last year in the making. But we’re a year older (Core3). Looks like #3 is happening again.

  • Anonymous

    It’s Pop’s way of saying “Sorry Timmy this is the best I can do”

  • Mac

    Hey, if the front office can get 5 lottery picks over 3 years, or 4 in 2 years, go for it. That would be worth the risk. It actually minimizes some of the risk, while also giving them a realistic chance at a short rebuilding process.

  • Anonymous

    I was on that ‘tank the season wagon” myself not so long ago, but people got all spastic about it so I just went along with crowd knowing sooner than later they would be uttering such blasphemy again. The reality is like STIJL and some others like myself have implied our options are extreme but if nothing gets done here and now we’re looking at older set of Core3 guys making more HEB commercials while the other playoff teams are battling for a Championship. I Like the one with the coyote and ice sculpture and the one where Timmy’s behind the glass watching TP and Manu making fun of him. They’re getting better at these commercials or they got another producer.   

  • Thomasholdren

    Wake up BOB. It wasnt the “interior” defense that cost us the game. 

  • Mac

    Also: draft picks only though. Using Timberwolves example, I cite Love, Rubio, Derrick Williams, and Ty Lawson as having more value than Darko, Beasly, Anthony Randolf, Martel Webster, Al Jefferson additions.

  • Thomasholdren

    We did have that starting to show last year with Blair. Unfortunately every time Blair Hammered another big he was taken out and replaced by McDyess who would congratulate every man who scored on him. 

    Look, We arent defenders, we arent aggressive. We have TO SCORE and RUN for this team to be successful. Kawhi Leonard is supposedly our “Bruce Bowen” but is WAAAAAAY to nice and timid to do ANY of the things BRUCE DID and WOULD DO to help us win. Again the things you “analysts” cant see in the game = Danny Green looked good. Why? because he scored? Who gives a crap when you get thrown around and beaten down on defense. Again, WE HAVE TO RUN AND SCORE to win. 

    How evident was it last night that when we needed a bucket, Parker couldnt SCORE or FIND or SET UP anyone to score. This is why he will never be a TOP pg. We need a spark player that can stop momentum with either a stop, score, or assist. RJ had been the one doing this for the beginning of the year but was lost today. 

  • Anonymous

    Everybody kept insisting to shoot from the outside even when they couldn’t hit the side of a barn possession after possession. Why didn’t they go inside and post up. I know Splitter wouldn’t have mattered last night but in the 4th qtr when Pop took him out of the doghouse to let him play a little crap he practically had a billboard advertising to get the ball inside on a roll to the rim. Somebody finally realized he was playing and slipped him the ball and he posted up on Haslem using that  hook of his on him. I even heard the pop (no pun intended) in the net when it went through. But then he was sent to the doghouse again to finish watching the game. What happened to play the young guys while they’re getting their asses whipped strategy? Way to go Pop. At that point Pop you know it didn’t matter if he fouled out or not. Would it Pop? Loved his post game talk right outside the locker room. He looked like he wanted to explode but just decided to blame it on Lebron.

  • Anonymous

    Man that Mike Miller can shoot even when he gets kicked in the nuts!

  • Anonymous

    Your going to blame those gazillion 3′s on Tony? Really?Seriously?

  • Anonymous

    They really need  a good big (6-11/7 feet) big really bad. Don’t you say? Just what the hell did Bonner do in all those minutes? Stop screwing with the line up Pop!

  • Thomasholdren

    And here are those players AVERAGES: 

    Griffin – 22/11       +6 -2 W
    Scola – 16/6         +2/-1 L
    Jefferson – 18/9     +6/+2W
    Love – 26/14          -2/-1L
    Al Harrington – 14/5 +4/-2W
    Scola 16/6     –         +4/-1 W
    Aldridge – 23/8 –        +4/-1W
    Gortat – 14/9             +10/+6W
    Bosh –  20/8              +10/0 L

    Totals :                +44/+2 

    *Now look at whom defended each* 

    Now look at our W/L during those games – 6-3 

    If you take a CLOSER LOOK at those stats you will see that 

    1. We got torched by a G 
    2. We fail to score 100 in every loss but 1

     
    Houston Loss Kevin Martin scored 25 OUR TEAM SCORED 85….
    LUKE RIDENOUR posted a 19/9 game in the Minn Loss OUR TEAM SCORED 96
    The Miami Loss … LEBRON…. .33. OUR TEAM SCORED 98…. 
    Thunder- Harden ERUPTS for 20…. OUR TEAM 96

    *The BUCKS LOSS Stephen Jax Scored 34 …. OUR TEAM SCORED 103. * THIS IS THE ONLY GAME WE SCORED OVER 100 and LOST……. 

    It is NOT THE INTERIOR DEFENSE. It is our scoring. WE HAVE TO SCORE OVER 100 PPG, and we have to get a PERIMETER DEFENDER. 

  • Anonymous

    If we make the last playoff spot where does that put us in the draft? Why does the team with 8th playoff spot in the East usually have crappier record than the west? Damn!

  • Tyler

    Blair was showing signs of being an elite defender last year?!?

    If that’s the case, we definitely weren’t watching the same games…..

  • Tyler

    No one is giving the Spurs lottery picks in a loaded draft for anyone on our team. 

  • Tyler

    What exactly are you referring to when you say “risk”?

  • Tyler

    Or the one where Pop takes a bite off the carrot and proceeds to chew for a few seconds…..kills me every time.

  • Bushka

    Every time Blair hammered another big?

    What are you even talking about?  Blair got taken out because he hit someone hard?
    Blair got taken out when he racked up 3 or 4 fouls quick.  Like every other big man in the history of the world.

    Have you ever seen an NBA game?

  • Bushka

    I think our D will be better come playoff time regardless.  Splitter will be integrated and playing at a higher level and Leonard/Green are both going to work well within the system.

    I am not saying we’re contenders.  I just think its an enjoyable thing to watch the growth in the team.  

    Next year is going to be crazy.  Timmy might retire and we go to a full rebuild.  Timmy might take a lot less money and we get him for nothing as a low minute machine and defensive coach style big.  

    It’s all up in the air but we are going to have a lot of options.  We need to not blow it this season by wasting our assets.
    You can trade TP or anyone else just as easily at draft time when deals are being worked on all over the league.  You can get in as the third or fourth team in a mega trade and pick up the role players/draft picks you need just by utilising your position as a team with available cap space and young players.

    All this stuff can come to pass and in my opinion WILL come to pass because the front office is better at this than anyone here.  They know how to utilise an asset and get the most of their money.

  • Mac

    Draft = unproven players = risk, especially if a proven player was dealt to acquire the drafted player.

  • Bushka

    For one minute put our differing opinions on Offence vs Defence to the side.

    Be pragmatic.  No change right now is going to bring in better players that get the team over the top this season to serious contender status.

    We have young wing defenders  in Leonard and green who are coming out of the gates much faster than we anticipated (as fans that is the coaching staff probably had a better inkling).

    Leonard especially can become a very very good defender given enough time and the right kind of system.  Green is already an excellent help defender and could be just the ticket in a year or two as well.

    Why screw this development up?  Why trade now?  The group we have right now is literally a result of quality farming by the spurs front office.  They sift through a lot of chaff to get the right guy and they hit the mark at a better percentage than any other franchise.

    Let them develop and take their lumps this season.  They will be much better players for running with guys that run the spurs system all year.

    Defence is a team concept.  The celtics proved that with guys like Pierce & Allen suddenly becoming part of the leagues best defence when they won a title.

    Let Blair/Splitter/leonard/Green learn the system as a unit.  Let them work it out and become better as a team, then next season you make the moves that you need to make.

    Right now it is just panic for the sake of panic.

  • Bushka

    i got that mate :)  i was just jumping on the sarcasm train as well :)

  • Bushka

    Yeah im not sur what your saying here.

  • Bushka

    o yep.  I am totally on board with that.

  • Bushka

    Im really interested to see if Leonard keeps starting when Manu comes back.  

    If pop runs Manu in the second unit it’ll be really really big for our team.  If he runs Manu at the 2 i wouldn’t be surprised to see R.J Drop to the 2nd unit and Leonard become the starter.
    I see him as a future all defensive team guy.  Something we have not the past few years.  

  • DorieStreet

    Game Time: Make Howard work to get his production, and shut down everyone else.  The first road win on a BTB 2nd game vs. ORL will be a very good bounceback from last night’s fiasco.

  • Hobson13

    Realism says we’re a 5-6 seed that gets bounced in the first round.  At that point, I’d just rather pass on the 1 and done and jumpstart our rebuilding process with good picks in a deep draft.

  • Mac

    I was agreeing with deeds130 in saying that draft picks are better than former lottery picks needing a new team to try to establish themselves. I compared Timberwolves’ picks versus the guys they picked up in trade or free agency. Example: Ty Lawson has more value than Martel Webster.

  • Hobson13

    You have an interesting point regarding the wings who have scorched the Spurs this year.  However, as you have also pointed out, these bigs have virtually ALL scored above their season averages and that’s not a coincidence.  At least I see strong defensive potential when I see Anderson and Leonard.  However, Bonner will never be able to defend and Blair will never grow 6 inches.

    I profoundly disagree with your statement that our scoring is the problem.  Yes, we have had games where we couldn’t outscore an opponent who was blowing up our defense, but that’s not an offensive problem. Overall we are 4th in the entire league in PPG.  In 4 of our 5 losses, we have scored 103, 98, and 96 (twice).  Those are enough points to win NBA games if you can defend worth a damn.

  • Thomasholdren

    Remember when Tiago got abused with a spin move then DUNKED on…? 

  • Thomasholdren

    Surprisingly enough to the pop-fanclub he was 2nd on the team in Defensive win shares, had the same Drating as TIM, led our team in STL%, was 4th on our team in PER… not to mention the fact that we were playing OUR BEST with him in the rotation…. So he was valuable on both ends of the floor. 

    Blair has the best instincts on the team (besides Manu), and while no one stated he was an “ELITE DEFENDER” I did say that he was a Tony Allen type, dirty work = rebounding, deflections, diving for loose possessions, I would bet he lead our bigs in charges drawn. 

    UNFORTUNATELY for us, and Blair’s development, POP took him out (sometimes deservedly) for being overly aggressive on both ends of the floor. 

    We need, more than anything, high energy players who make things happen ON BOTH ENDS OF THE FLOOR. For awhile we had THE PERFECT compliments to every position in their primes. Now each time you add or delete a piece you have to take into account what is left of the original pieces.

    Instead of arguing about WHAT is needed why dont you try to come up with a logical WHO we need. 

  • Thomasholdren

    Nope. Thats why I rely on you and all of your insight to teach me what is wrong with the SPURS and why they aren’t winning. 
     
    Your ideas are simply regurgitation of the F.O. and what they HAVE  DONE IN THE PAST. If they knew what SA needed we wouldnt be discussing what is missing from the team. 

    I am sure you thought the addition of RJ would propel us to the next level. Unfortunately you probably didnt realize that he is only effective in a transitional system, which we dont employ (until last year *starting to…* ) notice how much better he performs when not shooting set shots out of a scripted play. 

    I am sure you thought the addition of Antonio McDyess would propel us into the Finals. Unfortunately for you, you disregarded that we didnt have ENOUGH defenders (or scorers) to mask his inability to score. 

    The interesting thing is, I think that this year is POPS BEST YEAR of coaching. He is letting the kids play, and I think he has learned that formulas can only work if the players are right for your system. 

    I would assume, that we all would agree that we played our best last year WITHOUT McDyess getting a boatload of minutes (starting), and starting Manu. Why? Because we OUTSCORED our opponents. Again, The record speaks for itself. When we were playing to OUTSCORE the opponent we were highly successful. When we were playing to LIMIT THE OPPONENTS SCORING we were highly unsuccessful. 

    But keep trying to fit the square into the round, outdated, hole. 

  • Thomasholdren

    I disagree Bob. I think he is trying to get everyone’s identity. We need a scorer. We need a spark  off the bench. But we also dont want to make the Bonner Mistake, where we sub in a guy whom can score, but allows his man to score on every possession. 

    Speaking of Bonner, I think he knows that his time is limited. He is really looking uncomfortable out there. 

  • Bushka

    pop took him out because he kept getting in foul trouble and getting steals by using his hands without moving his feet.

    That means he gets a lot of fouls…and he’d get pulled for it.  It happens a lot with bigger guys who get kind of tired.