El Conclusión: San Antonio Spurs 99, Detroit Pistons 95

by

San Antonio Spurs 99 Final
Recap | Box Score
95 Detroit Pistons
Tim Duncan, C 33 MIN | 7-17 FG | 4-4 FT | 13 REB | 3 AST | 18 PTS | +4

Last night Ben Wallace told Duncan that he would be retiring at the end of the season. Then Wallace traded elbows with Duncan for old times sake. Wallace might be done, but with his current level of double-double production it would seem that Duncan has a few years of productivity left in him.

Richard Jefferson, SF 33 MIN | 4-7 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 13 PTS | +2

A Richard Jefferson sighting! In the fourth quarter no less. And a dunk. Throw in a big rebound and four free throw attempts and Jefferson has his first active game in recent memory.

DeJuan Blair, F 16 MIN | 5-10 FG | 0-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | +2

Another double-digit scoring game for Blair in limited minutes. Five rebounds. There will be nights where his minutes are limited and it’s on Blair to make an impact with his time on the court. Tonight he managed that.

Tony Parker, PG 33 MIN | 5-13 FG | 4-7 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 14 PTS | +5

Brandon Knight was able to handle Parker’s quickness, but it’s Parkers footwork, change of pace, and overall subtle cleverness that sets him apart from other speedsters.

Daniel Green, G 22 MIN | 1-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -9

Green is going to have to prove himself with less opportunities, and it’s going to take some time to adjust. What I like about him is depite only taking three shots he found ways to contribue with five rebounds and three steals.

Matt Bonner, PF 21 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 11 PTS | +6

The shooting is what Matt Bonner is suppose to do. So for now I would like to focus on a defensive play near the end of a quarter. With the clock running out the Pistons ran a pick and roll that freed a dive man, only to be interrupted by a rotating Matt Bonner. His help defense has picked up as the season has come along, even if he never will be a plus in that category.

Manu Ginobili, SG 25 MIN | 0-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 1 PTS | +17

Care to know why there were few questions regarding Ginobili drastically disrupting team chemistry like there is with Carmelo Anthony? Because Ginobili does so much without scoring the ball. Ginobili is a perfect, amped up role player with All-Star scoring ability and supernatural court sense.

Gary Neal, PG 16 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 4 PTS | -4

Still uneven performance from Neal from game-to-game, but his aggressiveness and track record leaves few worries. A throw away game.

Tiago Splitter, C 22 MIN | 4-9 FG | 5-8 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 13 PTS | +4

Tiago makes ball-handlers better on pick and rolls, Manu Ginobili makes dive men better on pick and rolls. My mind explodes at the thought of both of them working it together for large minutes.

Kawhi Leonard, SF 19 MIN | 4-6 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | -7

Manu Ginobili’s passing even puts more arch into Leonard’s jump shot.

Three Things We Saw

  1. I never understood why Tony Parker caught flak for not being Manu Ginobili in terms of passing ability. At the end of the first half Ginobili spotted Duncan diving to the rim, open, off a pick and roll. He skipped the pass to an open Matt Bonner. He started his pass before the defender even decided he was going to rotate over to a rolling Duncan. That’s damn near precognitive. Only a handful of players in the entire world can do that.
  2. This was a monster night for our entire frontline, albeit against a weak defensive team. Still, a moment to recognize it in our comments if you would.
  3. The biggest downside to the game was Tony Parker’s eight fourth-quarter points. The Spurs shouldn’t have needed them. As Manu works his way back in it’s my hope he continues to come off the bench, at least until T.J. Ford returns, to provide Parker with some much needed rest.
  • http://www.facebook.com/spencer.pierce1 Spencer Pierce

    The other significant thing I saw was extended minutes for the Duncan-Splitter backcourt. Pop put them together in the first quarter, which was the first time that I remember that happening this year.  They’re still learning to play together, but even the Piston’s announcers called that pairing the “quasi twin towers”.

  • The Commissioner

    Welcome back. I missed you after the Nets game. I was on a plane during last nights game and watching NBA Tonight. Not one mention of the hottest team in the NBA winning its eighth straight. Only Linsanity. I think Pop likes to be under the radar.

  • Len

    I love Manu as much as the next Spurs fan, but no way should he be given a ‘B+’.  Manu hasn’t gotten his rhythm on the court back at all.  He looked human out there and that pails in comparison to the supernatural Obi-Won we all are used to seeing.  He was a C+ at best.

  • Len

    On second thought, since he was worried about disrupting team chemistry, he is completely looking to pass.  

    Manu is so awesome. Ok, a B- in my gradebook.

  • The_kamikaze_caesar

     I saw that play where Ginobili passed the ball to the open Matt Bonner. NO ONE was aware of what is happening except for Bonner and Ginobili. It looked like Duncan thought the ball was for him!

    Incredible play from an incredible player.

  • NYC

    About minutes:

    As much as I don’t like seeing Parker play 33 minutes, I DO like seeing Duncan get 33 minutes of burn. I think there is such a thing as being too cautious with Duncan’s minutes. Playing him too cautiously, as we saw last season, leaves him rusty and out of sync with the rest of the team. We can’t just expect him (or the team as a whole) to suddenly put it into gear during playoffs. He has to be allowed to get practice with the team during the regular season. If he gets a little bit fatigued, so what? His production might go down? How much production was he providing sitting out most games? If he gets injured, oh well. Them’s the breaks. What did we see last year? Duncan was fine, having sat most of the season, but we exit first round anyway because of an injury to another important piece. Duncan simply can’t carry the team all the way to a championship anymore. The only way we can do it is with all three of our main horses sprinting PLUS big contributions from role players. I don’t believe shielding any one horse from wear and tear is good for the other two or the team as a whole. Bottom line: Duncan needs to be on the court to a) stay productive and make them respect our authori-tay, and b) take some burden off Parker and Ginobili. Having hindsight from last season, I think Popovich overprotected Duncan last season and is making the right adjustment playing him more this season. I hope he continues to do so even with the return of Ginobili. Duncan needs to see closer to 30 minutes per night than 20 minutes per night. Same for Ginobili. Parker should be kept close to 31 minutes a night. Keep Splitter closer to 20 than 30. Let the young guys pick up the slack; they’ve proven they can handle it. My biggest concern now is Parker being overplayed, getting fatigued, or, god forbid, injured. Any stumble to any one of our Big Three is equally catastrophic in my eyes. 

  • http://twitter.com/pravdo pravdo nietz

    to your point: last year in the playoffs Duncan played well in the first half but disappeared in the second because he wasn’t used to additional minutes.

  • Titletown99030507d

    I like Splitter at the 25 minute range playing with the 2nd unit.I don’t know what it is but I think he’s more efficient on the offensive end with Bonner or by himself. Not enough to go around for the both of them he  and Timmy on the offensive side. That’s just what I saw.

  • DorieStreet

    I made a comment on a prior post when I thought we could go 7-2 on the RRT (but scaled it back to 5-4) would the NBA media take notice. If the Ivy Leaguer meshes with Amare & Melo and NYK keeps winning–Spurs could go the enitre month of February without a loss and they might get a mention.

  • MSteele_in_Eire

    No mention of Leonard’s defense, I know we expect it of him but I thought it was ridiculously good against one of the better, yet more underrated SFs in the league. The other day I seen that Portland played out Dallas, albeit in a loss, with a lineup of Felton, Crawford, Matthews/Batum, Wallace (!) and Aldridge. I think, given Leonard’s size, he is the perfect player to play the 4 in a small ball line-up. Now seeing Wallace early in his career and seeing Leonard, I see 2 very similar players. Wallace is a very good 1-on-1 & team defender, streaky shooter, decent ball handler and very good rebounder and if Leonard can play to near his level then we got a very good player on our roster. Needless to say, as you can see, I’m very excited about this guy.

  • DorieStreet

    Is it the late start, the lack of a training camp, a half-week preseason–or did Tim add something new this past summer (workout regimen, nutrition/diet change)? It’s not only his production; it’s the manner he goes about it—no laboring, moves and court decisions are usually quick and crisp (even allowing for the lost steps). I hope as the season continues the coaching staff keeps a sharp eye out for Tim so as not to wear him down—-but he seems to be handling the minutes well.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/WBPW327T6XAZCCFQY25HBG6RE4 Cristian

    Don’t know if anyone noticed yesterday in the article about Tiago’s minutes, but I mentioned how he should be the first big to sub into the game instead of Bonner and at the same time as Manu. And just like that, against Detroit, in 1st and 3rd quarter Tiago and Manu subbed in at the same time. This gave him a few more minutes with Tim on the floor, but I agree with Titletown, they just look weird on offense the two of them together. 
    Concerning Tim’s minutes, I think he should play around 30 mpg, but IMO he plays to much in the 1st quarter, many times 10+ minutes. I know he’s freshest then, but even Parker subs out before him. 
    The one thing I hate about Pop is that he takes too long to decide on a rotation. Actually, after the ’07-’08 season, Pop has had more and more trouble finding a stable rotation during the season which to take into the playoffs. I understand from time to time he needs to change it, mixed it up a bit, depending on the game, play and energy level of who’s on the floor, but I’d like to see some more consistency. Maybe we will after Manu gets closer to his old self.

  • Len

    I did take notice of a play where Tiago basically was posting up at the free throw line extended (and actually got called for a BS offensive foul).  I’m not sure if Tim was on the floor too.  But I liked what I was seeing.  Sometimes Tiago should get the ball farther away from the hoop.  It takes advantage of his passing and his good ball handling (for a big).  I think this is the best way that Tim and Tiago co exist on the court.  Hope to see more of it.