El Conclusión: San Antonio Spurs 99, Portland Trail Blazers 83
|Tim Duncan, C 21 MIN | 3-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | -3
Struggled with Portland’s long-armed defenders, had nearly as many turnovers as points. Was not a factor in the Spurs decisive runs.
|Richard Jefferson, SF 30 MIN | 1-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 3 PTS | +3
Played his first memorably poor game of the season. Didn’t really do anything to hurt the Spurs, but was otherwise invisible.
|DeJuan Blair, F 28 MIN | 5-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 11 REB | 3 AST | 13 PTS | +8
Came alive in the fourth quarter to help put the Blazers away. Tried his best Manu behind-the-back dribble in the open court, was lucky he got tripped. Active, but still too short to guard LaMarcus Aldridge.
|Tony Parker, PG 34 MIN | 8-16 FG | 4-4 FT | 4 REB | 9 AST | 20 PTS | +12
Perfect fourth quarter made up for a rough start, over penetrated at times but never lost his aggressiveness.
|Kawhi Leonard, SF 35 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-1 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 11 PTS | +1
Burst on the scene in the fourth quarter. The rookie is a ball player now, guarding multiple positions while appearing at just the right times to poke the ball lose without actually gambling. Will be special if he gets any offensive skill set to go with his great instinct.
|Matt Bonner, PF 6 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | +4
Put together his first back-to-back useful plays of the season, hitting a three and drawing a charge.
|Daniel Green, G 30 MIN | 3-7 FG | 5-6 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 13 PTS | +29
Got the Spurs back in it in the second quarter. Might be the only player on the second unit that can consistently create and sometimes hit shots. Is already a better backup point guard than Gary Neal.
|Gary Neal, PG 22 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-1 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 7 PTS | +12
Hard to fault him for playing out of position as the backup point guard. Against Portland’s pressure defense he was overmatched. Really misses T.J. Ford.
|Tiago Splitter, C 20 MIN | 5-5 FG | 4-7 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 14 PTS | +6
Easily the best game of his NBA career. Played good position defense on LaMarcus Aldridge (even if he did lose him on pick and rolls and cuts) and more importantly created shots for himself in the post.
|James Anderson, SG 10 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | +10
Got some minutes, was better than recent games, but is still on the outside of the rotation looking in.
|Malcolm Thomas, F 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -1
Jumped higher than a phone book, kicking off the Next-Ian-Mahinmi-Watch for Spurs front court players that jump higher than phone books.
|Cory Joseph, G 2 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | -1
Executed the perfect Tony Parker backdoor cut, complete with requisite fall after hitting the layup. Textbook.
Five Things We Saw
- It’s a lot easier to defend when you’re not chasing your own turnovers down the other end of the court. The Spurs turned it over 10 times in the first quarter, helping the Blazers shoot 64.7 percent. They finished shooting 40 percent and never scored more than 18 in any of the final three quarters.
- Leave it the Spurs to find the only player in NBA history to show less emotion than Tim Duncan. Hit a three-pointer, made an impressive pass off a spin move to Blair, and was an all around fourth quarter terror without so much as a blink. Maybe Tim can teach him how to make his eyes bigger.
- Danny Green is a pretty good shot blocker for a guard. He excels at chasing the ball handler over the pick, staying attached to his hip without fouling, and catching blocks from behind.
- Kawhi Leonard has a little Manu Ginobili to go with his Bruce Bowen comparisons–he has a knack for coming off his man to help just as the ball handler turns his back, gambling for steals without actually taking any risks.
- Lineups with Leonard, Green, and Splitter are promising as the Spurs look to improve their defense this season. Should be special when Manu Ginobili returns.