El Conclusion: San Antonio Spurs 99, Sacramento Kings 79
|Tim Duncan, PF 34 MIN | 3-12 FG | 4-6 FT | 9 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | +14
Really rough shooting night for Timmy, contributing as a source of some definite frustration for the big man. But, as usual, he was very solid elsewhere. When his shot clearly wasn’t falling, he had no issues getting others involved on a night when the Spurs were sloppy as all hell. And he played his normal brand of great defense. His six assists were a third of the team’s total, which is pretty impressive.
|Kawhi Leonard, SF 31 MIN | 4-11 FG | 5-6 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | +7
Kawhi’s impact was similar to Duncan’s on Friday: didn’t shoot well but played great defense, forcing Rudy Gay into a 4-of-14 shooting night. Also, he’s really starting to get his. He’s looking for his shots, he’s being really aggressive and he’s asserting himself within the flow of the offense. This is what Spurs fans have been waiting for, right?
|Tiago Splitter, C 21 MIN | 5-8 FG | 1-1 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +15
The Spurs are now 21-0 when Tiago scores 10 points or more, and he did that in the second quarter. Gregg Popovich called Splitter a “horse” after the game, saying he was a monster on the interior. I couldn’t agree more. Tiago is playing as well right now as he has at any point in his career, and that’s a very big deal.
|Tony Parker, PG 28 MIN | 6-15 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 14 PTS | +8
Pretty light work night for Parker, and he wasn’t great either. Not many Spurs were, really. Tony was good enough, but there’s not a ton to say here. Tony is Tony, he’ll have much better nights.
|Danny Green, SG 18 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +6
Another Spur with an awful shooting night. But also another Spur that played good defense. It all kind of balanced out.
|Aron Baynes, PF 10 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | +2
Baynes has essentially supplanted Jeff Ayres as the fourth big, and it’s going well. The Big Banger is a space-eater, and he’s becoming more and more familiar with the flow of the system. It’s definitely a process, but he’s giving the Spurs some really nice size off the bench, which is valuable in itself.
|Matt Bonner, PF 14 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +9
Love you, Matty, but I hardly remember these minutes. Oh I do remember one open three during that crazy third quarter that barely hit rim. Then again, I don’t remember anything that went really badly with you on the floor. But of course, the Spurs were +9 with you on the floor. It’s amazing how it works.
|Boris Diaw, PF 16 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | 0
Maybe the quietest games of the season for Diaw. Not sure why. He was the only Spur without a positive plus-minus in the game. Bleh.
|Jeff Ayres, C 2 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +5
Ayres didn’t play enough to get a grade, but to expound a bit on the Baynes comment above: One of Ayres’ biggest weaknesses is that he’s not much of an interior presence on the defensive end. He’s a solid athlete who affects the perimeter defense more than post defense. He also rebounds well. But he just doesn’t do well protecting the rim, and I don’t know if those hands are still an issue.
|Patty Mills, PG 18 MIN | 3-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +6
Patty did his thing, but it wasn’t all that memorable. This game was just ugly in general.
|Cory Joseph, PG 3 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1-1 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +6
Not enough minutes to register, but he did make a couple of nice garbage-time plays.
|Manu Ginobili, SG 24 MIN | 4-11 FG | 6-7 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +13
ANOTHER Spur with a bad shooting night, but Manu was impactful while on the floor, which is normal. A fairly quiet box score, but you look up at the end of the game, and the Spurs were +13 with him in the game.
|Marco Belinelli, SG 22 MIN | 7-12 FG | 2-3 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 17 PTS | +9
Marco was awesome, especially in the fourth quarter. He was consistently killing Travis Outlaw with back cuts when the defender turned his head, and he was one of like two players who shot well. Belinelli had a ton to do with the Spurs’ turnaround in the final quarter after three terrible ones. Probably the player of the game.
He wasn’t the one missing all those shots. Game plan is the same every night, so it is what it is.
Four Things We Saw
- My goodness what a weird game. The Spurs shot 38 percent from the floor and missed 20 threes, but they still won by 20 points. That’s the Kings, I guess.
- That’s 12 straight wins, and it officially puts the Spurs’ Big Three ahead of the Lakers’ Big Three (Magic, Kareem and Cooper) with 491 wins as a trio. Pretty incredible. Next up in first place: Bird, Parish and McHale.
- Back to the game: that was ugly. The first three quarters resembled more of a crappy pickup game than the type of contest we’ve become accustomed to from the Spurs’ perspective. It was getting seriously heated, and San Antonio was kind of falling into that trap. The level of discombobulation was quite funny at times, but the Spurs just flipped a switch in the fourth quarter, when they scored 30 points after putting up 69 over the previous three frames. The ball was moving, as were players, and the team looked like itself again. They were able to lock in when they needed to do so.
- The Oklahoma City Thunder had a big scare on Friday, when Russell Westbrook went down with a knee sprain after colliding with Kyle Lowry. It was his surgically repaired knee, and it didn’t look good at all. The Thunder won in a freaking wild game, when Kevin Durant hit a game-winner from 30 feet away with a man in his face, but this was a reminder of how delicate an NBA season can be. There’s a month left until the playoffs, let’s get everyone there in one piece.