El Conclusion: Spurs crush Lakers and everyone gets an A

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Los Angeles Lakers 85 Final

Recap | Box Score

119 San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan, PF 15 MIN | 4-10 FG | 1-1 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +20A near double-double and three blocks in 15 minutes is pretty good. Also good, he played 15 minutes.

Kawhi Leonard, SF 21 MIN | 3-8 FG | 3-3 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +16First game without the glove/sleeve thing and he shoots below 50%… Coincidence? Yes, yes, it probably is.

Tiago Splitter, C 19 MIN | 1-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | +15I’m focusing on the assists and steals here. And generally speaking his ability to make plays that don’t show up in the box score or whatever that cliche is.

Tony Parker, PG 14 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | +8He could’ve destroyed Jordan Farmar and Kendall Marshall, but he didn’t need to. But he could have, an we know it.

Danny Green, SG 22 MIN | 5-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +17Keep shooting, Danny. Keep shooting.

Aron Baynes, PF 18 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | +3He looked great, especially running the break. He didn’t eat anyone tonight… yet.

Matt Bonner, PF 26 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | +21MATT BONNER CONTRACT GAME! GET THAT PAPER, MATTY.

Boris Diaw, PF 16 MIN | 3-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +12Seriously, how many dudes played 20 minutes or less tonight? Boris didn’t miss tonight. Well done, Boris.

Jeff Ayres, C 14 MIN | 4-6 FG | 2-4 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +2Hadn’t played in a few games and you couldn’t even tell. The energy was all over the place.

Patty Mills, PG 15 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | +5Probably did more towel waving than shooting tonight. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Cory Joseph, PG 26 MIN | 5-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | +20Any extra aggressive CoJo tonight, which is always great to see. He’s shown he can get to the rim, but given his regular role in the Spurs offense it’s more important that he’s confident shooting jump shots, which he did tonight.

Manu Ginobili, SG 14 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +1214 minutes. Spurs win. This gets an A.

Marco Belinelli, SG 21 MIN | 4-11 FG | 3-3 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +19He only shot two 3′s tonight. Doesn’t seem like enough. Otherwise, solid work.

Gregg Popovich
When Matt Bonner plays the most minutes AND it’s a blowout win, the coach gets an A.

Four Things We Saw

  1. Pau Gasol had 18 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks tonight. Lost in all the awfulness that is the Lakers this season is that Pau is still really good. Here’s my question: If it were an option, would you rather have Pau Gasol at $10 million next season or Boris Diaw for $5 or $6 million? You can’t afford both, but a Duncan, Splitter, Gasol trio would be a handful for other teams. But they’d lose some roster flexibility. What say you?
  2. Absent of any objectivity, it was great to see Matt Bonner get some extended minutes tonight and play well. I was never a fan of Bonner averaging 20+ minutes a game, but I’m sure becoming the 5th or 6th big has been a tough adjustment for him. And then he got to into Mobb Deep after the game!
  3. The Spurs host the Utah Jazz Sunday night where they’ll go for win 50. Then they travel to Los Angeles and Sacramento for what will likely be wins 51 and 52. So it’s conceivable the win streak gets to 12 before they see Golden State on the second night of a road back-to-back.
  4. The Aron Baynes increased minutes storyline of the last few games is probably a little more important than we realize. When Tiago Splitter got hurt in January, the Spurs didn’t have a ton of size to protect the paint. Baynes is no Splitter, but he’s a big intimidating body that pull down rebounds and not get shoved around in the paint. I’m not saying I want to see Baynes a lot in the postseason, but the last few games show things won’t go to Hell if he does have to play extended minutes for a few games.
  • camroc

    No, we don’t get rid of Bobo .<= that's a period. We don't get rid of Bobo. Tiago, yes. His $10mil for Pau.

  • neverthehero

    I’m really hoping if the Spurs continue winning, it would be nice to pick up 2 or 3 games on OKC before the month is over.

  • camnpat

    Diaw is more durable than Gasol, has more range (Gasol has a mid range but not a three point shot), and is a good, mobile defender than can match up against several positions. I’d keep versatility over bringing a guy who might not fit well with the squad (remember the Howard- Gasol experiment last year?), who has been more injury prone in recent years, and who has his ups but some very deep lows from time to time.

    Just because he is doing well scoring and defending in a team that is not too good at either doesn’t mean he would fit with the Spurs.

    As for the Baynes experiment going on as of late, I like it. While many of these pieces were already there last year, the fact that they are becoming more active this season is huge. I don’t know of any other team that has a full roster of people that can play and fit well as the Spurs, even with some pieces that, while not equal to their counterparts, are almost a mirror of the main players. If Popovich can have the players that have seen more action this year prepared for the playoffs it will be huge. Whether by playing a few minutes a game longer stretches, they will be critical to give rest to Tim, Tony, and Manu, specially in the early matches, so they can be fresher the deeper we get into it.

  • ThatBigGuy

    If Bobo costs $6mil, I think you go with Gasol at $10mil. Bobo may be more flexible, perhaps, but a great Bobo game is something like 12/6/5. A great Gasol game is 22/10/3. Could you imagine stints with Gasol and Manu running the PnR with some combo of Kawhi/Danny/Patty/Belly on the perimeter? That’s a playoff team by itself.

    That being said, not resigning Bonner gives us a chance at Bobo AND Gasol.

  • td4life

    If you can bring the land walrus back next year, I think you do it even if it costs you Pau Gasol. Gasol doesn’t add enough defensively to fill a need as long as TD is still doing TD things for the silver & black. I guess it’s still possible that the post season could prompt RC to want to retool the roster and let Diaw go, but it’s more likely that they resign him (and Patty!) to keep the excellent chemistry going during the final season of the Popovich-Duncan era.

  • sdfs

    The only way Gasol ends up w/ the Spurs is if Timmay retires since they are basically the same type of players at this point of their careers.

  • Mike Smith

    Gasol is a 20/10 guy. For a few extra mil let Bobo go-go.

  • dwert

    I’m liking the Banes Experiment. He probably would’ve benefited a WHOLE lot more if he played regular minutes during the season instead of useless Ayres, but he is improving. I think the Spurs should definitely bring him back next year for the pure fact that he irritates the hell out of Dwert Howard.

  • fkj74

    We could have them both. Always wanted to see Gasol play wth the Spurs..but Diaw is too valuable on D and his play making is1st rate. Just image the Manu /Gasol pick and roll. Go Spurs!

  • ThatBigGuy

    Mathematically, the Spurs could have the cap space to sign Gasol as an unrestricted free agent, plus resign Bobo and Patty (and Bonner if desired) via Bird/Early Bird rights. It would work if Gasol signed for ~$10 million/year, and would still allow for a raise for Patty. If needed, Spurs could let Bonner go, waive Baynes and Daye, and get another ~$4-6 million in breathing room for a SF back-up. A bigs rotation of Tim/Splitter/Gasol/Bobo/Ayres would be the best in the league.

    I just don’t think the Spurs want to offer Pau more than 2 years, and Pau (age 33) is going to be looking for a long term contract to finish his career on. I think Pau would make a great Spur for 2 years, but not 4, and that may be the ultimate deciding factor.