El Conclusion: Spurs pull even behind Foreign Legion

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San Antonio Spurs 93 Final

Recap | Box Score

89 Dallas Mavericks
Tim Duncan, PF 38 MIN | 6-16 FG | 2-3 FT | 10 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | -6Duncan’s always important to the Spurs success, but he was dealing with foul trouble throughout the second half. The Mavs are also doing a great job denying him the ball in the post. He also had the biggest contest of the series at the end of the game, altering Monta Ellis runner just enough.

Kawhi Leonard, SF 38 MIN | 3-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 12 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 7 PTS | +6The defense was great. Not many players are able to go for a rebound but then go out and contest a three-pointer. Still, he hasn’t been able to get his offense going. He’s only shooting 30 percent from three-point range, but overall, outside of game 3 he hasn’t had a rhythm he had post all-star break.

Tiago Splitter, C 25 MIN | 4-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 12 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +5He’s been really good this series. His defense on Dirk has been top notch. He’s always going to struggle with contested shots at the rim, so I’m at a point where I just accept that’s going to happen. The other thing he’s done really well is work the two man game with Manu Ginobili. Anytime he sets a screen for Manu you just feel like good things will happen.

Tony Parker, PG 30 MIN | 5-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 10 PTS | +314 shots says he was more aggressive, but until he hit that jumper at the end of the game, it didn’t feel much different than the end of Game 3. Shot chart says he’s still more active at the start of the game than the end, but it did felt like he was trying to do more, especially in the fourth quarter.

Danny Green, SG 15 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -9Complete non-factor and then he started chucking up long 2′s. That’s a great way to get benched.

Boris Diaw, PF 28 MIN | 7-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | 0As aggressive as we’ve seen him this series. Took advantage of the mismatches that came his way. The only knock is his defense on Dirk. For the most part he’s doing a pretty good job, but he’ll sag off him way too often to help on someone driving to the rack.

Patty Mills, PG 20 MIN | 3-5 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +8Felt like he shot more than five times. He was all over the court and played with a ton of energy.

Manu Ginobili, SG 28 MIN | 7-14 FG | 8-11 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 23 PTS | +11If the Spurs win the series, Ginobili will be the MVP. Spurs were a +11 when he was in the game tonight and is a +17 for the series. He’s been the catalyst on offense and at this point, if Danny Green’s not playing, the Spurs have to be content with their shooting guard being better offensively than Monta Ellis.

Marco Belinelli, SG 12 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -7One shot. That’s all you can muster? One shot?

Gregg Popovich
Ran into a little trouble when both Duncan and Splitter ran into foul trouble, which happened right in the middle of Dallas’ second half run. Otherwise, the Spurs did a great job of coming out with energy in the first half and did a good job of responding to Dallas’ third quarter run.

One Thing We Saw

  1. I don’t know whether to feel good or bad about this win. Probably good, though I’d feel better if it had been a 10 or 15 point win. But whatever, best of three series with two games in San Antonio. Buckle up.
  • I need more cowbell

    Man those Danny Green 2 point shots were killing me. At least let Parker make those shots or even Leonard.

  • Josh

    Tony Parker hid from the ball nearly the entire game. Your C grade was generous. If our PG is going to stand in the corner all night, can we put in a better shooter at PG?

  • bevo86

    What is wrong with Danny and Marco? They are absolutely killing the offensive flow when they are in, and both have been poor defensively as well. Danny usually makes up for a cold shooting night with great defensive energy, but he is just stinking it up all around.

  • @seriesandtv

    You forgot the Mamba. 4 minutes and a +9! Release the Mamba Pop! :D

  • Pedro

    Something that worries me about this series is that Marco was supposed to solve the problem of finding a player that could create his own shot once the gaps started to close (a big problem in the Miami series). If Dallas is closing our perimeter shooters with its roster what can we expect against more athletic teams like the Warriors, Clippers and Thunder. Pop needs to figure this out! Also Danny Green is yet to show up.

  • Alex

    I feel like Kawhi was about to go off offensively and then Carlisle sensed it and decided to double Kawhi whenever he got the ball. Good move by Carlisle. Yet, I’d like to see Kawhi take a bigger role in late game offense.

  • spurs10

    Great call. Kawhi really helped us with the extra respect. Manu and Boris were badass.

  • lvmainman

    Parker’s ankle was bothering him after he twisted it in the 1st half.

  • lvmainman

    Pop should’ve played Bonner when Dirk came back in the 3rd qtr with 4 fouls and the Spurs up 14 or so. Why? Dirk couldn’t be aggressive offensively and was going to be passive defensively giving up the 3 pt shot. Bonner would had 4 or 5 uncontested 3′s, the way Dirk was playing defense.

    Bonner did good spreading the floor for easy Ginobili layups and passes to Duncan for layups, but he did forget to box out once and gave up a putback. Pop missed a golden opportunity to take advantage of a clear opening.

  • Sydney spur

    We are probably playing the best veteran and best coached team in the playoffs outside of us. Miami probably warrant an argument there. Credit the Mavericks, having Monta makes them really dangerous down the stretch.
    They have been really smart to take our role players out of the mix and make it a star veterans game which is essentially a wash.
    Green’s role needs to be revised to an aggressive defensive role player for the remaining games – any points he gets is a bonus. Playing Bonner seems to spread the floor better than Marco, and it doesn’t look like Dallas has a cohesive plan to stop a lineup of Tim/Tiago, Matty/Diaw, Kawhi, Manu and Tony/Mills – as we saw with Boris’ game defining 3.
    With Tony nursing a rolled ankle, we need Patty more than ever. If we continue to make them chase 3pt shooters, the rest of the offense should flow.

  • The Kawhiet Storm

    Tony Parker looks like he has nothing left. He is absolutely a non factor when he has Marion or Crowder guarding him. On defense he is constantly getting beaten on transition and his rotations are late, freeing up Calderon for wide open 3′s. Meanwhile, Kawhi is getting Monta Ellis every trip down the floor and we completely ignore it. And when they do double Kawhi it’s always Dalembert from the weak side. Every single time. Pop needs to take advantage of that.

    Am I the only one screaming at the TV when we get a stop on D then run down for a Tony/Manu run back the other way where they dont pass it, dribble for 5 secs then shoot a crap jumper? Always seems to happen when we just need one easy basket to squash a run or nail a dagger.

    Our D collapses on the drive way too often, especially on Calderon Drives. I’ll live with Calderon in the paint over open shots from Ellis, Dirk, and co.

    Blair was absolutely killing us on pure energy and hustle. Good thing he got ejected because otherwise we would be coming back 3-1.

    I never like to blame the refs but they have been horrible this series. At one point the Spurs were being beaten 22-9 on FTA. I really hate the fact that you can’t breathe on Dirk when he’s pulling his patented Sheisser Fade Away, yet Tim couldn’t get the refs to look his way if he had a rape whistle and shorts made from road flares.

    Last, Green and Belinelli have been atrocious. Green especially. He can’t do anything but shoot open 3′s, when that isn’t there he is absolutely useless if he isn’t playing good D, which he isn’t. I would give Daye a few minutes, he can at least dribble a ball. Why not? He couldn’t possibly give you anything less than Jumbaco.

    Patty looks to be back which will be huuuge with Parker waving the white flag. Thank god for Diaw.

  • I need more cowbell

    My god some of those Dirk “fouls” were crazy. The refs let everyone else play through except dirk.

  • este

    That’s on Pop and the staff. They need to come up with some action that’s going to get Green and Belinelli good looks. If a guy is getting open looks and not hitting shots that’s on the player if he’s not getting any open looks that’s scheme and that’s on the coach.

  • Ils

    I came in here to post the exact thing. I was at the game and in the second quarter, when we went off, Kawhi was a big factor. In the third quarter he may have only got the ball 2-3 times. I don’t know why we don’t run more pick and roll with him. He creates such a huge mismatch whoever is guarding him and can take any body to the basket. We have to get Kawhi more involved and not just shooting 3′s

  • camnpat

    I few here say that Parker’s ankle was bothering him, reason why he was not playing well. The problem with that logic, however, is that he was playing bad before the ankle twist. All throughout this series, and even since those days he took off in late February, he has been too hesitant in both shooting and passing. This is causing him to be slow to initiate an attack and/or be too predictable for the defense to catch up with him.

    He might have shot a bit more last night but that doesn’t mean he was aggressive, and it is fine if he is having trouble shooting due to the extra defense on him, but what about the rest of his game? He is holding the ball a bit too long at times, uncharacteristic for him, and making some silly passes at the end, more often than not in a trap or caught in the air without a clear recipient in sight. Manu has had his share of turnovers as well but more often than not these have been trying to set up a play such as that pass to an open Splitter which just was a bit too low. Parker, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be trying to set up plays lately and is almost like he doesn’t know what to do with the ball. There hasn’t been a semblance of a Spurs’ playbook when he is running the point. Even his defense is not that great. He usually doesn’t get credit for his defense but, thanks to his speed, he is able to stay in front of most other point guards. Last night he seemed to be one step behind in this department too (yes, even before the ankle twist).

    As for other team members, where’s the Belinelli that fought like crazy with a roster of just 6 active players against the Miami Heat last year? His role in the team may be slightly different but I am sure Pop is not putting a limit to his effort level. On the other hand, I can understand teams being more aware of Green’s shooting prowess from the three point line this year, and sending more people after him, but where is the defensive effort?

    With that said, we can focus on a few players but it seems Dallas has all of the Spurs’ first unit game broken down. It seems that it is the second unit the one they still haven’t figured out completely.

  • twinm85

    it’s hard to nitpick on diaw, but the other thing he can do better on defense is not draw those touch fouls on dirk’s fade-aways. are they cheesy calls considering all the contact the refs are allowing the mavs to get away with? yes, but they’re calling them nonetheless so we have to adjust.

  • John T.

    I agree he looks more like Mark Jackson out there than Tony Parker. He is painfully slow and all the focus has been on his offense, but he is also not getting back on defense or forcing Calderon off the three point line. One example was the Ellis corner three off transition in the 3rd quarter. Did anyone notice Parker not sprinting back on defense and then losing his balance without any contact. To me Parker is a train wreck right now and he needs to sit or come off the bench the rest of the series. He was also 1-5 in the paint and some of those were wide open right under the basket.

  • interxavier

    The contributions from Danny and Marco are absent and its taking a toll on our offense. It doesn’t help that Parker isn’t at his best this series. I’d say start Mills instead of Parker and Ginobili (although it’s unlikely) over Green.

  • joyer29

    When Parker was in there he was not getting the ball to the shooters. He kept holding it out front looking to drive the ball. Belinelli and Green never really got good looks and both these guys are dependant on someone gettting them the ball when they are open.

  • joyer29

    Parker needs to concentrate on delivering the ball instead of looking to drive every time. His play had a direct impact on Green and Bellinelli

  • LukeDawg

    I agree that Kawhi needs to be a bigger part of the gamelan but I’m just not sure if he is ready to carry a bigger offensive burden yet, especially against more complex games specifically targeted against him. He has been great one on one in the post against ellis, and his one right handed post move has been money. But when the Mavs have adjusted and started doubling him he looked a little lost. Now in some respect, that is too be expected, I’m sure he has never really faced a double and they likely haven’t worked on it in practice much. But if an opposing team doubles any spur, really they are just playing further into the San Antonio game plan, just ask Duncan and the better part of three championship teams. So hopefully they can work on leonard being a little more creative in the post, maybe with hitting the middle cutter rather than just a quick reset that just eats the the shot clock. This could maybe help jump start this offense by creating more passing lanes and better spacing for the backside shooters.

  • fkj74

    Bonner spreads the floor like no other big we have and I think should get more PT. Dallas cannot really post him up that much. Perfect fit for Red Rocket and we could use his 3′s. Both Manu and especially Tony are dribbling too much. More Kawhi in the post to wear Ellis down and do not leave Calderon. Go Spurs!

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  • Joseph Dooley

    Parker running out of gas in the first round is not good. Mavs are playing us like every game is their last. I bet Carlyle told his team going into this series: “We’re going to make them kill themselves to beat us.”

  • camnpat

    No disagreement there with the Marco and Danny contributions, or with Parker’s current performance, but you can’t start Manu and Mills at the same time. Without either of them in the second unit, in particular Manu, there is no play maker in that group.

    I think that a Marco/Danny swap like in the early part of the year could work. Yes, Belinelli hasn’t been good shooting in the series but, unlike Green, he can move well without the ball and cut to the basket with more confidence. Maybe that swap, as some here have suggested, can get both going once and for all. That swap also, if Danny comes with effort to play defense, can mean that coming with the second unit the Spurs can have a replacement for Leonard with that group.

  • interxavier

    The solution to the Marco/Danny problem is to create the opportunities for them to be wide open. This is how Green and Neal bailed us out last year in the playoffs against the Warriors and the Heat. The defense on Parker appears to be making it all the more troublesome to execute. I’m hoping Coach Pop has found the solution to this problem because it could haunt us all the way in the playoffs.

    So far only Manu, Boris, and Tim have been making the consistent offensive strides and its holding us back from supposedly dominating Dallas. Tiago and Kawhi are playing great offense and defense but we seem to lack the bench players to replicate their output. Diaw is a good sub for Splitter but I wish I’d see more production from Ayres (or Baynes, for that matter). As for Kawhi’s sub, do we even have one? Correct me if I’m wrong but we don’t seem to have a similar player like Leonard, which may explain our poor performance against top teams during the early part of the season.

  • interxavier

    Bonner could be the missing link for our outside shooting struggles this series.

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  • camnpat

    To your last question the answer is “no” under normal circumstances (but I don’t think Bruce Bowen had a direct backup either back in the day). If you are talking only defensively then Danny Green would be Leonard’s backup. He can’t replace Leonard in other aspects, such as rebounding, but he is commonly the second best perimeter defender for the team (not that he has been doing himself any favors to make this case lately).

    Granted, in a normal rotation they are both playing at the same time, but here is where the possibility of starting Belinelli in his place could help a bit: have Green come in for Leonard and make him guard the same people rather than the Dallas guards Green has been having issues against. Maybe against the second unit, and with Manu running the point, his shooting will come alive too since the Manu-Mills-Tiago and/or Boris lineup seems to bring in much more ball movement to create plays against this Dallas defense.

    I agree with you that I wish there was more production from some of the other people, specially CoJo who could potentially stay in front of some of the faster Dallas guards while bothering them with his height (maybe I’m wrong but I think he is slightly taller than them).

    We’ll see what happens tonight.

  • interxavier

    I have similar thoughts regarding Joseph. He was useful defensively in last year’s playoffs but I suppose Mills got Coach Pop’s nod because Cory’s offense isn’t as good. The Manu-Danny/Marco combination might work because of Ginobili’s passing abilities, which could make up for Parker’s struggles to find the open man. Like you said, we’ll see what happens tonight.

    PS: If they can get and maintain their rhythm, Bonner and Daye may be the missing links for our outside shooting woes.

  • camnpat

    True. I forgot about Daye.