El Conclusion: Utah Jazz 91, San Antonio Spurs 84

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San Antonio Spurs 84 Final

Recap | Box Score

91 Utah Jazz
Stephen Jackson, SG 32 MIN | 2-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 5 PTS | -15Stephen Jackson has been a valuable contributor as a secondary playmaker, operating on the periphery of the defense’s focus. In that role the inefficiencies that can creep up in Jackson’s game, especially as age sets in, are muted and his aggressiveness is a net positive. Without the benefit of attacking a rotating defense, Jackson shot 2-13 with three turnovers.
Boris Diaw, PF 20 MIN | 2-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | -6Boris Diaw isn’t going to fill up the stat box most nights. His primary value lies in his intelligent floor game. That floor game becomes less valuable, and his faults more glaring, sans the Big Three, when the Spurs need more of a difference maker than just a facilitator.
DeJuan Blair, F 22 MIN | 6-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 13 PTS | -4DeJuan Blair appears to operate best in chaos, which is never more apparent than nights the Spurs rest their primary shot creators. Blair came out early and set a tone that unfortunately could not be sustained. After a strong first quarter it’s hard to remember an impactful moment from Blair.
Daniel Green, G 35 MIN | 3-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | -8Brought energy and was able to generate 11 shots, most of which were good looks. Unfortunately for Danny Green, like so many of the Spurs shots, the ball just could not find the bottom of the net. Appreciate the effort, lament the inability to convert for a night, and chalk it up to a night where shots just wouldn’t fall.
Patrick Mills, PG 24 MIN | 4-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 9 PTS | 0As a point guard, Mills isn’t proving any more or less capable of running the halfcourt offense than Gary Neal. He is fast, and manages to push the pace a little more. But his average ball handling prevents him from harnessing the full potential of his physical gifts when not in the open court. He can, however, space the floor. And while he can be a liability on the defensive end due to his size, he can be a pest when he extends his defense.
Matt Bonner, PF 27 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | 0Matt Bonner simply came to work and did his job. Bonner played his role, hit open shots, and battled defensively. Some might point to Bonner when it comes to the 50-38 rebounding advantage, and they would do so with bias. If Matt Bonner is having his best year, it’s because he’s also been put in an appropriate role. Minus Tim Duncan, the Spurs stretch the limits of his overall effectiveness.
Gary Neal, PG 29 MIN | 6-16 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 14 PTS | -4Inefficient, but hit big shots and created others. On a night when the Spurs lacked that ability, there is some value in that. Neal had five assists, but his passing ability has always been somewhat underrated. It’s creating the passing lanes from the point guard position that he can struggle with. Tough matchup with the speedy Devin Harris.
Tiago Splitter, C 26 MIN | 5-8 FG | 4-5 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | -3The younger Jazz big men would do well to watch Tiago Splitter and the patience and footwork he displays on offense. The words be quick but don’t hurry come to mind. Splitter was a presence, and would have delivered the play of the night with a beautiful behind the back pass to Danny Green in the fourth quarter, had Green not fallen victim to one of the Jazz 12 blocks on the night.
Kawhi Leonard, SF 26 MIN | 3-8 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 7 PTS | +5I appreciate games like this where Kawhi Leonard can stretch his game a little bit. Running the pick and roll and creating his own shot are all outside his comfort zone for the moment, and he will not be asked to do so come playoff time. But it will be good for him to get a little experience here as the Spurs rest players over this gruesome stretch of games.

Four Things We Saw

  1. The Spurs are deep and versatile, and the system operates as a safety blanket of sorts, hiding their flaws and accentuating strengths. But without the Big Three, each of the players are asked to reach a little beyond the limits of their games. They performed admirably, but sorely need the Big Three to settle the offense and execute in the fourth quarter.
  2. The Jazz shot 33 free throw attempts to the Spurs 10. Make what you want of it. Devin Harris is really fast and penalized the Spurs big men for sloppy hedging on screens. Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors are physical beasts that put defenders in bad situations. Minus their stars, the Spurs rely on finding open spacing and simply lack the ability to draw fouls.
  3. I really like the way Popovich juggles the lineup when resting players, keeping guys in their respective roles and lineup combinations as much as possible. Of course, this was not something he could do even a year ago. It’s easier to look good in these situations when you have such a deep, versatile roster.
  4. The Jazz bigger lineups gave the Spurs fits on the glass, but it’s something the Spurs should be able to exploit heavily with Parker and Ginobili should the two teams meet in the first round.
  • theghostofjh

    I don’t think a Kobe-less Lakers is really what we want. Without Kobe, the Lakers get the ball inside more to their NBA-best starting 4/5’s. I’d rather see Kobe launch a bunch of ill-advised perimeter jumpers against a wave of our 2/3’s than to see those opportunities go inside to Bynum & Gasol instead. In a 7-game playoff series against us they would miss Bryant. In a couple regular season games, not so much. In fact, if we don’t watch it, the game could turn in their favor.

  • Justinray813

    i dont even bother reading what that clown tdbe writes

  • Bob

     Pop’s not better than Phil Jackson.

  • Deeds130

    They sure didn’t say “screw it, let’s feed the ball inside” last night… If it was a scrimmage session to demonstrate system IQ to Pop, okay, fine. But there will be nights like that in the playoffs when our shooting sucks, at that point, for the love of Naismith, BENCH BONNER! Don’t expect Matty to be clutch, just cuz he fits our system. I know Pop takes pride that the system will get the shooters open looks. But it’s inexcusable to pass up easier opportunities in the paint. I know it’s on TP and Manu to drive inside, but as we’ve seen with Tony before, that is much much harder in the playoffs. Hopefully, Tony and Manu will say screw it and go PnR with Splitter and Blair… as long as one of them is in the game, that is. Do I have to resort to hoping Tony has grown the leadership stones to say, “Pop, I want Splitter in there with me. Put him in, and we’ll get this win.” Tiago has helped make Tony a better point guard this year. They’ve been solid since day one, last year. I’ll take DJB in that situation as well. The system is great and all, but when it’s not working, Pop has proved too stubborn to try a more conventional approach.

  • Deeds130

    My thoughts exactly… and, if the team starts capitalizing on their bigs with KB out (which hasn’t happened yet), maybe even crazy narcissistic #24 will realize their value. One blessing, even in that case though, is that Bynum is just a little too immature to dominate in these playoffs. I’m starting to believe that the Thunder are for real, having grown an awful lot since we faced them, but that LAL and DAL just aren’t gonna get it together this year. Not saying this 3 game regular season series is gonna be easy though. Not saying that at all.

  • Bob

     They always say if you’re struggling with your shot it’s a good idea to try and get some easy baskets to get you going.

  • Len

    Even with LA’s size at the 4/5, they have horrible outside shooting.  Even when LA pounds the ball down low, they should expect a double team every single time.  Heck, even CHA did that on Monday and completely shut down Bynum.  It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.

  • TD BestEVER

    You can read?????  WOW

  • theghostofjh

    Sure, you raise some good points. They’re definitely beatable if you come ready to play.

  • theghostofjh

    Yeah, agree. OKC is the toughest out, but the rest in the West are far from a picnic in the park.

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