Los Angeles Lakers 102, Pomona-Pitzer 93: The Spurs’ second unit wins cookies and milk

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The Spurs started George Hill, Gary Neal, Richard Jefferson, Tiago Splitter and DeJuan Blair. The Lakers ran with 0.4, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. The Spurs’ starters logged a total 130  minutes; the Lakers starters tallied 157 minutes.  The Spurs lost by 9.

Those are your facts.

Andrew Bynum also hurt his knee, and that’s the tempest in the teapot that will emerge from this game. It already has. MRI this morning. Media frenzy to follow.

The immediate impact of last night’s game had more to do with the Spurs bench getting a good workout against a great team. Players like James Anderson, who figures to play next year, got a foretaste of what it’s like trying to slow Kobe Bryant. Tiago Splitter was reminded that Pau Gasol is very good.   These things pay themselves back in time.

The immediate impact of last night’s game might morph into a weightier consequence, but only if this loss cost the Spurs home court advantage in the Finals. Otherwise, the game was an altogether forgettable affair. It was a nationally televised scrimmage.

Gregg Popovich decided to rest his starters. Phil Jackson didn’t. Gregg Popovich’s starters are healthy and rested. We can’t say the same thing about Phil Jackson’s team until later today. Who was right?

I can see the argument both ways.

Elsewhere, Lionel Hollins, head coach of the Grizzlies, pulled a Popovich by resting Tony Allen and Zach Randolph. In addition to resting their best players, both coaches presumably helped themselves by putting off the Lakers for as long as possible. Had the Spurs won, there was a stronger chance they’d see the Lakers in the second round. Had the Grizzlies won, there was a stronger chance they’d see the Lakers in the first round.

Put differently, the jury is still out on Popovich’s Pomona-Pitzer maneuvers.  I’m withholding judgement until May.

 

  • MSteele

    @NYC
    To be honest I don’t know were to start attacking your argument. “They lacked a bench and had their center leave due to injury.” – well we were playing without our ‘leaders’, best players, pretty much our whole offense, the anchor of our defense… etc. We’re missing 4 out of our starting 5 but you somehow manage to criticize our team’s lack of execution and killer instinct.

    ‘Lack of a killer instinct’ – Well they are a bunch of 1st and 2nd year players on our team who don’t really know what kind of players they’ll be, yet, in the NBA so I’m not gonna get to worried.

    Lack of execution – They only had 9 TOs and they were only out-rebounded by 3 by a much bigger LA frontline. No one expected this team to go into Staples and win but they hustled on D and executed the offense well. They just missed some shots that they usually make. Gary had about 4/5 shots that rattled in and out.

    Everyone was impressed, evidently not you though, with the 2nd and 3rd teams ability to hustle and keep the game close. I don’t believe that any proper Spur fan could come out of this game annoyed by our teams effort, I for one was extremely pleased with the effort.

  • TD = Best EVER

    andy
    April 13th, 2011 at 1:32 am
    from the previous thread

    “at least you recognised that he hustled. you and i obviously disagree on a lot, and this is a big one. you’ve continually been pessimistic about splitter. what do you think qualifies one to start? 10.3 boards/36 on an off night tonight, and that’s still not good enough to start? also, your last comment could be true about every big man in the league save a dozen or so.”

    Rebounding wise this wasn’t an OFF NIGHT for Splitter…… He was above his normal average of 9.9rebounds/36 min………

    “i agree that he needs to improve his shot, and i’ve said before that his hook needs work. to say he’s not starter-quality ignores a growing body of work that suggests otherwise. look, i didn’t see the game tonight, but i have seen him play almost every other time, and what i’ve seen shows me that he could start on almost half the teams in the league because of his defense alone.”

    His defense ISN’T all that you and other supporters make it out to be…….. he is a SOLID defender….. but doesn’t block enough shots for his size/age…..and doesn’t rebound it great either……. There are a few teams that he MIGHT/COULD start for……..but very few…… There aren’t a ton of teams looking to add a big that doesn’t Block shots well, doesn’t rebound it well in to their starting lineups…….. And once you add that he plays best in a PnR system…… that narrows the list down even further…… Not many teams run the PnR as much as we do, and w/o it Tiago will struggle to score……

    Let me end by saying this……. I still think Tiago should start next to Duncan……Then bring Blair off the bench…..But to say that he would start or even would be getting major minutes on another team is just off……He would on a few, but very few…….

  • Nima K.

    For all u folks who wish for Timmy to start alongside Timmy, i dont think thats gonna happen. If i know Pop, hes only gonna use one tower at a time. Splitter will merely be Timmy’s backup. Splitter doesn’t have that much NBA experience yet.

    That said, Splitter has a bright future no doubt. He hasn’t reached his ceiling IMO. This is just the beginning. Like someone said earlier, he’s like a rookie Gasol. And a frikin fast learner. The dude’s ability to adapt is proof of his high BBIQ.

    Besides, I always tell my soccerphilic friends watching BB: playing LAL is like playing AC Milan or Barca in soccer. (which makes us Real Madrid I guess? :-) )

  • Nima K.

    Erratum:

    I meant: for Timmy to start alongside Tiago.

  • DorieStreet

    @Hobson13

    “So you wouldn’t be the least upset that the Lakers, who have sleepwalked through the majority of the regular season, get an easier first round opponent than the Spurs?”

    Started out 8-0/tied for 3rd best record in the league (only 5 less wins-5 more losses than SA);
    other than Spurs (a 2game & 6game loss streak) & Bulls (3 2-game losing streaks), they had most of their losses occur in 2- 5 game ‘mini-slumps’; so did Celtics/Heat/Magic—-don’t consider that sleepwalking.

    And—the reason the Lakers are getting an easier first round opponent (NO) it is because a better opponent–Memphis– held out 2 starters last night & will do the same -or hold out more-in the last game tonight.

    Be angry at the Grizzlies – (1) they’re ducking LA & (2) they want to play the Spurs because they think they are an easier opponent than the Lakers.
    If LA would have caught us for HCA, do you think Grizz lose these last 2 games?

  • idahospur

    I was nervous after the first quarter and did not want to discourage our guys but they came together and played well, requiring the Lakers to make some end of the game runs to get their win. Splitter could really learn this summer but getting more time with Duncan is going to help him develop.

    Both Blair and Splitter got some shots over Gasol, showing how weak the Lakers are on the inside. If Bynum is out, we should have good scoring on these guys come playoffs.

    Let’s play the starters 20-25 minutes tonight, and try some good combinations with Splitter/Duncan.

  • SAJKinBigD

    @Hobson13
    April 13th, 2011 at 9:52 am

    ??? Wow… What a punk…

    In regards to all the “No one wants to face…” stuff: NOLA is hearing this stuff too. They may not have West, but they won’t have ANYTHING to lose and they’ve been listening to everyone basically equating them to a BYE series.
    From personal experience, I can’t imagine a bigger insult. They may be under-manned, but I’m betting they’ll be giving everything they’ve got until they really are finished. Cornering an injured animal may end with the animal dead, but most of the time, those who did the cornering get wounded as well.

  • Nima K.

    If MEM end up losing Yo the clippers just to avoid LAL (thinking SAS will be an easy 1st round opponent), then that shows poor mental character, and they deserve to be eliminated.

    (at least when pop rested our starters, we were happy either way losing or wining LA. If anything, I’d be more afraid of facing OKC in round 2. LAL is an old team like us, but OKC will not hesitate to injure Timmy or Manu off to the bench for the rest of the playoffs)

  • Nima K.

    But then again, maybe it’s better if we face MEM after all. If they’re so chicken to face LA (and therefore choose to lose to LAC), then that shows mental weakness.

    I have a feeling that NOLA will bring in their best game, West or no West, just to prove that they’re no cakewalk. Like SAJKinBigD says: wounded animals fight fiercely.

  • Bob

    It would be great if someone could ask Popovich why he hasn’t tried playing Splitter alongside Duncan. That lineup holds the most potential as far as extending Duncan’s career and improving the frontcourt defense.

  • werdb

    Takeaways from the game

    Lakers played down to the Spurs bench, I don’t think for a min that if the Spurs were making their shots that the Lakers wouldn’t have turned it on in kind (as evidenced by Odom in the 4th).

    I was disappointed in Hill and Jefferson for not getting into the lane more. It was open all night but they didn’t seem to care. This would have opened up more of the inside out game that the bench players really needed. As it was the shooters from the bench had too many contested shots, that they still could have made.

    Neal needs to work just a little on his ball handling in the off season. Just a bit of work and he will be doubly dangerous. Not saying he could fill in for Parker, Ginobili, or Hill, but he would add just a bit more to his game that would make a defender think twice about a lazy chase off the 3pt line. Also it would help in his fast break game too. Situational ball handling would add a huge weapon to his game.

    Splitter looked strong, but…
    He needs work on his post moves a bit. A couple of times he did two moves that Gasol didn’t bite on then just forced up a shot. A third move and a pass would have been preferable to the forced shot. Maybe he could ask Robinson or even Duncan for some tips in the offseason.
    His D was good too, but I’d like to see him get a bit more understanding on how low he can let his man get before the pass comes in. Save himself some work in the long run.
    Lastly, he was breaking off the picks in the P&Rs way too early, I think this killed some of the penetration that Hill could have had.

    The bench looked wrecked, just look at Anderson late in the game, he was gasping. This may have contributed to the poor shooting as well. Green actually looked ok, but his fitness level looks like it rivals Hill’s. He has a TON of untapped talent there, and with a bit of work he could be a solid rotation guy (not near term though).

    All in all a good workout for the bench, but not enough to take away anything meaningful.

  • DorieStreet

    Nima K.

    “Like someone said earlier, he’s like a rookie Gasol. And a frikin fast learner.”

    Whoa—whoaaa, baby-slow your roll on Tiago-comparing him to Pau Gasol, I assume?

    82 games played, 79 games started

    36 minutes/game, 53%FG, 22% on 3′s, 75%FT

    18 pts, 9 reb, 3 ast, 2 blks in 2001-02

    NBA All-Rookie 1st Team /Rookie of the Year

    –and he hasn’t slowed down since then–those are pretty much his career averages.

  • Judd

    Injuries are never funny, but this is:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpYi2SL__SM&feature=player_embedded

    “Get ‘em a body bag!”

    I love Pop’s move, and I’ve been screaming that we need to go for the overall 1 seed since we claimed the West Seed. The Lakers looked confused and mad. Ol’ CIA Pop got right into their heads. If we would have played Hill, Tiago and Neal more in the 4th, we would have won. I’ve never liked a loss, but I loved this loss. Now the Lakers will go into the playoffs feeling low and bewildered. Lots of bench guys got some good solid PT in case we need ‘em in the POs. The team had fun and we got in LA’s heads. I love that Phil sees himself as some sort of mental guru who can manipulate the way the press, refs, coaches and players in the nba think and act, and that he just got mind f*cked by Pop! Let’s beat Phoenix tonight, get the starters back into the swing of things and then dominate! Playoffs baby! Go Spurs Go!

    Oh, and Spillter doesn’t play alongside Duncan, because Spillter clogs the post. He can’t stretch the spacing out because he doesn’t have a jumper. He sure does look solid though. If we play LA, I hope Pop has the confidence to let him play some d against their big line-up. Speaking of d, did anyone else think Novak did a surprisingly awesome job on Lamar? I know Lamar was playing flat, but still.

  • Bruno

    @DorieStreet
    Agree, Gasol had PT in rookie season and nobody fucked with his shot.

  • DorieStreet

    Correction on the shooting percentages—
    52% FG, 20% on 3′s, 72% FT— in 37 min per game

    Previous posted numbers are his career averages.

  • zeanocril

    Why are you people so concerned about Memphis? Yes, they’re bigger than the Hornets but does that automatically mean they’re better? And do you seriously believe that it would really matter who we face? You’re probably reading too much of ESPN, who are calling these Grizzlies a “threat” in the first round. Give me a break. Oh c’mon, would you really prefer a Chris Paul lead team over a squad without playoff experience?? And seriously, no matter who the Spurs play in the first round, they will be ready. The better team will win, so I cannot see any reason to worry.

  • http://readramblerant.blogspot.com/ Humberto

    Regardless of outcome in May, I’d always prefer for the starters to be as healthy as possible prior to their first round action in the playoffs. While the number 1 overall seed is important for game 7 of the Finals, not every championship is decided by this, nor are both Eastern and Western conference top seeds facing one another in the Finals.
    Since the 1980s there have been only 5 game 7s for the Finals. 12 prior to that dating back to the 1946-1947 season. I attempted to see how many times a number 1 seed has actually made the Finals, but ran out of time to research.
    For now, I am happy with Coach Popovich’s decision to start resting up players. Here’s to a good playoff run!
    Good article Timothy Varner. If you can tell me how many times both 1 seeds have made it to the finals that be helpful as well.

  • Nima K.

    @Dorie

    Gasol played 3001 minutes in his rookie year, vs. 733 for Splitter?

    It’s not Splitter’s fault if he’s not getting any playing time. It’s more the burden of a coach who is intensely in love with veterans of the battlefield. (Thats why he frequently visits BAMC I’m told.)

    Yeah, Gasol is a better 3pt shooter, but Splitter’s job description is not exactly the same.

    If it werent for the contract issue, Splitter probably wouldve been drafted higher in the NBA, IMO.

    And Bruno’s right. They did mess up his FT. I noticed that too. His low angle shot WORKED when he got here. He was shooting 63% at Caja Laboral last season in Spain.

    Plus, I think Taigo has a higher BBIQ than Gasol. But that’s just my opinion. I’m sure many will disagree.

    Anyway: Tiago may not be better than Gasol (potentially), but I think he’s no lesser of a player either.

  • Roger

    The sweet thing about this year is that the Spurs get to rest their players, get the 1 seed, and are assumed to be uncompetitive to the rest of the league.

  • The Truth Fairy

    Zeanocril: The Spurs-Grizz season record is 2-2, and they won one of those (where they THRASHED the Spurs) after Rudy Gay went out.

    They have the two things the Spurs’ starting unit lacks: youth and height.

    Sure, they’re not going to win the series, but they’re liable to make the Spurs work a lot harder than they would against the Hornets. Not only are the Hornets weaker by the lack of height/injury to West, but I believe they’re a much easier team for Pop to gameplan against, because they’re incredibly dependent on Chris Paul making things happen. Our PGs can run with him (he’s slower now), and I have faith that Pop can figure out how to shut down one guy.

    Memphis though, phew. They’ve got the defenders to mess with Manu, and Gasol/Randolph can out-beast Duncan and trouble Tony’s teardrop (seriously, he lives and dies by a running floater). They’re going to be physical and dangerous.

  • ThatBigGuy

    Splitter’s value this year, in these playoffs, will be his ability to draw fouls. According to 82games.com, the % of shots he was fouled on is twice that of any other Spur (23.6%). That doesn’t take into account all the offensive and loose ball fouls he draws.

    In a 3 possession run last night, he drew a moving screen foul on Ron Artest, got fouled by Gasol during a rebound, and then drew a foul on Walton on another rebounding attempt. That’s 3 fouls drawn in 3 straight possessions.

    This is crucial against teams like MEM and LA. They both have very skilled big men who can hurt us at any moment while they are on the court. The easiest thing to do is let Tiago run around in there and get some fouls on these guys, send them to the bench.

  • rj

    i say take it easy on tiago’s hook-shot. his agressiveness was enough of a positive for me. he also landed a nice one in the lane over gasol. he iwas very active on the offensive boards and drew a couple of charges, one that frustrated kobe. he boxed out andrew bynum well. but i also agree he is slipping a little soon on the screens.

    gary neal played some respectable defense against kobe and showed a fearlessness in driving to the lane. seemed like he was taking more of a leadership role.

    tiago and blair will split some mintues depending on matchups. blair provided tenacity and defensive rebounding. splitter enforced solid d, offensive boards and turnovers.

    finally got to see JA on kobe, and it wasn’t pretty. those were indeed examples of a rookie learning curve. overall, i think we have enough perimeter guys to frustrate kobe into poor shooting nights consistently.

    i personally hope bynum heals in time. i would rather us face and beat LA at full strength. none of this asterisk crap.

  • Bruno

    @DorieStreet

    Some Players average before Nba

    Scola= 30 min; 17 points; 7,2 reb; 1,8 stls; 0,6 blks; FG 60%; FT 76%; PER 27
    Gasol = 26 min; 18,5 pts; 6 reb; 0,8 stls; 0,7 blks; FG 66%; FT 74%; PER 29
    Splitter= 28 min; 16 pts; 6,7 reb; 1,2 stls; 0,8 blks; FG 58%; FT 79%; PER 27

    Now in rookie season
    Scola= 25 min; 10,5 pts; 6,5 reb; 0,7 stls; 0,2 blks; FT 67%; PER 16,13
    Gasol= 37 min; 17,6 pts; 9 reb; 0,5 stls; 2,1 blks; FT 71%; PER 20, 6
    Splitter= 12 min; 4,7 pts; 3,4 reb; 0,5 stls; 0,3 blks; FT 54%; PER 16,4

    Looks like if you give playing time and don’t try change his shots, they play well.

  • Hassan

    Oooh lovely, memphis tanked yestrday’s game and will do so tonight so they can avoid Lakers and meet SA.

    We Should go out hard at them and stiffle them so they won’t thinks that way again.. although they scare me the most among POR/NO/MEM as they look like LA light in some way with their big Front line and great perimeter defense…but anyway if we want to win the title we should beat any team that faces us….

    Drive for 5…GO Spurs Go….

  • DorieStreet

    @Nima K.

    You might need to check in @ Fort Sam–

    I see you’re having trouble understanding what the honor “NBA Rookie of the Year” means.

    This former Spanish Cup MVP left F.C. Barcelona as a 21yo and started balling in the league as soon as he stepped off the plane in Graceland –the same year he was drafted (not 3 years later). He didn’t need a “season to adjust.”

    63% FT shooting–wow. We moaned & groaned those seasons when Timmy’s average dipped below 70%.

    And–drafting Splitter higher– what’s that have to do with anything?

    And if you fault Pop for not playing him earlier and more, then aim equal amounts of blame at RC for letting him stay over in Europe to play 3 more seasons after he drafted him. Imagine what we could have had THIS year if he spent 2007-8, ’08-09, ’09-10 as a Spur……

  • Rafael

    @Dorie
    He shots 79% FT in ACB League last year.

  • DorieStreet

    @ Bruno

    What’s the difference between Scola, Splitter, and Gasol? Pau was brought over the same year he was drafted– 2001.

    Scola –drafted 2002, then Spurs were held hostage by his international team contractually for 5 years before the FO bailed & traded him to Houston. Splitter–drafted 2007–let 3 seasons pass before he was brought over–why? Ian Mahinmi (groan-drafted in 05) was already struggling to make team-only 6 games in 07-08, in Dleague in 08-09.

    Titletown99030507 mentioned it earlier this year–let’s not go through this same situation with Ryan Richards. Bring him over here this summer -and put him on the team this fall.

  • Brian Robinson

    Greetings from Coach Robinson,

    There was a sequence in the 1st qtr where George caught the pass at the 3 line on the right-side of the floor and prepared to shoot. The problem w/this is that the pass was coming from his left, so he has to turn away from the basket in order to catch the pass, then turn and face the basket in order to get the shot off, even the Pacers would be able to defend the 3 if the mechanics of the play took that long to develop. Now certainly there are times when after you hit 3 or 4 in a row, you can shoot effectively from any position, but that is not often the case. The 3 should be treated as a bonus shot, if I can’t “take my time” to shoot, then I probably should not be shooting. This is precisely why we empasize making a shot fake on all 3pt shot attempts in the 1st qtr, preferring instead to drive toward the basket. This puts the defense on their heels, so by the second qtr, whenever a pass is caught beyond the 3, the D reacts just a little less quickly, and if your “teams” 3pt mechanics are honed, there is more than enough time to take the 3pt shot in the manner for which the shot was intended.

    Let Me Quickly Digress to George

    Please tell him to watch the Broad Ripple Rockets vs. Bishop Chatard Trojans when George had 30 at half-time. He could have had 60 or more but was injured on a dirty play to start the 2nd half and did not return, but that is a story for another. On that day in 2004, George hit the 2, 3, inside out, assists, length of the court dashes, everything that he is fully capable of doing every night. Last night, he did not play up to his standards, lets hope tonight is different.

    Peace-

  • Bruno

    @DorieStreet

    2 big difference :
    1) Playing time
    2) Nobody try change Gasol/Scola shooting style, because 75% FT for a Big Man, is good, so don’t make sense change

  • Nima K.

    @ Dorie

    “I see you’re having trouble understanding what the honor “NBA Rookie of the Year” means.”

    NBA Rookie of The Year only has meaning when you actually play that season, not when you’re benched because your coach thinks Bonner is better than you.

    “This former Spanish Cup MVP left F.C. Barcelona as…”

    Splitter has 4 MVP titles from Europe.

    “[Gasol] didn’t need a “season to adjust”.”

    The “season to adjust” thingy was the excuse put forward by those trying to explain why Pop isn’t playing him (which was a pretty lame excuse). You adjust to the league by PLAYING, not by sitting on the bench and watching the games all season.

    “63% FT shooting–wow. We moaned & groaned those seasons when Timmy’s average dipped below 70%.”

    It still proves my point: They messed up his FTs.

    “[You should] aim equal amounts of blame at RC for letting him stay over in Europe to play 3 more seasons after he drafted him.”

    Yes, contrary to popular belief, the FO hasn’t been all that stellar. They resigned Bonner at 3.3M, signed RJ for a humongous sum, and let go of Scola and other assets. These mistakes are now biting us back in the ass.

  • TD = Best EVER

    @ Rafael, Bruno, Nima, ThatBigGuy

    And others who say Splitter needs more playing time and should have gotten more……….

    Let me 1st say that I think he should start next to TD, so he can do some garbage work and learn FASTER……

    But the idea that POP has failed him because he didn’t play him more is INSANE……It’s Tiago’s fault that he doesn’t have an offensive move outside of 6ft…… It’s his fault that he is a good rebounder and not a GREAT one(Blair)…….it’s his fault that he is a decent shot blocker and not a GOOD or GREAT one…..

    His BEST move is unfortunately almost every player in the leagues best moves…… “he finishes well, IF others create for him……… Now almost every player in the league fits into that category……. so that’s not special either……. Even DJB shoot’s 50% from the floor, so even as short as he is, he still finishes well………

    Gasol, Scola, even Blair all came into the NBA with NBA level skills……. they were developing others, but they had some when they 1st got here…….Not Spanish League Moves……..

    Gasol – 1v1 Post game……
    Scola – 15-20 ft jumper
    Blair – rebound HOG

    These are all things they do, and they still finish well around the rim when others create for them……..

    And ThatBigGuy……. you can’t play a player based mainly on how many fouls he can draw….. especially when he can’t shoot FT’s to really make it a bonus for you……….

    SO yes POP will hopefully take Bonner’s minutes down when he is cold, and increase Splitters minutes…. But Splitter being 26 should be MORE of a FINISHED PRODUCT…….ala Gary Neal at this Point and he has no one to blame for that, but himself……..

  • Bruno

    @TD = Best EVER

    So Splitter problems basically is :
    poor FT shooting and can’t shoot outside 10-15ft.
    Interesting because before he came to NBA, he could make both things, but some genius realize his shot was wrong, so changed his shooting style, now he have a poor FT shooting and no 10-15ft jumper, and is his fault? Cool.

  • jwalt

    Doesn’t everybody get how hilarious last night was? Pop had to dump on two levels to make sure they lost. The first is obvious, not playing Tim, Manu, et al. But the second level was much more revealing. Yes, you can argue about your stars needing to be fresh for the start of the playoffs. But how does Pop explain that with the score about tied with about 5 minutes to go, he takes out Neal, Hill, and Jefferson, and puts in Novak and Quinn? Pop thought not playing his stars would ensure a loss, but he had to pull his starters in the last five minutes to get the job done.

    I think Dallas and Memphis win tonight and we play NO. I also think Sac beats the Lakers and LA has to play Portland in the first round. I also believe George W. Bush was actually a deep thinker and only pretended to be stupid. Also in the tooth fairy and Santa Claus.

  • SAJKinBigD

    Thanks, Coach R! So happy to have your input and insights here!

    @Dorie: I agree! I really want them to bring Richards over as soon as possible! Get him in the Strength and Conditioning program, get him used to life here, the Spurs culture, etc.

  • Nima K.

    @TD = Best EVER

    Youre playing a sub 0.5 team, youre winning/losing the game, and Bonner’s playing 20+ minutes while he’s having a terrible night, and yet Splitter still gets 2 minutes of garbage time.

    How many times have we seen that?

    I dont care how low you think of Splitter. There’s no way in hell he would be a worse contributor than Bonner or Quinn or Udoka, but that’s how he was treated.

    The only reason we played Neal is because JA was out. Otherwise Neal wouldve had the same fate as Splitter.

    Pop is not immune to making mistakes. Even he admits it.

    As for Blair, his BB life will be short, I guarantee you. Less than the avg NBA player. His weak knees will eventually cave in to his weight. It’s only a matter of time. So I would only play him 1-2 more seasons (maybe less), then trade him.

  • MSteele

    @TD = Best EVER
    I like Blair as much as anyone but Splitter is (and will be) better player in the future. Tiago’s defense is miles ahead of Blair’s. Blair tries on defense but he is simply too small. Don’t get me wrong Blair will always find a pay check (Hopefully with the Spurs) in this league due to the fact that he rebounds like crazy but he isn’t a good man to man/team defender. Both are limited offensive players and score best of the PnR with TP or Manu. Neither is a great one on one player offensively but they will learn to play in the future considering they are only 1st and 2nd year players.

    @Everyone who compared Splitter and Gasol
    Regardless of playing time, Splitter is in no way close to Gasol even in his rookie season. Gasol is a potential hall of fame player and at this stage I see Splitter as a career 13 & 10 guy. I would be absolutely delighted with this production from Tiago and I think he’ll be a quality player in this league but Gasol is so much further ahead of Splitter in his offensive game and Splitter has to develop his body to become the same player Gasol is on the defensive end.

    Talking about next year about Richards got me to thinking. Surely a lockout will help a team like ours because Tim and Manu will be able to coast through the shorter season and then they’ll be able to go into the postseason well rested.

  • DorieStreet

    @ Lima K.

    Here is the blogger’s words you referred to on Splitter=’rookie Gasol’

    “Tiago Spiltter looked like a rooki Pau Gasol: pure, raw, talent. Gotta love how the Spurs ARE NOT hurrying him to grow and mesh wigth the league. The fruits of LITTLE-BY-LITTLE sowing will pay off in ITS OWN TIME.” {emphasis added}

    –from [ mybloodissilverandblack]
    April 13th, 2011 at 9:48am

    That does not sound like someone who thinks Splitter is ready– a guy who turned pro @ 15; is 26 now; 4-time MVP

    –while Scola was traded summer 2007; after training camp play in all 82 games his rookie year, –starting 39; then started and played every game since until he was injured a in th 74th game this season

    –after training camp 2001 (at age 21) Gasol started 79 of 82 games, and thereafter for the next ten seasons thru today.
    re TD=Best EVER –these 2 guys came and produced immediately. Do you truly believe Tiago Splitter’s game in his first year is equal to theirs?

  • Nima K.

    And it’s not just Ryan that’s waiting out there.

    There’s also Nando De Colo. He can be developed. Or traded.

    At any rate, we need some serious changes to make in the off season.

  • DorieStreet

    @MSteele
    April 13th, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    +100 ..and thank you.

    @Lima K. , Bruno
    I don’t blame you for being frustrated at Tiago’s lack of PT his first season. I am too–at the coaching staff–for waiting til this past summer to determine (IN THEIR OPINION) he couldn’t be part of the regular rotation this season–why did they & the FO didn’t bring him over AT LEAST one season earlier (2009-10)?

  • Nima K.

    @ Dorie

    Look:

    Tiago the rookie is not playing on the same level as Gasol the rookie, nevertheless,

    He did deserve more playing time in the season (for a bunch of reasons).
    He has the potential to develop into a full starter

    do you at least agree on this?

  • TheRealKman

    It was an outstanding effort by the second unit! Just another reason why we say…..POP 4 COY…………
    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/664103-better-stronger-faster-why-pop-deserves-the-coy

  • werdb

    To all those complaining about Splitters minutes two things:

    1) He’s not fully in game shape, although he is much better than the start of the season. Remember be played a lot before joining the team and was probably a bit worn out to start the season, on top of the injury.

    2) The Spurs system is very big man centric. They do a lot and are expected to know a lot of plays and positions on the court. It is very hard for a big man to come into their system. Just look at the start of the season compared to now, Splitter is definitely less lost than he once was on the court. He still does make mistakes though. Hell even McD is missing rotations and caught in the wrong place every now and then.

  • DorieStreet

    @Lima K.

    Certainly.
    I watched Splitter this past summer in the FIBA world championships, and I liked what I saw a lot–his energy; movement; skills displayed. I had made up in my mind he would work up to 10-12pt & 7-8 reb.But for whatever the reasons -his long basketball schedule & a nagging injury or two–his Spurs beginning sputtered out the gate-and never got going as a rotation regular.
    But hey Lima K. –we can hope he can get some opportunites starting this weekend.

  • Mark B

    @NimaK–Tiago was injured most of the year, which hindered his development. I’m not sure why his playing time was limited so much the last couple of weeks, though, since he’s finally been healthy. It seems he’s definitely benefitting from the court time, and he helps the team when he’s out there.

    It remains to be seen if he will get any playoff time this year. I hope he will play in the playoffs some, but even in my wildest dreams he doesn’t play big minutes THIS year. He will probably play situational minutes and garbage time. Which still helps the team by giving Timmy time off the floor.

    The exception might be against the Lakers if we face them in the WCF. We will probably play a big lineup at least part of the time, probably him and Blair as the bigs. Although, after watching the Lakers last night, I’d say they are vulnerable to an earlier exit.

  • TD = Best EVER

    @ MSteele

    Splitter individual D is better than Blair’s because of his size, but his help D isn’t much better…….You have to remember that defensive rebounding and getting steals is also apart of defense that Blair has down well……. And Yes because he rebounds “Outside of his area” this becomes an even bigger part of his game…….Splitter will need to become a better shot blocker to be heads and shoulders above Blair on D……Being tall isn’t enough…..This is the NBA and every player who is worth ANYTHING is Accustomed to scoring layups over taller players…… And even 7ft players…… Almost every team has one or 2 on the roster and Tiago’s shot blocking/rebounding isn’t any better than who ever Team X has in practice now……

    Nima K.
    April 13th, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    The funny thing about trying to predict who starts is that you have to see the signs of progression 1st……

    All these things below COULD happen and if they do, said player will become a full starter…….

    IndyG- Improve ball handling and play-making – Both

    Blair – Develop 10-15ft jumper like Dice/TD / improve decision making – probably Both, but the jumper is most needed and would make him a borderline starter in the NBA……..

    Tiago – Develop Dice’s jumper, become Good shot blocker, improve post game……… either of those

    The question is who do you see making these changes to their games the fastest……

  • Colin

    Bruno

    “Interesting because before he came to NBA, he could make both things, but some genius realize his shot was wrong, so changed his shooting style, now he have a poor FT shooting and no 10-15ft jumper, and is his fault? Cool.”

    I know Splitter is probably your cousin or something, but the coach doesn’t shoot free throws for him. Its a mental issue and a problem SPLITTER needs to fix. Shooting 10-15 ft jumpers against Euro-leaguers isn’t quite the same as having guys like Lamar Odom closing out on that jumper in the NBA.

    He will work on both things and get better over the course of seasons to come, hopefully all for the Spurs. It doesn’t happen all at once. Were you really expecting him to come here and be rookie of the year?

  • Nima K.

    Hah. Sir Charles has predicted a 2nd round exit for the Spurs, by Denver or OKC.

    Anyway,

    Time to get ready to watch and meet our 1st round opponent. Signing off for the night.

  • rob

    “Rob, gotta lay off that Ganja! Ha! ”

    Reading comprehension is a wonderful thing if I would’ve let it happen. But no …I had to read and try to comprehend something on only 3 hours of sleep and not an ounce of coffee in me. :)

    Trying to rush through the blogs and comments so early while also preparing for the day. Man something’s gotta give. So long job …you’re cutting into my 48 Minutes of Hell Time. :)

  • Bruno

    @Colin
    No, i don’t expect, what i was saying is : u can’t blame the guy for poor shooting FT and not shooting 10-15 ft jumpers because Chip is changed his shooting style. I just think : if the guy shots 79% and has a jumper, u don’t need change his shooting style just because looks “wrong”.
    About Euroleague, Neal was like top 200 maybe, and here in Nba he is a very good role player.

  • Bruno

    No, i don’t expect, what i was saying is : u can’t blame the guy for poor shooting FT and not shooting 10-15 ft jumpers because Chip is who changed his shooting style. I just think : if the guy shots 79% and has a jumper, u don’t need change his shooting style just because looks “wrong”.
    About Euroleague, Neal was like top 200 maybe, and here in Nba he is a very good role player.