Portland Trail Blazers 100, San Antonio Spurs 92: The youngins keep it close, but fall short in the end

by

AT&T CENTER – I wanted to do everything I could not to mention who played, and didn’t play, in my recap tonight. Unfortunately, it was the biggest factor in the game and has to be acknowledged.

Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili were both expected not to play with injury. That wasn’t a surprise at all. But a little over an hour before game time, news came that Tony Parker and Antonio McDyess would join Duncan and Manu in street clothes.

The gaping holes in the rotation vacated by the big three and Dice left the Spurs lacking significant firepower on both the offensive and defensive ends. And yet the Spurs still scored 92 points, and put in their best quarter of defense of the season, statistically speaking, in holding the Blazers to nine points in the third quarter.

Where the Spurs really missed four of their starters was in the conditioning department. While the players the Spurs did have available kept them in the game and had them in a position to win, the missing pieces — those who normally occupy the bulk of the minutes — left the others to fatigue as the game neared the end.

A 15-1 run for Portland from the 9:18 mark to the 2:02 point turned a 8-point Spurs lead into a 6-point deficit.

When asked after the game if he thought the team got tired, Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich admitted that they did, but refused to acknowledge that as the reason for the dry stretch.

“They haven’t played that much, but they sure didn’t play like they were tired,” Coach Pop said.

Instead, he simply felt the team didn’t make shots, simple as that.

“It’s a game that happens to everybody from time-to-time,” he said. “Sometimes they don’t go down.”

And while he’ll say publicly that missing shots was a big reason for the loss. I’m hard-pressed to believe that’s what he thinks when he looks at the film from the game.

But that the Spurs were so close in this game speaks to the effort and energy level provided by those in uniform. From the outset, the Spurs were active on the defensive end and worked hard. It didn’t produce results in the box score, as the Spurs gave up 58 points on 60% from the floor.

But it finally manifested itself in the third quarter when San Antonio held Portland to just nine points, a season low for points in a quarter by a Spurs opponent.

George Hill led the Spurs with 27 points, but was forced to play 38 minutes and eventually fouled out late in the game. Gary Neal was the opposite of Hill, offensively. Neal shot 3-14 in the game for eight points, including a depressing 2-10 in the fourth quarter.

A gold star goes to Tiago Splitter who, in addition to his 14 points and nine rebounds, helped limit LaMarcus Aldridge to just nine points and three rebounds in 37 minutes of action. Splitter did well to stay in front of Aldridge on the perimeter and put a body on him down low.

Splitter looks like he’s getting closer and closer to earning some minutes in the playoff rotation. Hopefully.

  • Titletown99030507d

    @mikrobass3,

    Isn’t Timmy the greatest PF (4) of all time? If he is then shouldn’t he be on the court with a 5?
    If not then change his position to a 5 on the frikin roster. Isn’t that what he is since Blair (a 5 on the roster) spent most of all this season trotting out on the floor with Timmy a 4? Then make him a 5 and Blair a 4 on the roster. Who gives a crap what they are? They’re better off having 2 big dudes clogging the defensive lane than one guy playing his ass off trying to give help to the smaller one. And as for offense they both score inside and get rebounds. Remember the two 7 footers we used to have. Hello? That worked out pretty good. Don’t worry about Tony trying to go into lane with 2 7 footers I think they know when to get out of the way.

  • Bruno

    @Titletown99030507d

    Both(Splitter/Duncan) can play PF/C. Hope Pop put them together against Boston(Shaq/KG)

  • Titletown99030507d

    @Bob,
    +1000
    I agree and an excellent point. Can you imagine both Timmy and Splitter getting double doubles on a nightly basis Splitter with 12/9 and Timmy with 13/9. I’d take that any day. You would have control of the game and wouldn’t have to focus in getting desperation shots from the arc only to take good shots when they are presented making it easier for our shooters. They can still move the ball around fast the only difference they would be dominating the front court if they both were in there together.

  • TD = Best EVER

    I would have to agree with all saying Splitter should START next to TD……. And I have to also admit that I’m not a huge Splitter fan, and in fact I was and may still want to trade him if it doesn’t work out……We seem to have a lot of similar players on our roster and I’m in favor of dumping all the high salaries for lower 1’s if possible…… But back to Splitter……if he can play like this come playoff time I think we MAY have enough size to match the OKC’s/LA’s….. And I think playing him as a starter really helps his confidence as oppose to playing off the bench. He would have to stay out of foul trouble which hopefully he can and we might get back to playing some Great Defense again…….

  • Titletown99030507d

    @Bruno,

    “Both(Splitter/Duncan) can play PF/C. Hope Pop put them together against Boston(Shaq/KG)”

    Yes I hope so too. That really needs to happen now that Splitter has shown what he’s about. The more time Splitter is on the court during a game the better he plays. I would ride him till he fouls out like Sean says. But really I don’t know why people are complaining about the fouls he hasn’t fouled out yet.

  • Titletown99030507d

    @TD,

    +1000

    “And I think playing him (Tiago) as a starter really helps his confidence as oppose to playing off the bench. He would have to stay out of foul trouble which hopefully he can and we might get back to playing some Great Defense again…….”

    So true.

  • jwalt

    td best ever — you are completely correct regarding Splitter. It also took me a long time to come around, but he absolutely needs to play.

    But you are wrong regarding RJ, his problems are not system related, they are RJ related. His role is no different than Neal’s, for instance, but Neal is aggressive within his role while RJ is passive. And everytime RJ dribbles I cringe, he’s a TO waiting to happen. Getting to a good team can expose a player for what he is, RJ could score for losing teams but not for a winning team. But I like him on the floor, he’s a good 5th option to have. But he is NOT being hurt by the system, he is being exposed by it.

  • etomai

    #1 seed currently looking at MEM then OKC
    #2 seed currently looking at NO then DAL

    If that held up, I’d take the matchups over HCA in the West finals. Better of course if NO drops to 8 and we keep 1. But all that is another good reason not to make too much of HCA.

  • Colin

    Diehardspur

    “That is 61 points on 39 attempts in limited minutes, good for best on the team”

    Take away those points against the Warriors, Bobcats, and Wizards and what have we got?

    Not a very telling stat. He will be lucky to have a roster spot with the Spurs next year.

  • betsyduncan

    @Bruno: Tiago will be a liability at the end of games if he doesn’t work on those freethrows! Just saying…

  • MichaelC

    I am proud of the Spurs normal bench warmers giving it their all and playing hard. They showed the great pride of the Spurs organization and didn’t roll over and quit. Did anyone else notice that coach Pop was standing up and walking the bench much more than usual last night? He was just as critical and engaged with our bench players as with the starters… damn good coach. Even though we lost a hard fought battle and number four in a row, I think the team got over its funk last night and things will be great moving forward. I will never question Tims, TPs, Manus, or Dyess’s competitiveness, so I was glad to see them kidding around and enjoying the game for a change since of late everyone seems concerned. Lets keep everything in perspective people, we are still number one in NBA, our health is most important if we want a deep run in playoffs, we certainly are not tanking games down the stretch and this season has been the most fun in quite some time agreed? I’m proud to say that no matter what happens in this years playoffs my SPURS will play their ass off and we will be competitive next season. I want the SPURS to kick Phil Jackson and Lakers off their high chair in the Western Conf. finals. en route to our most deserving 5th championship. At this point in the season, no need to panic, no need to drastically change lineups, guys need to step up when their name is called and we need to come even closer together as a team. Our special run all season is not a fluke, we know what we have to do this as a TEAM and Pop will lead us there.

  • mikrobass3

    @ Titletown99030507d

    i’m certainly willing to give the tiago/timmy tandem a try. i’m just wondering who would cover the stretch 4s, a.k.a. dirk et. al. as for timmy being the g.o.a.t. at the 4, sure! but basically he’s a center at this point in his career.

    good point about playing two 5s with blair and timmy…worked well early but did give us some matchup problems. is tiago a better defender than blair? it’s starting to look that way.

    i do remember those two 7 footers…good times! of course back then timmy was much more mobile and playing further from the basket.

    we’ll see if they know how to get out of the way of tony, manu and/or george when the time comes…lol! or how about this: double high post pick and roll?

    thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Bruno

    @betsyduncan I agree, but last 4 games Spurs didn’t score 4th, so if he can get Fts and make half, is a good deal. And his defense pay low FT percentage.

    Nobody talk about Bonner liability in defense and Offense at the end of games…Bonner should never play in 4th

  • Dr. Leonard McCoy

    OH YEAAA! Just what the doctor ordered! I’m not talking about the loss yesterday, but the way our 2nd & third units played yesterday! Too bad they couldn’t finish it out. I’m still disapointed how Pop subs ballers, especially at crunch time. I agree with many of y’all that we should have slowed the pace down with going to T-Splitt. We had a marginal lead & once the clanking started & our defense began to lapse, then I saw a repeat of the last few road games to rear its ugly head! I know that we have been missing TD-21, who makes a HUGE difference in the paint with his defense & offense, as well as his IQ & just overall presence on the court. Watching T-Splitt these last few games has REALLY impressed me! Just imagine if he were playing consistantly since the beginging of the season. WOW! Any who, like many of y’all, I’m starting to fear the worst for Tiago as far as his playing time is concerned. 1: It would be nice for him to start, or if not, come off the bench for Tim so we can continue to have that BIG presence in the paint. 2: It seems that this is Pop’s idea of not putting him back in crunch time, for what ever reason he may percieve to have (lack of exprience, trust, fatigue, it’s a secret? WHO KNOWS WITH POP!), although he did it yesterday. HUH?! Should we read too much into that? I don’t know about you all, but I’m not holding my breath, but to me, it seems that Pop likes to go back to the players that he is confident or comfortable with??? I DON’T KNOW! I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I do know that Thursday night, both O’Neals might be in tha house, so that means that our bigs may have their hands full! It would be nice to have Timmy back & see Tiago log in at least 20 to 25 minutes, either starting or subbing (I believe Dyess will continue to start). I know that poor ol Bonner does his best at trying to defend other bigs, but we must understand that he’s really just a two-guard in a big man’s body, which can be quite cumbersome to him. And RJ. Well, this guy is ONLY doing what he is told to do, nothing more; nothing less it seems. And what is that? to stand in the wing or corner & hit the 3-ball. He doesn’t seem to have the IQ to be a creator, nor does he have the PG to feed him the ball like he was used to, perhaps. Maybe he has this mindset that since he has a diminished role here, he doen’t have to produce much other than what he’s called to do, but the bottom line here on RJ & Coach B is that I’m getting more & more disapointed in both of these veteran players, & it would be nice if they can begin to step it up NOW! Unfortuatly, you can’t be like a light switch, & just like that & BAM! You’re hitting on all 8 cylinders(ARRRG!). NO! It just doesn’t work like that! Any ways, GO SPURS GO! DECLOVER THE CELTICS!

  • TD = Best EVER

    jwalt
    March 29th, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    IN regards to RJ….. He and Neal are 2 totally different players……. Neal is a Pure shooter…… so he fits in well with our system….. Bonner, Novak, Finley, Kerr, I could go on….. they all could use pump fakes and dribble one or 2 times and get to the rim because the defenders respected their Jumper so much…….. Not so much with RJ….. yes he isn’t a great ball handler…… But in a Phoenix Suns/Golden State/Denver Nuggets system you don’t have to be…… just be athletic and able to finish at the rim…… but like all things if you don’t practice them over time you loose them….. For example RJ was a better finisher last year than this year at the rim….. he cut to the basket last year more so than this year…….This system asks him to be someone that he simply isn’t comfortable being…… and that’s a bystander/shooter. The Spurs should find a team that’s willing to take a chance on him and I’m sure there will be someone…… We won’t get much back but I think it would work out best for SA and RJ……

  • Pingback: The Point Forward » Posts Court Vision: Tensions rise in Kings talks «

  • Titletown99030507d

    @td4life,

    “Raise your hand if you honestly think the Spurs’ shooters are gonna net them 16 postseason wins? Gimme a break.”

    My hands are glued to my sides on that one. Good observation td4life. People think they can shoot themselves to a finals trophy. Even harder to do in the playoffs let alone the finals where they will be playing amongst better perimeter defenses.

  • Titletown99030507d

    @mikrobass3,

    “or how about this: double high post pick and roll?”

    Wow! Now that’s a thought. On one end you have the passer that has clear view of the recipient because of his height and on the other end you the recipient that could give match up problems going to the rim. Me like!

  • Titletown99030507d

    @Dr. Leonard McCoy,

    “I don’t know about you all, but I’m not holding my breath, but to me, it seems that Pop likes to go back to the players that he is confident or comfortable with??? I DON’T KNOW! I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I do know that Thursday night, both O’Neals might be in tha house, so that means that our bigs may have their hands full!…”

    I was wondering when the Starship Enterprise was going to roll in? I can put a finger on it McCoy. The deal is Pop hates to make adjustments late in the season but if you see him on the sidelines he’s keeping a good eye on how Splitter moves and makes his adjustments. Pop really wants Splitter to help him change his mind, but it’s going to take him lots of convincing to make Splitter the go to guy at one of the 2 big spots. He’s already convinced me and many others. But like I said it takes Pop longer to make an assessment. I guess his ducks are frikin straight all the time. Comon Pop pull the trigger.

  • Bob

    I think it’s possible for RJ to get back on track. I think he’s sort of like George Hill. He needs to be told that to be aggressive. Even if he doesn’t make the shot he can draw fouls.
    I also think the Spurs need to get back to how they were playing at the start of the season. They were pushing the break on makes and misses. Now it seems only Parker gets down the floor. He needs Ginobili and Jefferson to flank him. It will allow Jefferson to do what he does best, getting easy baskets in the open court. Probably due the long season they started running less. But it can help them get easy points in the playoffs. They miss Duncan’s ability to make those outlet passes of rebounds.

  • td4life

    Regarding Tiago Splitter…
    Now, everybody is saying start the guy? Now? Some of us were saying that months ago. It’s nice that Blair got a chance, but he simply isn’t gonna be able to be the critical difference against the best playoff competition, and he hasn’t proved himself a dominant rebounder… all that was very predictable. Tiago’s positional defense and PnR offense has been there all along, and largely ignored and undervalued. He deserved developmental minutes. Added to TD and Dice, and you have a competitive frontcourt. Well see what happens, but it sure is LATE in the season!

    Meanwhile, a loss to Boston and a loss to LA leaves the Spurs 6 games to protect a 2 game cushion… as if HCA really matters all that much.

  • Hobson13

    mikrobass3
    March 29th, 2011 at 1:26 pm @ Titletown99030507d

    “i’m certainly willing to give the tiago/timmy tandem a try. i’m just wondering who would cover the stretch 4s, a.k.a. dirk et. al. as for timmy being the g.o.a.t. at the 4, sure! but basically he’s a center at this point in his career.”

    Splitter seems to cover Lamarcus Aldridge pretty well so I see no reason he can’t match up with most stretch 4’s. I would love to see a Splitter/Dirk matchup. We would finally have someone of equal size to give Dirk some trouble.

    Bottom line: Splitter needs to at least be the first big off the bench come playoff time. Defensively, Splitter can give the Spurs more size AND he seems to play well against stretch 4s (he also had a good game against Lamar Oden in the summer games). On the offensive end, I see no problem with him playing with Tim OR Dyess. Tim can work the high post since he can make 18ft jumpers and let Splitter take the low post. This will also reduce some of the wear and tear Duncan might sustain while playing down low.

    Blair and Bonner can be subbed in based upon who has the matchup advantages and whether we need rebounding/energy plays or a stretch 4 to spread the court. IMO, both are equally bad on the defensive end. Blair because people seem to just shoot over him and Bonner because he is a zero in the athletic department.

  • J2

    Maybe it was a coincidence, but the Blazers went on their run when McMillan changed the defensive assignment and had Batum guard Hill. he was able to keep Hill out of the paint, and the other Blazer players were then able to play tighter on the perimeter. This change meant a bit of a mismatch with Matthews at 6’5″ guarding Jefferson at 6’9″, but the Spurs and RJ in particular were not able to capitalize and take advantage of what the defense gave them. They needed to run isolations where RJ posts up Matthews to take advantage of it.

  • Colin

    TD=BE

    “Neal is a Pure shooter…… so he fits in well with our system….. Bonner, Novak, Finley, Kerr”

    Neal is much, much better than those guys. I agree with your analysis of why Neal/Bonner/Novak fit in so well (I am very glad they do), I only disagree with the guys you compared him to except Mike Finley. Finley is the only one beside Neal (and only in his “younger” years) who could get to, and finish, at the rim……and Finley was better at that in his prime than Neal is now.

    Neal has a much better handle than the aforementioned players with regard to one on one offensive skills. Neal can get his own shot with better ease, and faster than Bonner, Novak, and Steve Kerr. No one is really scared of Bonner and Novak putting the ball on the floor. In fact, that is what teams WANT them to do……teams run at Neal differently on the perimeter. Teams can’t chase him off the line the same way they do with Bonner and Novak. They HAVE to be wary of his dribble drive because he is almost equally as good at that given 1-2 dribbles.

    I wouldn’t necessarily label Neal as a “pure shooter” either. I think he is more of a pure scorer in the sense that his handles are very crafty. He also doesn’t need to have to have his feet set the same way Bonner, Novak, and Kerr did to get a good shot. He has great range that also translates into an excellent mid-range game off the 1-2 dribble from 10-15 ft out.

    He’s a great complement to the current roster as long as he isn’t asked to do too much, as was the case in the home game against Portland.

  • MSteele

    Pros for Tiago:
    7 footer – Quality team defender – Good finisher around the rim – Good PnR player – Good passer – Will clog the lane on defense – Good rebounder
    Cons for Tiago:
    FT shooting – Picks up cheap fouls – Defends with his hands by his sides (Players like Dirk & Gasol & D West will shoot uncontested) – Will clog the lane on offense
    Pros for Dice:
    Spreads the floor on offense – Good 1-on-1 defender – Has experience/corporate knowledge – Awesome offensive & defensive rebounder
    Cons for Dice:
    Limited minutes due to age – Size is an issue

    There are a lot of positives there from Splitt but I think Dice gives you more and I honestly think we stand our best chance of winning a title if Dice starts. I 100% agree that Splitt should be ahead in the rotation of the rest of the “bigs”. Hopefully Tiago’s play in the last couple of games has convinced Pop he deserves some serious playoff minutes.

    I would love a playoff rotation of:
    Tim – 33/36 mins
    Dice – 20/25 mins
    Tiago – 20/25 mins
    Blair/Bonner – 10/15 mins

  • MSteele

    People who are harping on about RJ – I agree that he’s cooled off a bit, on offense, since the start of the season but everyone on the team has with the exception of Neal and Tony. So cut him some slack he’s giving you solid defense every night, he’s a good rebounder, he shoots 43% from 3 and 51.5% on 2s. He’s reinvented himself as a player to fit in with this team and quite frankly I don’t think there is small forward who would be willing to come to SA and play better in the same role he does (4th & sometimes 5th option).
    People who put forward the idea of Brewer – I watched him the other day against GS and he had 4 fouls in 11 mins,he made about 3 bone head plays in the same time and he doesn’t shoot well from 3. Based on that and all the other games I’ve seen him play in, I see nothing in him that would fit with the Spurs.

  • Bruno

    @MSteele

    RJ will receive 14,2 mil next season, Brewer 1.5 mil

  • betsyduncan

    @MSteele: Gotta agree with all of the above. I like ALL of our players, and for sure I think that Pop has all of the ‘cards’ he needs to run the table in the playoffs. And I think that he’ll play all of them right, to boot. And if we’re not good enough to hold onto HCA, well then we’re not…I think that we can, so I’ll on keep believing.

  • Nima K.

    I agree with the aforementioned:

    Splitter FT was pretty good when he came in. It was at a narrow angle, but it worked. I remember ppl on this very board commenting his FT% as his best asset, at the time.

    Now it’s the reverse, as if they’ve been trying to force Splitter to change his throwing style, and mold him the way they want. And it ain’t working.

    So yeah, I’d say they messed up his FT.

  • grego

    Tiago should play, but he shouldn’t start alongside Duncan. He should be the player coming in for Duncan and Bonner should come in for Dyess.

    That way you always have a big and a shooter who will spread the defense. Splitter also gives another good look and with Bonner spacing the floor, it gives him the space to work (and get rebounds).

    Pop was likely going to play him a lot of minutes even if Duncan stayed healthy. If you think about it, they wouldn’t be dropping 4 straight if Duncan was healthy. That probably means he gives them a night off because they won a few of those games and/or Tiago starts to play to shave minutes off for TD/Dyess anyway.

    As far as Tiago’s free throw shooting goes, Chip is working with him, but you have to break his bad shooting habits before you can fully re-build them. This is what happened with Parker too. His shooting became worse than it was, in his first year. His range became more limited and that’s why he stopped taking 3’s. Now that his re-built shot is done, he has figured out to get the power for his 3s. Chip needs the summer to really get it into high gear, though.

  • grego

    Blair, Parker and Hill are good examples of what working with Chip and staff can do for you. They’ve all seen nice increases in their free throw shooting.

  • Nima K.

    That report about Gustavo Ayos was intriguing. Hope he doesn’t end up going to another team.

    And then you have Ryan, DeColo, Butler, Green,…

    And Tiago and JA will get better and better.

    So they’re already thinking of transitioning into a new era.

  • Easy b

    Alright, time to talk playoffs. Do we have the defensive capabilities to shut down the best opponents when our running game is shut down and defenders are staying home on the perimeter as much as possible?
    Yes: if we play 10 deep
    No: if we flog our starters 40 min per game

    why did Boston come within minutes of winning it all last year?
    They had confidence in the production of their bench even in 4th quarters.
    We need to play 5 bigs in the playoffs- min 10 mins each.
    I think we should keep Timmy to 35-37 per game and Manu as well
    balance is our number 1 weapon
    Blair shouldn’t start, but should be in after 4-5 mins- his energy and bulk is underated right now
    splitter should play big minutes in the 3rd to maintain the energy and let Tim play 10 in the 4th
    we need to have the courage to play all bigs in the 4th and keep the opposition guessing

  • Easy b

    Re: balance is our number 1 weapon – I did mean that, though it could easily be argued that depth is number 1. Balance means we can play multiple styles effectively. If we can play big, big + 3pt, big + guard stretch 4, big + rotationally efficient, big + offensive rebounding, big + pnr defense etc… We have a shot at winning the endurance battle that is a 7 ge series. I am not at all worried about our guard rotation – it is the best in the league in overall production and depth, and contains closers, 3pt marksmen, jumpshooters, slashers and finishers. And they all shoot free throws well, and all play d

  • Bob

    @Easy b
    You bring up some interesting points. It’s easier to trust your bench in the regular season when there’s less pressure. But in the pressure cooker of the playoffs it’s harder. It’s probably due to bench players not always performing as well in the playoffs and coaches just going with known stars. No one is going to blame a coach if he’s plays his stars major minutes and loses. The dilemma is if you have a good bench how do give them confidence to do well and avoid the tendency to distrust them.

    Boston trusted their bench successfully right up to game 7. However, in game 7 Doc Rivers wavered and stuck with his stars. It backfired when they didn’t have enough gas to close the game out.

  • Easy b

    @bob
    they did run out of gas. I also felt that they made similar mistakes that the spurs make closing games: they play too much to the predictable strengths that teams PLAN to defend. We have a TEAM that if we stay true to, can win in multiple ways. No team playing 5 guys 40 mins will beat 9 guys playing 20 if those 9 are plugged in and effective from the get-go.

  • Easy b

    @bob
    they did run out of gas. I felt they should have played 2 man ball with kg and pp, with Ray on the wing ready to hit a three. They weren’t coherent enough offensively down the stretch.

    Spurs need to have Neal and hill on the 3 pt line, ready to drive, with td and Manu playing 2 man with Tony ready for a perimeter “shift” in order to give him a late one on one option.

  • TheRealKman

    Bruno,
    Your numbers are way off. Jefferson will make 9.2mil next year not 14mil. If he made 14 million as you suggest that would make him the second highest paid player on the team, ahead of Manu and Parker.

  • betsyduncan

    I believe that I heard Sean commenting on Tiago’s FT’ing style during a recent game, saying that Tiago had “two motions” (knees bent and another movement) that he needed to get rid of. Chip has been a valuable asset to our coaching staff, and I sure hope that he can help Tiago become a better shooter!

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Bry

    @ Bruno
    Umm, no. Brewer will get 3.059 million next season and 3.243 the next. The Spurs couldn’t pay that much. They were only in the conversation because they shaved a couple mill off Jefferson’s contract for this season. Jefferson made 8.4 million this season and will make 9.282 next year. Where did you get the 14.2 million and 1.5 million numbers that you’re quoting?

  • Tim in Surrey

    @Bruno – You’re using last year’s salaries. Jefferson resigned for much less and after Corey Brewer was released by the Knicks he signed for a much larger salary.

    Those of you who are dissing Jefferson, please remember that if we hadn’t re-signed him, we would’ve received nothing for him, still been over the cap, and had virtually none of our mid-level exception left. So it was basically RJ or a minimum-salary player. I’ll take RJ, thank you.

  • Bruno

    @Bry I see this salaries in trade machine

  • Bruno

    You are right @Tim in Surrey last season he receive 14,2 mil. This season 8,4, but he needs play better.

  • Titletown99030507d

    RJ in this system is not in his element. He is still a hell of an athlete. I think they should run plays for him maybe some type of give n go scenario. I thought about not going in deep in the paint for rebounds but to stay back some off the key and there down the floor on transition with the guard but that would only give him less rebounds. Something to get him involved because he is still capable of scoring big its just how? Just my thoughts.

  • td4life

    Tim in Surrey–

    If the Spurs hadn’t offered RJ the restructured deal, he wouldn’t have opted out and left the Spurs with a valuable expiring contract as a trade chip. Nobody thought he would make more money by opting out, but obviously Holt and RC had a negotiation in place prior.

    If the Spurs had made some trades in might have resulted in fewer regular season wins, but I think it could have been a much better move than keeping RJ and Bonner (and even Blair) in the fold… but what’s done is done.

  • grego

    Even though RJ would have been an expiring contract this year does not guarantee that the Spurs would receive anything out of it.

    It also changes the way the team makes their moves for this past season. His deal allows all the transactions that took place this past season to occur.

    The guy is still shooting the 3-ball, the shot he gets the most really well. His 2 pt shots are also effective. he makes the majority of shots he gets. the only thing he doesn’t get is a lot of attempts. part of it is system and part of it is him, but if you don’t get a lot of shot attempts over the season, it’s hard to establish a routine.

    He’s not good at making stuff happen/improving, but not many are off the dribble. This is why the ball is in Parker/Manu or Duncan’s hands (although much less) most of the time.

    The team calling his number on set plays can make his scoring capabilities better. His jump shot is much improved and if they ran him off screens ala Rip Hamiliton, they could get more out of him. that would give him space and also more opportunity to get to the basket if the defender doesn’t go around the screener.

    His rebounding and D will be useful in the post season. He’s a great piece when the starting 5 is in (Duncan/Dyess/Parker/Manu), since he’s likely to get the shot. He’s a better defender than Neal (although I love his heart and determination).

    RJ is also a pretty good help defender around the rim because he can get up and block/alter shots. A lot of what RJ does well isn’t seen in the stats. He wouldn’t get a lot of play time if he didn’t play well.

    Brewer still hasn’t proven much. He has a nice body for D (but still reaches a lot) and was great at Florida but his game is still inconsistent and bogged down by his lower bball IQ. If he were a Spur, the earliest you’d see a lot of progress would be next season after a summers worth of work.

    The season is not over yet, so lets see what we can get from all of the team in the post season. There are no guarantees. Anything can happen.

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Bry

    Because traded salaries have to match, and you can usually pay your own resigned players more than other teams, Jefferson’s contract does have some potential. They could always trade him for some disgruntled 8 million/year player at some point. That’s what the Mavs and Lakers have been doing for years. That’s how they stay massively over the cap, and then resign their players. I don’t know what’s coming with the new CBA, but it better have a harder cap than this one. The team salary disparities are ridiculous.

  • Hobson13

    Titletown99030507d
    March 30th, 2011 at 11:17 am

    “Something to get him involved because he is still capable of scoring big its just how?”

    RJ has been an enigma for the better part of two years. I think he still has the physical and athletic abilities to be at least 80% of what he was in his prime. However, he has displayed that ability just enough to make one think he still has it, but not enough to make a big difference in the season. Some argue that it’s Pop’s system that limits RJ. Others argue that RJ is simply not aggressive enough and turns into a ghost for vast portions of the game.

    I think it’s a bit of both. I don’t think the current offensive system is conducive for him putting up good numbers, but I still think he should take the initiative to freelance a bit. Manu does. Besides, what would Pop really say if RJ was more aggressive and made good plays for the rest of the team? I don’t think he could say much if he were to help out Manu and Tony more.

    Bottom line: For whatever reason, I think we are stuck with this RJ for the next 3 years. He’s been a Spur for almost 2 years and this is what we have. I don’t see him ever averaging more than 12pts per game and occasionally teasing Spurs fans into thinking he could do more.

  • Bruno

    RJ need step up, Spurs just beat Dallas in 1st round last season because RJ played well in game 2. And now without Duncan and Ginobili, he needs help Spurs to beat the Celtics

  • Colin

    Betsyduncan

    “I believe that I heard Sean commenting on Tiago’s FT’ing style during a recent game, saying that Tiago had “two motions” (knees bent and another movement) that he needed to get rid of.”

    Interesting. I’ve heard Sean mention that too. and What I’ve noticed and what I took from Elliott’s comment is that he straightens his knees before the release of the ball. Hip/knee extension should be more simultaneous with the release of the ball from the fingertips.