San Antonio Spurs 100, Washington Wizards 85: Good news you guys, the preseason is over

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AT&T CENTER — For some teams, the preseason is about figuring out who is good enough to make the team, what players can play together and implementing new systems. For the Spurs, they’re really just trying to stay healthy.

Featuring six players in double-figures on the night, the Spurs beat the Wizards 100-85 in the year’s last preseason game. Any sort of narratives were few and far between, so here are some observations from Friday night’s game:

  • Kawhi seemed a lot more aggressive offensively against Washington. Having not shot well for most of the preseason, Leonard put the ball on the floor and attacked the basket; he reminded more of Summer League Kawhi than preseason Kawhi. He finished with 11 points and shot six free throws against the Wizards. He also re-did his braids with a fancy new design.
  • Saw some good things from Danny Green on the night. He didn’t shoot particularly well (3-7, 1-5 from 3), but he showed really good court vision, making a lot of passes that I don’t remember him making last season, including one where he pump-faked in the corner and drove to the hoop, making a nice little shovel pass to DeJuan Blair for a wide open layup. Could be a result of increased “corporate knowledge” and a greater comfort level in the system. His only made 3-pointer came off the dribble after he came off a pick. That could be an interesting development, or a one-off.
  • There was a funny moment in the second quart where Gregg Popovich called for the fabled 4-Down play. Parker set up the offense and dropped the ball in to Boris Diaw in the post, because Tim Duncan is a center, whether he wants to admit it or not. The Spurs ended up with a shot clock violation on the play and on the way up the court, Tony Parker asked Pop, “Did you want that to go to Boris?” Pop just nodded. Poor Tim Duncan, even his teammates know he’s not a power forward.
  • Tim Duncan seemed like he was pushing the limits of his outlet passing in the third quarter. He made a lot of passes just out of reach of the defenders where only his teammates could get it, but they were close. Can’t imagine he’d try some of those in a playoff game, but that’s what preseason is for.
  • Nando De Colo isn’t going to play a whole lot when games are competitive, but he’s going to be a Garbage Time All-Star.
  • I like that Stephen Jackson is the only person in the world that I’m aware of who calls Manu Ginobiili “Gino.”
  • After the game the Spurs announced that the team waived Josh Powell and exercised the team options on Cory Joseph and Kawhi Leonard. I watched RC Buford put envelopes in the lockers of Leonard and Joseph during the post game media session, and I’d imagine those envelopes involved the team options. I always assumed that stuff was handled digitally.
  • assistman

    … and then there were fourteen. Sooo many point guards.

  • Nima K.

    One pattern seems to be emerging since last late season. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Patty seems to be a better guard than GN. He should be TP’s backup.

    And it’s a shame ND will only be given garbage minutes.

  • Brandon in LA

    We’re going to do a lot of damage against teams that have only one player over 6’10″.

  • Blofeld

    I’m I the only one who’d rather have Curry and Powell over watching another season of the Blair & Bonner show???

  • Merkin

    Yeah, Kawhi was more aggressive, but his shot is still off. All his 3-pt. attempts looked short and flat.
    And Timmy is auditioning for the back-up point guard position.

  • aespurs

    youre not alone at all!!! bonner had 1 rebound, 1 assist, no points, and made into a little bitch by…jon vesely? that was sad. he missed all his 3 pointers and not for lack of trying. i was really impressed with how quickly washington was closing out on him. idk if thats because teams finally decided to always take bonner seriously or because don newman (ex spurs asst coach) helped them gameplan (it might be the latter because i think its a little weird when the guys know to press hard on neal up the court but with parker they wont dare to) but either way it was sad. yes he ended +6 and blair was a -3 but bonner was fortunate to get time with tim and tiago. I think blair was only in there with bonner or diaw which could account for him ending up with a -3. regardless blair looks better than last year at least, bonner looks the same, if even worse.

  • Graham

    I personally love having GN on the floor, guy just oozes clutch. Agree that Patty’s a better PG but with the inevitable Manu injury downtime (knock on wood it’s a short stretch this year) that quickly irons itself out and GN slides into his natural backup 2 role and either Patty or CoJo takes over backup 1

  • Graham

    Well if there was ever a season where we needed the Season +/- king, this is it. Ripping off 65+ wins and getting the 1 seed is honestly our only viable playoff scenario, since it likely means we will only have to play either the lakers or the thunder, and not both.

  • shockog88

    I would have rather had Curry or Powell especially since Dallas just claimed Curry off waivers. Behind Duncan on the depth chart Bonner is the only PF. That is scary. He has been terrible in the preseason and we don’t need him for his 3-point shooting almost everyone on the team can shoot.

  • assistman

    Though it is easy to write LAL in as a top team, that certainly remains to be seen, LAC could finish ahead of them in the Pacific, and they could end up with the #4 seed.

  • assistman

    Bonner has been terrible this preseason. I hope he improves enough to show some real value in limited minutes. Blair is looking pretty good, and is probably better than any of the guys we cut from camp, with his passing he looks like he’s modeling some of his game after Diaw. Problem is, his skillset just doesn’t match up well with any other bigs not named Tim, and he doesn’t make Tim’s life easier on D. Though Blair can be dangerous off the bench, who will he play with? The ideal 2nd unit would actually be Diaw and Splitter for my money, but we’d still need that elusive partner down low for number 21.

    We know Diaw and Duncan will be finishing. So until the final stretch in close games, I’m happy with DeJuan. But, for that matter, I’d equally take a small ball lineup with Jax or KL at the 4 (even though it would be fun to see KL develop his ball-handling as a de-facto shooting guard, this season).

  • Bob

    I want Bonner to continue to be bad so Pop can look like a retard for continuing to play him.

  • Bob

    You don’t need to be in the playoffs to see Bonner’s flaws. Whenever we play teams that close out hard on him he plays bad. It’s just that in the playoffs there are no bad teams to leave him open.

  • Spurholic

    The James Harden trade, is it the start of the end of road for the Thunders? Forecasting is a bit–, yet we all indulge it!

  • senorglory

    Envelops full of cash. Non sequential 20s.

  • STIJL

    If Green is having struggles in a game, Neal can be inserted with the starters saving Ginobili to operate with Mills. Thus having two options to successfully (though in different ways) a means to produce effectively on offense while not diminishing the strength of the second unit allowing Ginobili to remain the leader in that regard.

  • Bry

    I was surprised they let him walk, considering how close together they were about price. But, I think the owner was standing firm on ‘principle’. I think it was a very bad move in the short-term. Martin has hit his ceiling. His never really played in a winning culture, and his horrifically bad defense has got to partially to blame. He’s also much older and his contract is expiring, so he may well just walk at the end of the season (just as Dwight Howard could do). I’m looking forward to seeing how all the lottery picks turn out in the future, but for the next year or two, the Thunder have definitely taken a step back. Finally some good news on the trade front for Spurs fans.

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ Nudity J. Fandango

    Curry was going to take minutes off who? Tim? Tiago? Boris?

    For all the moaning about size we see from people we have two 7 foot centres on the roster and only 48 minutes to shoe horn them into. Considering Boris often plays the five as well it’s not like Curry was going to get run.

    If Curry was an athletic 6’10 Power forward who played great D then yeah i see it but he is not even close to the kind of big we really need.

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ Nudity J. Fandango

    Duncan doesn’t play PF. He plays centre.

    Behind Duncan on the depth chart we have Tiago Splitter and a little cross over Boris Diaw

  • Brandon in LA

    Bonner’s 3 point shooting always looks amazing in practice, which fools Pop into thinking those shots are actually going to be falling in games that matter.
    As for the Lakers, this season feels a bit like the Malone/Payton/Kobe/Shaq year when they were much more beatable in reality than they were on paper. Their bench sucks and their big reserve scorer Antwawn Jamison has gotten old in a hurry — he shot “Matt Bonner bad” in the preseason. Plus the Spurs always had defensive schemes that frustrated Nash in his prime.

  • Bry

    Duncan still does, on occasion, play PF. Whenever he’s paired with Splitter (which is rare, but may happen more often next season as Splitter’s minutes rise) Timmy is the PF on both ends of the court (Splitter has even more trouble defending the opposing PF than Duncan does). So, at PF you have Diaw, who is backed up by Bonner and Blair (who plays center on O, but defends the PF on D). But, you’re right. Curry is a Center, but so are Duncan and Splitter primarily. And, considering Splitter’s absurd field goal percentage, there was little reason to ever give his minutes to Curry. The truth is that all three of those 6’11″-7’0″ guys have the same problem, now that Duncan is up there in years; they are Centers who are now too big and not mobile enough to cover opposing PFs anymore.

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