San Antonio Spurs 109, Charlotte Bobcats 98: Tim Duncan thinks your music is too loud

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On a good night, the back and forth verbal sparring between Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan has been one of the highlights of this gig. Popovich might joke that Duncan is too hard to coach, while Duncan might point out that Pop complains too much.

Popovich usually gets the last laugh.

Coming off a stellar performance against the Dallas Mavericks the previous night, Tim Duncan was given the night off to treat an injury. The official report from the San Antonio Spurs: Duncan was inactive with “trop vieux”.

It’s a degenerative and chronic condition with no known treatment. It’s also a career-ending affliction, eventually.You see, “trop vieux” is french for too old. Until the playoffs begin, consider Duncan day-to-day.

Popovich is brilliant. Anytime you can take a goodhearted cheap shot at your franchise player, you have to do it. And anytime you need to manufacture energy against a team like the Charlotte Bobcats, sitting said star player and giving those minutes to the little used guys at the end of the bench is a great way to do it.

Against the Bobcats, with no Stephen Jackson, Tiago Splitter got his first NBA start and Steve Novak probably scored the most points he’s had in March since leaving college in a 109-98 victory.

The story of the game might not be Tiago Splitter, but he’s certainly the one that people have been clamoring for. The reviews? Pretty much everything we have seen in smaller sample sizes.

Tiago Splitter is not a star at this level, he’s a blue collar guy. He kept his hands up and moved his feet on defense while holding his own against former no. 1 overall pick Kwame Brown (no small feat, I know). On offense he set good enough screens and made the proper cuts.

In this offense, Splitter’s mobility as a roll man, and his ability to make decisions and passes on the move, will be vital in the future. Though Splitter only scored eight points, his mobility caused problems for the Bobcats defense–forcing defenders to rotate over before they wanted to, leaving three-point shooters open on the perimeter.

In all, 17 three-pointers from the Spurs, five of them coming from Novak, who led the team with 19 points.

As the magic number for home court advantage through the playoffs dwindles, we can expect to see more of these nights. While there are still some tweaks to be made, this team knows who it is and what needs to be done. Rest and fresh legs will be vital moving forward.

These guys aren’t young anymore after all.

 

 

 

  • bong p.

    Next thing you know, Timmy will give another snarky riposte to his graying mentor, who will reply: “Touche!” Levity aside, good thing that TD sat down, giving minutes to the Brazilian, who didn’t too badly. The rest also allows The Big Fundamental to conserve energy for the playoffs ahead – and let’s see who’s “too old” to play when that time comes.
    This was also good occasion to use the bench, and how they delivered. When all of those three-point howitzers are booming – Bonner, Neal, Hill, Novak and Company – where will the opposition run for cover from the shellacking? We have an apt Filipino description for these instances. It’s called ” bugbog sarado,” loosely translated as badly mauled, manhandled or beaten up, as what the Charlotte Bobcats got.
    Defense also showed up for the second game in a row.
    More games like these and the “evergreen” Spurs have reason to swagger.

  • clearlybehind

    I am not sure how we are drawing conclusion on Splitter this early without giving his sufficient court time. I am not saying he will be a star but why would we think otherwise. There were too many times when he was getting open under the basket but was never given the ball. We settled for too many perimeter shots. I would have force fed him a few times to let him get comfortable with some post moves. Hill never gets the ball inside on P&R or of the dribble. So playing with the bench does not help him. Probably it was a game where we could have run some plays for him. We are wasting RJ the same way. No set plays and no emphasis on his penetration. RJ is younger than Ginobili so why not give him the driving and scoring burden in these games. See how he does. We have made him into a 9 mil jump shooter. I know, I know, Pop knows what he is doing and he should know better than me arguments would be forth coming. But my point is if the system is designed as such why put the burden on the players like Splitter and RJ and indict them when they do not produce.

  • cay

    I am concerned with Bonner. He looks hesitant out there. Additionally, if Novak continue to be hot (its 1 game, I know) I think that will shake Bonner even more. Pop will go with the hot hand if Novak starts to get Bonner’s minutes, I think Bonner will start to press and that wont be good for anyone.

  • Pop-a-vich

    @clearlybehind
    Right. We clearly don’t run any plays for RJ except for that corner 3 and the alley-oop from TP (which we don’t use anymore, i guess). We are not taking advantage of his athleticism. Although his defense is great, I would still choose Battier over him, given that he defends better and I’m sure he will also hit that corner 3 (ala-bruce bowen).

    @bong p.
    Yay! Filipino fans in the house!

  • Hobson13

    Nice win for the Spurs. Since Tim and Capt Jack didn’t play and Manu only played for 18min, there’s just not too many take aways from this game outside of the fact that the bench looked much better. I’m starting to love the Novak signing. It appears that he is Bonner 2.0 and a cheap insurance policy just in case the original fades in the post season. I think we need to add Novak to the argument of “who’s the Spurs best 3pt shooter.” The guy can flat out stroke it.

    I’m glad to see Splitter started and got some valuable minutes. I hope this trend continues against Golden State. I agree with several of the previous posters who state that RJ should be a bigger part of the offense. I have no idea why we resigned him for $9mil/year if he is to be reduced to a spot up 3pt shooter. On the other hand, RJ only scored 9pts and the Spurs clearly didn’t have an issue scoring last night, but I guess that could easily change in the playoffs. Solid win. Now on Monday we play a GS team on the second of a back to back. Let’s get it done!

  • Hunter

    Good win.
    I think we could possibly use steve Novak more come playoff time. He put on a show last night and he looked pretty good.

    splitter looked decent, he could’ve scored more but i still think with good minutes he could potentially be a great backup center and possibly a decent starter for years to come

    Spurs 2011

  • Benito

    I’ve been thinking about RJ’s role and this is my best guess so far: he’s there as an *implied* scoring threat, just to keep the defense honest. He can burn you if left open or given a driving lane. And since opposing defenses know this, they must stay home on him which opens things up for the designated scorers. He certainly is reliable when called upon to deliver, which seems to be whenever the defense breaks down and gives him the opportunity, but also professional enough to not demand touches.

  • DorieStreet

    With last night’s victory, the Spurs are 22-6 vs. eastern conference; from the currently 8th place Pacers on down to the last-place Wizards, the team got H/A sweeps. The Spurs remained focused enough throughout the season to not let road wins against inferior squads slip through their fingers.

  • doggydogworld

    RJ is younger than Ginobili so why not give him the driving and scoring burden in these games

    Because he’d foul out in the 2nd quarter with 5 charges and 9 turnovers. Do you even watch the games? RJ lacks the side-to-side quickness to get around a defender and he can’t dribble. At all.

    RJ has good ‘straight-ahead’ quickness and can attack a seam created by another player. He can also finish, especially in the open court. That’s why he did well with Jason Kidd. He’d also be great paired with Steve Nash, etc. The Spurs have two players who can fracture the defense, but the offense is geared to take advantage of that with high-percentage open 3s instead of slicing to the rim for a highlight-reel dunk. Would it make sense to re-arrange the offense to better suit a player who, at best, is the fourth option? Pop doesn’t think so.

  • rob

    Once again a great read of the O.P.

    If this game doesn’t ignite excitement for what the Spurs are doing I don’t know what will.

    A game that saw it’s starters garnish collectively a little under 22 minutes while allowing and mixing in bench players that were needing some game action to help improve their confidence/skills while defeating their oponent handily in a second game of a b2b is great news.

    One could argue (and rightfully so) Stephen Jackson not playing might have produced a closer game. But I’m not so sure it would have produced a win for Charlotte.

    Starting for Tiago was a good thing…just like Anderson starting when Jefferson wasn’t able to play. It gives these guys the reality that they could be called upon at any given moment…thrust into any lineup…as well as the importance of remaining focussed on performing and improving.

    Novak was lights out but the only thing I think Bonner has to worry about is remaining focussed and playing his role.

    NICE Win!!!

    This coming week is a tough schedule…but I think it will be a pulling together week, fine tuning for the playoffs all the while getting the team from last used to most significant player ready. Even if some of these games produce losses…one shouldn’t read too much into a loss if it happens.

    Go Spurs Go!!!

  • TD = Best EVER

    Nice win – Good to see TD getting some much needed rest….. i would like to see Manu follow suit and get a couple days off as well…..

    Bench looked very good, we have a ton of shooters on this team and can fill it up with anybody………..I agree with the posters above about RJ. We basically gave him all this money to torpedo his career and legacy……. At this point he is doing us any favors and we are doing him a great disservice…… We have basically asked him to sacrifice the best parts if his game while asking him to do what he does worst, the most. POP has to do something about this…… And I’m still in favor of benching him and allowing him to basically be the #1 scorer off the bench and get as many shots as he wants………. We can place Anderson, Novak, or Green in the starting lineup….. RJ is getting well over half his shots from spot ups anyway…… Those players will shot it just as well as he can and he will get more looks when not playing with Manu/TD/TP…….

  • Bankshot21

    TD=B.E.

    I agree completely with your RJ assessment. He has sacrificed the most and we are doing him a great disservice as you stated. Maybe the # 1 option off the bench would do him some good only thing is he happens to be one of our better perimeter defenders.

  • Bruno

    @TD = Best EVER

    Pop never will bench RJ, because RJ is sacrificing his game to help the “system”, the guy still young, Pop should give more space to RJ play

  • grego

    Yes, Spurs aren’t calling much for RJ. Hopefully there’s another summer to work on making him more integral next season to make use of his abilities.

    His midrange jump shot is getting pretty good so they should run him off some screens to get him some shots. Posting up against weaker/smaller 3’s than him would be another area.

    But the reason why he starts, is more for his defense and less for his scoring. He’s being paid for playing within the system and doing mostly smart things (commits very few turnovers). His defense is solid. It won’t make you forget about Bowen or Battier, but there aren’t many other guys out there. He rebounds pretty well when he crashes the boards/Spurs bigs box out the main big which is something that would have to happen against the Lakers and other big teams.

  • rob

    I’m not sure of why the concern regarding Jefferson. He has been doing what has been asked. Playing well in a system that doesn’t require him to be 1, 2 or 3rd option on offense.

    That’s a great thing i.m.o. Knowing that if the team “wanted” to…they could option him as 2nd or 3rd choice in offense. Who knows…perhaps there are some tricks up the sleeve that Pop and company will implement during the playoffs to maximize Jefferson’s potential.

    You know…saving the moment to totally discombobulate the opponent. If not…it’s not like the team hasn’t done well without Jefferson being an offensive focal point.

  • clearlybehind

    doggydog – Sure I watch the games, the same ones you do. My point is not to replace Ginobili with RJ. I know the importance of Ginobili to the Spurs and he too needs to be rested. More so than TD. We shouldn’t be milking TP and Manu to the point they are exhausted. They take a beating every night. These are the games where the other players can be given opportunities to be primary focus atleast for parts of game. Additionally 9mil for the player for role player does not make much sense to me.

  • clearlybehind

    doggydog – Sure I watch the games, the same ones you do. My point is not to replace Ginobili with RJ. I know the importance of Ginobili to the Spurs and he too needs to be rested. More so than TD. We shouldn’t be milking TP and Manu to the point they are exhausted. They take a beating every night. These are the games where the other players can be given opportunities to be primary focus atleast for parts of game. Additionally 9mil for the player for role player does not make much sense to me.

  • rob

    To those worried about the stars not getting enough rest.

    http://www.nba.com/spurs/multimedia/110319_ginobili.html

    Granted many of us (self included) would like to see the big 3 rest as much as possible. And they probably will get periods of rest from here on out. But important is what Ginobili said…they have to stay conditioned. Playing the game is the only way to stay that way. Too much rest could be disadvantageous as well.

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

    Great game last night. Spurs totally dominated the Cats. The final score didn’t reflect how much the Spurs were in control all game long.

    I just took a look at the remaining schedule. The Thunder’s schedule is soft and Dallas schedule is somewhat tough. I think there’s a very real chance that OKC overtakes DAL for the 3rd spot. I’m actually hoping for it. I have total confidence that the Spurs can handle the Mavs in a 7game series. Imo, OKC and LAL would be the toughest playoff series.

  • Titletown99030507d

    @clearlybehind,

    Good post, Hill thinks his competing with Neal at least it seems so to me because he tends to hog the ball and fire away bombs when Splitter is wide open enroute to the rim. Every game I’ve seen when Splitter played, Tiago makes the effort to get free for an easy score Hill tends to look away and take an other option (himself). Gotta give the round ball up fella for the sure thing. Even Sean mentioned it during the game. People wait till this guy gets conditioned and truly gets the trust of his team mates and works on his free throws in the off season. He will be more than a blue collar guy. Maybe not a Duncan or Hakeem, but who is? He’ll be perfect for the future of this franchise and add another determined young 7 footer in Ryan Richards with ridiculous upside and you have the makings of a decent front court future for your San Antonio Spurs. I can’t wait! But for now I’ll enjoy watching the boys bring trophy #5 home.

  • Titletown99030507d

    For Tony to say that Splitter is one of the best to pick and roll to the rim in the post game interview and Pop to say he’s does a great job rolling to the rim and did a lot of good things, then why have many posters written him off? He can defend the big man and rebound. Can anyone explain to me why his style of play will not fit in our system right now? There seems to be the consensus that Splitter slows down this energetic offensive style of play. Maybe its because he’s not fully conditioned? Well they better fix that because as Sean mentioned they could very well use his services for all the rounds. Every round potentially could face matchups that need a bigger presence.

  • Bob

    @Rob
    Very good point. You don’t want to lose your conditioning and also want to make sure you’re playing the right way when the playoffs begin.

    About RJ. He was averaging 20 at the beginning of the season when the Spurs were doing a good job of pushing the ball. You don’t necessarily need to draw half court sets to involve him. They just need to go back to pushing the ball. It’s going to take pressure of the defense and offense by getting easy baskets in transition. They used to push the ball after every basket make or miss. It’s not happening as much and Jefferson and the team’s scoring average have gone down.

  • DorieStreet

    Played Manu video–interesting comments.
    ‘Rest v Rust’ -all the more intriguing when you look at the schedule after GS game. 5 playoff teams with 1st 3 on the road; middle 3 games -POR -MEM -POR -both handed the Spurs dbl-digit losses last time out. Then BOS (I want that win) and nemisis rival HOU. Can’t let too many of them go to the loss column–LAL will gobble up 5 more wins on that homestand thru the end of March.
    If 2 weeks from today (April 3rd) HCA lead is still at 4 games with 6 to go–that should be alright.

  • Spur4Life

    Honestly don’t know what to say about Jefferson. I kind of feel we are not getting the best of him (offensively), but at same time I am hoping his defense shines thru in the end and he shows he can play d, cause we definately need that defensive player to get us going. I would like to see us giving Jefferson some scrub buckets for his hard work and to boast his confidence. GSG!

  • Miggy

    Just an observation, but it seems to me that George may be intentionally not getting Tiago involved. Every time I watch Tiago get into the game, George inevitably overlooks Tiago completely. How can you miss an open 7 footer rolling to the basket. I know this is probably a blasphemous comment, but it seems to happen every time Tiago and George play at the same time. I’m a big fan of George, but I’m just calling it like I see it.

  • rj

    @ Miggy-i see it too. don’t really know what to make of it other than a lack of trust and court time together.

    if i’m pop, i’m putting splitter on a treadmill after practices. he sorely needs conditioning.

    despite his lack of conditioning, the shot-altering, pick and roll defense that we have been lacking was evident. spurs funnel guys into tim duncan and the same was happening when tiago was on the floor. he changed some shots around the rim and swallowed guards on the switch. aside from the fouls of inexperience and conditioning, he presence was pretty game changing. we will have a real stud on our hands in a couple years.

  • lvmainman

    The last 2 games have further strengthened my belief that the only way the Spurs win a championship is to win every home game in the playoffs.

    Road game in Dallas – bench gave what 13 pts?

    Home game – bench has 4 players in double digit scoring

    Lost by 30 in Miami, lost by double digits in Memphis/Portland/Chicago, etc.

    The only way the Spurs win a championship is if they win all their home playoff games. That’s why best record in the NBA is so important.

  • Bankshot21

    Now we can’t win road games? Come on. Lol. You are basically saying we need a 16 game home winning streak. I think our odds are slightly better than that.

  • Flavor

    ^^^ I’d say our odds are better than “slightly”

  • crystakke

    Getting road wins in the NBA is not that easy. Getting them in the playoffs is even harder, especially after the 1st round. In the playoffs you All Star and Super Star players get you the road win. The Spurs Big Three approached the Dallas game as a playoff game and you saw the result. We know they have to score and they know they have to score on the road in order to get the win. In the Dallas game we saw playoff mode Duncan and I loved what I saw. Patience, precision and complete focus. I also think that in one road game one of the bench guys will get super hot from 3-point line. And there’s plenty to choose from: Bonner, Neal, Hill, or from the starting unit, RJ. My money is on Neal to be the first to do it. Then Hill.
    I for one, don’t doubt for a bit the Spurs resolve. When it was an important game, that I absolutely wanted to win, they came super focused, played great and usually won. I think the only game like that you can count as a loss is the Boston game. In the recent Lakers and Heat games we lost the Spurs came in as if it was a normal regular season game and the opposite team came in as if it was a big playoff game and it showed in the result.
    When the playoffs start it wouldn’t surprise me if we lost the first home game. The Spurs don’t always have it in the first game. Remember 2005 and 2007. Lost 1st game at home in the first 1st round, both times to the Nuggets, and both times we went on and won the next 4 games and continued all the way to the title. So if it brings luck, let’s hope we get the Nuggets in the first round…lol

  • crystakke

    Concerning R.J.’s production, I know some of you look at the stats from this year and last year and they are basically the same, except for 3-point percentage. Well, last year Tim, Tony and Many were all injured at some point or not playing well and missed a lot of games. So in many situations RJ was 2nd or 3rd option at worst. So he’s average should have been more like 16-17ppg. His 11-12ppg average this year reflects more accurately what we need from him. It might seem very little from a guy getting payed 9 mil., but our leading scorer has less than 18ppg. And that’s Manu. And from now on I expect him to play less time, so his average could go even lower.
    So, RJ needs to continue to do what he has done all year, shot the open shots, no matter where he is on the floor. Because every time he drives the ball I cringe and I want to scratch my face after I hear the whistle for an offensive foul.
    This year he’s moving the ball great and his passes are always on point. And he doesn’t hesitate any more. Shot, drive or pass, he makes the decision quickly. Last year he was a ball stopper. So not only was he hurting his offense last year, he was hurting the team offense too. Also, I like his defense and rebounding this year. He’s strong enough to fight for a 50-50 rebound and he rebounds very well in traffic.
    This what we need from him the playoffs and I expect he’ll have a greater impact on defense than on offense. I also think his hunger for a ring will be a great asset for our team and I have no worries he’ll fade in the playoffs.

  • http://espn.com Ed

    Big difference between saying the Spurs will lose some road playoff games and saying they will lose all their road playoff games. I like what I’m seeing of Splitter defensively. I’m extremely disappointed in him offensively though. He canNOT shoot. FT’s are embarassing and he won’t even attempt a wide open 10 ft jumper. I think he should be starting with Duncan NOW, his defense is excellent. As far as Jefferson goes, I agree he’s not much more than an after-thought on offense. He has become less and less agressive as the season has progessed. I think Pop will call on him more come playoff time. Teams won’t be ready for him.

  • Mark B

    I’ll make a bold prediction. If the Spurs get into a playoff series with the Lakers, they will win at least one game in Staples Center. Why? Because Bynum has been playing out of his mind lately, and no way he keeps that up for every game in the playoffs. Also Gasol is a super talent, but he doesn’t seem resilient to me. If things start going badly, he can go into a funk and disappear. If both of those things happen in a single game, Spurs win in LA.

    Bryant is of course great, but he can’t win a game by himself, even though he tries. Odom is a good big man, but if he weren’t surrounded by great offensive players, he would get get more defensive attention and he’d be a LOT less effective.

    The biggest issue in an LA series is for the Spurs to not have a letdown game at home and let them steal one.

    Of course, we have to win a first and 2nd round series to even get there .. and by that time things like injuries can really change how things go.

  • Titletown99030507d

    @Ed,
    Good post, If Tiago continues to get better and conditioned in the last games here, then I too would start him with Timmy. Timmy’s got the outside shot down and Tiago can roll to the rim since he’s quicker on his feet. If they can both do that together on the court then the opposition will have a hard time covering two 7 footers let alone Tony, Manu, and RJ getting their shots. I can see Dyess and Blair together with Neal and Hill and Anderson speeding up the tempo then throw in Novak and Bonner in between. There’s just too much for the oppsition to deal with if these guys (the whole team) get it together. You could see big leads very quickly happening.

  • Bruno

    @Ed

    Chip changed Tiago shooting style, trying make better, but isn’t working yet… With time he get better

  • Bruno

    @Mark B

    We don’t know if Lakers are going to make the WCF, of course spurs can beat them, stay calm

  • Mark B

    @Bruno: True enough, but if you look at the standings and matchups based on how things are going now, I think the most likely WCF matchup is going to be Spurs/Lakers. All of the other teams in the West have weaknesses that can be exploited in a 7 game series by a well coached team.

    The Spurs, on paper, have a weakness due to their lack of quality length. But it only hurts them on defense, and if they get hot enough from the perimeter, it can make the Lakers have to play a smaller lineup. Even if they stay big, I like the scrappiness of Blair/ craftiness of McDyess against a bigger player. They are going to get beat some, but they are also going to get some steals and rebounds.

    Like everyone else around here, I’d like to see Splitter get more minutes, but I think he was injured so much this year that he never got enough time to play to really get comfortable in game time with the other players. Hopefully he’ll get some quality minutes for the rest of the season, and some plays in the playoffs. I really believe next year is the year he gets regular minutes in the rotation, but he can probably get some spot minutes this year.

    I think one thing that separates the NBA from a lot of other sports is that the playoffs are a lot of games over a couple of months. It’s really a second season. If you don’t have a plan to keep your team fresh and healthy through that second season, you can’t win a championship. Popovitch has been doing a really good job of that. Phil Jackson is still great, but it seems to me that the Lakers might be emotionally peaking a little early. But then again, nobody knows more about winning championships than Jackson. Popovitch has to be next in line among active coaches. It might be wishful thinking, but I think Jackson is already dreaming about life after coaching, and this isn’t anywhere close to his best job.

    Anyway, sorry for the length of the post. Just thinking out loud about the Spurs. I’m feeling good about the drive for another championship, but of course, there are a lot of games yet to play. I can’t wait to watch them.

  • jwalt

    Two comments. First, I am officially on board with Tiago. He needs to get Blair’s minutes. He can help, even with his limitations.

    Second, all these excuses for RJ’s lack of offense are just wrong. The reason he isn’t a bigger part of the offense is on one person, Jefferson. You honestly think Pop tells him to shy away from shots, to not attack the basket? Jefferson just doesn’t want the responsibility, it is so obvious if you look at his body language. Neal has as many plays run for him as RJ does, but he is not afraid to be aggressive, to attack. Jefferson chooses not to.

  • http://hecatr.livejournal.com/ Joseph Dooley

    Why did Blair lose his starting position to McDyess?

  • Bruno

    @Joseph Dooley

    Make the team better

  • Mark B

    If I had to guess, jwalt, I’d say Popovich got tired of seeing Blair overhelp and leave his man and leave a big hole in the defense for the other team to exploit. McDyess is not as athletic at this stage of his career, but he’s always going to cover his assignment. He’s always in the right position.

    I’m a Blair fan, but he’s still young and makes mistakes. I’ve been skeptical that a player as short as he is can be an effective center, but he has a Wes Unseld like ability to take up space and rebound like a beast. His defense is good, but tall players can take advantage of his height, which means Tim has to help him out, which can open up someone else. I think he’s more of a PF, but that position on the Spurs is filled. Hopefully his offensive game can keep developing so he can move there in a few more years, when Timmy retires.

  • jwalt

    Mark B — first of all, I think Blair might be the most gifted athlete on the team. Unbelievable balance and quickness for a man his size. Strong, quick hands. But let’s clarify. First, Duncan is the team’s center, Blair, McDyess are the power forwards. Duncan ALWAYS guards the other team’s center. And secondly, Blair would rebound like a beast IF he had decent fundamentals. But he tries to do everything one handed and fumbles away multiple balls a game. And he never blocks out. Watching Splitter play against Charlotte and concentrating on him, I found his fundamentals solid. Like rebounding with two hands. Putting a body on someone everytime the ball went up. He is not as skilled as Blair, but he is the better basketball player.

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  • http://48minutesofhell.com midwestfan

    On Blair not starting I think it was Pops plan all along. Not play Dice a lot pre all star break to monitor his playing time and keep him fresh for the stretch run and playoffs, because if you think about it Dice sat out alot of games it could pay dividends come playoffs

  • grego

    @Jwalt – RJ’s issues are not all his own. If you don’t call plays for him, it’s tough for him to do things. It’s like Duncan. Until recently, they didn’t call plays for him so his numbers were deceptive to most outside onlookers.

    They went to him purposefully in the Dallas game and his numbers looked like what he’d put up 2 years ago.

    I’m not saying their situations are the same, but RJ’s game is under the control of what the coaches decide.

    Also, if the defenders don’t come off of RJ during the penetration from Parker/Manu, he’s not going to get those shots. His attempts have gone down partly due to that.

    RJ can’t just call an audible and be aggressive for the sake of himself. RJ has to play within the team. I’m not saying he hasn’t had some opportunities (which were those recent offensive fouls), but these opportunities are far and few between.

    I hope these things are addressed this summer to emphasize more balance among the scorers to lessen the load on Manu next year.

    @MarkB – Blair’s defense is so-so/OK. that’s why he doesn’t get big minutes, especially near the ends of games. Blair tries to reach rather than his his body and footwork. This is where he doesn’t use his gifts to his advantage. Bonner is actually better at defense and rebounding in the respect of boxing out. He might not have the abilities, but that is why he is not seen as much as a liability.

    If you think of it, Spurs really could improve their rebounding just by using Blair boxing out more and having a wing come in for the rebound like an RJ.

    Blair more often then not tries to out jump/out reach a guy.

    Rodman, although taller and a good jumper, used his body really well. Even if he didn’t get the rebound, he usually set someone else up for getting he ball. This is a big reason why he’s been on some stellar defensive teams aside from his individual rebounding prowess.

  • http://www.bpifanconnect.com Alix Babaie

    So glad that the mood on this board has gone to a more positive outlook.

    In my opinion, the Spurs were on mental cruise control during those games against LA and Miami, since they had beaten them both before they allowed themselves to slip in those contests.

    Obviously, you can’t win them all and most assuredly losing to those teams (and Dallas) tends to piss fans of this board off more than anything else but your barometer game is definitely that Friday Mavs contest.

    I, for one, look forward to the 04/12 tilt against LA, where I expect the S&B crew to look at making another statement against a playoff opponent.

  • Titletown99030507d

    @MarkB,

    In two years we’ll see Tiago and Ryan Richards hit the floor as the 1 & 2, Blair will come off the bench with whoever. Timmy will be in the Virgin Islands kicking back on the beach sipping on his favorite beverage and Dyess will be back in his home town polishing that ring he’s going to get this summer and and spend his time staring at it for the rest of his life after he retires.

  • jwalt

    midwestfan — I agree 100 percent.

  • jwalt

    grego — we will have to agree to disagree. Some players just don’t want the responsibility of winning and losing on their shoulders. Manu is the ultimate of those who do want that responsibility, I think Jefferson is firmly in the other camp.

  • Rowrbazzle

    They once listed Brent Barry (or maybe it was Horry) as DNP – Tummy Ache. haha