San Antonio Spurs 111, Golden State Warriors 96: Spurs win, but it’s not all “flowers and lollipops”


AT&T CENTER–Tiago Splitter notched his first NBA double-double (10 points, 14 rebounds), Steve Novak provided another spark off the bench, and the defense held Monta Ellis to 10 points. Yet the San Antonio Spurs 111-96 victory was, as head coach Gregg Popovich put it, “not flowers and lollipops.”

That’s because Tim Duncan went down early against the Golden State Warriors, again, only unlike last time there would be no return for a triple-double. X-rays were negative, but as Sean Elliott reported, Duncan could be out a couple weeks.

“It’s bad timing. Hopefully it’s nothing really bad, but I saw him in pain and he’s not one of those guys that’s going to pretend or do that if he’s not hurting,” Manu Ginobili said. “It’s bad, but hopefully it’s just a couple games and he’ll be back soon.”

With Duncan limping to the locker room, Tiago Splitter stepped in and had a very productive first quarter with eight points and six rebounds. With big nights from Novak (13 points, 5-6 shooting), Tony Parker (17 points, a tied-for-career-high 15 assists), and Ginobili (28 points) it was enough to get past these Warriors without Tim Duncan. But not without some cause for concern.

Notably, after the game Popovich was unhappy with the team’s inability to finish off the Golden State Warriors–having to put starters back in the game–playing Parker and Ginobili near their season averages in minutes in what should have been a runaway victory–after the bench let the visiting team claw back within single digits in the fourth quarter. It is a trend Pop would rather not see continue.

“Unfortunately Tony and Manu needed to be on the court as long as they were,” Popovich said. “If everybody on the bench would have shown,  but we had a couple of guys who need to step up their games as we get down the stretch and into the playoffs.

“I just need the bench to be more consistent and I don’t think they’ve been as consistent as I would like in the last five or six games, even though we’ve won a few.”

That statement could easily have been directed at Matt Bonner, who hit his first shot, and his last shot, but missed the seven in between. It’s been a rough couple of games for Bonner, eased a bit for the Spurs by the minutes put in by Novak.

“He’s human. He’s one of the best shooters in the league and he hasn’t had two consecutive bad shooting games all season up until this point,” Ginobili said of Bonner. “He just needs to keep shooting.”

There will be ample opportunity in the coming weeks in the absence of Duncan, and not just for Bonner, but for everyone.

“We’re going to have to play a little bit faster, a lot of pick and rolls with myself and Manu,” Tony Parker said. “And just try to get everybody else to pick it up and be aggressive.”

Without Duncan, expect a lot more of the offense to fall in the hands of Parker, who has been nothing short of brilliant over the past few weeks. While he still may not possess the creativity and artistry of a Steve Nash or Chris Paul, Parker has honed his decision making and passing.

Keeping in mind that it’s Golden State, Parker was still able to get in the paint at will. And while he’ll never be as adept at slipping passes through multiple defenders at will as his aforementioned peers–though he’s not bad by any means–he does not need to be. His ability to get in the lane is so potent, and he draws so much attention, he’ll always have his pick of passing lanes.

That being said, this team is not going where it needs to be without Tim Duncan. Get well soon.

  • grego

    Based on this, it definitely sounds better than 2 weeks if Manu says “a couple of games.”
    “It’s bad timing. Hopefully it’s nothing really bad, but I saw him in pain and he’s not one of those guys that’s going to pretend or do that if he’s not hurting,” Manu Ginobili said. “It’s bad, but hopefully it’s just a couple games and he’ll be back soon.”

  • junierizzle


    It’s Splitter time!

  • Len

    A blessing in disguise?? Tiago will finally get some extended burn and get a chance to audition for the playoffs. With that said..


  • Hobson13

    “Unfortunately Tony and Manu needed to be on the court as long as they were,” Popovich said. “If everybody on the bench would have shown, but we had a couple of guys who need to step up their games as we get down the stretch and into the playoffs.”

    Dang. Those are pretty harsh words coming from Pop. I agree that he may be calling out Bonner, but he could also be directing his wrath towards Hill. He played 28 min and only had 8 pts, 2 assts, and 3TOs. IMO, that’s pretty weak if you consider the opponent. Anyway, Tiago starting could be a boon come playoff time even though our front line is thin with Tim and Blair injured. We really need that kid to play well for us. Good game, Spurs. I’m looking forward to seeing how they respond when they play Denver on Wednesday night.

  • The Truth Fairy

    Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise. Pop is going to have to play Splitter at least 20 a game, and so at least we fans’ll get to see what he is and what he can do. Pop is among the all-time great coaches, but I can’t help but think he’s been wrong not to give Splitter a shot in a real game to this point. Of course Pop has more information about his game than us, and probably more basketball sense as well, but it’s got to be demoralizing and perhaps even counterproductive to completely bench a guy who’s used to being a star player, even if he’s not quite up to the level of competition in the NBA. I mean, come the fuck on, Steve Novak had been getting as many minutes as Tiago, as did Udoka when he was on the team. Neither of those SFs was going to be important come playoff time, while everyone knows that what the Spurs need is a defensive big man, which is what we expected from Splitter. Hell, are his odds of becoming minute-worthy worse than Novak’s? I don’t think so, and that’s why it’s been infuriating to see him get DNPs or 3-4 minutes against meaningless teams.

  • Bruno

    @The Truth Fairy

    I agree Pop should give Splitter much more minutes since the begining of season, but don’t push.He isn’t expect to be a star,but 15 points/8 reb in 30 minutes, this is what expect and i believe he can make it

  • grego


    Bonner, Hill and Neal are the main culprits since they make up the core to the bench (6th man to 8th man). I think its a good reminder though so they don’t relax because there are still games to be won.

  • grego

    Splitter not getting more time during the season was due to injuries mostly. He missed training camp. That hurts, especially for a foreign player who is a big.

    Then when he starts getting minutes, he gets hurt again only to miss the valuable games leading up to the Rodeo Trip and those games.

    Then Blair had a stretch where he was starting to come out of the struggle he had early on and you want to reward him.

    Anderson is a similar story and Neal has played so well that Anderson is pretty much screwed for the rest of the season.

  • Greyberger

    My impression was it was gonna be two weeks at least. ‘Severely sprained’? in a lot of pain? Knowing Pop he’ll rest him until the very last regular season game and keep him to spot minutes in #82.

    Good thing we built up all these wins so we don’t have to rely on Tony and Manu and end up with them worn down for the playoffs.

  • Bob

    @ Truth Fairy
    I have to agree with you. I can’t understand Pop claiming the defense is so bad and playing offensive minded players (Bonner, Novak) over guys that can help the defense. Splitter provides length and rebounding and he’s got excellent offensive awareness.

    If he have developed quicker we could have a frontline of Duncan/Splitter that could possibly match the Lakers Bynum/Gasol. That’s the one advantage that people consistently use to pick the Lakers to win the title over the Spurs.

  • manufan

    It’s gonna be a revalation for a lot of people. And I mean a lot of people. Spurs are not Duncan’s team anymore. It’s been like that for some time. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are running this team. If we loose any of theese two for extended time we are done but with Tim out couple weeks we are going to be allright. Pop is forced now to play Tiago(it can be only good for us) and Antonio is gonna have to anchor that defence now. For my Spurs to keep winning, two guys need to step up, RJ (who sucks for quite some time) and George Hill. We might lose to Denver but eventualy we will be ok.

  • grego

    @manufan – you are severely underestimating Duncan’s importance.

    Spurs have the most depth they’ve ever had to survive an injury to a key player, but Duncan is the anchor to the defense and still draws a lot of attention from the defenses. He might not draw double teams, but you aren’t going to cheat off of him like you would a Tiago or Dice.

    Each piece of the big 3 bring something very important. Parker brings the quick scoring, Manu brings the extra something, a wonderful ball handler and Duncan brings the defensive anchor.

  • Hobson13

    March 21st, 2011 at 8:52 pm
    “It’s gonna be a revalation for a lot of people. And I mean a lot of people. Spurs are not Duncan’s team anymore. It’s been like that for some time. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are running this team.”

    That’s one silver lining in this gray cloud. We absolutely won’t miss Duncan on the offensive end, but the defensive end will be a different story. I know it was only the Warriors, but Tiago grabbing 14 rebs was a good sign for me. That’s one area of concern I’ve had regarding Splitter. Perhaps we will have Blair back on Wednesday night. I can see Pop playing Splitter and Bonner together and Blair and Dyess together. With these combos you get decent rebounding and the ability to stretch the floor at the same time.

    P.S What’s up with Novak? He’s been a very nice surprise for us. In fact, he’s been our best perimeter bench player for two straight games. Another great find by the FO.

  • Flavor

    RJ’s FG % is: .479
    3PT FG%: .435 (Carreer High)
    RPG: 3.9

    I don’t think RJ sucks, as much as he needs more shots in order score more than 11.1 PPG (his avg).

    I’m in the group that says this is a blessing (and I use that word with hesitation) in disguise. Tiago will get extended minutes and hopefully come through. Although, even if he does great, I don’t expect him to get major “bench” minutes in the playoffs. Hopefully the time he gets now, gives him confidence going foward should he play major “bench” minutes in the playoffs…

    As the article says:
    Get well soon Tim!

    P.S. Bonner +17 for the game…

  • Peter

    Agree with the guys above in also singling Hill for criticism. I think his whole game suffers when he’s missing jumpers and turning the ball over.

    For some reason, I’m not worried about Neal. He just never seems as tentative, even when its an off-night.

    But I would also add RJ, with Bonner and Hill, as guys to be worried about come playoffs. Guess we’ll see.

  • DorieStreet


    Harsh words from Pop –but true. If the reserves are anemic in their play at home, what are we to expect when they hit the road?

    Didn’t see game, but stats/highlights promising for Splitter–but GS was dress rehearsal. Showtime starts Wednesday and continues through the end of the month: Hilario, Aldridge, Randolph, Garnett.

  • Greyberger

    It’s all dress rehearsal – with homecourt basically settled, the name of the game is prepare for the playoffs.

  • grego

    @Peter – RJ had some nice games last post season. He’s been there so he knows what it takes. Hill had a pretty solid series against Dallas so he’s shown he can bring it, but he has struggled shooting this past March (honestly, all the bench has started to struggle in March).

  • hassan

    @ Greyberger

    What you mean we will not need to rely much on TP & manu for next few games.. We need to win & it’s a hard schedule coming up so we will loose Timmy a lot…. Time for guys to step up….

  • manufan

    @ Hobson13
    P.S What’s up with Novak? He’s been a very nice surprise for us. In fact, he’s been our best perimeter bench player for two straight games. Another great find by the FO.


    Steve Novak is just an insurance for Bonner’s inability to hit wide open jumper in the playoffs. Somebody to throw in for couple minutes to see if he can hit that open shots Manu and Tony will provide. If you can recall, we got swept by Suns last season becouse Bonner, Mason, and Bogans could not hit anything from outside, being wide open. But if Novak continues to play like he has played so far he might get some consistant minutes behind RJ.
    I am a fan of 30 3pt attempts per game, if you are open. Open shot is good shot, don’t pass on it.

  • Hobson13

    March 21st, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    Agreed. Surely between Bonner and Novak one of them will be hitting shots. They are two of the most similar players in the entire league and it’s certainly no coincidence that we have redundency at that particular position. Bonners numbers for the past 7 games haven’t been that hot either. Hopefully Bonner isn’t warming up for another playoff no-show.

  • junierizzle

    @ Hobson13
    P.S What’s up with Novak? He’s been a very nice surprise for us. In fact, he’s been our best perimeter bench player for two straight games. Another great find by the FO.

    I have to admit that I was kind of pleased when they signed NOVAK. Even though he probably wasn’t going to get a ton of playing time. I always thought he had potential but I felt teams never gave him enough minutes. He was even with DALLAS earlier this season.

    The dude can flat out shoot. I didn’t think he would play this much. I guess some of it has to do with injuries but minutes are minutes. And he’s doing fine.

  • TDzilla!

    What’s up with the Warriors? It’s the second time Timmy was injured playing against them.

  • Nick

    I think the title is missing the word “not”

    Here’s a speedy recovery for the best all time power forward. We’re gonna need him.

  • rob

    Let’s all pray Duncan’s injury isn’t too severe. My bet…even if it’s not so severe that it only keeps him out of action for the next two weeks…he doesn’t play much (if at all) until the last week of the season. I’d rather lose HCA than take the chance on losing Duncan for the entire playoffs by rushing him back to action.

  • deent

    I am a spurs fan from france and after watching TD go down last night, i just didn t sleep well!! If i recall, Spurs players always seem to get injured against the the same teams!! TD against golden state (twice), TP against memphis (last season and this season), and Manu always gets a bad blow against the suns… man you get my point!! With one already down, the upcoming grizz and 2 games vs the suns… i m just feeling a little nervous right now!

    Really hope they wrap up that hca real quick and we start resting people!

    go spurs go

  • ITGuy

    Go Spurs Go!!

  • George

    I hope they run 4 down (timmys play) see what Tiago can do on his own in the low post. I just hope he lays off that bunny hook he uses, against the real bigs in the league, thats not going to fly.

  • Alix Babaie

    I am hopeful that Timmy will be back for the Celts game.

    The team should be able to go at least 3-2 the rest of March, with or without Tim.

    I would rather rest Tim until he is ABSOLUTELY 100% healthy than rush him back.

    While I feel mostly everyone on this board would want the W against Boston and it seems that would be highly unlikely without #21, I would rather have this team completely healed and well rested leading up to the playoffs.

    My only wish is that we draw either NO or Houston, not Portland or Memphis.

  • SA_Ray

    Get well soon Timmy.
    Hopefully the extra time for Splitter in the starting lineup with give him the push he needs to be a more productive bench player when Tim gets back. Time for a trial by fire for Splitter.

  • rob

    @Alix Babaie

    “My only wish is that we draw either NO or Houston, not Portland or Memphis”

    Wish might be granted regarding Memphis….I just saw a breaking news/report to follow on that Gay may be out fot the season.

  • betsyduncan

    For all of those incessant Tiago touters, I hope you’re happy. I’ll take Timmy over Tiago any day of the week. Please heal up quickly, TD! We need you!

  • Alix Babaie


    I was kind of hoping he would return…bump them up to 6 or 7 seed and promptly run the hell out of the Lakers or Mavs.

    The Grizz have played all of the top seeds tough. They would be hard pressed to beat either LA or Dallas…..though I know they would run them ragged to 6 or 7 games.

  • Alix Babaie

    @ betsyduncan, I agree that we need TD but getting Tiago some reps against playoff competition can only strengthen his abilities.

    If he can replicate what he did last night (10/14), he would be great to pair up with Timmy against the likes of the Lakers. I love Dyess but this kid can flat out play. I know Pop does not like to toss the kids into the playoff fire but this may be the year he has to go against his tendencies.

  • erik

    I agree totally that it is better to lose HCA than to rush the Big Fundamental back too soon.

    And on the Bonner, Hill, bench funk going on: We have such quality men on our team, cuz they are harder on themselves than anyone (remember Hill’s tweet after that game @ memphis a couple weeks ago) and they need to stop being so hard on themselves and take out their frustration on the opponents, especially on the defensive end. Another way to say it, they need to stop thinking, I better prove myself, and start thinking, It’s time to kick some A.

  • Mike Mitchell

    Best thing that could have happened to the Spurs…watch this team come together under the short-term setback of no Blair and Duncan…gives time for Hill, Splitter and the rest of the bench to step up offensively and defensively in preparation for the playoffs…TD and Blair return healthy and away we go to title #5…there’s part of me that wonders if this was orchestrated by Pop…a little fake injury to TD to get his team focused…

  • idahospur

    If we can stay on top of the West, I say rest Duncan all the way to the playoffs. Try to put Manu on the bench with about a week left in the season.

    Let’s get Splitter some good reps and let him be the Duncan sub come playoffs (with some time overlap). If he can handle the responsibility and can replicate last night’s work, he could anchor the 2nd team.

  • Sarge

    Well, for everyone that wanted to see more Tiago, your wish has been granted. Tim going down hurts, but at least it’s not going to be for an extended period of time.

    As regarding Bonner, even the best of shooters have slumps. At least it’s happening now, maybe he can get it out of his system before playoff time.

    Really, I think the player we can least afford to lose, at least on the offensive end, is Parker. Dude has been brilliant.

  • Dr. Leonard McCoy

    Damnit Jim! I’m a doctor, not a miracle worker! Perhaps we should’ve given TD-21 another night’s rest as the good doctor had ordered. Well… it looks like two weeks without Timmy, like it or not. YIKES! So should we look at this cup half empty or half full? Well, for the TD-21 fans who wanted rest for him…. well… you got your wish! And for all the TS-22 fans in Spursland, well… you got your wish, too! This may be a blessing in disguise! Hmmm! But hopefully, this WILL be a time for other members of this team to really come toghether & step it up & bring their “A-game.” We can all conlude that RJ, Hill & Bonner have not had good games of late, although RJ looked a tiny bit better last night, & in the up-in-coming road trip, we’re gonna need for these guys in perticular, to produce real well. But one major problem I seem to have noticed with this team is BALL MOVEMENT & ASSISTS! Although TP had a high assist night, which is surprising, but Ninja also pointed out last night that the Spurs had gotten away from their ball movement, which helped them to build their lead. Now, what I noticed is when the 2nd unit comes in, the ball movement seems to disapear! Hmmm… The defense is ok, & it still needs improvement, with the focus on consistancy. Now, I can’t say what goes on behind closed doors & at practices, but one would think that Pop would have assigned TS-22 to a coach & a player this season to help to coach & mentor him; to talk to him about game situations & plays; to point out things to him during games & practices; on & off the court for improvement sakes. Or perhaps, Pop has already done that or Splitter already has a handle on the those things, but don’t you think that they need to run a bit more plays for him or at least his teammates dish him the ball when they notice him open? I guess that may go back to my idea of baaaad ball movement or something! Now, granted, he really doesn’t have much of a stroke, other than that weak baby hook, but he can surely do put-backs or dunks! Those are worth points too, are they? But hopefully, Chip will work on that during the off-season. Any who, RJ… oh RJ… I know that Pop wants him to play the way Pop wants RJ to play, but do we think that RJ needs some liberty to attack the basket a bit more? Would that also get him to the foul line more as well? I can agree with TP when he responded to a question regarding the possibilty of moving on in Timmy’s 2 week absence. He basically said that the team can maintain & win regular season games without him, but come playoff time, we couldn’t. Hmm… TP is dead on on the 2nd aspect of his statement, the first half, well, the team will be carried on the backs of Tony & Manu, even if the rest of the team, especially if the defense & the bench, doesn’t show up to play. Attention all hands. Brace yourselves for a intresting two weeks! GO SPURS GO; GET WELL TD-21 & Let’s ICE ONE FOR THA DYESS!!!

  • rob

    The bench.

    Bonner’s issues stem from lack of hitting his shots as well as he did in the beginning of the season. Scary thought here…it’s a pattern we as fans have seen to many times as playoffs get closer. Hopefully Bonner gets the mental webs cleared this year prior and during playoffs.

    Neal (and Splitter) can be understood somewhat being rookies…first time playing this long a season. But Neal hasn’t been as bad lately as some of the more experienced bench players. Perhaps it’s more hitting a wall issue that will be resolved come playoffs.

    George Hill…there’s the main issue in my opinion. He’s a black hole when he gets the ball. Determined to make things happen via self than getting better at distribution and recognition of other teammates. Don’t know if that can be improved since he’s played this way from the begining and not like it’s been something that’s just cpropped up over the past several games.

    All in all…more time together as a unit hopefully corrects some of the recent issues.

    Novak seems ready to be consistent. I wouldn’t expect too much playing time for Anderson as he probably would have been getting that already.

    Go Spurs Go!!!

    insert sarcasm…Make Timmy scared for his job. :)

  • Spur4Life

    I think that any player loss would hurt us. We are playing good “team” ball and if you take out any piece, the puzzle will not be complete.

  • TheRealKman

    Buford says Timmy sustained a sprain between 1 and 2. It’s possible he might be ready to go when Boston comes to town next Thursday.

  • junierizzle

    I’m no doctor but I have sprained my ankle. To me TD’s sprain didn’t look bad. It looked bad but not “oh my god” bad.
    I think KOBE’s sprain against the MAVS looked 100x worse and he played the next game. Probably shouldn’t have but he did.
    Now, I know TD is heavier and every player is different, but if he sprained it like KOBE did, then I would be worried.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if TD is back in a week. But given his age and playoffs right around the corner, they might hold him for two weeks just to be safe.


  • Titletown99030507d


    “you are severely underestimating Duncan’s importance.”

    Sure, but its not like he’s scoring 30 points a game like he used to, but I understand we still need him to attract attention and rebound and play the defense that he still has and yes his outside shot.
    Ok we need him but it’s not like Tiago’s a stiff. He’s only going to get better and better. His role in this system will still yield him consistent high double/doubles once he gets to the level he was playing in Spain as an MVP. This system will do wonders for Splitter. He’s going to attract lots of attention sooner than you think thus opening up for our shooters even more. Add the fact he’s a good passer and has that offensive awareness to be at the right place and the right time to score the basket. Plus he’s only going to get better at defending and probably start increasing his rebound numbers. This guy has to play and he has to play 25 minutes or better to fully utilize his attributes. He’s no slouch wait till he gets into true NBA game shape and he’ll start raising people’s eyebrows. Put him in their with Timmy after he burns up the next 10 games and you’ll see what this combo will do for the team. I want this guy ready to rock in the playoffs. If this dude gets 5 minute appearances in the playoffs I’ll be besides myself and totally confused as to what Pop is doing with Tiago. Gentlemen, unleash the kraken the Big Brazilian has arrived.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Also Novak is making his statement now! What a performance this guy is putting on. I would interchange him and Bonner intermittenty with equal time. Bonner will come around I hope or Novak is just going to steal his minutes completely. They are both rated the same in defense in my opinion and like I said if Bonner gets his stroke back I would just have those two taking turns coming on the court draining the 3. How about putting Blair on the court for RJ when RJ can’t seem to get it together? (although he did well yesterday) How about running some plays for Blair while we have Timmy, Splitter, Manu, and Tony on the Court. The slowest man on the court would be Timmy but that’s fine because Timmy and Splitter will open it up for Blair, Manu, and Tony. That’s a scoring machine and a rebounding machine with those guys on the court. Maybe for the Lakers match up?

  • Titletown99030507d


    What if that bunny hook starts to fall again and again? Then what? Keep shooting it man! He was 1 for two for bunny hooks last night, but his real strength is getting to the rim all by himself. Are you listening GH, Manu, and Company? After Tim left the court and Splitter came on to put on a clinic of pick and rolls for the rest of that quarter I don’t understand for the life of me why they abandoned that strategy for an other quarter and a half until the midway to the 3rd. Crazy man is all I can say. If its working keep doing it all night long instead of clanking 3 point shots for a quarter and a half. My goodness!

  • Titletown99030507d


    “For all of those incessant Tiago touters, I hope you’re happy. I’ll take Timmy over Tiago any day of the week. Please heal up quickly, TD! We need you!

    Uh No! I’d like to see the young and the up and coming stud playing ALONGSIDE Duncan. Hello. Don’t you people get it? Duncan can hangout at the key and shoot all night long if he wants while Splitter is getting in position to score the basket. What better double threat would we have in Duncan and Splitter on offense. Dirk and Chandler do the same thing. Although Chandler got loose on maybe on one or two hell fire dunks on us was because of our defense that night. Against other teams they tear it up. Just using the example on how Timmy and Splitter can dominate if they just let him do it.

    PS : Sorry for sequential posting but its been a longtime waiting for this so I’m taking advantage of it.

  • Titletown99030507d

    @Dr. Leonard McCoy,

    Good observation doctor.

    “Now, granted, he really doesn’t have much of a stroke, other than that weak baby hook, but he can surely do put-backs or dunks! Those are worth points too, are they?”…

    Yeah, that’s the same way Blair gets his points but the big difference is defense Tiago is bigger and the opposing bigs have to shoot over Tiago without clear sight of the rim as opposed to Blair’s defense the opposing bigs can see what they’re shooting at. I take Tiago any time over Blair plain and simple. What are people going to say now? Uh Blair can rebound. Uh so can Splitter.

  • senorglory

    I don’t think we can expect our defense to look too good while Duncan is out, although we can rely on others to collectively fill in for Duncan on offense.

  • rj

    it’s indeed tiago time. this may be one of those “blessing in disguise things” considering he has shown that he in another large, defensive interior presence we have been lacking and is a murder on the pick and roll. but considering how poorly bonner has played on both sides of the ball, perhaps splitter’stime and usage will increase even more?

    sheesh timmy. i hope your ok. get some rest and get ready to thrash in the playoffs