San Antonio Spurs 112, Memphis Grizzlies 106: Eventually, the Spurs will lose a close game

by

AT&T CENTER — The pass went traveled quickly from Tony Parker to Manu Ginobili. And just as soon as it touched the hands of Ginobili, it was in the air, destined for Richard Jefferson. A beautiful alley-oop dunk to finish off another Spurs win.

The San Antonio Spurs had a five point lead with under a minute left in the fourth quarter and were about to finish the Memphis Grizzlies off. But then, things didn’t go as they should’ve. Jefferson fumbled the ball and never even got a shot off.  Instead, the ball went out of bounds and Memphis had a chance.

The Grizzlies went the other way and OJ Mayo scored a layup. After Tony Parker missed a jumper with about 38 seconds left, Mayo nailed a 3-pointer with 21.6 seconds left. Tie game. What should’ve been an insurmountable lead just seconds ago was now a contest in limbo.

The Spurs missed on their final attempt of the fourth quarter. Manu Ginobili considered taking a step-back 3-pointer for the win, but dished off to Tim Duncan cutting through the lane. Duncan passed to Jefferson in the short corner but RJ air balled the shot and the game went to overtime. The Spurs outscored Memphis 12-6 in overtime and won the game 112-106, but their performance left much to be desired.

“I thought it was a sloppy game on our part, but we did maintain our effort and the effort never let up and finally got us an opportunity to win it at the end,” Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich said after the game.

Every time the ball went in the air and caromed off the rim, it seemed like a lost cause. Almost a quarter of the time during the Spurs’ win on Saturday night at the AT&T Center, the ball ended up in Zach Randolph’s hands.

“We were fronting Zach Randolph, so when the shot goes up, you’re on the wrong side to box out,” Spurs forward Matt Bonner said. “That definitely made a difference.”

The Spurs kept trying to pull away in the third and early fourth quarter, but the Memphis Grizzlies wouldn’t let them. And Randolph, who finished the game with 24 points and 21 rebounds, was a major reason why. Randolph grabbed 10 offensive rebounds on the night, more than the entire Spurs team.

“Zach Randolph is maybe one of the best rebounders that we’ve seen in the league, especially at the offensive end,” Coach Pop said. “He does that all the time. It’s no surprise.”

Offensively, OJ Mayo was ridiculous for Memphis, he scored 27 points on 11-19 from the field, including 5-8 from the 3-point line. But even more ridiculous was the line from Tony Parker. The Spurs point guard put up 37 points on 15-21 shooting and nine assists.

The Spurs were able to weather the storm of the Grizzlies dominance on the offensive glass, Memphis outrebounded San Antonio 48-41 overall, and take their record to an NBA-best 23-3. Even if the Spurs play .500 ball for the rest of the season, they would still finish with 51 wins. It’s amazing to think about that considering the struggle last season appeared.

The Spurs host the new-look Suns on Monday night.

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  • spurholic in mumbai

    A scrappy win, each team scored in bunches then turned over the ball with ridiculous ease – TP’s 8 second violation, RJ missing an easy dunk. TS was largely missing, did have an impressive assist for MG. As a Spurs fan, will take the win. With a re-jigged Phoenix and an imminent rejig at Denver, is West becoming a three horse race – Lakers, Mavs & Spurs? Jazz and Thunders being the honourable mentions.

  • td4life

    We missed Hill’s defense tonight. But I say let the kid sit out until he’s truly 100% healed. If LA can be in the mix without Bynum until recently, and Boston can streak right along at our heels without Rondo and all their centers, we should be able to step up.

    Quinn gets double digits, and meanwhile, is Udoka really better than Danny Green?

    And I have to wonder if this game is another clue that we are in trouble against teams with big, talented front lines? The Lakers, Mavs, and Celtics are smart teams that know how to win, so they provide a much different challenge than the Wolves, Clippers, or even Jazz, Hornets, Grizzlies… of course they are more talented as well.

    McD + Splitter + Blair played a combined 40 minutes in an overtime game… we are squeeking out wins we should have in the bag. Makes me think that like a lot of guard-dominate teams that we are a great regular-season team. Winning close games is huge, but I still can’t help but think we wouldn’t be tougher to beat if we didn’t have Tiago Splitter playing a bigger role.

    23-3 is fun, though, don’t get me wrong. Most people up here in Portland don’t watch the Spurs, so I just get to brag on the number one team in the league, and everybody has to give it up… which is as it should be, and overdue.

  • SG

    Tiago and McDyess will need to play a bigger role in the playoffs for Spurs to have a chance against other quality frontlines….don’t think we need a trade…just more improvement from the guys we have now.

  • Byron Alexander

    Pop is still playing around with the line-ups (it is still pre-season for the Spurs). The difference is this year the Spurs have developed a team culture of winning whereas last year they too easily gave up. With RJ actually trying, the contributions of Hill and Neal along with a healthy Manu the Spurs are getting wins where last year Pop’s shenanigans got them a loss. I am not saying Pop is wrong to do this; maybe this is how he gets the Spurs into play-off form.

  • DBAGuy

    I do have to day that Tiago hasn’t shown much og anything, well… maybe defense. The guy can’t score on his own, he gets pushed around easily by other guys. (I though Euro basketball was much more physical and he was used to it, oh well). The guy can’t rebound, he actually jumps lowe than Tim Duncan and is as unathelic as they get. Thats the prob we have, we have 4 bigs that are not athetic, Blair will not cut i against the Lakers, Mavs and def the Celtics. Theres no way we beat the Celtics with Splitter playing that way. Our defense needs to improve…

  • Duff Beer

    something tells me the rodeo rode trip is when we are going to truly see more steady action from Splitter…not sure why, maybe all the time they spend together on and off the court.

  • Jimbo

    Has anyone noticed how McDyess has gotten screwed by the refs the last few games while playing D? Some horrible calls have been made against him.

  • Bentley

    The Spurs have always made it a habit to struggle against teams(like a Rudy Gay less Memphis club last night) that they should put away rather quickly.

    But I still take some solace in the win. Great teams always find a way to win no matter how sloppy they play

  • Bert

    I thought Jefferson was suppose to be a good defender. When Mayo made the 3pt shor to tie the game, Jefferson failed to realize that Mayo already picked up his dribble. Jefferson was jumping around falling for every pumpfake. I’m not saying Jefferson caused the overtime, but that was awful defense.

    Spiltter showed signs of life in his short time. He made a nice pass to a cutting Ginobili. I think Splitter needs more chances to post up. When he does, he seems like he doesn’t know what to do. He just needs more reps.

  • Francesco

    I have said it before, I will say it again: we cannot rely on Duncan offensively anymore. He may produce big number every 5 games or so, but when we need him from the low post he isn’t able to produce anymore.
    He still anchors the defence, but leaves us with no low post threat.
    Very worrying going into the playoffs.

  • Hobson13

    I agree with many of the posters when they say we can’t make these close games a habit. Up until this week, we had done a good job of knocking teams out when they were on the ropes. However, we had an 18pt lead with 16 minutes left in the game against the Bucks and it took a Manu miracle for us to win. Against the Nuggs, we were up by 9 with 6 minutes left to go and they were reeling. We didn’t put them away and barely escaped with a win. Last night against the Grizz, we just couldn’t get that knock-out blow. This will cost us big time if this trend continues.

    We can’t continue to play Manu and Tim big minutes without it really hurting us later in the year. However, my real concern comes back to our front line. We gave up 19 offensive rebounds last night after outshooting them by a significant margin. The second chance points is what kept this game close.

    This is getting ridiculous. This isn’t the first time we’ve had a player drop 20/20 on us this year. (Randolph, Love almost did it twice, Howard almost accomplished it). We either need Splitter to play or we need to trade for a 7-footer who can rebound and play defense. Our situation really is this simple. It seems that every other game, our front line is getting blown up by an opposing 4 or 5. At this point, Bonner and Blair have absolutely NO CHANCE against bigger front lines. IMO, this is the elephant in the room when we discuss our 23-3 start.

    BTW, 3 of our next 4 games come against Orlando, Phoenix, and Washington, the three teams in the blockbuster trade. This may work to our advantage since these teams will have chemistry issues until everyone is integrated.

  • Greyberger

    I took a look through our game log for this year, just to look at the rebounding problem game-by-game.

    This win against the Grizzlies (22% offensive rebounding to 33%) is probably our second-worst night so far, rebounding-wise. The 107-101 T-Wolves game was way worse, 19% Off. Rebounding vs. 45% for them.

    After that a lot of our massive rebounding fails have been our own failure to get offensive boards, like against the Bucks and the Magic. Only 8% offensive rebounding in these games, vs. 16% and 18%.

    Then you’ve got games like against the Warriors, Hawks or Blazers, where we gave up too many second chances but did pretty good in this category ourselves. We got beat in those games 29% v 24%, 27% v 24%, and 39% v 36%.

    The Spurs are a decent rebounding team overall, ranked 12th on defensive boards and 18th on offensive this year.

    I can’t see any particular pattern in the games above, other than it’s probably hard for us to get second chances against Dwight Howard or Bogut. It was hard to even find another game (besides last night and against Minnesota) where our rebounding problem made it hard for us to get the win.

  • spursfanbayarea

    @Hobson
    BTW, 3 of our next 4 games come against Orlando, Phoenix, and Washington, the three teams in the blockbuster trade. This may work to our advantage since these teams will have chemistry issues until everyone is integrated.

    -You read my mind. I agree we will have an advantage playing those teams while they work out their rotations.

    @td4life
    Is Udoka really better than green?
    -So far in my opinion the Udoka pickup has been a total waste. He can’t shoot. He can’t make simple layups. He does not run the floor well. He has definitely lost a few steps since we saw him a few years ago in a spurs uniform. The only positive is that we can include his salary in a trade at the deadline if anyone would be willing to take it back. Can’t wait to see anderson back.

  • DBAGuy

    We do have the hopes of James Anderson coming back to try ad reduce some of the starters minutes, however we need Splitter to step up big time, I’m really starting to doubt his skills translating into the NBA. He can’t rebound or score. We’ll see what happes by the trading deadline…

  • Junierizzle

    I dont think we should read too much into this current streak of close games. They arent going to blow out every team. This is the NBA afterall. They are getting w’s and thats the important thing. Plus, Im no expert but Im pretty sure they will lose again.
    As far as the Bigs go, Pop needs to establish either Mcdeezy or Splitter or both. Pop is pop and there is still time to figure it out.

  • JerryC

    At least, you guys put O.J. in your column.
    That’s more press than Memphis gives him.

  • TheRed&Black

    I concur that we should not make these close games a reoccurring thing, but at the same time, it is not like the lakers are blowing people out of the water right now. Boston is the only team I feel is just playing better than everybody else, but at the same time we aren’t far behind ;) I do also believe we need to either bring Splitter along or find some more interior D by a trade.

  • Flavor

    Can we at least play L.A. and Boston before we start saying their “bigs” are going to dominate us? Go back to the Dallas game, their “bigs” didn’t dominate us… I’m scared of tall people!!! haha.

  • NYC

    about Udoka:

    I disagree about Udoka. He’s not here for his offense, and we saw why last night; he’s here to play defense. If he can hit some open 3’s, that’s all we can ask out of him.

    When he’s performing his role, we shouldn’t even notice him. He’s not exactly a guy that comes up with blocks or steals. In that regard, he’s like Bruce Bowen, he just pesters you and plays you tight. So it’s deceptive to look at his stats, because even when playing ideally he won’t put up much numbers. That said, he did make some bad plays last night, but I just think it’s too small a sample size to draw any conclusions. We haven’t seen him in enough games, and last night was the first time I remember seeing him and Quinn actually being asked to score. It just wasn’t Udoka’s night.

    But you know what? It wasn’t Blair’s night either. DeJuan went 1 for 6, getting blocked twice, and had 2 TOs. Udoka went 0 for 2 and had 2 TOs in half the minutes. Both struggled; I wouldn’t read too much into it. The good news is, Udoka won’t be asked to score hardly ever. If he starts missing wide open 3’s, then I would be concerned.

  • NYC

    @Flavor

    Actually, the Maverick’s bigs did dominate us. Especially if you are counting Dirk. Chandler has been very effective for them in our meetings this season, and I very much remember Haywood killing us in the playoffs last season. Hell, even Ian Mahinmi got to show boat against us in our last meeting (well, how do you like that?). Dampier was their Achilles’ heal, and now he’s gone. I miss Dampier :’-( (on Dallas’ team).

  • Hobson13

    NYC
    December 19th, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    If you’re waiting on Udoka to hit an open 3, then you may be waiting for a while. Udoka is a waste of space on both ends of the floor. He absolutely cannot hit open shots and leaves much to be desired on the defensive end. I never was much of a Udoka fan even when he was here a few years ago. He simply doesn’t have the lateral quickness or athleticism to keep up with any PG’s or SG’s virtually all SF’s. Ime is a strong, physical guy, but this doesn’t make much difference when anyone he guards can simply beat him off the dribble.

    My great fear is that Pop will continue to play Udoka at the expense of Anderson. In fact, I would be surprised if this didn’t happen given Pop’s penchant for playing veterans over the younger guys.

    P.S. Take a look at JR Smith’s monster dunk on Gary Neal. Guess who Smith beat off the dribble to get that dunk? Here it is…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdmsNA6yhXY

  • Flavor

    @ NYC

    Dirk is a future HOF… He will get his. No one can contain him. One can only hope to limit him. Playoffs last year: McDyess did a great job and if I recall, we beat Dallas in 6. As for Mahinmi, he had 3 points and 4 rebounds in 13 Minutes. Chandler had 19 Points and 8 Rebounds. Duncan had 15 and 8. Dyess and Blair both laid an egg. That game could have gone either way in the last 5 minutes…

  • td4life

    “As far as the Bigs go, Pop needs to establish either Mcdeezy or Splitter or both. ”

    ~ McD will not get a large role until the playoffs. He knows the team and the team knows him, and he’s ready to go. Now is everyone else’s chance to improve.
    ~ Bonner is still our #2 bigman.
    ~ How many guys still think DB is gonna be a different player by the end of the season than he is now? I’m happy he got a starting role to start the year, but imo he should get more of his minutes with the reserves, gobbling up rebounds.
    ~ About that record… I believe we could win just as well while developing Splitter. The Spurs can own 25 of 30 NBA teams regardless. The frontline is underperforming, and that’s a fact. I know, Tim and McD will do a lot to turn that around in the second season, but Splitter is the best prospect to help them out. Play him at least 10 minutes a night with the top units, every game from now until the break. It’s a quiet rotational adjustment that can set him up for an important role in the final third of the season, and beyond.

  • BayAreaSpursFan

    I agree that Udoka is not a solid defender. It seemed to me that the Denver and Memphis went on a few runs with him in there, but then again I could be wrong. I would have to look at the numbers. I really think all these wins are big no matter how they are won. After the all-star break we will see a different defensive team.

  • TD = Best Ever

    @ Francesco – DUNCAN CAN STILL GET IT DONE – he shot 6/13 last night……. The Problem the Spurs have is that DON’T USE HIM MORE OFTEN. For the past few years they have gone more and more away from him and into this motion offense. Which when shots are falling its great – but when we get cold and Tim hasn’t had a good look in 6 plus minutes, He can’t bail us out like he could when he was younger. WE have to keep going into him consistently and give him as many shot per game as he needs to get going……..

  • Dr. Love

    I may be a few days late to the party but — why did we get rid of Drew Gooden? He looked like Carlos Boozer Lite out there on Wednesday night against us.

  • TD = Best Ever

    @ td4life – I agree we need MORE SPLITTER – Not sure how many games yall watch.

    But during the last few SPURS games I have heard Reggie Miller and Sean Elliot both say the SAME THING. And that was “You DON’T get better during the year, You get BETTER DURING THE OFFSEASON”.

    I say that to say this – WE NEED A TRADE. I don’t think BLAIR or SPLITTER will be enough come playoff time. Now I know what we have in Timmy, DICE and Bonner(29 minutes last night/ 6points and 4 rebounds, so basically nothing) Bonner needs to play around 15 minutes per game MAX. that’s plenty of time for him to knock down his two 3 balls and grab a few boards.

    Blair is gonna be the same now as in the playoffs – and I don’t remember any player coming in from Europe with as much on him as Splitter does that made his splash in the 2nd half of the season. By now most team know who they are and what they have got –

    WE NEED A TRADE – OR to PLAY SPLITTER 25 min/game to see what he can add – THEN MAKE A TRADE

  • aspurman

    Is it just me are does it apeer that udoka mind is not in the game. he plays with no emotion, no passion he does not fit with this team any more and it looks like blair has loss confidence. get rid of udoka bring back G Temple.

  • Matt in OC

    @TD

    I don’t think we need a trade. I think pop is sheltering Splitter because of his injury, but I do agree that it is ridiculous. We can afford to drop a few games here and there to bring along our front court. Once they improve we could be an 8th seed that shocks the world. I doubt it would go to that extreme, but it is true.

    The problem with a trade, is who are we going after, and who are we giving up. Charles “Know Nothing” Barkley keeps saying we aren’t middle of the road as far as talent is concerned. That might be true, but each player has his place and roll in this team. Do we really want to disrupt our amazing backcourt to improve a decent frontline? I’m not willing to risk that yet. We don’t want to trade a draft pick because no matter where we pick from we always draft quality players.

    So I’m pretty much over the trade talks. We are going to find out plenty in the coming games about where our frontcourt stands (PHO, LAL, DAL, ORL, BOS all within the next three weeks)

    Let’s wait and see and let Pop do his thing.

  • Flavor

    ^^^agreed.

  • ldhl89

    A big part of a great team include to win close games

    Last season lakers win a lot of close games specially with buzzer-beaters

  • Matt in OC

    That’s a good point Idhl89

    You have to be able to win no matter the situation. It all about rolling with the punches.

    Besides, we might not be getting love from the media, but I guarantee we aren’t sneaking up on teams anymore. Teams are looking at the games against the spurs as a measuring stick. We are getting the best shot from every team we face.

    Please excuse my uninhibited use of “team” in the previous paragraph

  • td4life

    I was part of the pro-Shaq to SA contingent on this site last summer… wonder were the C’s would be without him this year.

  • Matt in OC

    “Richard Jefferson might have been the most surprised player on the court when he was Tim Duncan’s passing target on the last play of regulation. Jefferson shot an air ball on the potential game-winning shot, but still had a productive game with 12 points and nine rebounds. His shot didn’t come like it has recently, but he still persevered and helped out on defense. But I bet he’d like to know that he would be the potential shooter in that situation before the ball came to him.”
    – Tim Griffin, mysanantonio.com/spursnation

    You know it’s comments like this that drive me crazy sometimes. The reason we brought Jefferson in in the first place is for his offensive help. His defense has improved since he got here, but he is no Bruce Bowen. Plus, as far as I’m concerned if you’re on the floor in that situation, you are a potential shooter.

    I understand he wasn’t expecting that pass, but c’mon…. Tell it like it is. He flubbed the shot, but I bet next time he will be ready to drain the 10 footer.

    It was a broken play, and in that instance, you gotta be ready to throw the dagger, otherwise you can’t be on the floor.

    (posted to express my distaste for the media/opinion of said reporter, RJ still the man from 3 pt land in the 4th. I think it’s something like 75%… that’s just crazy)

  • LPspursFan

    I don’t make any kind of trade unless its one stoopid in our favor.
    I like our team. Most games when our bigs are a disadvantage to us (very few) our advantage at guard play evens it our of sways it in our favor.
    I’ve said this elsewhere, but I think Pop already knows what he has in Tiago, and Tiago’s teammates have no trouble playing with him when he’s in the game. Pop is just making sure that will all the play Tiago has this year (Euro, Worlds, etc.) that he doesn’t get a stress injury.
    When Manu played year-round, he hurt is ankles. Those weren’t sprains, they were injuries from reeated stress. Same with TPs plantar; summer ball and year-round ball. So, after Tiago has a semi-offseason (Nov.-end of Feb. early March, or 3-4 months,) then his minutes will increase and he’ll become part of the regular rotation.
    As for last night’s close game, I think ONE play kept it from being a relatively easy, stress free win at the end; the failed alley-oop. Manu needs to make the easier pass there for a layup and forget the highlight reel play. And remember, the Spurs won the 4 games prior to the last three by more than 15 points each, and we have the third highest point differential in the league.
    Udoka, Green…eh. neither is going to play once James Anderson gets back. He had already solidified his place om the rotation prior to his injury so, whenever Pop deems him healthy – we may gripe about how long that takes – he’ll get any minutes that would have gone to Ime.
    I like where the story pointed out tat even at .500 ball over our last 56 games we finish 51-31. But .600 percent, which I think is more than doable, gives us 59. This is a 60+ win team and will merit its own consideration as a title contender before its all over.

  • mac

    Grant Hill just got game highs of 30 and 11 on the road against a team with 2 probable all-stars in OKC. Suns were short-handed, none of their 3 new guys played, so their probable debut is in San Antonio, I’m guessing, which can only help the Spurs tomorrow.

  • TD = Best EVER

    @ td4life

    So was I – SHAQ would have look AWESOME IN Silver and BLACK

    @ LPspursFan

    I can’t disagree more – There are too many players in the league who played in Worlds who are playing just fine and injury free………. Look at team Brazil other BIG’s………. Nene and Verajao – All of the US players who played in Worlds….. why are none of them hurt………. SPLITTER NEEDS TO TOUGHEN UP – We have waited 3 years for you to be ready and I won’t let worlds or anything else be a crutch for poor play………….

    Also we have seen in these past 10 games that our guards are human and will have bad nights from time to time. The games where Manu, TP, RJ, Indy G are all HOT will be fewer and further between. We need to get some more production from our Bigs. Like run a few plays for Timmy, Blair, and even Bonner……. we have to start trying to lessen the blow of the opponents Bigs

  • td4life

    LPspursFan, and others–

    Splitter has already had time to rest and recover, most of July, August, September, October, November, and most of December = that’s 5 months right there… this is much different than Manu and Tony going from NBA playoffs to FIBA to training camp… you guys can keep saying Pop is protecting him, but for how long? Six months? Seven months?

    We are at 26 games = just shy of 1/3 of the season… if he is still the garbage time big, and the clear #5 big, by the time we are are entering the final third of the season (game 55, or near the end of the rodeo roadtrip) then your assessment of the situation is likely incorrect. By the time we are at the final quarter of the season (game 61 or 62), you can virtually forget it.

    I have my eye on the next 29 to 36 games for the frontline to improve.

    I think Blair as a starter is not gonna put up substantially better numbers if he continues to be the starting PF, but was in support of the experiment through the first quarter of the season, as I said here from the start.

    I’d lay money that the Spurs will not make a trade, but Splitter is the best prospect available anyway.

  • LPspursFan

    TD = Best EVER

    I’ve got no problem with you disagreeing about Tiago…I’ve just been trying to figure a reason he isn’t in the rotation and can’t come up with any other. Tiago’s play, when he gets it, doesn’t look so bad to me that he shouldn’t get regular minutes. And I’m not sure why you’re telling Tiago to toughen up, we’ve read stories about him wanting to play. I d0ubt the reason he isn’t playing has anything to do with his toughness.

  • lvmainman

    @ Matt in OC,

    There is no way on earth Jefferson should be expecting a pass from Duncan, when 1) there is no defender in front of Duncan but Randolph, Gasol was behind 2) Duncan was 5 ft from the hoop 3) there was less than 5 seconds left in the game. Watch the replay again.

    Semih Erden of the Celtics and Omar Asik of the Bulls have shown more than Tiago Splitter(For half the salary). Thanks to injuries to Shaq and Boozer.

    I hope Splitter gets a chance before the trade deadline because the Spurs won’t win a championship relying on Blair and Bonner.

    Otherwise, the Spurs need to add a veteran presence at center like trading for Tony Battie of the 76ers.

  • TD = Best EVER

    @ td4life

    I agree that POP is trying to develop Blair for the postseason. Just not sure what he is expecting to get out of him in BiG minutes in the playoffs. Also puzzled as to why he doesn’t think Splitter needs to get ready for the playoffs……….

    @ LPspursFan

    I say he needs to toughen up because POP even said it…….. Now I’m sure he was joking a little. But also went on to say that Splitters injury DIDN’T CHANGE HIS GAME PLAN on the 2nd night of a back to back(the Denver game). Which makes you think how can the 2nd game after Timmy has played 30 min in the 1st game not be Tiago time.

    @ lvmainman

    I AGREE 100% – Erden and Asik have both been thrown in to games this season and the Bulls and Celtics have still played well………And yes they both look to be better players than Splitter – Especially Erden – has a nice post game from what I have seen. Now this could be simply because they have been given more minutes.

    I’m just puzzled because I know POP is too good of a coach to not notice Bonner and Blair getting their butts kicked (especially Bonner) and to still not trust Splitter with a few extra minutes a game says about all I need to hear………..

  • td4life

    I think Hill’s absense could really hurt the team in the short-term… but wouldn’t it be great to take a 27-3 record into the LA and Dallas games at the end of the year?

    I know I’m getting ahead of myself, but I don’t think either team will sweep us (nor us them)… not that it will come to this, but in the end, I’m not sure such a two-game losing streak would be the worst thing in the world for the Spurs, even though it would hurt their already weak pub.

  • Jimbo

    @TD 4 Life,

    Thank you for pointing out the rest Splitter has had. If I read one more post about how Pop is just resting Splitter, I’m going to pull my hair out. The reason Splitter isn’t getting minutes right now is because Pop doesn’t fully trust him. It’s that simple.

    Re: Shaq, I am very glad he was not picked up by the Spurs. He is bad chemistry every where he has been except maybe Cleveland (L.A., Phoenix, and Miami for sure), and more importantly he is constantly targeted by other teams when he is on defense, whether through P&R or jump-shooting big men who know he won’t come outside the lane to guard them.

    When he was in his prime, he was easily worth the B.S. Not so sure he is now. A great defensive team like Boston can cover his weaknesses. I don’t know if the Spurs could.

  • Matt in OC

    @ lvmainman

    I didn’t say that he should have expected the pass. I’m saying that’s not an excuse for him airballing the shot when there isn’t a defender within 10 feet.

    I saw the replay, and it looked like he was gonna come crash the boards in case Tim missed. And also like I said, RJ is doing the most right now.

    My point was that you always gotta be ready to pull the trigger, he wasn’t that time.

  • ITGuy

    Go Spurs Go!!

  • Tim in Surrey

    A couple of stray comments:

    I believe Blair has been banged up the last couple of games and not at 100%. He’s listed as day-to-day for tonight’s game.

    About playing Memphis w/o Gay and the teams involved in the recent trade: This sort of thing is not necessarily advantageous. Every player on an NBA roster can hurt you if you’re unprepared for them, so when a player is suspended for one game it can often work to the advantage of his team, rather than the opponent. It’s only once an opponent knows how the team will use their new lineup (and especially once they have some film) that the talent difference becomes a big advantage. Phoenix’ win against OKC last night is a good example: Grant Hill didn’t suddenly become 25 years old again. But he’s still a very good player and OKC just wasn’t prepared for how Phoenix was going to use their roster. Luckily the Spurs seem to prefer to focus on their system more than what the opponent does, so they should be alright against Phoenix, Orlando, and Washington. The fact that they’re playing at Orlando on the second night of back-to-back games, however, could be a serious problem, especially given the physicality of Howard and Bass…

    About the recent run of close games, I agree that it’s a concern. I’m a big believer in two metrics for gauging how a team has played: Margin of victory and Road Wins minus Home Losses. If you look at those two, they tell you a lot more than whether a team wins a bunch of close games. (See last year’s paper tigers in Dallas for a good recent example.) As a result, winning close games at home against so-so teams is not a good indicator. It’s not necessarily all that BAD of an indicator, just not a good one.

    With that in mind, look at the upcoming schedule and you’ll see that we really won’t know just how good this team is until mid-February. If they win better than half their games between January 3rd and February 17th (when they play 17 of 23 on the road), then we’ll know they’re a real threat to win the title.

    Finally, about the development of Splitter, Blair, and Anderson, as some of you know, I’m a real advocate of giving them some PT right now while the schedule is weak, as a way of helping them develop. But it’s not the only way, or even the main way, that players develop. For young players, nothing can substitute for practices where you’re coached by Pop & Co. and have to play against Duncan, Manu, Parker, Jefferson, and McDyess. Ultimately, that’s what will help the young players adapt the most. (For instance, the fact that Blake Griffin had already logged so much practice time before this year is a big part of why he has looked so much like an NBA player, as he himself admits.) Where playing in games helps the most, I think, is in adjusting to the quirks of other players, pace of the game at this level, the work of the officials, and the use of film to break down opponents’ tendencies.

    Peace.

  • Mano E Manu

    I’m really interested to see how this magic trade works out. It looks to me like they might’ve seen the Spurs’ success with the Parker-Hill-Manu and Parker-Manu-Neal lineups and decided to try out something similar. They’ve got four guards (J-Rich, J-Red, J-Nel, and Gil) who are all good to great three point shooters, plus Turkoglu, which means they could be playing some serious small ball, but backing it up with Dwight in the paint. Of course, the Magic’s guys might not be up to the same defensive standard as the Spurs’ (and they don’t have Pop), but I’m beginning to think that the actual defensive ability of the guards is less important than their ability/willingness to play sprinting defense with a lot of help and switching. I saw a lot of that in the Suns-Thunder game last night, and the Spurs seem to do that when they’re running small.

  • jwalt

    RJ wasn’t surprised by Duncan’s pass, he was SHOCKED. But i wasn’t. Duncan has always, always been a nervous player in the clutch and his refusal to shoot a layup in a game winning situation is further proof. There has been nothing more painful for this Spur fan than to watch Duncan shoot FT’S in the 4th quarter of close games. It isn’t that he misses them, it’s that it takes forever for him even to release the ball. He looks like he would rather be anywhere else in the world.

  • Tyler

    @jwalt

    “Duncan has always, always been a nervous player in the clutch and his refusal to shoot a layup in a game winning situation is further proof.”

    Really? Really?!?