San Antonio Spurs 113, Golden State Warriors 102: Duncan goes down, comes back, ditto for fans’ confidence
The San Antonio Spurs have been blessed with mostly good health this season, especially to the team’s irreplaceable pieces. We haven’t seen Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker in this good of condition since the Spurs last won an NBA title in the 2007 season.
With the exception of some injuries to guys like James Anderson, George Hill and Matt Bonner, the Spurs have been lucky when it comes to health. For a stretch of time during the Spurs’ 113-102 win over the Golden State Warriors, it seemed like that might all come crashing down.
During the second quarter, Tim Duncan went down with a knee injury that scared the bejeezus out of every Spurs fan still awake. And those who slept had to have been awoken subconsciously.
The injury was diagnosed as a hyperflexed left knee and Duncan returned to start the second half. From there, Duncan played his normal rotation and finished the game with 16 points and seven rebounds. It appears we have a return to normalcy, though I’m sure his injury status will be monitored over the next few days.
Some bright spots to Duncan’s injury were the shifts put in by Tiago Splitter and Antonio McDyess. With Matt Bonner still out with a knee injury, Duncan’s premature exit in the second quarter left San Antonio with a three-big rotation. And Monday night in San Francisco was one of those games where DeJuan Blair wasn’t much of a factor, so that second quarter was all about Dice and the Brazilian.
Luckily for the Spurs, the pair was up to the challenge. McDyess finished with one of his best games of the season, producing 14 points and 10 rebounds in about 24 minutes of action. Dice also led the team with a +23 in the +/- category.
Splitter played over 21 minutes against the Warriors, scoring seven points and grabbing six rebounds. Tiago also got to the line for eight free throws, continuing the trend of drawing fouls at a bonus-friendly rate for San Antonio. At this point, Splitter’s greatest offensive skill is drawing fouls. It’s uncanny in its frequency.
One noticeable thing about the work Splitter put in against Golden State is that the hesitation — lag time, if you will — on the offensive end is almost gone. He’s apparently been working on Head Coach Gregg Popovich’s offensive sets in his free time, as he seems like he knows exactly where he’s going and when in the half court.
Thanks in part to Splitter’s eight free throws, and a team-high 11 from Manu Ginobili, the Spurs shot 34 free throws in the game, 14 more than the 20 that the Warriors finished with.
Also, the Spurs only turned the ball over nine times. They’ve had almost that many in single quarters this season. And in a game that was as fast and, at times, sloppy as this, nine turnovers is great.
San Antonio’s next game is Wednesday against the Jazz in Utah. You can bet Tuesday will be a much-needed day to rest some aches and pains.