San Antonio Spurs 113, Minnesota Timberwolves 109: The Spurs get an ‘A’ for persistence, not much else

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Wow. What do you call that?

Moxie?

Two night’s ago the Spurs won the most entertaining game of this NBA season against the Orlando Magic. The Spurs and Magic exchanged leads 29 times during that game. Tonight, the Spurs led once, off a Matt Bonner three pointer with 49 seconds remaining in overtime.

Up to that point the Spurs had played a mixture of bad and mediocre basketball. I don’t think there was one point in the game when they developed a rhythm. The Spurs missed nearly all of their three point attempts until late–at one point the Spurs were 2-19. The  Spurs finished 10-32 from behind the arc and 37-94 overall.

Clank, clank, clank, clank, swish, if you’re scoring at home.

Oh, and San Antonio was demolished by Kevin Love (32 and 22) and Darko Milicic (22, 8, and 5 blks). Utterly upended.

Really, everything about this win was ugly. The Spurs should not have won this game.

But they did.

And in that way, despite the otherwise terrible play, this may have been their most impressive win of the season.

It was the ugliest victory I’ve ever seen, and that, friends, is some kind of amazing accomplishment.

But, please, let’s forget it happened.

  • Leroy

    GOOD teams can only play well in order to win.
    GREAT teams can play badly and still win.

    This team is already building an aura of a champion this early into the season. The presence of mental toughness bodes well.

  • badger

    Today is Thanksgiving, and boy do we have something to be thankful for! There was NO way we should have gotten that win. The shooting was the worst, by far, of the entire season. No groove at all, until very late in the game.

    There are several huge positives though.

    1. Nobody gave up or hit the panic button.
    2. Bonner IS better this year, and from what I can tell, I think he hit the weights pretty hard in the off season.
    3. Although Splitter was outplayed, he got some serious minutes last night against some up and coming bigs, and that’s good.
    4. Neal played a key role by drawing that foul AND knocking down all 3 of the FT’s.
    5. Manu was player-coaching all the way to the end.

    Oh yeah, let’s not forget that Ime Udoka, yes Ime Udoka was on the floor in a Spurs Uniform. I thought I was hallucinating at first.

    Ugly, ugly win, but a serious confidence booster in some strange ways.

  • SG

    good win…bad play from our big guys though….Splitter needs more time on the court to develop. Against the Lakers (Bynum & Gasol), Blair won’t cut it. To beat LA, we need a Splitter who can play against a Gasol/Bynum. He’s got more upside than Blair, so Pop needs to develop it now…not wait. I sense that Splitter with proper development can be a double-double guy…14-18pts and 8-10 rebounds. He’s a cerebral NBA player….always well-positioned, good hands, plays and defends the PnR well (this is what killed us against the Suns last year). Blair should be our off-the-bench energy guy…like Big Baby for Boston (I know he doesn’t have Big Baby’s offense game, but he can match his energy and is a better rebounder). Blair should try to get at least 3-5 offensive boards a game.

  • miggy

    Great game. Made my drive to Dallas from San Antonio go by in a blur, even with the 30 mile per hour traffic between Temple and Waco and then again between Waco and Waxahachie. I love the fact that we can win games in so many different ways. Popavich’s true testament to coaching has been evident throughout the season with Duncan’s new function. This was an extraordinary win.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  • LukeDawg

    Happy for the win and don’t want to appear overly critical but is anyone else concerned with the amount of 3s we are hoisting up? I know we are tops in the league but we got there because we were selective when we took them, not relyng on sheer volume like many teams. I just do not wasn’t the spurs to fall in love with the three because jump shooting teams always choke come playoff time (

  • rj

    anyone feel like we got exposed last night? we are going to have a difficult time matching up with formidable frontcourts. millicic looked like an allstar. im suprised they didn’t go to him on the block in their last posession of regulation, which ended with luke getting rejected out of bounds……nice call, kurt. i thought splitter did a nice job defending the rim and he is most definately an offensive threat off the pick and roll. only problem is if you put him on the freethrow line, youve fixed that problem. our three pt shooting has bailed us out and it is due to slow down as jim projected, but we have 6 different guys that can get hot from three any given night. i just hope we dont jack them up, assuming they will save our ass.

  • ITGuy

    Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.

    Go Spurs Go!!

  • Mason

    I hope Darko is really good this year. Seriously, for Duncan’s sake.

  • Bentley

    Through 14 games:

    1995-96 Bulls 12-2
    2010-11 Spurs 13-1

    72 wins anybody? ha

  • LPspursFan

    I’ve always felt that it is better to shoot an outside jumper from beyond the 3-point line because of the “effective” shooting percentage. I see it like this. Last night we shot 10-of-32 from beyond the arc for 31.3 percent. Those 10 shots account for 30 points. If you scored 30 points from 32 2-point shots, or 15 makes from 32 shots, that would equate to a 46.875 shooting percentage. Now I’m not saying shoot threes as opposed to 10- 15-foot jumpers, as the shooting percentage generally increases the closer you are to the basket. But I’ve always hated guys or offensive sets that result in an 18- to 20-foot jumper. How much higher a percentage of 18- to 20-foot jumpers are made than 3-point shots? So using this logic, an offense that creates shots going to the basket (high percentage) or kicks out to 3-point shooters (high effective percentage) seems to be a sound strategy. To me, the strategy loses credibility when, if a team gets off to a poor start shooting threes (like last night at 2-19) then totally goes away from the. Last night we kept hoisting them up (within the structure of our base offense) and ended up hitting 8 of our last 13. Just something I’ve often thought about. Go Spurs Go!!

  • Duff Beer

    Once Splitter gets more acclimated to the system and more playing time, we wont be “exposed” as much. Give it time. Besides, Kevin Love is way better than Andrew Bynum, who can’t even stay healthy. I wish Darko would go back to the bleach blond hair because a couple of times, I couldn’t tell the difference between he and Love. Both because of how they played, and because they have the same haircuts.

  • mybloodissilverandblack

    Yeah, it was the clanking that had the Spurs shooting their own toes. It happens. They just had to do some workaround, like what they did last night.

    Then again, like what the guys at Project Spurs said in their last podcast, THEY SHOULDN’T LIVE AND DIE BY THE THREE.

    Oh, and we can also attribute the poor shooting and the living and dying with three-pointers with LACK OF ENERGY. They looked flat. They should’ve drank more Gatorade or Red Bull or something before the game. And for insurance purposes, every pre-game thereafter.

    Especially Blair. Where the heck did all his high-octane energy go?

  • Manuel

    in his online chat earlier this week bill simmons said that he wasn’t sold on the spurs and that he heard manu’s knees were in bad shape but in his podcast yesterday he said the spurs are the only team he can see beating the lakers in the west..

  • zainn

    was anyone else deeply worried when manu went down holding his stomach? He’s such a warrior for playing like the man through that pain.

  • baTManu

    Ugly win but still a win. Pop needs to tell TD to be aggressive from now on. He has been looking passive throughout this stretch, allowing the backcourt to carry the team. Think its time TD gets assertive in the block again so we can give our backcourt some rest and relieve pressure on them.

    Just throw it to Tim early on in the block, get him going even if he misses early on. Just feel if we can alternate between TD, backcourt as the focus, we can be very unpredictable and very hard to defend, and we can rest TD, manu, TP alternately.

  • Flavor

    The SPURS were exposed! They showed that on the road, the day before Thanksgiving, they were able to focus and comeback from a 21 point deficit and win the game in OT! We’re doomed!!!

  • Ed

    Definitely a low-energy start. Duncan didn’t look like the sme guy who harassed Howard all through the Orlando game. T-Wolves also started out shooting the lights out and we all know that can’t last. When they started missing occasionaly the Spurs started creeping back into it. Can’t have your “A” game evry night, so it’s nice to get a win with your “C” game. Still would like to see Duncan more agressive on offense, but they’re winning so what do I know?

  • Armand

    One tough game and we’re exposed? Our front line didn’t come to play. We couldn’t shoot to save our lives. etc….. Our true test is going to be how we respond. That is always the test. We’ve strung together a he’ll of a run vs. Some great teams. Were bound to rest on our laurels and slip up. Our offense is clicking for the most part. If we don’t adjust by midseason, then let’s talk about having a problem or being exposed.

  • Dr. Love

    Gary Frickin’ Neal!

    If Gary hadn’t bent the basket over a sink and swished those three clutch FTs, the Spurs would’ve lost.

    Duncan would have missed at least two out of the three.

  • rj

    should have clarified my exposition comment. what i meant is we appear to be lacking strong post protection. love and millicic had a field day against duncan’ dyess, and splitter and blair couldn’t stay on the floor. i like that we haven’t gone to tim as often, but we need some interior activity on both ends. i think splitter will come along and alleviate this issue. he couldn’t contest love and millicic, but he played solid around the basket and had some nice gambles for steals. i can’t beleive millicic is only 25…..

  • Phoebus

    at what point does it get noticed that the spurs have the best record in the league and yet not a single player in the top 20 scorers, nor a single player in the top 10 in any major stat category, save Bonner’s 3 %age?

    weird much?

  • Daniel T

    From the play by play account:
    Duncan Jump Shot: Missed 10:00 Blair Rebound (Off:1 Def:0) 09:59 Blair Layup Shot: Missed Block: Beasley (1 BLK) 09:52 Blair Rebound (Off:2 Def:0) 09:51 Blair Turnover : Out of Bounds Lost Ball Turnover (1 TO)

    So Blair’s first rebound he turned into having his shot blocked, and his second rebound (from recovering the block of his shot) he turned into a turnover. After 14 games, he has had 21 of his shots blocked out of 92 attempts in 287 minutes. He’s received credit for a rebound at least twice for picking up the ball after having his shot blocked. I’m pretty sure that there have been a few times where he has been credited for multiple rebounds on the play by rebounding his own miss.

    Before giving credit to Blair for a “great rebounding rate”, it seems like adjustments should be made to determine if it was an effective rebound.

    In his 287 minutes, Blair has 21 turnovers. The only player that averages more turnovers per minute is Manu, who handles the ball more often and has about 4 times the number of assists per minute compared to Blair.

  • Chris W.

    Some players take time to develop offensively – takes the right timing and situation. How much better is Bargnani now that Bosh isn’t there playing essentially the same exact game (minus the threes, save ones off the glass)?

    Darko was drafted second onto an absolutely stacked team and floated around for years. As a point of comparison, he’s a week older than Taj Gibson. Maybe Kahn isn’t as crazy as we think and has been able to get good value for previously wasted talent. I know Beasley’s numbers should regress to the mean, but they got him too for peanuts. And Love plus Mike Miller for that mediocre PG who just signed for $10 million a year? True, he does think he can round out the other 12 roster spots with 6’0″ points.

    Minnesota, like the Clippers, have a solid starting five and are probably better than their records will indicate at year’s end. I’d peg them at five wins higher each if they played in the East. That said, teams that rely so heavily on their starting fives will wear down as the year progresses (not to keep jabbing the Heat, but we’ll see how that works for them).

    You take these wins and run with them. We’ll win some close ones and lose some. But winning a game we should have lost while playing our secondary guys big minutes – I’ll take that any day.

    Two big games coming up – let’s build on the positive momentum.

  • annie

    Those who aspire to win championships will play ugly and still find a way to eek out a win. And that’s what the Spurs did.

    Love and Michlic played very well against the Lakers recently, so the fact that they excelled against the Spurs was not surprising. But the mark of a good team is finding a way to win when it seems you shouldn’t.

    An ugly win is just the same as an evenly played win in the box score.

  • Easy b

    It’s already been mentioned on this post that wins like these often precipitate a loss. I’m not negative on the team, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it happen. The hornets were banged up and eked out a scrappy 75-71 victory over sacto. I remember seeing that result and thinking they would lose the next game. Maybe spurs escaped the hoodoo game and will refocus against Dallas . I like tiago off the bench because he brings defensive intensity to a newly offensively- minded team. Blair and Duncan have shown promise together, but when Tim is having one of his less-agile nights, it makes more sense having Blair running with the second team next to bonner.

  • Flavor

    There are two teams in the East with double digit wins. The West has 6. The NBA should change the playoffs so that the top 16 teams in the NBA make it into the playoffs as opposed to how its currently structured.

  • Jim Henderson

    ThatBigGuy
    November 25th, 2010 at 1:55 am

    “Potential doesn’t win ball games, production does. Blair can’t produce because his shortcomings in other aspects of the game are keeping him on the bench.”

    Actually, his minutes are going to be reduced on occasion because for a variety of reasons (not all of which pertain to “production”) that is how one often can effectively develop very young “bigs” early in their careers. As far as production, and not focusing on “rates of production”, Blair is comparable or better in mpg. among all “bigs” except Tim Duncan, he’s 2nd on the team in rebounds per game, and has the most steals per game of any non-guard on the team. Those are two very important stat areas that help the team and have obviously earned him minutes accordingly. You seem to under-value some stat areas (e.g., rebounds/steals), and over-value others (e.g., shooting). If so, your evaluation of proper minute allocation is flawed.

    Bankshot21
    November 25th, 2010 at 5:46 am

    “We have a super deep bench but with the insertion of both Manu and Blair to the starting 5 that’s what our team is missing. I would love to see Blair be that guy. Jim, I understand what you’re saying by not tinkering with the line up given the 13-1 record but does that also mean don’t harp on better defense? I mean our team has won 13 of 14 games playing averagee defense. According to your thinking of not toying with the line up then maybe we shouldn’t toy with the effort that’s been getting us W’s. That isn’t a good way to think is it? If we can improve our team we should be willing to at the very least try. Winning streak, superior record or not.”

    Bonner & McDyess at this stage in his career are better sparks off the bench than Blair would be. I think the current starting line-up is still the way to go, and gives us our strongest starting & reserve line-ups. Even Splitter seems to help the team best at this point in a situational reserve role off the bench. I will say it is still to be determined whether Splitter may be one day be a better starter than Blair. But at this point I would not make that change, and I’m not convinced that it will happen anytime soon. I do hope that Splitter begins to earn more minutes from Bonner & McDyess. That could make us a stronger team, particularly at the all-important defensive end.

    doggydogworld
    November 25th, 2010 at 5:59 am

    “The issue was poor shooting, not poor rebounding.”

    In the T-Wolve game the issue was below average shooting AND below average rebounding. The 5th ranked team in total rebound rate this year (the Spurs) got out-rebounded by the 10th ranked team in total rebound rate (the Wolves).

    …………..ORB% ………..DRB% ……….TRB%

    Spurs …. 25.5 ………….. 72.1 …………. 45.9

    Wolves .. 27.9 ………….. 74.5 …………. 54.1

    Against Orlando, we out-shot our opponent, but were still out-rebounded by 9. We need to get our boards in order, and playing Blair 5 mpg. for too long is not going to do the trick, and will in fact ultimately put our win streak at risk.

    “I agree with Doggyworld when he says that our rebounding differential against the Twolves was more a function of us missing a huge number of shots.”

    No, see my response to doggy above.

    “…..but you have to admit that Blair was not any better in game #14 than he was in game #1. He’s logged only 16 in the last two games because he struggles defensively and has struggled mightily on the offensive end.”

    Anybody that understands player development in 21 one year old, 2nd round draft pick “bigs” is going to realize that there are usually going to be many up and downs to their game for quite some time. They’re called growing pains, and if a coach believes in a player, they’re going to stick with him by employing different methods/tactics to develop him, and be willing to accept the good with the bad as they go along because they believe that their investment in him now will payoff even more later.

    Sample of Blair’s games:

    ………. Min. … FG% … Pts. … Reb. … Stl. … Blk.

    1 — ….. 20 ….. .222 …… 9 ……. 3 …….. 2 …… 0

    5 — ….. 21 …… .375 …… 6 ……. 8 …….. 1 …… 1

    7 — ….. 28 …… .444 ….. 8 ……. 7 …….. 1 …… 1

    8 — ….. 24 …… .625 ….. 13 ….. 12 ……. 2 …… 1

    9 — ….. 16 ……. .364 ….. 9 ……. 11 ……. 2 …… 0

    11 — …. 27 ……. .625 ….. 11 ……. 8 ……. 3 …… 0

    12 — …. 25 ……. .500 ….. 8 ……. 9 …….. 2 …… 0

    The last two games he did not get much of a chance with about 7 mpg. Thus, not including the last two games, 6 out of Blair’s next eleven games (more than half) after game one were clearly better than game one’s performance (better than games 2-4 as well). Blair’s reduced minutes lately have more to do with a variety of player development reasons (e.g., early foul trouble, earning minutes with more consistent mental focus, etc.), and/or match-up issues (e.g., matched against a veteran, mobile stretch 4 out on the perimeter) as opposed to unsatisfactory production numbers per minute, because for the most part those numbers have been trending higher, even if they’ve been occurring in fits and spurts. And again, those are growing pains up close and personal on display.

    “When we have a “starter” play only 6-10 minutes per game, why even bother starting him?”

    My bet is that won’t continue for long, or that often. It’s fine at the moment. It’s only been two straight games.

    “However, so far, he’s given very little indication that this season is his breakthrough year.”

    I agree, but it’s still quite early in the season, and I was never really expecting a break out season from Blair this year. It’d be nice, but not that realistic. If you loom at Millsap, it wasn’t until year three that he started to “break-out”, and that’s in no small part because he got a chance to be leaned on, as Boozer went down injured and missed 45 games that year.

    “I were Pop, I’d give him until games #20-25 to figure things out and if he still played like this then I’d move him to the bench in favor of developing Splitter.”

    Not if we’re anywhere near 21-4/20-5 at the time. Generally speaking, Splitter’s continued development (which I fully endorse) should come more at the expense of McDyess and Bonner, not at the expense of Blair.

    SG
    November 25th, 2010 at 8:08 am

    “Against the Lakers (Bynum & Gasol), Blair won’t cut it. To beat LA, we need a Splitter who can play against a Gasol/Bynum. He’s got more upside than Blair, so Pop needs to develop it now…not wait. I sense that Splitter with proper development can be a double-double guy…14-18pts and 8-10 rebounds.”

    That’s pretty unlikely numbers from Splitter, going against other teams 1st units. Both he and Blair will struggle some against the Laker front line, as do most other 4/5′s around the league. Your expectations from Splitter this year appear to be substantially unrealistic.

    “Blair should be our off-the-bench energy guy…like Big Baby for Boston (I know he doesn’t have Big Baby’s offense game, but he can match his energy and is a better rebounder). Blair should try to get at least 3-5 offensive boards a game.”

    You’re pigeonholing Blair. Our coaching staff is developing him, which is the right thing to do.

  • Jim Henderson

    Phoebus
    November 25th, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    “at what point does it get noticed that the spurs have the best record in the league and yet not a single player in the top 20 scorers, nor a single player in the top 10 in any major stat category, save Bonner’s 3 %age?

    weird much?”

    Not really, because it’s a “team” game. Look at all the important “team” stats. We’re in the top 6 in most of them (offense, defense, TS%, rebounds, point differential, assists/turnover, etc.).

    Daniel T
    November 25th, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    “After 14 games, he (Blair) has had 21 of his shots blocked out of 92 attempts in 287 minutes.”

    First of all, I need to know the source of your above comment. Second, “how many” of his shots that were blocked allowed him to get “how many” additional rebounds immediately following the block on the same possession? Probably not very many to have a material effect on his 92 rebounds, and his team leading TRB%.

    “In his 287 minutes, Blair has 21 turnovers. The only player that averages more turnovers per minute is Manu, who handles the ball more often and has about 4 times the number of assists per minute compared to Blair.”

    First of all, comparing Manu to Blair in assists to turnover is irrelevant. It’d be like comparing Manu to TD, Dice, Bonner, and Splitter in assists to turnover. In other words, no contest. Probably because Manu is a play making guard don’t you think? (although Bonner’s is at present lower in assts/TO through just 8 games – a distinct anomaly that won’t last – and of course Bonner better not turn the ball over much because he hardly gets any steals, and relatively few rebounds for a 4/5).

    Second, while I’d like to see Blair’s turnover rate decrease, he also happens to have the highest STL% on the entire team, and has also forced numerous other turnovers via deflections. Nit-picking his TRB%, and cherry-picking stats like his TOV% is not an appropriate way to properly evaluate Blair’s value while on the floor.

  • Jim Henderson

    From previous comment:

    “….although Bonner’s is at present lower in assts/TO through just 8 games…”

    Meant to say “higher” not “lower”.

  • ICEMAN44

    Does not matter how ugly game was because most teams lose this game,but nba champions contenders win these.Watch out lakers,this spurs team is for real and we can beat lakers in 7 game series.All i want is 7 game series with L.A. and there no .4 seconds this time 36 yr old fisher. It supporting cast that win this series. Key series will be parker vs fisher and resurgance jefferson which make spurs big 4 . Plus ther abudant 3 point shooters on this team.

  • Bankshot21

    I was having the Lakers/Spurs debate with a close friend who is a Laker fan but last name is Duncan. Lol. As I tried to state how our 3pt shooting was far superior to that of the Lakers he scoffed at the idea. And boy was he right. The Lakers are shooting the 3 insanely accurately. They have so many players above or hovering near the 50% mark from 3. Fisher, Brown, Odom were all shooting 50%+ when I last checked with Fisher shooting right beneath Bonner at 63%. Blake and Barnes were both at 48%. Our 3pt defense has been suspect this season and if the teams were to match up they would probably play us better than one would assume. But then I recalled that Phoenix game where the Lakers allowed 22 3′s. That restored my confidence. Spurs would win in 6.

  • Bankshot21

    Jim,

    No way would any player besides Manu be a better spark off the bench than Blair. His strong attributes are gear towards what we call hustle stats. Steals, weak side blocks, O&D boards. He had a role on the team that he was very good at. He has a new role on the team that he’s not good at. It’s an easier concept than you make it out to be. I don’t care that he’s a 21 year old developing in his second year. That seems to be your main point when mentioning his struggles. That’s all the more of a reason to put his young ass back to the second unit. He’s a starter getting the minutes of a 9 man in the rotation as of late. Maybe Dallas is just what the doctor ordered for his game. He did go off on them last year. But with TD guarding either Dirk or Chandler…who is Blair going to check? McDyess may get the nod for tonight. We know how well he played him in the post season. Everyone wants success out of DB and we are unhappy with the role he is in now. Its counter productive to his growth. It isn’t a bash DB witch hunt. When he helped us win that game early in the 3rd quarter I gave him praise for his play. You even acknowledged the shout out I gave him. Those plays he provided in those 1st few minutes of the 3rd is what I’d like to see him do against every teams 2nd unit.

  • Jim Henderson

    Bankshot21
    November 26th, 2010 at 10:15 am

    We’ll just have to agree to disagree. We continually end up on entirely different pages on this issue.

  • Jim Henderson

    By the way, expect to see a dose of all our “bigs” tonight against the Mavericks.

  • Daniel T

    NBA boxscores have a statistic Blocks Against (BA) for the number of shots a player had blocked. Simply add up Blair’s and you’ll come up with 21, which is a rather high percentage of his shot attempts of 92.

    If you look through the play-by-plays; you’ll find that besides the Minnesota game, Blair was also credited with an offensive rebound by recovering his blocked shot in the New Orleans, Phoenix, Charlotte and Clippers games. That’s 5 out of his 37 offensive rebounds. The OKC game he was credited with an offensive rebound by following the missed tip of his previous offensive rebound. That drops his offensive rebounds per game from 2.6 to 2.2, or his total rebounds per minute from .33 to .31, or fairly close to a full rebound on a per 36 minute basis. There were a few other instances of there being little value to Blair’s rebound as he immediately turned it over.

    I was doing a favor to Blair by comparing his turnover rate to Manu. The only frontcourt player that comes close to the number of turnovers/minute of Blair is Tim, but then he has nearly 4 times as many assists.

  • Hobson13

    “Generally speaking, Splitter’s continued development (which I fully endorse) should come more at the expense of McDyess and Bonner, not at the expense of Blair.”

    In theory, I agree. In practicallity, Bonner and McDyess are playing much better than Blair. The answer is simple, Blair has to play better or go to the bench. This idea is the same for every other team in the NBA. Produce or don’t play.

    “The last two games he did not get much of a chance with about 7 mpg.”

    He had horrendous foul trouble and he was turning the ball over at an ungodly rate. A combined 16 minutes with 4 fouls and 3 TO’s.

    “Thus, not including the last two games, 6 out of Blair’s next eleven games (more than half) after game one were clearly better than game one’s performance (better than games 2-4 as well).”

    This was somewhat difficult to follow, but your point is that he is playing somewhat better. Let’s spin this a different way. If you add in the two games where he couldn’t sniff the court, you have Blair only playing better in 6 of the last 13 games. This is no upward trend. This is erratic playing further proving that Blair appears as lost now as he was in game 1.

    “If you loom at Millsap, it wasn’t until year three that he started to “break-out”

    I agree. Blair’s slow start plus the fact that he’s never been asked to be an offensive focal point lead me to believe we are in for at least a 3 year development plan for Blair. If this is the case, why force him to play minutes this year when he is not producing, but other “bigs” are playing well?

    “No, see my response to doggy above.”

    Assuming you are correct on diagnosing our rebounding, I suppose your answer is to play Blair more. Yes, he can help us on the rebounding side, but he hasn’t helped us in scoring or in defense. The Spurs have rebuilt a roster that excludes one way players and until Blair begins to put some good games together, that’s what he is at this point in the season.

    “Anybody that understands player development in 21 one year old, 2nd round draft pick “bigs” is going to realize that there are usually going to be many up and downs to their game for quite some time.”

    I understand this and if Blair was our only concern then by all means, let’s play Blair 45 mpg. However, we have other bigs who are playing better (McDyess and Bonner) and another 7-footer who has the potential to have a much bigger short term impact than Blair. It’s possible that Blair may not be any better this year than last and besides, our playoff hopes will not rely on Blair this year. IMO, much more is at stake with the development of Splitter than with Blair.

    In the end, I haven’t given up on Dejuan. In fact, something could click and he could still have an amazing year. I still stick with my original prescription of giving Blair until game 25 (almost 1/3 of the season) to turn around his troubles. After this, it’s time to turn Splitter loose.

  • Phoebus

    Jim:

    “weird much” because through 14 games, the layman’s perspective would be that that never, ever happens. Even with us or the mid-decade pistons.

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

    To Daniel T,
    You have to either give Blair credit or not. You say he was blocked 21 times (I agree that he gets blocked too much, but I’d prefer mistakes of aggression than mistakes being passive) but then got his own board 5 times. If that’s the case, then nearly a quarter of the times he is blocked he gets the ball back anyway (which means it isn’t really as negative, is it?) Blair will adjust to avoiding blocks and turnovers. He’s a second-year player. Jim Henderson has one point that I can’t find any argument against; Pop is starting Blair, and occasionally giving Splitter DNP-CDs. Far be it from me to question arguably the best coach in the game….
    Also, the Spurs came back and WON the game. They played a poor team (NOT a terrible team like people have been saying) on the ROAD. After their awful first quarter, they won every quarter and the overtime period. I’m not gonna freak out on a 13-1 team who just won on the road because of one horrible quarter.

  • Jim Henderson

    Daniel T
    November 26th, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    “I was doing a favor to Blair by comparing his turnover rate to Manu. The only frontcourt player that comes close to the number of turnovers/minute of Blair is Tim, but then he has nearly 4 times as many assists.”

    Yes but you don’t mention the fact that he gets way more steals, and causes more turnovers than any of the other bigs. Why are you focusing on assists to turnovers? That’s something that is more important to look at in guards, not for 4/5′s. Also, only Bonner, Splitter, Hill, & TP have higher steal to turnover ratios than Blair out of the top ten in the rotation. You can’t just look at one-half of the differential and make it sound as if Blair’s playing worse than the other players in the rotation. As well, even with Blair getting credit for some rebounds off his shots being blocked, he’s still clearly in the top three on our team in rebounding.

  • Jim Henderson

    Hobson13
    November 26th, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    “Yes, he can help us on the rebounding side, but he hasn’t helped us in scoring or in defense.”

    In six out of his last eight games for which he’s gotten 16 minutes or more of playing time Blair has averaged 9.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 1.8 steals. I know steals, and deflections forcing turnovers is not everything as far as defense is concerned, but to just dismiss it as essentially meaningless is absurd. And as I’ve stated numerous times, Blair is 3rd on the entire team in steals, by far the best for any big man on the team, and only behind our all-star back court tandem of Manu & TP. Of course he needs to work on his fouls & turnovers! Obviously that dampens the exceptional quality of his steals. But he’s not going to learn how to do that on the bench.

    “However, we have other bigs who are playing better (McDyess and Bonner)….”

    In contrast, Bonner has averaged 8.8 points per game in his 8 games this season, with just 3.8 rpg., and .3 spg. And McDyess in his 13 games this year is averaging 6.3 ppg., 6.2 rpg., and .2 spg. Granted Bonner has done a much better job taking care of the ball (he doesn’t do much with it but shoot it from 25 ft, and is often fed on a silver platter with wide-open looks), and his efficiency in scoring has been much better. But the fact is he’s getting half the rebounds of Blair, and 1/6 his steals, which are very important in feeding our transition game. McDyess plays better position defense than Blair, and his scoring has been more efficient, but again he’s not the rebounder that Blair is, and he gets a lousy 1/8 the steals that Blair gets.

    “If this is the case, why force him to play minutes this year when he is not producing, but other “bigs” are playing well?”

    It sounds like you value scoring efficiency, outside shooting, and less turnovers more than you value rebounds & steals. Since we have shooters/scorers galore in our top four, and only one aging good rebounder, I don’t know why people don’t understand that Blair is a good fit with this starting unit. That starting unit needs rebounding and a guy in the front court that forces turnovers next to Duncan. It does not need another scorer with a polished offensive game, or one that is not good at creating turnovers.

    Obviously there are still plenty of things for Blair to work on to make that starting unit even better. He needs to get is fouling more under control; he needs to play more consistent position “D”; he needs to work on his “D” out on the perimeter; and he needs to take care of the ball better. He’s not going to improve in these areas nearly as fast coming off the bench against 2nd tier players.

    “IMO, much more is at stake with the development of Splitter than with Blair.”

    Perhaps, but if so we’d be wise to give him more of Bonner & McDyess’ minutes, not Blair’s. But again, this will vary based on match-ups.

    “I still stick with my original prescription of giving Blair until game 25 (almost 1/3 of the season) to turn around his troubles.”

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on that.

    “After this, it’s time to turn Splitter loose.”

    As I’ve said, I’m all for that. But there’s no reason that Splitter can’t take Bonner & McDyess’ minutes instead of Blair’s, for the most part. People on here have way out of line expectations for Blair, and have therefore significantly undervalued the his contribution this year already, despite his clear growing pains.

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