San Antonio Spurs 114, Utah Jazz 104
No El Conclusion or Margin from me today. Just some plain old bullet points on last night’s 114-104 over the Jazz. I didn’t make it back to Austin from Easter weekend until tip-off, so there was no way I was going to be able to get down to San Antonio yesterday. Instead of typical game coverage, you’ll have to settle for some notes.
- Coach Pop is doing some interesting things with resting players during this brutal April schedule. While he’s trying to keep players’ minutes down as much as possible during games, he’s also selectively sitting guys out completely. Last night DeJuan Blair and Stephen Jackson both avoided checking in at the scorer’s table. For DeJuan, it was the first game he’s missed all season. One of the benefits of choosing to rest guys this way, where they don’t play in entire games, is it makes the schedule this month seem a little more like a normal one.
- Tony Parker went to the free throw line late in last night’s game showered in M-V-P chants. Am I wrong, or are those the first of the season for TP? He won’t be the MVP, it seems it’s already been decided that the trophy is headed to either Kevin Durant or LeBron James, but it’s not a stretch of a travishamockery of the award to give Parker some MVP love.
- Wayne Vore at The Big Fundamental has been pounding on this issue lately, but the Spurs are quietly becoming one of the best defensive rebounding teams in the league. Last night the Spurs outrebounded the Jazz 45-39 (38-28 on defensive boards), and the Jazz have a good four big man rotation going. This is a good trend, especially when other parts of the Spurs defense are somewhat mediocre. If San Antonio can limit teams to one shot per possession, it makes them tremendously stronger. And with Tim Duncan grabbing a lot of those boards (13 defensive rebounds last night), the Spurs can get out on the break and get some easy scores offensively, thanks to Duncan’s superb outlet passing.
- Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili combined to hit 24-25 free throws last night. Just thought you should know.
- Danny Green shot 2-3 from 3-point range last night. After a miserable shooting month in February, Green is shooting 43% from 3-point range in March and April.
- Boris Diaw got the start for DeJuan Blair, and while it might make sense to throw Matt Bonner or Tiago Splitter in the starting lineup instead of Diaw, there’s an argument to be made for keep everyone in their spots in the rotation as much as possible. At this point, the rotation is pretty set. Guys know usually when they’re going to be going in and exiting the games. By starting one of Tiago or Bonner for Blair, it screws that whole rotation up for the big men. By elevating Diaw to starter and keeping Bonner and Splitter in place, the rotations stay pretty much the same. These are the luxuries you’re afforded when you have good depth and there’s not a lot of drop off between your second-best big man and your fifth-best.
- The Spurs still scored 114 points despite shooting 27% from 3-point line. Despite their similarities, I don’t remember last year’s offense being able to produce under the same circumstances.
- More on this as we get closer, but I really want the Spurs to win 50 games this season. A lot.
- 11 on the trot. Jazz again tonight, this time in the SLC.