San Antonio Spurs 118, Washington Wizards 94: Where the Spurs are good and the Wizards are really, really bad

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Last night in Philadelphia, the Spurs scored 71 points in an ugly loss to the 76ers. In tonight’s win against the Washington Wizards, the Spurs scored 72 points in the first half. That, my friends, is everyone’s game recap lede.

And here’s another: Tim Duncan played only 12 minutes; Manu Ginobili went for 8. Steve Novak, on the other hand, filed 23 minutes of court time. That’s all you really need to know.

This was easily San Antonio’s easiest victory of the season. The Wizards played poorly and everything was clicking for the Spurs. In general, the Spurs played like a team trying to rid themselves of the aftertaste of the previous night’s loss.

The Spurs shot 58% from the floor and 52% from the arc, which ultimately says more about Washington’s defense than San Antonio’s offense.

The Wizards, to their credit, did a nice job in the second half of containing the Chris Quinn/Steve Novak pick and roll. It allowed them to cut into the lead and keep this one from becoming a real laugher.

The big story of the game, however, has nothing to do with the final score. The Spurs have blown plenty of other teams out this season. The big story of the game was Gregg Popovich’s decision to move away from his starting lineup for the first time this year.

George Hill was in as a starter and Manu Ginobili went back to his familiar role of 6th man. This was a smart move. The Spurs’ offensive efficiency had slipped in recent weeks. San Antonio, for example, had recently slipped from first to fourth in John Hollinger’s Offensive Efficiency ratings. Last night’s loss to Philadelphia signaled that something had gone stale.

It’s too bad I can’t say anything more about the move. This game didn’t really give us anything by which to judge the effectiveness of the Hill/Ginobili switch. As I said, Ginobili only played 5 minutes.

But it’s a story to watch as the season progresses.

  • Titletown99030507

    @Jacques, what’s even funnier after the Quinn rob was when Bonner pretended to bring in the ball after that with great urgency and Neal pretended to mock throw a half court shot to the rim. Too funny!

  • Daniel T

    JTEX:
    “Bottom line the Spurs need a quality 7 footer for their rotation and there are players out there available for nothing more than a first round draft pick.”

    The only type of player that the Spurs could trade for in which they only give up a draft choice is one that makes under $1M, as they have a trade exception that would cover about that amount. If the player makes more than that, per the salary cap rules they would have to trade away players earning about that same amount. There really are not any quality 7 footers making less than $1M; and it is extremely difficult to come up with one making more than $1M that don’t require giving up 3-4 Spurs in return to match salaries.

  • Titletown99030507

    @The Beat Counselor, If he was a 4 door sedan then I would say those are pretty good numbers.

  • Titletown99030507

    @Daniel T, Hit it on the nail. And really how many 1 million dollar centers out there are capable to take Tiago’s minimal minutes away. At this point I’ll keep Tiago any day.

  • Hobson13

    I’m late to the party on this discussion, but I absolutely love Pop’s idea of bringing Manu off the bench. IMO, Pop should do the same Monday night against NJ. Manu needs rest. His numbers are WAY down in February and his shooting percentages have been poor for the past number of games.

    If Tiago were healthy, we could play him more minutes in an effort to give him experience and Duncan more rest. Oh well. The Tiago situation just hasn’t worked out this year. Either he’s been injured or ineffective. At this point, there’s little reason to believe he will be a major playoff contributor. Fortunately Blair has been beasting as of late and Bonner is healthy again. Those two should be able to shoulder some of the load in an effort to keep McDyess and Duncan fresh.

  • Bankshot21

    TheBeatCounselor

    Overrated my ass. He’s a poor rebounder. That’s it. Nobody has him as an all star or all nba player. That would make him overrated.

  • Bankshot21

    Titletown

    No way am I buying that Tiago is a victim story you are selling. The man plays weak. Yes he ends up on his back night in and night out but its not because people are trying to make a statement against our 3rd string Center. He goes in there and tries his best. Sometimes he holds his ground and sometimes he simply isn’t strong enough.

  • DNITCH

    Addressing the topic of the Spurs “needing” a quality 7 footer: while Im not doubting that they could benefit from acquiring one, it is not completely necessary. If Troy Murphy’s contract is bought out by the Nets, I think it would be worth the FO doing what it takes to bring him in. He can spread the floor as well as Matt Bonner aka “Coach B”and is a quality rebounder. This way we wouldn’t have to trade away any pieces or numerous players for an effective big.

    Any thoughts?

  • Dr. Who

    Yay more Tiago talk! :) Every player has a scouting report on them. Even our wunderkind Sean Marks had a scouting report on him. It was quite hilarious, actually referred to him as if he was a real NBA player.

    Early on Pop said he needed to beef up and didn’t have and NBA ready body. So if all you do is read the scouting report… “undersized body” you try and play physical. I doubt any one is making a statement against an NBA rookie from the Spanish league, rather the book on Tiago is to play him very physically. It works. Bynum was ridiculously physical with him and Tiago held his ground, but it was clear what Bynum was trying to do. Tiago gets muscled around in there quite a bit. But he never complains and gets back up; that’s all you can ask. Hopefully he packs on some lbs over the offseason and gets some muscle. He needs to eat breakfast lunch and dinner with Blair. That’ll get him some lbs! Much like Bonner, he is what he is nothing more nothing less. Not a saviour, just an NBA rookie with a certain skillset that hopefully will translate to the NBA.

  • Hobson13

    DNITCH
    February 13th, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    Murphy would be an immediate upgrade to our frontline. No question that the FO should pull out all the stops if he is cut lose.

  • Bruno

    Here is my dream team to playoffs:

    TP(share the ball and scoring fastbreaks), Ginobili(healthy and being Manu),
    RJ(2.0),
    TD( healthy, scoring 20 points and grabbing 12 reb),
    Splitter( scoring 15 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and not lost on the floor)

    Bench:
    Hill(scoring 10 points in 15 minutes,stopping Kobe and resting Ginobili)
    Neal( scoring 10 points in 15 minutes, not doing blocking fouls)
    Anderson( playing some time)
    Blair( being The Beast)
    Macdyess ( helping stop Dirk and grabbing 10 reb)
    Bonner ( playing 10 minutes and making 3-4 behind the arc)

  • Bruno

    We don’t need a trade if all there/\ happen or 60% of all :D

  • TD = Best EVER

    We will need at least 4 bigs come playoff time and a 5th to be used in emergency situations. Foul trouble or if some nut job (Lamarcus Aldridge) tries to bury us under another 40 point performance. Other than that DICE, TD, BLAIR and Bonner(no more than 10-15 min) can eat the majority of minutes come playoff time. But yes adding Murphy will be a HUGE addition. He gives you a more defensive version of Bonner.

  • bong p.

    Quit getting on Splitter’s case. The FO didn’t wait all this long to reel him in just to release him to other clubs and let the Spurs be hoisted by their own petard later on. You just wait, the blonde Brazilian will be ready to spell the other bigs – even if he’s only “6-foot-11″ – come playoff time.

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

    I don’t know what the Spurs can do or will do but I still insist they need a quality big man in their rotation for certain match ups. It will be a crying shame unless the Spurs make it to the finals and end up with the best record and first seed!

  • Bob

    Splitter is a tricky situation. He needs more minutes to get comfortable. The plan was to try to work him in right away from day 1. I think if he had been healthy from training camp he probably would have been starting and Blair coming of the bench.

    You are not really going to be able to trade Splitter and get any quality pickup in return. In fact what’s more likely is a Scola situation.

  • jwalt

    Three comments. First, even though Manu’s personal stats have gone down in Feb., he still has been the best player on the team. He had the highest +/- score against the Lakers, Pistons, Raptors, and was the only starter with a positive score against the 76ers. His presence is still needed, the team’s ball movement is way better when he is in. I want to believe Pop when he says it was a one time thing and was glad that he basically got the night off in Washington.

    Secondly, Steve Novak can’t play.

    Thirdly, many wrote that Stoyakovic was done and wouldn’t help anybody (after I said the Spurs should pursue him). Anyone want to take back their opinion?

  • Mike

    Murphy is shooting 17% 3-Pointers, not a good defender, and got (essentially) cut from the Nets. He’s not going to be the savior people are looking for. Also, he’s not better then Bonner.

  • Mike

    Peja’s last game was an outlier; the Spurs are much better without him.

  • The Beat Counselor

    @Bankshot21

    Brook Shields…erm…Lopez has a whopping total of 3 double/doubles this season.

    If you’re 7 feet tall, what the hell are you supposed to do besides rebound, jeez…

    He may have some decent post-moves, but he’s a one-way player who’s soft as hell.

    Avery makes him cry everyday in practice.

    Waaaaah.

  • jwalt

    Mike, obviously Peja will never be the crucial player for the Mavs. But if he helps like he did the other night once out of every five games, then he is a significant pickup. And like Bonner, you have to guard him. Just his presence spaces the floor for his teammates.

    It’s very likely he wouldn’t help the Spurs much, but he will help Dallas. Dirk and Kidd were both giddy after the Houston game talking about Peja. And those two are pretty bright guys.

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

    @jwalt
    “First, even though Manu’s personal stats have gone down in Feb., he still has been the best player on the team.”

    Manu’s performance in the playoffs will determine the fate of the Spurs more so than any other factor. This includes Timmy’s play or the notion that the Spurs need another 7 footer. Timmy, Blair, Dice and even Splitter have held their own against the Laker frontline. It’s just a good thing the Spurs won’t face the Wolves frontline in the playoffs or they’d be in trouble. :)

    If Manu gets back to his November form, it’s championship number 5 for the good guys. I was thrilled to see Manu basically get the night off against the Wizards. He needs more of ‘em, imo. Get Manu healthy for the playoffs should be near the top of Pop’s “to do list”.

  • jwalt

    Len, agree with you 100 percent. Manu has always been the bell weather. Fortunately for the Spurs, he’s a champion.

  • Titletown99030507

    @bankshot, I don’t think you’ve been watching Splitter of lately or the Spurs. Are you sure your on the right channel? This dude is not weak by any stretch. You’ll see him in the playoffs. And for those of you counting Splitter out again, wait and see and oh yeah sorry to tell everybody but your stuck with the big guy wether you like it or not. Enjoy.

  • TD = Best EVER

    @ Len

    “Manu’s performance in the playoffs will determine the fate of the Spurs more so than any other factor. This includes Timmy’s play or the notion that the Spurs need another 7 footer.”

    Yes Manu is the player that takes SA over the top of the rest of the league if all works out. But its TD that lays the foundation that Manu leaps off of when he is going over the top. W/O TD we would be another version of the Houston Rockets. W/ or w/o a healthy Manu. Manu is a great CLOSER, and w/o him we would not have won these last 3 titles. But w/o TD we never would have won any and wouldn’t have gotten close.

  • The Beat Counselor

    TD = Best EVER

    +5

    and is the reason that justifies TD’s All-Star nod.

    It’s Love over Aldridge that is the real travesty.

  • Pingback: Spurs Nation » Blog brother wonders how good TD has to be in the playoffs for a Spurs title()

  • Titletown99030507

    @ TD BE, Not only would they have not won the last three titles but Manu was robbed of his MVP finals trophy in 2005 in the Detroit Series. What a sham.

  • Tim in Surrey

    @Mike – I have to respond to what you said about Murphy. But keep in mind that I’m not a big advocate of changing the team or a Murphy apologist.

    For whatever reason, Avery never wanted to play him this year. Never. Murphy didn’t lose his job because he played poorly because, essentially, he never played at all. Avery wanted to focus on his young guys, Derrick Favors and Kris Humphries, and had no intention of using Murphy. So I’d throw out this year’s stats. But looking at last year’s numbers, he averaged 14.6 pts and 10.2 rbs on 47.2 FG%, 38.4 3PT%, and 79.8 FT%, with a PER of 18.07. Yeah, he’s limited defensively, but he’s a very good player.

    Not sure what Avery’s deal is but trust me if they buy him out he’ll be picked up by a contender. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in Orlando or Miami, but he’d look good in San Antonio.

  • Hassan

    “Proposed trade”… if Denver trades Melo and wants to go young it would be great to do this trade… James Anderson + Splitter + McDyess + 1st Rounder ( a young scoring SF, a young decent center to replace Nene, McDyess buyout and 1st rounder to Denver) for Nene & Gary Forbes- a decent defensive-minded SF behind RJ.

    Spurs lineup:
    Center: Nene/McDyess(after buyout)/Bonner
    PF: Duncan/Blair/Bonner
    SF: RJ/Gary Forbes
    SG: Manu/Neal
    PG: TP/Hill/Chriss Quinn

    + Sam Dalembert (after Buyout from Sacramento)

    Drive for 5…Go Spurs Go.

    What do you all think about this…????

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

    “But its TD that lays the foundation that Manu leaps off of when he is going over the top”

    That’s only partially true these days. Remember the Laker game in SA?

    Look, I love and respect Tim. I know exactly what he brings to the table. His leadership, his selfless play, his outlet passes, all the little things that make him the GPFOAT. I don’t dispute this one bit.

    BUT

    Manu (and Tony to a slightly lesser extent) is what makes the Spurs go. At this point in Tim’s career, he can not carry a team. It’s not even close anymore. Timmy could play his best basketball these playoffs and the Spurs still wouldn’t win a championship.

    “W/O TD we would be another version of the Houston Rockets”

    Nah. Spurs would be more like OKC at that point.

    “Manu is a great CLOSER, and w/o him we would not have won these last 3 titles. But w/o TD we never would have won any and wouldn’t have gotten close.”

    This is true but you’re missing the point. Those championships were basically four to eight years ago. Timmy is not the same player and Manu (and Tony slightly less) are more vital to the Spurs success than previously.