San Antonio Spurs 99, Dallas Mavericks 93: No Dirk for Dallas, but it counts just the same in the standings

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AMERICAN AIRLINES CENTER — Gary Neal is becoming a name that teams, fans and media members are having to remember. The face? Well, that takes some time.

In the visitor’s locker room after the San Antonio Spurs beat the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night at the American Airlines Center, there was a small scrum gathered around Neal. This is becoming a frequent occurrence in the Spurs locker room, so I hung back, as there’s only so many times I can ask him about his exploits from the 3-point arc.

Another media member leans over to me and asks, “Who is that guy?”

Politely, I give him the name of the guy who just scored 21 points off the bench for the Spurs.

“Oh, that’s Gary Neal!” the man says. And he’s off, taking his rightful place in the front of the media scrum.

Though unrecognizable to some, Neal continues to make the Spurs front office look like a group of geniuses. The 25-year-old “rookie” is averaging 8.1 points per game off the bench for the Spurs this season.

“When we needed it, he stepped up and hit the shots,” Spurs guard George Hill said after the game. “Our whole team was looking for him and he made the shots.”

Neal finished the game against Dallas shooting 6-10 from the floor and 5-8 from the 3-point line.

“Gary has been important to us all year long coming off the bench, scoring [and] playing hard,” Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich said after the game.

George Hill also had a solid game offensively for the Spurs. He finished with 12 points on 5-8 shooting and six rebounds, but his aggressiveness in the second quarter helped the Spurs jump out to a 16-point lead under four minutes into the period. The Spurs only held a two point lead to begin the quarter.

Hill was aggressive attacking the basket off the pick-and-roll and the threat of him hitting 3-pointers in transition opened up at least one pull-up 3-pointer for Manu Ginobili.

“I think George, he has some moments where he’s not as aggressive as we’d like him to be, [but] he’s starting to understand that’s what we want from him all the time and he’s getting better and better at it,” Coach Pop said.

Also of note from the Spurs’ win over Dallas, was the performance put on by Tim Duncan. TD put up just two points and four rebounds in San Antonio’s win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night, but proved that he can still produce.

Duncan finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds in 31 minutes on Thursday night (Including 7-7 from the free throw line. Rejoice!). And every time the Spurs needed to get the game back in control or reset a series of bad offense, they went to #21 down low.

When it was pointed out that it’s nice to know that Tim Duncan can still bring it when need be, Tony Parker made it plain and simple for all to understand.

“We know that,” he said.

  • wilksthequaker

    28-4 means we only have to go 22-28 in our last 50 games to hit Bill Simmons’ “retro” preview (http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmonsnfl2010/week11picks/part2&sportCat=nba).

    Not sure we can do it…

  • DorieStreet

    @ manufan-

    3 1/2 games up is not a ‘cushion’. There are 50- FIFTY- games left to play. I mentioned in pre-game post about wanting the Spurs to avoid a scoring drought and lo- right on que in the 2nd qtr it reared its ugly head again. – TD = Best EVER , Dec 31st 7:21am :…we used to struggle at times scoring at times- but made the other team crawl on glass to get buckets….” . In the 2nd qtr we had the Mavs crawling- only 9 points scored in the first 7 minutes while we had 21– 50-36. Dallas then scored 10 pts. in the remaining 5 minutes of the 2nd qtr. – one basket per minute–not bad defense. The Spurs however, went scoreless. The uptempo attack should keep up but not in quick 3’s by EVERYBODY- someone on our team needs to attack the rim and draw fouls & FTs. This is when Tony & Manu failed us, and how George saved us in the 4th by driving to the basket. Of course we need to improve defending shooters and rebounding, but that’s hard to do if all of the bigs are sitting (Tim/Blair/Splitter). I don’t see as many games as you guys locally, it’s hard to determine if this is the regular rotation, or adjusting to a particular opponent. I will sum up this historic start and end the year saying the Spurs creating this fantastic record not by knocking out opponents in the 1st and 2nd rounds, but grinding out decisions when it came to crunchtime. AULD LANG SYNE Y’all!!!

  • Hicksman

    Although not fantastic and with no true LOCKDOWN defender (although GHill3….) but the TEAM D has been passable, the defference being this yr over the last couple is if the D lets us down we have the weapons to score enough points to win. All this and our 2 s top picked rookies JAnderson and TSplitter haven’t really hit stride
    GO SPURS GO!!!!

  • Junierizzle

    IT seems that some are upset that the Spurs didnt win by 30 points. Thats the beauty of it. They could have won by 30 if they really wanted to. But why expend all that energy on a team that is not at full strength? They basically went through the motions and executed. Yes they had turnovers but the game was never in doubt. Did you see Manu’s face? He was totally care free. He was chewing god knows what knowing he could get whatever he wanted. But again why bother? Just get the win and go home.

  • SpursHawaiifan

    Don’t understand the whiners about last night’s win over the Mavs either. If anyone noticed, the Mavs were playing a pretty thick zone defense the entire game last night — busting through was like trying to get through a thicket of cactus — and as much as it’s preferable to see the Spurs going through their usual layup drills on the way to victory, it’s not like the other team was making it easy.

    All things considered, our team did fantastic, since the only real way to loosen up a zone is make some shots over it, which the Mavs invited them to do. Now teams will think twice about that…

    Go, Spurs!

  • Ruel

    @Manufan and Hemisfair89
    Yes I agree with you both. We got some separation in the standings against those team behind us? Good point and not a bad idea integrating Tiago Splitter now but I think still early and he’s not fully 100% yet? Bringing him slowly but surely is a good thing until he fully recover from injury. He understand that his Coaches and Teammates support and there for him and Mr. Anderson. Very much they’re both getting advices and encouragements while on the bench and learn more about the game? Both players Defenses must show and we must have when it comes on play off time when every game counts even in a limited minutes but their commitments on playing Defense? It’s good for our Team. Both players can score as well, just a matter of time when both are fully integrated. Still early of the season and plenty of time to learn, improve, and gel. I can’t wait until the play off comes? We’ve lots of Weapon and I like the early success we’re having for the Season? Duncan in the post, Screen/Pick and Roll, our guards toughness and willing to challenge the opponents bigs, fast breaks, and 3 points shooting? One of those area will be noted but Duncan in the post must surely have it when play off comes and Duncan will be there. Health is the Key, stay Humble and Hungry as well. Wish you all and to your respectively families as well to have a Safer, Healthy, Peaceful, and Happy New Year!!! Win or Lose Keep Pounding The Rock San Antonio Spurs and Give Every Team We Face Against Next Year a 48 minutes of Hell Team Defense!!!

  • TD = BEST EVER

    @ every fan of the Forum

    The SPURS are great but we didn’t invent or re-invent Basketball….. the Reason NYC, Hobson13, td4life, I, and so many others are not satisfied is because of just that…. We didn’t create or invent basketball or the “7 seconds or less Offense”, and there have been many teams in history who have played this style. So if it has never worked for ALL the other teams that have tried it and were better at it than we are……. How are we gonna be any different?

    We need to stop shooting so many 3’s and get some easy buckets in the paint. We need to find some consistency for our Big’s. This means a few more touches for Timmy, DJB, and Splitter in the post to try and get them going. Especially for DBJ/Splitter. If we want them to defend with a ton of energy then you have to feed them a bone from from time to time. There will still be plenty of shots for our guards and our Bigs will get more involved on the Defensive end.

  • td4life

    amen.

  • Ian

    @TD = BEST EVER
    The Spurs have been successful with their style of play so far this season, and you’re saying they should change that all of a sudden? Correct me if I’m wrong, but 3pt shooting has always been one of the core aspects of this team that won 4 championships, and there really isn’t any reliable big to feed down low for consistent offence this season (a banged-up rookie and an undersized sophomore just aren’t that consistent). Yes they still have Tim Duncan, who can still be dominant in the low post when he wants to, but why would he over-exert himself when others around him can score instead? Coach Pop is trying his best to minimise TD’s PT so his body can be fresh & well rested come playoffs. That’s why asking Duncan to do more on offence is just a bad idea IMO.

  • http://www.jjtyler.blogspot.com JT in austin

    I’m not sure if having Anderson out has been a blessing for Neal or not: if he was hitting these shots all the time he’d still be getting the extra minutes.

    I think the Anderson kid also has a lot of upside, and he was also hitting big, non-rookie like shots. I look forward to seeing him back in black.

  • TD = BEST EVER

    @ Ian

    I’m not saying blow up anything or do anything rash. But to give those big men a look or two in the post early can carry them the entire game and make them more likely to get a big block or steal or Rebound.

    Look @ The Warriors, Suns and Knicks and other teams that play that crazy uptempo style. The reason why we have ALWAYS beat them is because we got EASIER shots than they did. That’s why we beat the Mavs last year. We can get easier shots in the half-court game and were more committed on the D. Last night the Mavs got alot more easy shots than we did and we bailed ourselves out by heaving up 3’s and a Big 3rd qt from Timmy.

    Basketball is all about getting into a rhythm – And on Offense that means getting the ball in YOUR scoring position. Even if you don’t shot it you fell apart of the game and apart of the flow. Our Postmen don’t always appear to be apart of the flow. And that affects our Defense.

  • Bankshot21

    @TD=B.E.

    No we did not invent the game, but we have reinvented ourselves and it is with this you are having issue. I absolutely love TD’s game. It is like Beethoven or Mozart to my ears or Picasso to my eyes. He’s no longer getting super star calls. He’s not as strong as he once was with the weight loss. His limited athleticism is even more limited than it’s ever been and I’d STILL like to see him get the rock every trip down the floor, but those days are long gone bro. We are not just a 3pt shooting team. We are a drive 1st and if the defense closes in and prevents the easy duece you kick it out team. We are an occasionally throw it in to the big fella’s and if we get doubled kick it out team. Our offense is predicated on getting the easiest shot possible. With sharp shooters planted along the arc it may seem as though we are a bit 3 happy but this isn’t the case. This team is the real deal. More complete than our previous banner raising teams. 48 minutes of defensive hell is a bit more rare these days but I’ll take those 12 minutes of hell we’ve been dishing out to teams in 4th quarters. After what Phoenix did to us everyone cried for reinforcements from 3 and when the team does that and become the best in the league in that area you guys complain. This is an evolving league. And in today’s league we are 28-4 and every one of the 4 teams that have beaten us we have already beat. I like us in 7 games against anyone. I’m curious about a healthy Boston team. People forget the year they won we were right there. We blew 20pt leads twice and Manu just simply wasn’t Manu and we were coming off of a hard fought 7 game series against the real mvp that year Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets. Had the ball made a few different bounces we’d probably be pushing for a sixth title. It’s SOOOOOOO nice being a Spurs fan. 28-4 and we want more. I love it!

  • agutierrez

    I think Pop is blowing smoke up people’s asses (in particular, Rick Carlisle) when he says he got nothing out of this game. First, Timmeh showed he can still bring it against an elite defender. Tyson C is considered one of the best big defenders in the league. TD scored on him at will in the third quarter. Second, we also saw that George Hill can give Jason T fits. Dallas cannot win without major contributions from Terry, with our without Dirk in the game. Third, RJ, although his shot sucked, played very good D against Butler. Most of Butler’s points were against other defenders, and when the Spurs needed to shut him down in the fourth, RJ did so. They need significant production from Butler and they won’t get it with RJ playing D like that. Lastly, Gary Neal is the real deal. Imagine other teams having to decide who to close out on or foul when the game is on the line and we have BOTH Neal and Manu waiting to stick the dagger. What other team has two flat out, ice-in-the-veins assassins like we do? Pop learned alot. He just doesn’t want anyone else to know what it was.

  • TD = BEST EVER

    Also @ Ian
    “but why would he over-exert himself when others around him can score instead? Coach Pop is trying his best to minimise TD’s PT so his body can be fresh & well rested come playoffs. That’s why asking Duncan to do more on offence is just a bad idea IMO.”

    If he plays 28 minutes and shoots 5 shots or plays 28 min and shoots 11 shots he isn’t going to be any more or less fresh. Offense is the easy part – Its defending, rebounding, and setting screens that’s hard. Haven’t you even noticed how much energy you seem to have when ever you have the ball?

  • Regan

    @ agutierrez
    Great comments and insight. Yes, the dallas game helped us glean alot of things. With or without Dirk, its a december game and I’m glad we got the W while learning quite abit about ourselves. So glad Pop is saving TD, Dyess for the playoffs. With Dyess and so many guards who could bother Dirk from getting the ball – im very confident of our abilities to guard Dirk in the postseason. (Dirk historically struggles against shorter guys like Stephen jackson who can use their center of gravity to deter Dirk from getting position).

  • Regan

    @ TD = best ever

    I think by the playoffs, TD and Dyess and Splitter will play more minutes and get more touches when appropriate. Our D should also have improved quite a bit by then. That is Pop’s plan. He said something along the lines of, “I’m not sure if we can get where to what I think they need to be” – which im sure he refers to Defense.

    With regards to the Suns, Knicks, and Warriors – i know the entire spurs organization is aware of the importance of Defense. In fact, it still the number one thing preached. The difference is they realize that they don’t have the same players anymore (younger TD, Bruce) and the rules have changed. Their strengths now lie in drive and kick penetration, some TD postplay, and fastbreak points as Bankshot21 correctly pointed out. That said we, the Spurs, haven’t lost focus on being the best defensive team we can be. And I think thats no. 1 that separates us from the Suns, Warriors, and to a large extent this year’s Knicks team (i haven’t watched them much at all but they seem to play some D as of late). Our defense is much better than what I’ve seen these teams do. E.g. Dyess shutting Dirk down in the playoffs, Hill, the game against the Lakers, 12 minutes of hell etc.

    The Suns, Warriors, Knicks teams too don’t have the talent that we have in terms of breaking down the defense (Manu, Tony, Hill, Neal etc. versus primarily Nash, Monta ellis/Curry). They also don’t have as much overall talent, and unique blend of talents. This team is the real deal – a strong team first philosophy.

  • td4life

    everyone is saying “our defense will come”… and that’s a comforting thought, but Boston and Miami don’t seem to be have been talking the talk w/o backing it up in December… we show flashes, yes, but I worry that the identity of the team is being formed here… when we get into a jam, the thinking is about shooting our way out, more than clamping down. I do think this is the best-coached team in the league, and they execute well after the halves and time-outs, but there is some level of instinct that takes over, if you’ve won all year long with a certain style, you’re gonna turn to it in close playoff games as well, because that’s where your experience and confidence is… right now, our bigs are out of the loop, and Tiago is looking to be an after thought, while Blair continues to be what he is, nothing more or less… and, as a result, our defense is mid-pack.

    Most of the posters here aren’t saying that the play that got us this great start is the game that will get us through the playoffs, rather these fans are just assumming that a needed change will come late in the season… which just seems like so much speculation to me. Pairs of Splitter, McD, and Tim for sustained stretches, say in the second quarter, say against the Wolves, the Bucks, etc, if not the Mavs, or the Lakers, would go a long way to showing that they are developing that style as well, so all these new guys will know what the hell is going on when the time comes.

  • Hobson13

    TD = BEST EVER
    December 31st, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    “We didn’t create or invent basketball or the “7 seconds or less Offense”, and there have been many teams in history who have played this style. So if it has never worked for ALL the other teams that have tried it and were better at it than we are……. How are we gonna be any different?”

    You bring up some interesting points. After watching the Spurs for the first 30+ games of the season, it’s apparent that we are going to win a pile of regular season games and look set to capture the top seed in the West. However, the Suns have also done this in the past and what happened to them in the playoffs? Sure we have Duncan as opposed to Amare, but this isn’t a 25 yr old Tim. He can carry us for a number of postseason games, but he can’t carry us throughout the entire playoffs.

    We must do two things if we really wish to compete for a title. 1) Continue to develop on the defensive end. 2) START developing Splitter by playing him more minutes. We can’t expect Kobe to shoot the lakers out of all 7 games in the postseason. He will eventually figure out that we can’t guard BOTH Bynum and Gasol with only Duncan. Neither can we expect Dirk to miss all 7 games in the postseason due to injury (or have Jason Terry go 3-16 every game). We can’t fall into the trap of believing just because we are winning regular season games that we will continue this streak in the postseason when teams have time to prepare for our weaknesses.

  • Fred

    I just don’t seem to understand why some fans here compare our offense with the Suns and Warriors’. I had watched almost every game this season, and I’m pretty sure that our offense isn’t like the “7 seconds” Suns in the D’Antoni era. Our offense has variations from guard plays to kick outs and steady diets of P&R. What changed drastically, however, is how we approach offense, for example, when TD got a rebound, he did not wait the guards to pick the ball up, now, he look straight up to our court, knowing that our guards are sprinting down the floor. The philosophy behind this is that for our team to have easy buckets, knowing that we have (I think) guards that can finish in fast breaks.

    Another thing is our offense now is guard-generated. Manu, TP, and Hill, on their best can break defenses which creates opportunities, either for themselves, or for others, such as kick outs to our shooters. This offense, however, is not simply saying that our guards is our priority, our guards creates our offense, but the key is how we share the ball, I think, Boston and Jazz are the only teams who comes close to our motion offense. It’s like looking it in a new perspective, from our Duncan-reliant offense, that is, TD creates the shots for our team, when he’s doubled, he can kick it out. Now, however, our guards create our offense, hence TP’s assists were up. This brings me to my next point: with this offense, we have multiple players who can contribute. Unlike last year, with Mason and Bogans, Neal and Bonner has a much higher % in making their shots because their shots are part of our offense, have someone notice Neal when he said that one of their focus in their shoot around is their set shots, I’m thinking those were the 3’s his hitting thus far.

    Lastly, it seems that we have a different approach with our offensive execution in the second half of games. We always (most of the time) hit the corner offensively in the 3rd quarter, and slows it down in the 4th. Our offense has become methodical in the 4th, that’s why it’s hard to play against us, because from the 1st three quarters, it looks like we run, then in the 4th we slows down our pace, it’s hard to defend that kind of offense, because you don’t know what we’re going to do. Thus I think we’re a hard team to prepare and scout. I say this because last year, Phoenix, really got us, they knew what our plays were, they knew that if they can trap Manu with double teams side by side, he can give up the ball and disrupt our offense, this year is different, we can attack from different angels. Part of Pop’s plan, I think is our offense to be unpredictable. With these, I believe that this offense is very different from the run and gun teams, and this is the Spurs offensive juggernaut.

  • Tiltletown99030507

    @ED, What the f*%k are you talking about! I got your Curmudgeon. Enjoy your stupid record see if this run and gun offense with a 5ft center is going to win you a championship come play off time. Boy you’ll be thinking about what I’ve said if they havnt shored up the center spot by then. There are other posts here if you bother reading saying the same shit in many ways.. I don’t focus on the record as much as I do on the state of this team being completely and I stress completely prepared come play offs.

  • Titletown99030507

    @ED, What the f*%k are you talking about! I got your Curmudgeon. Enjoy your stupid record see if this run and gun offense with a 5ft center is going to win you a championship come play off time. Boy you’ll be thinking about what I’ve said if they havnt shored up the center spot by then. There are other posts here if you bother reading saying the same shit in many ways.. I don’t focus on the record as much as I do on the state of this team being completely prepared come play offs.

  • Tiltletown99030507

    @ed, How’s the rent there?

  • Titletown99030507

    How’s the rent there?

  • Titletown99030507

    @ ed, Directed to you. How’s the rent there?

  • Hobson13

    Fred
    December 31st, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    “Our offense has variations from guard plays to kick outs and steady diets of P&R.”

    The Suns did everything you just mentioned. We are concerned because a fast paced offense generally does not translate well in the postseason. What happens to our offense when the game slows down or when our threes aren’t falling? What happens when the Lakers figure out not to have Kobe attempt 27 highly contested shots and instead simply pound it into Gasol and Bynum like they did against the Celtics last June?

    Teams need strong post play in May and June to keep winning and many aren’t convinced that Duncan is enough to beat Gasol, Bynum, Oden, and the other bigs we will face. This is why the development of Splitter and Blair is so vital. Faced paced offenses are fun, but we need more than that to win against the big teams unless we think Duncan can revert to MVP Tim.

  • Fred

    @ Hobson
    Good point there, bro. However, I will nuance my post. The variations I’m saying is that we’re not solely relying on TD’s low post game anymore. We can, if we want to go to Timmy, as we have seen last night in the 3rd quarter, when Timmy got 3 consecutive plays on the block. What I’m saying, in a larger context is that we have the luxury on attacking on different angels not just a one-dimensional attack that comes from Timmy in the post. As I have observed, this remodeled offense still has Timmy’s low post in it, but we are emphasizing too on quick outlet passes, motion offense and good good ball rotation, having those kinds of play does not erase Timmy’s value in our offensive attack.

    Remember last year in the early part of the regular season, Timmy carried us, and then slowly faded in the last stretch of the long season grind (maybe Manu’s resurgence has to do with it). Nevertheless, this team is much capable of competing offensively that the previous Spurs teams that we had (maybe caused by Timmy’s slow decline due to age and wear and tear). What I’m saying is that we are a much complete team on offense, as seen in our offensive production. I believe in basketball there has to be a balance too. And our offense right now points to that balance, although, as of the moment we see less touches from our big men, I believe as the season winds down we will see Timmy’s resurgence again (e.i., Dallas series last season).

    Remember last year’s finals? Majority of Boston’s offense came from their guards and wing players, KG has touches, but his real value came from defense and rebounding, they did not lost because of lack of inside scoring, it was due to their rebounding and inside defense. What we are seeing right now with the Spurs with small ball will vary on our opponent. We played the Lakers with a conventional line up of forward and center playing alongside, rather than a small forward (RJ) playing the 4 spot. I think defense is a much bigger concern right now than offense.

  • Easy B

    @titletown…I seriously doubt you are a spurs fan…I would hazzard to guess you are a lakers fan. If i’m mistaken, I don’t appologise, rather, I ask you to redirect your hating to other parts of your life other than this blog. How on Earth can you be pissed at the team this year? Its a rhetorical question bud, no response required.

  • Regan

    @ Hobson13 and Fred

    Last year’s suns almost went to game 7 if that Artest rebound and put back didn’t go in for them.

    I can see the concern that our Spurs this year is very similar to the run and gun, three point shooting Suns. There are important differences.

    One. The Suns have Nash and the emergence of Dragic to break down the defense and create for others. Dragic actually isn’t that good at least last year in creating for others. For us, we have Tony, Manu, Hill, and Neal in our team first philosophy.

    Secondly, the suns have Amare and we have TD. TD is much greater in defense and rebounding.

    Third, as I pointed earlier, our team culture places a much higher emphasis on defense than the Suns ever had.

    Fourth, we ARE developing Splitter. I was one of those who advocated early on in the posts why we aren’t playing splitter. I became convinced that because of the length of the spanish league’s season, and the amount of basketball he’s played this year (world championships) and his injury that he needs rest. I see Splitter as a lottery pick type of player and thought he should get the amount of time that a lottery pick gets, even in a team like the Spurs. My view has changed. He is developing in practice time, with the coaching stuff, with TD/Dyess etc., and in limited minutes for now. IF he doesn’t get more time towards the end of the season – there is a greater need for concern. BUT historically, the Spurs have never failed to get better by the end of the season. The Spurs have always been a better second half team because they work hard towards getting better. This includes season where it seems unlikely for the Spurs to improve as well. 2008 for the “old” spurs to beat the hornets. Last year, for them to beat the 2nd seeded Mavericks.

    The Spurs know offensively they are great. They also know that in the past they beat these offensively great but weak defensive teams. They know defense wins championships and they need to, and will, have to improve their defense and interior play. And win or lose, we will stand by this team because this team is our team and they work hard. If they don’t win, which may not happen, it won’t be because of a lack of heart and effort.

  • simon

    Neal … I think it’s less about knowing those guys (everyone who has scouts in Europe must have known him) than trusting them to be able to play in the NBA. Which is what seperates the Spurs from others. There are more Americans in Europe that can add a Neal-like contribution or even more. Keith Langford and Bo McCalebb are next. Dramatically improved their decision making and pick and roll game.

  • Flavor

    Defensive Stats of certain teams this season:

    LA: 2nd in RPG ……….@ 44.58 ( DIFF: +3.12)
    Miami: 7th in PRG …..@ 42.82 (DIFF: +2.76)
    SA: 8th in RPG ………..@ 42.63 (DIFF: +1.29)
    ORL: 10th in RPG ……..@ 42.27 (DIFF: +3.57)
    DLS: 13th in RPG …….@ 41.87 (DIFF: +0.32)
    BSTN: 27th in RPG ….@ 39.32 (DIFF: +1.29)

    Miami: 9th in BPG @ 5.50 (DIFF: +3.00)
    SA: 12th in BPG …..@ 5.09 (DIFF: +0.12)
    LA: 16th in BPG …..@ 4.88 (DIFF: -0.12)
    DLS: 19th in BPG …@ 4.52 (DIFF: +0.87)
    ORL: 23rd in BPG ..@ 4.42 (DIFF: +0.36)
    BSTN: 26th in BPG @ 4.26 (DIFF: +0.39)

    SA: 5th in SPG ……..@ 8.41 (DIFF: +1.78)
    BSTN: 6th in SPG …@ 8.23 (DIFF: +1.26)
    LA: 9th in SPG ……..@ 7.85 (DIFF: +0.18)
    DLS: 15th in SPG ….@ 7.29 (DIFF: 0.00)
    Miami: 25th in SPG @ 6.68 (DIFF: +0.21)
    ORL: 28th in SPG …@ 6.24 (DIFF: -1.15)

    In PPG DIFF SA is ranked #2 @ +8.28. #1 in 3PT%, and #4 in APG…

    Out of the above 6 teams San Antonio is ranked in the top 3 in each category in the defensive stats. I think simply looking @ OPP FG% and saying based on that alone, San Antonio is not a good defensive squad is a very one dimensional view…

    The term, “need to get a stop,” used when a team is scoring baskets on your’s, means to not allow the other team to score… Not only by playing good man on man defense and hounding a player so that you diminish his FG%, but in other “hustle” ways such as the above stats…

  • Flavor

    Also…

    In the games San Antonio has won, it seems as if when needed, they’ve been able to get those “stops.” As the season moves along, I see the Spurs starting to learn each other much better and figuring our their rotations on defense. As they each become more in “tune” wich each other’s games, they’ll know where their team mates are going to be moving on d. If they can focus their efforts for a full 48 minutes, then I think they will be able to lower that OPP FG% towards the end of the season… But for now, the game plan is simple: PROGRESS!

  • r.l.manuel

    crap… 28-4 and all you guys wanna do is piss on it
    hell people!!!
    there is not one team in the league that doesnt wish they were 28-4
    there arent any fans of those teams who wish they werent 28-4
    yet most of these posts are criticizing this or that @ my beloved(win or lose) spurs
    28-4 man o man i for one am lovin it
    i dont care if we beat the mavs w/out dirk by 1 point or 20 points we still won the game nor do i care if or what other fans think or say everyone seems to have just given the title to miami
    well ok whatever, i know when the playoffs start
    barring some major injury the SPURS will be there to give it their all and win or lose they are still
    MY FAVORITE TEAM
    GO SPURS GO

  • r.l.manuel

    one more thing,,,
    coach pop knows better than all of us
    just what this team is made of
    28-4 and he knows it

  • rob

    For those worried about the Spurs defense in this game…look at the box score.

    Despite Kidd’s triple double…15 attempts/12 points.
    Stevenson…3 A’s / 3 points
    Marion…7 A’s / 10 points
    Terry…16 A’s / 8 points
    Cardinal…5 A’s / 9 points (3 of those were 3 point attempts)
    Chandler…4 A’s / 8 points. (perhaps Mavs should have thrown in the block more? Or perhaps the Spurs post defense against him was too good to get it to Chandler)

    Oh…and the big Mahinmi that some wish were still here….DNP coaches decision. Same as Haywood.

    All in all…pretty fine defense if you ask me.

    Spurs offense? Considering the Mavericks are a much improved defensive team, they did a good job of keeping the Spurs at bay. However, this game said a lot about the depth this team has in the O department as it was one of it’s all around weakest offensive performances of the year yet they still won.

    Imagine that. The Spurs don’t have a top offensive game and win against a really good team on the road. Could it have been the defense that helped win this game?

    But I regress…perhaps numbers do lie and the Spurs have no answer to defending really good teams.

  • TD = Best EVER

    @ Fred

    “Remember last year’s finals? Majority of Boston’s offense came from their guards and wing players, KG has touches, but his real value came from defense and rebounding, they did not lost because of lack of inside scoring, it was due to their rebounding and inside defense.”

    At this point of his career KG is a much better 15-20ft jump shooter than post up player. So he can and did get plenty of looks right where he wanted and needed them.

    @ Flavor

    @ your “Defensive Stats of certain teams this season:” Post.

    The only defensive stats that actually mean anything are RPG, opponents PPG, and opponents FG%. So basically are you contesting shots and can you keep the other team off the glass and secure the defensive rebound. Everything else u mentioned can and is Very misleading.

    @ r.l.manuel

    “one more thing,,,
    coach pop knows better than all of us
    just what this team is made of
    28-4 and he knows it”

    Then by your logic POP also knew that the 2008 and 2009 team weren’t good enough to hack it and did nothing to correct the problem? If he knows what we are made of then we should have MORE titles!

    Let me finish with this. There is nothing wrong with early and easy offense. If one of our smalls has a layup or easy floater in the lane then take it. But I have no idea why we would want o live with early 3 point attempts. Those are never easy and usually lead to poor transition Defense. Which if you combine with our lack of talent on the Def. end, since Bowen and Horry retired, is just puzzling. We run plenty of plays in the half court for our guards. PLENTY, just watch the games and look for the Indy G curl screen into the lane play or the TP back door cut play or the RJ oop play. Hell even the Bonner needs to get a 3 pointer off play where he flashes to the corner. If they can run plays for them(which generally means that this is half-court offense, not fast break) then run a few for the big men to keep them involved and hustling on D.

    And POP not playing Splitter is just him being Stubborn as a mule right now…… Either that or he really thinks Splitter can hack it – none of this scared of getting hurt crap…… How many European players are in the NBA now and are just fine.

  • td4life

    Regan–

    “we ARE developing Splitter.” Uh, that’s another DNP in the last game… we are developing Blair (if you want to know what a developing a player looks like) and, in that game he got benched because it wasn’t working and the game was too close.

    Has anybody noticed that we don’t mess Anderson too much. On this roster he is our b/u SF, but Manu, Hill, and Neal are such a formidable 3 guard combination that our backup SF position is largely irrelevent. Other 3 guard combos work well too, and in a true small ball lineup RJ is an effective #4… however, that is the proof that we are NOT developing Tiago Splitter. Aside from shaving Bonner’s unexpected rise in minutes, which admittedly, he has largely earned, giving Tiago regular minutes in interior dominant lineups is something we just aren’t seeing, haven’t seen, and can’t really say that we will see.

    We beat a dallas team w/o their leading MVP candidate and only allstar… a win we needed for various reasons, yet was a close game. We beat an LA team, in a game in which Phil was either experimenting or proving a point, and has gone on to start Bynum and see him play very, very well. Nice on the ledger, but hardly statement games for SA.

  • td4life

    Flavor–

    Nice use of selective stats. Stats may not tell the whole story, given that the Spurs are improving. But rather than progress, I see streakiness as a trend all season long, and stats do measure the overall trend. That said, I think we are improving and will improve. But, make no mistake, significant improvement is needed.

    Dallas’s defense may not be able to stop our offense, but it will look differently when they are energized through good offense, and clutch offense at that, of their own… still it may not be enough. But take a look at Miami and Boston. And tell us how we will stop a healthy LA team that plays to their strengths instead of to Kobe’s ego (which must be done as Barkley, Steve Smith, and C-Webb have all stated… because it’s so obvious that even I figured that out all by myself.)

    Regular season records guarantee nothing as we all know. Elite defense coincides with championships as we all know, and is always rated by metrics you failed to report.

  • Fred

    @ TD = Best EVER

    I agree with you that we really need to develop a constant offensive thrust in the post. But, as we have seen right now, the team is best built with Manu and TP as our catalysts. This is the only year since our last championship that Manu and TP are playing not hobbled by injuries or coming from injuries. And we have all seen the results. The team has accepted this transition, even Timmy. Timmy still gets his touches, albeit limited. I think at this point of the year, I’m glad that Timmy is playing limited minutes and touches. This points that we don’t need to rely heavily on Timmy’s post game just to squeeze a win. I’m happy that Timmy, for most part of 4th quarters he was on the bench. Timmy still plays an integral part within this newly defined offense that the Spurs are running, what change, however, is that he is not the focal point of this offense. Which I think is good for our team, this could also limit Tim’s wear and tear. And, if low post scoring is important, we also have to integrate Rj more in our offense. What we need is a little tweaking of our offense, to accommodate our big men, but it’s just part of a larger whole.

    I think we have to remember that for the last 3 seasons, one or two of our big 3 were injured or coming from injuries. Now we see a healthy and fully rested big 3, and the results are seen in our standing. I think Pop has learned a lot with the Phoenix series last season. He knew that he cannot just rely on Timmy on the post or Manu’s slashing ability. But he needs a Team that can score on any given night. The Suns’ bench killed us last year. That’s the big difference. And for people who are saying that run and gun teams are not meant for the post season, look at the Suns last year. They held their own with the Lakers. But what separates us from Phoenix is our emphasis on defense. If we can score at this pace and rate in the post season, and our defense hit its stride. We’re hard to beat.

  • Flavor

    How are the stats misleading? I didn’t make them up…

    @ TD = Best Ever

    RPG, OPP FG%, and OPP PPG, are the only stats that matters??? what proof do you have of this claim?

  • td4life

    Flavor–

    “what proof do you have of this claim?”

    Would YOU like to offer data showing a relevant correlation between shot-blocking, steals, and championships?

    The Spurs have consistently measured as a mid-pack defensive team all season long… the history regarding how this correlates to championships is forboding. On the season, only the lakers, who are better offensively, are worse than the Spurs defensively among the 6 contenders. Those same Lakers who are much different team when Kobe isn’t trying to re-establish himself as an MVP, but are the dominant inside team that has won the west 3 years and counting, in contrast to our own standings leader who has yet to prove much of anything in the playoffs as currently constructed.

  • manufan

    Last season everyone was saying “our defense will come” and it never came. So don’t tell me it is to early to plug in Splitter into the starting linup. He will at least alter shots, if not blocking them. He knows how to position himself and take charge if needed. And dont give me the crap about “it’s taking time to learn Spurs sistem”. Go back and watch the games and tell me how often Tiago was missing rotations and defensive asingments. Guy is smart and he just needs playing time and some offensive touches to get his confidence going.

  • TD = BEST EVER

    @ Flavor
    1 mistake I made – it’s not RPG – faster paced teams may get more boards because they take more shots. It’s Rebounding Differential. And good Defensive teams are positive in the stat usually.

    “How are the stats misleading? I didn’t make them up…”

    Not as in you made the up, but more that they don’t tell you who the better Defensive teams are.
    For example NY and Memphis lead the league in blocks and steals respectfully. And neither one are in the TOP 10 on Defense.

    “RPG, OPP FG%, and OPP PPG, are the only stats that matters??? what proof do you have of this claim?”

    Just watch basketball and listen to the analysis. Boston and Miami are 2 the top and Points per game against. OPP FG% and Rebounding Differential and 2 stats that usually lead to your Opp PPG. If you hold teams in the low 40% range and are positive in rebounding margin(not allowing 2nd chance points) then you are going to hold opponents to low scoring totals. And that’s what defense boils down to(how many points you give up a game).

  • TD = BEST EVER

    Also just to add – Golden State and Washington are 2nd and 3rd in Steals. They reach in and gamble in the passing lanes a lot… Not exactly sound defensive principles.

  • Ed

    @Titledouche….tell me, does posting the same ignorant thing 2 or 3 times somehow make the post less ignorant? I wonder why your so mad? Did I dare “question your fan-dom?” Awwwww, too bad. I said what I believe, deal with it and stop crying ’cause someone dared call you out.

  • Ed

    I’ve seen several posts about the Spurs Offense comparing it to the Suns, Knicks, etc. Look the Spurs offense is not on par with those teams from the standpoint of mindless hoisting up of whatever shot you can get as fast as you can get it. Compared to past SPURS teams it may look like a track meet but, like everything with Pop, it’s well-thought out and measured. Further, the Spurs defense may not be up to Spurs standards of the past but it’s LIGHT YEARS ahead of any of these other run ‘n gun teams and absolutely can stiffen in the 4th qrtr. Teams like the Suns, for example, may play decent “D” occasionally but when the game is on the line revert back to who they really are…a bad defense. They’re giving up a fe more points but scoring way more too.

  • Daniel T

    TD=B.E.

    Who led the league in Opp PPG last season? Charlotte Bobcats! Where did the Lakers finish? 9th! The Lakers did finish slightly ahead of the Bobcats for FG % in 5th place, the Celtics coming in 9th. The Lakers had 175 more total rebounds than their opponents last season, the Spurs outrebounded their opponents by 267 and the Grizzlies by 310.

    Based on just better statistics, this season the Bucks, the Bobcats, the 76ers, etc. all look like they’re better defensive teams than the Spurs. I don’t expect any of those teams to go further in the playoffs than the Spurs. When it comes right down to it, whoever wins the last game wins it all regardless of the stats.

  • Spur$#1fan4lyfe

    The Spurs have always been a 3PT threat type of team they just chose to go inside to Duncan because it made more sense against those teams that couldn’t stop him ie Suns, Mavs, and Nuggets… It seems to me that there are 5 or 6 TRUE Spurs fans on this blog… to all you negative, undercover LA fans… keep that sh*t off the Spurs website… I can tell just by the comments how many of you have ACTUALLY seen all 32 games… and just to name a few its not tdlife, TD=Best Ever, MANUFAN or titletown…If you don’t have League Pass if your not in SA and you posting comments only on occasions that they play on national television… your not a true fan… no matter what you think or say SA is going to prove CBarkley and all you other non-believers wrong… Keep your negativity to yourself you self absorbed idiots…

    Go SpUr$ gO

  • TD = Best EVER

    @ Daniel T

    Those Stats are what you should look at when talking about How good someone is on Defense……. Not that every champion is going to be in the top 5 of each or anything. But of all Stats – those are the most important when talking about D.

    @ Spur$#1fan4lyfe

    “If you don’t have League Pass if your not in SA and you posting comments only on occasions that they play on national television… your not a true fan.”

    So if i can’t afford league pass I’m not a TRUE fan…

    Dude have you been drinking?

  • td4life

    “Keep your negativity to yourself you self absorbed idiots” = enough said.

    my handle is td4life and I bleed hatred for kobe and phil, but i am a “undercover lakers fan”? That’s why I want to see Tiago play more, I suppose?

    And, yes, I have seen or listened to over 25 spurs games this season, ntm the preseason, while up here in trailblazer county… and, yes, I remember snipers Ferry, Kerr, Bowen, Horry, Ginobili and remember exactly where I was in the room and how I felt watching the memorial day miracle 13 seasons ago, and all of a sudden things were looking different for the Admiral and the Spurs’ annual playoff run.

  • http://www.bpifanconnect.com Alix Babaie

    Hey all, I figured out what it is that ails the one who calls shimself Titletown99030507….other than the fact that shim is a HUGE doucher, a big time closet Lakers fan, a moronic hothead and a poser coming onto this Spurs fan site to try to incite various sorts of angry diatribe….the biggest problem with shim is that shim has a little jimmy.

    Titletown, they sell pills for that kind of stuff so you may want to look into it, now do us all a solid, go back into the Lakers closet and stop wasting the time of everyone who visits this site as “REAL” Spurs fans.

    For reals, just do us all a HUGE favor and go away…..anywhere, but seriously just away, like Tom Hanks “Cast Away” away would be great.