San Antonio Spurs 111, Golden State Warriors 94: The passing, oh my

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AT&T CENTER — The ball zipped around from point-to-point like a game of Pong on a sugar rush. For the sluggish Golden State Warriors, fresh off a 105-100 loss to the Mavericks in Dallas Tuesday night, it was almost unfair.

The San Antonio Spurs toyed with the Warriors for three quarters before ultimately putting Golden State out of its misery in the fourth of a 111-94 win on Wednesday night.

The Spurs were able to get to the basket at will early against the Warriors, who had four starters play at least 40 minutes the previous night in Dallas. 20 of San Antonio’s 29 first quarter points were in the paint, and 17 on the fastbreak.

Golden State eventually adjusted, making better rotations and preventing easy looks at the rim. But where a window closed, a door opened and San Antonio kick-started a malicious game of keep away that often ended in points for the Spurs.

“I thought everyone did a really good job of finding the open man. Being aggressive but understanding that teammates were open and making the easy pass to the next guy,” Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich said after the game.

San Antonio assisted on 31 of the team’s 43 field goals and committed only 11 turnovers. Tony Parker (nine) and Manu Ginobili (eight) combined for 17 assists, and every player who appeared in the game, with the exception of Matt Bonner, registered at least one.

“Coach said it was going to be a penetrating and kick kind of game,” George Hill said postgame. “Starting with TP and Manu, I think they started the game moving the ball great and finding open shots for everybody else and we just fed off that.”

Had it not been for some defensive lapses in the second and third quarters, and some weak rebounding early, San Antonio would have put the game away much sooner. But credit the Warriors, they had a puncher’s chance and took it. The Spurs were simply humming on offense. Floating, stinging, butterflies, bees. All that stuff.

  • Daniel T

    TD = Best EVER:

    I’m a Ian fan, and a couple of years ago was looking forward to him being paired with Tim. The timing of his injuries was unfortunate and prevented him from getting much of a chance.

    However, about a fourth of the way into the season his statistics with the Dallas look as though they may not be a whole lot different than they were with the Spurs last year. Ian should have signed with a team that would have played him

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

    “TheRed&Black
    December 9th, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    @ Kevin,

    I agree. Spurs basketball this year is just fun to watch.Even some of my H-town and Dallas friends are tuning in.”

    The Spurs were always the exception to the “Stern Wanting High Ratings” conspiracy theory.

    Now the Spurs are an exciting team who score well over 100 PPG and have the best record in the league. I see Stern’s fingerprints all over this…

    Lol, jk. I wonder what the ratings will be if the Spurs make the finals this year? Let’s hope to find out.

  • mac

    Dismayed to find some among us watch Glee.
    Jeez.

    But then I watch Mad Men, so who am I to talk.

  • tradeTP

    WOW do we look good to start the year. Its funny that Pop will get the credit for this. Manu is the SHIZNIT. I mean really. His play is outstanding now.

    Tony Parker got rid of that ho and is now looking somewhat like a basketball player.

    Gary Neal… Good for him

    RJ has turned it around.

    Just goes to show that coaching = LUCK not skill

    Any one on here could be manning the ship right now.

    GREAT START

    Will be back here Bitching when Pop fails to make adjustments when the players arent beating everyone down

    Go Spurs Go

  • zainn

    Eva Longoria was a curse to our team. She turned our 2007 finals mvp to about 75 percent of the player he used to be. Ever since they got married we haven’t won a championship. It’s a curse i tell you! Now since theyve been divorced tony’s game has slowly been rising to his 2007 and hopefully he will be good enough for us to reach the finals once agian!

  • td4life

    TradeTP–

    Manu is legend in his own time for a reason, no doubt about that. Manu is the leader, through and through. Out of passion and will, he spearheaded the hot start, and he drives the team forward throughout every game. I look at Scola in Houston, and I wonder what it is about Argetinians.

    Until the very end of last season, I have long been an advocate of trading Monsieur Parker. And wasn’t opposed to it for the right big man as late as last June, but had started to think of him as the ideal sixth man. This year, I am happy to root for him on his way to joining Obi-wan in the allstar game. They make a tough tandem. Though I’d still be in favor of giving him more minutes with the second unit if need be. His decision-making, shooting, and defense may have bumped up that small critical bit. We’re lucky to have him. He can hurt the Lakers, the Heat, and the Mavs.

    In the past, you were a defender of RJ. And I was against him from the start… I am now one of his biggest fans, and acknowldedge my short-sightedness in the past.

    Last year was a joke though, and Pop takes much of the blame for that.

    I have some criticism about Pop’s rotations, but I give the man a ton of credit for building this team, this system, and even fitting the system to the guys a bit, while also grooming the guys for the system. I can’t think of a better candidate for the job, and think that luck may be under-rated, but it ain’t the whole story. Not ever, and not with this team, this year.

  • td4life

    Regarding big men:

    Someone floated the idea of targeting Blake Griffin down the line. I find that as unfathomable as bringing Chris Bosh to the Lone Star state was last year. Who is the biggest name free agent to ever come to San Antonio? Was it Rasho, Derek Anderson, Horry, or Finley? It wasn’t a former number one pick and ROY heading toward his prime, I know that. And SA will be looking for a replacement for TD, not a partner for him. Our perimeter may be good, but there are a lot budding all-star guards coming up.

    Next year, McDyess will be gone, and Blair and Splitter will be taking larger roles beside TD and Bonner. If that doesn’t pan out, the Spurs will make some moves. But, I don’t think we will have to trade for the likes of Jason Thompson or Anthony Randolf, maybe Larry Sanders (although the Bucks have a good young center and PG, and no real competition as for the franchise PF), these are the types of guys that RC Buford could land off the open market. Maybe even Ian could come back when his contract is up, he has little chance in Dallas unless they trade Haywood.

    Boozer, Milsap, and Marc Gasol were second rounders, I believe, and Ben Wallace was undrafted. So who knows what will transpire down the line.

    Once again, though, learn to start wishing for improvement from the guys currently on the roster, because this year’s outcast resides on them alone.

  • LPspursFan

    tradeTP,

    What does it matter who gets the credit in a team sport? By definition, a coach gets most of the credit for successes and takes most of the blame for failures. The fact is, the sum of the parts are all functioning at a higher level than last year, thus the stellar record.
    And it seems somewhat silly to me to attribute Tony’s return to form to his personal life rather than improved health and a summer off.
    As for Tiago and taking charges, I really don’t see a whole lot of difference between him getting a foul called on him for trying to take a charge or from trying to block a shot. From what we’ve seen from his play so far, he is a good shot blocker when he’s coming from the weak side. The only problem I see with his taking charges is bruising/breaking his tailbone. Did you see him wincing after hitting the floor last night?
    Anyway, don’t mean to rant, just feel it’s important to point out the team concept. And really, we’ve all heard Pop talk. Do you think he really seeks credit? I think he simply seeks success.

  • ITGuy

    So long JH.

    Anyone who watches Glee and admits it should be banned also.

    Go Spurs Go!!

  • Colin

    Yep, some people only come on here when there’s ridicule to be dished out a la the aforementioned names.

    Poor Jim, I did mention that he should have given that Blair discussion a rest.

    ……like I said before, its funny how different the tone is on this forum compared to last year.

    A Gregg Poppovich coached team playing with the right pieces is great to watch. Very professional and business like. They play old school and as a team…..even last year in a so-called down year.

  • Brian in Seattle

    I guess it’s about that time of year when the cream begins to rise to the top. Barring any unforeseen incidents or injuries, I think most can nail who the teams truly competing for a spot in the NBA Finals will be come playoff time.

    Then again, perhaps I’ve been reading too much ESPN and am thus getting way ahead of myself. Nonetheless, I’m so glad to see the Spurs belonging to that upper echelon of teams again. I couldn’t have said the same the last two seasons.

    With that said, I’m absolutely loving our roster additions. Gary Neal is not only solid but has proven he is clutch (Minnesota free throws), and I have a feeling with a little bit of patience Tiago will become that great big we all have hoped for. Meanwhile, though this may seem weird, it feels good saying that James Anderson, a rookie, being injured has hurt the Spurs as a team. Granted I am drawing conclusions from merely a hand-full of games, but he really seems to be a great weapon on both sides of the ball the Spurs have been missing.

    And, of course, George Hill has returned to the phenomenal play we became so accustomed to during stretches of last season. Blair, likewise, will continue to grow as a player, and, much like Tiago, will someday become great. He has far too much ability not to.

    Wow, what a great young core.

  • spursfanbayarea

    I am reading a lot about how tiago shouldn’t be taking a lot of charges and how he is getting no respect. What about ginobilli and his getting lots of charges? How is it considered okay for ginobilli to try to get lots of charges, but if tiago gets good positions and charges its a bad move? A charge in my opinion is better than a blocked shot. Block shots do not guarantee that you get the ball back. Also block shots can go out of bounds and give the offense another shot. Drawing a charge takes away a possesion from the offense. If you are late on trying to get a charge, you can get called for a foul. But lot of times when you attempt to block a shot you can be called for fouls as well. The upside on a charge is actually pretty good. Also blocks are a highly over-rated statistic. Ill take good defensive positioning, drawing charges, changing shots over 1 or 2 blocks a game.

  • Brian in Seattle

    @spursfanbayarea

    Nice point. And I seriously doubt Pop is giving Tiago any flack for his attempts to draw charges. In fact, in a post-game interview, I recall Pop praising him for such attempts.

  • junierizzle

    @Dr. Leonard McCoy

    Jim went on and on about trading MANU to OKC for Jeff Green and Sefolosha, I believe.

    Nuff said.

  • The Beat Counselor

    @TradeTP

    Whoah, you’re alive.

    Did you hear them talk about you on the 4Down Podcast?

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

    Jim wanted to trade Manu for James Harden and Kristic. We had a nice debate about that one.

  • Flavor

    Listen, we probably will win it this year (unless we have some serious injuries to one of the big three)…. and if there is NOT a lock out, we could probably do it again next year… hahaha… ok everyone go ahead and talk me out of it… i don’t care… SPURS ALL THE WAY!!!!!

  • rob

    spursfanbayarea

    Great counter point regarding taking charges. And I agree…it can be a better defensive move than blocking a shot which may lead to allowing the oponent to maintain possession of the ball where as taking a charge leads to turnover.

    But my concern with Tiago is that he hasn’t established himself in this league to warrant the officials to giving Splitter the benefit of the doubt in situations where it might be close to call either way.

    And we all know what usually happens in those situations. Officials will more than likely give the benefit of doubt to a more established player.

    Perhaps in future seasons Tiago gets the benefit of doubt. But as for now…rookie season…not much playing time…not established in any other aspect of the game…Tiago won’t get that nod from the officials.

    I for one would like to see him play longer…but if strapped with early and/or often fouls…that doesn’t allow him to benefit either the Spurs or himself having to be benched when finally given opportunity to play.

    But…who knows…it could be what Popovich is instructing Tiago to do in games knowing what the outcome more than likely will be at this stage in his career?

    But if that’s the case…instruct the other players that Tiago needs to get rewarded more on the offensive side for his great P/R setups that often leave him open for a shot around the rim.

    That would be one way to helping him get established with regards to officials giving him some benefit of doubt.

  • Czernobog

    @td4life

    Re: Argentinians – Manu and Scola are only the tip of the iceberg. I got a chance to watch the Pumas in the Rugby world championship a couple of years back – easily the toughest team in the tournament and were eventually beaten in the finals by the South Africans, who were just too good. And then there are Argentinian Soccer players – Lionel Messi is about 5’6″, 120lb and he gets his ankles pounded every game. He just plays through it. And that’s nothing to what Diego Maradonna was back in the day, since the game was way more physical back then.

    They breed ‘em tough down there.

  • spursfanbayarea

    @rob
    You are correct that calls usually go against rookies. There is no doubt about that. But learning good defensive principles will only help us down the road this year and in future years. But as far as taking charges, last year blair would get called for blocks on most of his attempts. Splitter at worst you could say is 50/50. So he is definitely being in the right place most of the time. If he was a veteran he would probably be getting 75 percent of the calls. I agree with you that he needs more playing time, but this is one time where I understand not playing him as much. The last 18 months he has played non-stop and we don’t want him to break down. Smart move to keep him fresh and injury free for the playoffs.

  • jwalt

    Don’t know much about Jim or his being blocked, etc., but I do know that anyone who considers himself a Spur fan AND suggests Manu be traded is one confused human being.

  • DorieStreet

    We should not look at the Hawks’ matchup as a “trap” game. Al Holford always bring energy and hustle on the court, and he improved his shooting both in range and repetoire. Mike Bibby is a streaky 3pt shooter, and we all know about Josh Smith shot blocking and Jamal Crawford coming off the bench. Atlanta has been playing well without Joe Johnson. They kept it close against Miami last Saturday & beat Orlando earlier this week. Does anyone remember the game a few years ago on MLK Day when the Spurs only scored 5 points in the 1st qtr?

  • SAJKinBigD

    @ DorieStreet: Pretty valid points, but I have to say that Orlando is looking weak – not really capable of beating the better teams in the league, though they’ll wipe the floor with the bad ones. Anyway, I doubt the Hawks’ll be overlooked by this staff or this team. The Silver and Black have looked far more focused this early in the season than they have in quite some time – AND THEY’RE STILL GETTING VERY LITTLE CREDIT FOR IT! Ugh.

  • DorieStreet

    @SAJKinBigD

    An example of no kudos for the Spurs- this morning on the ESPN show ‘First Take’, one of the hosts spoke with Mavs forward Caron Butler on the team’s 11 game winning streak. While they were talking, a graphic appeared titled ‘NBA 2010 winning streaks’. It listed the Mavs, Celtics, Lakers and one other team, but not the Spurs’ 12 consecutive wins. The buzz about San Antonio will come if we end the year at 25-7 or better, with wins over the Lakers, Mavs, Magic and Nuggets.

  • DorieStreet

    Correction on that ESPN graphic–it was titled ‘The Hot List – Notable Teams, 2010 Season’ It listed the Mavs, Celtics, Lakers, and Heat with their current record and current win streak. I guess going 18-3 with a current 3 game win streak (same as LA) is not good enough, eh?

  • SAJKinBigD

    It’s pretty crazy, I agree. I was listening to Colin Cowherd (however his name is spelled; I keep saying I’m gonna turn him off and stop listening because he’s so arrogant) and he had Bill Simmons on and asked who were the top teams “and don’t tell me San Antonio.” WTF? Seriously? Not surprisingly, Bill Simmons went along with it and talked about several other teams, incl. the Mavs, and finally said about the Spurs – “we’ve seen this from them before.” I had to double-take my radio. Ugh. Just…ugh.

  • rob

    spursfanbayarea

    I can agree to that. But while on the court I would like to see the team get him more involved/more attempts offensively.

    He is doing a great job at setting picks and then open on the role only to be overlooked as an option to score.

    I’m sure that too will change with time and acclimation. I guess I’m just giddy with the expectation of it finally coming to fruition when it starts to happen on a regular basis.

  • spursfanbayarea

    @rob
    I agree with you that they should run some set plays for splitter on the low block. It seems the one who sets him up best is parker. So they should try to get them on the court at the same time.