El Conclusion: Spurs fall early, fall late vs. Rockets

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Houston Rockets 111 Final

Recap | Box Score

98 San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan, PF Shot Chart 34 MIN | 4-12 FG | 3-6 FT | 14 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 6 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | -26The shooting woes continue, but part of that has to do with Dwight Howard being around. He was everywhere on defense though and his court vision will forever be the most underrated part of his game.

Kawhi Leonard, SF Shot Chart 29 MIN | 6-14 FG | 1-1 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | -23Speaking of shooting woes, no one could hit a shot tonight, but like Duncan, Leonard contributed in other ways. He also drew a tough assignment in having to guard James Harden, which went well for three quarters and not so well in the fourth.

Tiago Splitter, C Shot Chart 23 MIN | 2-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | -23I’m not going to be too tough on him. He had a bad night going up primarily against Howard or Terrence Jones, who’s athleticism created a bit of a problem for him.

Tony Parker, PG Shot Chart 31 MIN | 3-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | -25For the first time in a long time, he did nothing of value tonight. It happens, he’s been shockingly consistent going on what feels like 2 1/2 years now. I was just waiting for him to shake off the early clankfest to erupt in the fourth quarter, but it just didn’t happen this time. Well played, Jeremy Lin.

Marco Belinelli, SG Shot Chart 22 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | -1Um, he looked better tonight than previous nights as a starter, but that doesn’t mean he looked good. For him to prove his value with the starters, he needs to provide a spark for the Spurs offense from the get go, and the opposite happened tonight.

Aron Baynes, PF Shot Chart 2 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +1One of the few Spurs who shot higher than 50 percent from the field…

Jeff Ayres, PF Shot Chart 8 MIN | 0-1 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +4It’s really tough to be down on a guy that plays so hard, but there are nights he looks really lost. And he can’t catch, which is a negative.

Matt Bonner, PF Shot Chart 6 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +4Shot over 50 percent from the field and ripped a rebound away from Howard. And had red laces on his New Balance. Overall a positive night.

Boris Diaw, PF Shot Chart 20 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +7Ideally, he’s the guy you want guarding Jones for the better part of the night, but that didn’t go well. He also couldn’t stay with someone like Omri Casspi or Chandler Parsons. He’s crucial for the Spurs when they’re playing teams that go small like the Rockets.

Patty Mills, PG Shot Chart 17 MIN | 3-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +12Shot 50 percent AND scored the second most points of anyone on the bench.

Cory Joseph, PG Shot Chart 6 MIN | 1-2 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +9Keep on hustling Cory. Your time will come.

Danny Green, SG Shot Chart 16 MIN | 1-4 FG | 4-5 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | +6Back to looking awful with the second unit. We’ll discuss more on this below.

Manu Ginobili, SG Shot Chart 25 MIN | 8-17 FG | 3-3 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 22 PTS | -10Tried really, really hard to save the Spurs tonight. Came in early and looked like he might the only Spur to score the entire night (definitely would’ve been a record). Also, we’re shortening up the hashtag. It’s now #Manu6MOY

Gregg Popovich
I’m just not sure I understand putting Belinelli in the starting line up. If it’s to help get the offense going it’s not working. Also, it feels like the Spurs would’ve been better served limiting the Rockets open looks early instead of trying to start fast themselves. Though, we’re not even two months into the season, so these things will likely work themselves out.

Two Things We Saw

  1. Jalen Rose made an interesting point on the post game show. He said the Spurs didn’t have someone to play the stretch four position. They could only go big. On offense, we know this is silly, as Diaw and Bonner both do a fine job stretching the floor. Defensively is a bit more of a question mark. Diaw’s smarts allow him to guard quicker guys, but sometimes he does get overwhelmed. Should we be seeing more Kawhi at the four? What would a Duncan, Leonard, Green, Manu, Parker line up look like?
  2. James Harden makes some of the toughest shots in the league. Hands in his face, double pumps, leaners. He hit them all in the fourth quarter just when the Spurs hopped back in the game.
  • rj

    danny green and kawhi leonard need to be factors in these games. we need them to keep up with their horses on the perimeter. marco needs to head back to the bench. we need better wing defense to start games. marco cannot get caught covering harden.
    Houston presents a lot of the same problems okc has for us. long, athletic defenders and perimeter threats on offense. not to mention Dwight howard playing smarter.

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  • tz13

    yeah Belinelli played better as coming off the bench, but this night’s loss is not his fault for sure, as he’s only a -1 in plus/minus stuff.

  • RR

    Parker’s plays have become predictable: driving layups or a pass to Duncan. but when you have Dwight or Ibaka protecting the rim he should try to get his other teammates involved.
    Harden and Parson were scoring tough shots against everybody, not only against Marco.

  • John Bocanegra

    Parker attacking the dribble-drive was fine, getting inside and kicking it out to (briefly) open shooters. Without that penetration though, SA seemed to be just fine taking jumpers from the perimeter.
    If those shots were falling, different game, obviously. RJ said it, teams that are athletic, and long, give the Spurs trouble (along with guards that stick to Tony on those double screens, and can chase him all over).

  • td4life

    Last night I was thinking what I thought this summer. Manu should start (which Pop usually resorts to too late in the playoffs every year). Danny is a one trick horse on offense, but his 3 and D could help the bench… and forget the dribble drive, shoot or pass quickly. Marco seems better suited to the bench. Our bench will be weaker without Manu, but with time they can come together. Reggie Jackson is winning 6MOY, anyway.

    And even before Jalen Rose’s comment, I never believed in Ayers. Give his minutes to Malcolm Thomas NOW. NOW. NOW. Give him a chance to fit in. He won’t be a savior by any means, but I am sure he will at least be able to score the ball better than our other scrubs.