Philadelphia 76ers 77, San Antonio Spurs 71: Will somebody make a shot?

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WELLS FARGO CENTER — In a game that Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich said “set offensive basketball back a decade or so,” the Spurs fell to the 76ers 77-71 in Philadelphia. The Spurs half court defense looked excellent, but in the end, the offense was simply too anemic to pull this one out.

Almost everyone struggled to find the bottom of the net on this night. Incredibly, each Spurs starter finished with more field goals attempted than points scored. Tim Duncan went 7-18, Richard Jefferson 1-8, DeJuan Blair 3-11, Tony Parker 3-10, Manu Ginobili 2-10 and off the bench, George Hill went 0-6. As a team, the Spurs made only 3 of 17 from down town and (I estimate) 6 of 34 on 2-point J’s. The offensive ineptitude appeared endless.

Perhaps the best offensive performance was from old reliable himself, Antonio McDyess, who finished with 11 points on 5 of 7 shooting and 11 rebounds in 20 minutes. I know Philly has a solid defensive team, but come on… can’t anybody create with efficiency?

It wasn’t simply a matter of shots not falling, the Spurs were also careless at times with the basketball. They were officially credited with 16 turnovers and several other passes were nearly picked. These turnovers fuel the best part of the Sixers offense tonight – the fast break. (Jrue Holiday wasn’t bad either.)

The Sixers outscored the Spurs 21-5 on the break. Predictably, many of their scores came with Elton Brand at center and Thaddeus Young at the 4 spot. When Blair and Duncan were paired against this lineup, both eagerly looked to retaliate by taking advantage of Young’s soft post defense.

However, when Matt Bonner was in the game against the Sixers fast break lineup, his presence allowed Young to defend on the perimeter and the Sixers to run wild on the break without consequence. Additionally, the Sixers excel at limiting opponent 3-point attempts. Bonner was only able to attempt one field goal during his 18 minutes of play.

Of course not everything San Antonio did was bad. The Spurs did get decent looks on offense. 20 of the 27 field goals were assisted, most of them also high percentage looks. By my very unofficial count, they also attempted 30 “close shots” (usually layups or dunks) and made 18. Even the number of 3’s attempted (17) doesn’t seem as bad considering who it’s coming against. And the defense certainly looked good.

The Spurs held Brand to just eight points on 4 of 11 shooting (he did pull down 17 boards), Andre Iguodala missed all 10 of his jumpers to finish 2-15 from the field and Lou Williams missed 8 of his 9 jump shots to finish 3 of 13 overall.

Many of the times Williams drove to the hole, he seemed determined to get to the line, but the help defense did a solid job of contesting without committing fouls. The one Sixer that got away was Jrue Holiday. Holiday made his four field goals en route to a game high 27.

So we know this wasn’t exactly a shooting clinic out there. All I really had to say was “Final Score: 77-71″ to get that point across. So what exactly can we take from this game? Well, despite the perception of streaky shooting, I would not expect the Spurs cold touch to pour over without any additional context.

I could buy that for the short term, weariness limits shooting effectiveness, but since the Spurs were able to create and connect from inside at a reasonable rate, I wouldn’t say that’s the problem. The players are basically the same, but is there any reason to suspect that any of them are really different shooters than the night before? Not that I see. DeJuan Blair started taking some of the same uncomfortable shots he was taking in the beginning of the season. I could also see decision making carrying over from game to game. Finally, ball movement didn’t seem good. Although the Spurs successful passes led to good shots, it seemed to me that they relied too much on one pass to set up the easy bucket instead of ball movement. Many of the 3-point shots attempted were desperation 3’s and not clean looks at the hoop. All of these things are problems that can be addressed.

Although this disappointing loss isn’t meaningless, it definitely doesn’t appear cause for concern. It should also help that Washington and New Jersey are next up. If the Spurs can get through this final push of the Rodeo Road Trip, they can begin readying themselves for the likes of Dallas, Utah, Denver, Oklahoma, New Orleans and the Lakers instead of teams like Sacramento, Detroit, Toronto, New Jersey and Washington.

  • Panic

    I’d be concerned. Bad loss exposes no hunger. Lakers and heat are peaking, we are sliding…

  • Crystakke

    Every time after Blair has a few good games I think he starts thinking his a young Tim Duncan and starts busting post moves and shooting every ball he catches. I mean, the Spurs had like a million offensive rebounds, but every time Blair got one he would go up with it against two defenders and brick it again. Just a waste.
    I saw something in this game I never saw before: at the 6 minute mark of the 3rd Quarter the Sixers had scored 2 points and the Spurs 5. We had a 3-point lead.LOL. The defense was really good and that was normally when the Spurs pull away by double digits and then just manage the lead till the end.
    Anyhow, this was a good loss because the Spurs hadn’t lost this way before. Good teaching tool for Pop.

  • rj

    losses are more intruiguing and arguably, very important to our team. my only real concern is the health of matt bonner and tiago splitter. manu’s minutes need to be scaled back. i’m hoping james anderson can work himself back into game-shape and play some spot minutes to take some of the pressure off. lets go get the wallzards

  • Hobson13

    The inability to make shots whether open or guarded is usually due to fatigue. There’s another issue here besides complete offensive ineptitude. The question I have to ask is what bastard came up with a schedule that has a team playing 2 back to backs in 5 days with all 4 games being on the road? These kind of schedules are ridiculous. As NBA fans, we want to see a competetive product on the hardwood, not a team worn down from needlessly playing too many games in too few days.

    The point of basketball isn’t to see which team can run a marathon, it’s to see who can actually play the game at the higher level. Of the four major sports, the NBA is the only one who would demand that a team play 4 games in 5 nights in 4 different cities. It’s ridiculous. Although it won’t happen, I wish the NBA would cut down it’s schedule to space out the games and improve the basketball product. Besides, what’s the real difference between 82 games and say 74 games?

  • http://48minutesofhell.com midwestfan

    I didnt get 2 c the game, can someone tell me why Timmy shot a three. He was 0-1 in the box score.

  • Bentley

    The NBA is a make or miss league. Theres no way you can shoot 10-40(25%) in the second half after the game is tied at halftime and expect to win.

    Even though Timmy put up 16 points and 13 rebounds, he had an awful game last night. It took him 18 shots to get his points(39% from the field) couldnt hit anything from midrange, and had a few of his shots blocked by the undersized Brand. Tim Duncan is not really a low post threat on the offensive end anymore

    @Midwest

    That three pointer Duncan took was before the game ended, we wee trying to cut the 6 point deficit to three.

  • Roger

    Can someone explain to me why Spurs wear home jerseys on the road?

  • lew

    stop whining they have best record. gonna lose some games. no way they could keep up pace for entire season. good cushion tho. stay healthy is key. only few teams spurs have to worry about. 76ers not one of ‘em

  • Are you serious

    Just because we lose one game doesn’t mean we’re slipping. It’s an 82 game season. If anything this is a good ego check to show our players if they are sloppy, careless and don’t hit shots we lose.

    Let’s get our shit together beat some bad Washington and NJ teams, beat the Bulls and go into the All Star Break with another streak.

    GO SPURS GO!!!

  • Dr. Wjo

    I’ll make it short today… Missing that many open J’s=tired legs. This is an older team and a ridiculous amount of games played in a short time (road games no less).

    @Hobson13 +10

  • Basilio Jamisola

    This game is fake. I mean the Spurs just want to push the 76”rs up so they can still be in the magic 8. How’s that!

  • Titletown99030507

    These kind of games tend to happen. You can point out who should have been on the floor, who should have taken the shot, who should have this , who should have that but in the end ugly games tend to happen but lucky for them the chances of everybody not hitting again in the next game especially the next day is rare for them anyway. Although Blair is a good player I just wish he concentrate on the put backs. That’s not why we lost. The guy scored other ways and actually had a few bank shots. Everybody’s to blame for this one.
    Hopefully Tiago can go tonight against the Wiz and put in some good quality minutes and the rest of the crew can hit their shots. The defense was there last night hopefully they can repeat in that respect.

  • Junierizzle

    @panic
    I hardly say that the Spurs are sliding. Its one loss, not a 5 game losing streak.

    I had this one circled as a loss at the beginning of the season. It was the only game that looked tough in the middle of two sets of back to backs. You have to give credit th the sixers D but man if either RJ,TP or Manu had an okay night, they would have won.
    You have to look at the positive. The Spurs played good D too. Last season they would have lossed this game by 18 points.
    I got a bad feeling when I saw the Spurs come out with the White Jersies on the road. Stupid throw backs.

  • rob

    @ Panic

    The name fits. :)

    Regarding the game:

    Anybody that’s played, watched, or remotely understands basketball knows there will be games like this. However…if you look up the word anomoly…this game would fit it’s definition.

    I think the Spurs were just being in a generous mood last night. Giving away turnovers and easy points at a rate that would make Goodwill look greedy.

    Perhaps it’s because tax season is almost upon us and the Spurs needed to quantify deductions through charity.

    Whatever the case…I wouldn’t expect another performance like that in some time. It was like watching one of those movies with an all star cast only to leave the viewer wondering what the hell it was all about.

    I have to think about that Bob Seiger song and just turn the page.

    Next game please.

  • SpurredOn

    No matter how a Spurs season ends, seems you can pencil in every season of the past decade with home wins over Golden State and a road loss to Philly. Last night was a great example of how some stats make no sense but always fall the same: Spurs missed a number of layups, some open shots all the while playing very good defense. Even Manu missed two FTs. No way they should’ve lost but did. Every team has that one arena where nothing good happens no matter how hard you try,

  • rob

    @Hobson13

    “Besides, what’s the real difference between 82 games and say 74 games?”

    To seriously joke about that….Revenue.

    But I understand your point. The Spurs (I believe) are the ONLY nba team that has to endure such a schedule. But in all fairness…the stock show and rodeo occupying the space where the Spurs play have a lot to do with that as well.

    I’ve often wondered why not in that time the Spurs couldn’t play some games in the Alamo Dome. It’s not like they haven’t played there before.

  • Hunter

    Proposed trade
    Spurs: James Anderson, Chris Quinn, Tiago splitter, 2 1st round draft picks (or 3)

    Nets: Brook Lopez, 1st rounder this year

    we get a good 5 and a top 5 pick. Nets get a good young core and a nice set of picks with alot of potential plus with that we wont need 1st rounders for the next 2 years.
    Last night we sucked we need a big we havent looked good for the last 2 weeks lets do something

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  • lvmainman

    The Wizards and Nets have similiar teams to the 76ers in terms of athletic ability. A loss to the Nets would not surprise me one bit.

    But I still don’t understand why James Anderson can’t be getting 15 minutes a game in one of these back-to-back road games. Ginobili has been in need of more rest (23% from 3 on the road trip). Pop should treat Ginobili like Duncan in Sacramento with a game of 12 minutes only.

    I think the savvy and experienced can get a win tonight but I doubt it in N.J. on Monday.

  • Hobson13

    rob
    February 12th, 2011 at 11:28 am

    “To seriously joke about that….Revenue.”

    You’re right, but perhaps the NBA would sell out more arenas if they had fewer games that actually meant more than simply game #51 in an 82 game marathon. Besides, last night’s game was terrible no matter who won or lost. I would have been very upset with the level of play if I had payed good money to see that game. The teams just looked terrible. There are too many games that in turn play a large part in why good teams lose to mediocre/bad teams. I only want to see a basketball game played on equal footing and equal terms and 4 games in 5 nights doesn’t allow for that.

  • TD = BEST EVER

    @ Bentley

    “Even though Timmy put up 16 points and 13 rebounds, he had an awful game last night. It took him 18 shots to get his points(39% from the field) couldnt hit anything from midrange, and had a few of his shots blocked by the undersized Brand. Tim Duncan is not really a low post threat on the offensive end anymore.”

    Yes but last night’s game speaks more about Tony Parker than TD. It’s the POINT GUARDS job to run the Offense and get people good looks. Not just to look for his own shot. TP is a one trick pony who when he isn’t scoring, gives you nothing. TD still have 13 boards/2 blocks on a bad night. Our O this year is being ran thru TP. So when he puts up stinkers like this, and does NOTHING to help his team mates get it going, we should call it what it is. Put this same team with a TRUE PG, who passes 1st we would be a much more complete team. Shooting PG’s have to be Allen Iverson / Monte Ellis types that can go for 30 with ease. TP doesn’t know how to be patient on the PnR like others PG’s, he doesn’t allow the play to develop. If he did, he would notice the players that are open late in the play and not just the simple kick out to the 3-line. TD missed ALL 6 of his jumpers out past 12 ft( and yes he has to make more of them) but if we had gotten him and DJB more looks in close or just post ups, we could have won this game. This offense is guard led – so TP has to make plays when his shot isn’t falling, something that he hasn’t learned to do.

  • Brian

    wow it’s been 3 years since I go to Spurs games here in Philly and they lose. I though defense was excellent but we just couldn’t make any shots. I think what cost us at the end were turn overs and silly ones too. though Gary Neal and Dyss they played well of the bench. I still don’t know why we don’t put james Anderson in. hopefully we can finish the trip with 3 more Ws.
    PS: if we play defense like we did last night championship here we come.

  • justin-ray

    Td=best ever…….

    STOP BITCHING YOU PANSY! I hate fans like you that expect everything out of everybody every night. You are a clown. I’ve been reading a lot of your posts this season and honestly think you are best suited to be a clippers fan. You don’t know how to enjoy a winning team and believe in the players on your team. You are a sad excuse for a spurs fan.

  • rob

    @Hobson13

    “I only want to see a basketball game played on equal footing and equal terms and 4 games in 5 nights doesn’t allow for that.”

    I completely agree with that sentiment. So do I and probably every other basketball fan. Hence my question of why the Spurs couldn’t play some games in the Alamo Dome during the RRT in order to help avoid such scheduling problems?

    However…some b2b games are entertaining in the sense that some teams (the good ones) managing to pull out wins in those circumstances. I know I especially enjoy those moments when the Spurs win on the second game of a b2b. But agreed… 4 games in 5 days is too much for any team. Even if they are professionals.

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  • Daniel T

    It seems like the schedule had something to do with playing conference foes 4 times and non-conference foes 2 times. However, that would make a total of 86 games so it would seem they must not play quite that schedule but rather skip an opponent each year.

  • TD = BEST EVER

    @ justin-ray

    “You don’t know how to enjoy a winning team and believe in the players on your team. You are a sad excuse for a spurs fan.”

    And what are you, a great excuse for a MAVS fan. We love all of our players and they can make no mistakes. Every loss is just a bad game and as long as we have the best record we are the BEST TEAM. Sorry dude I’m not a loser and and I’m not a superfan(routes for the team no matter what), I want to win, and nothing in the regular season beside the old SA Spurs D and execution will make me happy. Those were proven to be winning formulas. And EVERY TRUE Spurs fan knows it. But all of a sudden we get better at scoring and all forget the past. But instead of trying to resolve the issues, you just sweep them under the rug and pretend they are not there.

    So I might be Over picky, but no one ever won a title being a COMPLACENT MAVS fan like you.

  • TD = BEST EVER

    It’s pretty sad that the MAVS fans, who almost always think they are the Best team in the league are making moves, because they FINALLY realize what it takes to win. And this is a team who if were healthy all year like we have would be right there neck and neck with us. They have lost Butler for the season and Dirk for like 12 games losing like 8 or so of them. Take away that and they are like a game back of us.

    Lakers, 2 time defending champ/3time Champ out of the West, are looking to improve their team. And they have the most TALENTED TEAM in basketball when healthy.

    We have a Golden opportunity, and to let it get away would be criminal. The reason I ride these little things so hard is because by the time we realize who’s right, it may be too late.

  • Daniel T

    Apparently the schedule has two games against each team from the opposite conference, one home and one away. Every team within the same division (4 opponents) is played 4 times, 2 home and 2 away. Four teams in the conference but outside the division are played only 3 times, the others 4 times. The ones that are only played 3 times there necessarily won’t be an equal number of home and away games.

  • http://48minutesofhell.com midwestfan

    @roger

    the reason the spurs wore the white jerseys is because the sixers wore their red jerseys to support heart health and usually one team wears dark and the other wears the white

  • justin-ray

    You just said it best yourself…. you don’t root for your team no matter what. I understand

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  • spursfanbayarea

    @hunter
    “Proposed trade
    Spurs: James Anderson, Chris Quinn, Tiago splitter, 2 1st round draft picks (or 3)

    Nets: Brook Lopez, 1st rounder this year”

    I agree with you that targeting brook lopez would be a good trade. Giving up Anderson and Tiago and 2-3 picks ends up being 4 or 5 first rounders for 2 first rounders. Only problem is that you need first rounders typically to restore depth to the team. And as our core three are getting older, we will definetly need picks. But if we could do it for anderson, splitter and 2 first rounders for lopez and their first round pick this year I would say it would be a good trade. Anderson most likely will not have a heavy contribution this year. Lopez would come in instantly and start and score 15, and 8 reb. But I do not believe that new jersey would do that deal. Because the two picks we send their way are going to be end of first round picks. They would likely want blair and splitter plus picks. And then the price becomes too high. Lopez is not a great rebounder for his size. But good trade proposal.

  • rob

    @ Hunter & spursfanbayarea

    I would be on board with that proposal. Don’t know exactly why the Nets would do it except that I’ve read in the past the Nets haven’t been too thrilled about Lopez’s lower numbers compared to last year’s performance.

    Looking ahead to next year’s free agency…the Spurs could then concentrate on going after another SF. James Jones from Miami is unrestricted; shoots lights out from the arc; plays decent to solid D and at 6’8″ provides a bit more height than what the Spurs curently have playing backup.

  • Bruno

    @spursfanbayarea

    Ridiculous, never the nets will trade Lopes, maybe for Lebrom or Carmelo but never for this players, so shut up

  • soulidefy

    brook lopez is a terrible rebounder. and the nets miss a lot of shots. i dont know exactly, but he has like 3 double doubles the entire year, and gets plenty of minutes. hes one of those good players on bad teams kinda guys (see chris bosh, fake tough guys….man i love kevin durant for saying that), i wouldnt wish him upon the spurs. he just doesnt do the little things that a good team asks of their players. i dont think they would go for that trade, its especially hard to find a good big (we know that all too well), and they view him as good.

    i think we should go after corey brewer, probably this summer. young defender……developing an offensive game. good size, plays his heart out. and most importantly, a great guy from all reports. this would allow the spurs to concentrate on the development of splitter/blair, and other young bigs as the backcourt future looks good with anderson/neal/hill, and tp is young.

    the 76ers remind me of last years bobcats….gritty.

    justin-ray, i beg you to ignore every post by td=best ever. ive been in a similar situation to you as i read these articles. he comes up with the most ridiculous views ive ever heard……and his only real argument to everyone who calls him out is that they must be a MAVS fan. talk about deflecting haha. there are some insightful people here, he is not one of them. he does have a computer though.

  • hassan

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

    Spurs lineup:
    Center: Nene/McDyess/Bonner
    PF: Duncan/Blair/Bonner
    SF: RJ/Gary Forbes
    SG: Manu/Neal
    PG: TP/Hill