El Conclusion: San Antonio Spurs 99, Phoenix Suns 96

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Phoenix Suns 96 Final
Recap | Box Score
99 San Antonio Spurs
Boris Diaw, PF 27 MIN | 5-14 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -2

The Spurs looked to inject a little offensive urgency into their starting lineup on Wednesday night and that came in the malleable form of Boris Diaw. Size against the Suns wasn’t at a premium, so San Antonio could afford to take a risk with Bobo, one that didn’t come back to hurt the Spurs. Oh, but Bobo shot a lot.

Tim Duncan, PF 28 MIN | 7-12 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | +10

It was a quietly efficient night for Tim Duncan. So much so that his 17 points come as a surprise when so much noise was made about the 19 points Danny Green scored and the 20 Tony Parker produced. That sounds like Tim Duncan, though.

Kawhi Leonard, SF 27 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 8 PTS | +4

Leonard has still yet to find his footing on offense. Again, he’s not playing bad, but Kawhi is looking for something in his offensive game and he’s yet to find it. That search is leading to Leonard reacting just a half-beat slower than normal. Good news, though, there are still 77 regular season games left to go.

Tony Parker, PG 31 MIN | 9-15 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 20 PTS | +5

15 of the last 16 Spurs points were scored by Tony Parker. If the clutch gene exists, it somehow got passed to a Frenchman.

Danny Green, SG 36 MIN | 8-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 4 BLK | 2 TO | 19 PTS | -5

Spurs fans weren’t quite storming the gates of the Danny Green castle after Icy Hot’s slow start to the season, but pitchforks were being inventoried and torches lit. 19 points on 8-for-11 shooting will go a long way in calming the locals. He also added four blocked shots, which is hard to fathom.

Jeff Ayres, PF 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | -3

As he finds his footing in the Spurs system, he’ll become a bigger piece of the rotation. Until then, we get nights like tonight.

Tiago Splitter, C 11 MIN | 2-2 FG | 5-6 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | -3

Bumped from the starting lineup in a game where every inch above 6’8″ was scarce, Splitter found himself in a throwback role coming off the bench with the likes of Manu Ginobili. Tiago played limited minutes on Wednesday night but was effective in his time. Six free throws in 11 minutes is efficient, to say the least.

Patty Mills, PG 17 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -2

Five shot attempts in 17 minutes for Party Thrills? I’m shocked, shocked I say.

Cory Joseph, PG 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -1

Cory Joseph’s lack of playing time through five games comes as the biggest surprise of the early season for me. I damn-near had him down as the backup point guard in pen coming into late October. I get the feeling he’ll have his chance eventually.

Manu Ginobili, SG 27 MIN | 4-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +8

The Spurs bench surprisingly lacked punch against the Suns, but Ginobili’s first half stands out as one of the few bright spots. However, his second half wasn’t quite as good.

Marco Belinelli, SG 31 MIN | 1-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +4

By hitting his only 3-pointer, Italian Ice did what he was brought in to do for the Spurs. But the bottom of the net eluded his other five shots. Somehow Belinelli managed to play 31 minutes against the Suns.

Gregg Popovich

The move to start Diaw instead of Splitter was a reasonable one, if nothing else just to shake things up and try to kick the offense into gear earlier in the game. Considering the lack of size the Suns brought to the table, there was little risk. It also couldn’t help to light a fire under Splitter and reinforce the positive things Bobo has done in the four games leading up to Wednesday night.

Four Things We Saw

  1. It’s not often that Tim Duncan finishes an evening with just as many assists as rebounds, but that was the result on Wednesday night when San Antonio spread the love on the boards. Seven Spurs had at least four rebounds against Phoenix and none had more than seven. This is what manifests when everyone on the floor is the same height.
  2. Danny Green made himself more of a threat offensively against the Suns through a lot of off-ball movement. Twice Icy Hot cut backdoor and ended up with reverse layups. As defenses take away his spot-up opportunities, Green needs to diversify his game. Even though it was an inexperienced Suns team (to say the least) there were good signs from Green in the win.
  3. I came away impressed with Miles Plumlee after Wednesday night’s game. One of the few legit big men to get any minutes for Phoenix, his 15 points on 7-for-12 from the floor (most of them over Duncan) were impressive. He needs to tighten up his game a bit, but the foundation is there for a solid career. It’s not a stretch to think Plumlee can be the third (probably fourth) big man on a good team.
  4. For a guy with his size and awkward body shape, Boris Diaw has impeccable balance. He has a move where he takes a hard dribble to the lane with a hard right legged jab-step and immediately pulls up for a jump shot that looks extremely difficult to defend. More often than not he’s going to get the shot up with plenty of space because of how little his momentum seems to go forward on the move.


  • ThatBigGuy

    Am I the only one who is quickly tiring of the incredible amount of traveling/carrying/illegal screening calls? I understand that certain actions are illegal according to the rule book, but if you haven’t enforced the rules in 30 years, why choose to do so now? It really makes for a choppy flow to the game.

    Iverson chose a good year to retire…

  • Osterman

    Plumlee reminds me of a young Andrew McNeil

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  • Tess

    Their goal is for the number of fouls to go down because players learn to stop committing them, and it seems like that would lead to better basketball, so I think it’s worth a shot.

    I don’t think it’s the end of the world to have a lot of calls in November, but if players haven’t adapted by the All-Star break, it will be time for the refs to pack it in and give up.

  • junierizzle

    I like that they are cracking down on traveling. A bit late in my estimation. LeBron’s three-step lay-up is now a part of the game.

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