San Antonio Spurs 102, Charlotte Bobcats 78: BAYNES

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AT&T CENTER — Let’s be honest with ourselves here. The only thing remotely interesting about this game was the fact that we got to see new signing Aron Baynes in a regular game situation, not the manic finish we saw in Dallas on Friday night.

The Bobcats have the worst record in the league and they came into the AT&T Center facing the team with the best record in the NBA. A 102-78 win is exactly what you would expect from this game. Tony Parker led the way for the Spurs with 22 points (on 9-of-10 shooting) and seven assists. Kawhi Leonard had 18 points and five rebounds on 4-of-5 from 3-point range.

Those are your particulars.

Getting past all that, the night was about Baynes. The big Aussie scored seven points and grabbed nine rebounds in the first real minutes of his NBA career. He finished 3-of-7 from the field, but the three field goals were all dunks or tip-ins around the rim. The four misses included a couple of hook shots (one after picking up a loose ball around his feet) and a turnaround jumper with the shot clock running down.

“He did a good job. He got a little winded,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said. “It was good to give him some minutes and to get a look at him. I thought he did a fine job.”

I think we got pretty much everything we expected to see from Baynes tonight. As the night wore on, he seemed to get his timing down and adjust to the speed of the game. In the first quarter, Ramon Sessions got a layup in under Baynes because Sessions was able to quickly get the ball up and off the backboard before Baynes had time to react to it. In the second half, Baynes blocked a similar attempt from Sessions right at the rim.

Offensively, Baynes picked up a couple of fouls for illegal screens, which makes sense. Mike Budenholzer raved about his pick-setting abilities when Baynes was introduced last week, and he did a good job. But guys coming over from Europe have to make adjustments to the way NBA refs call illegal screens. Considering Baynes played college ball at Washington State, I don’t imagine that the adjustment period will take as long as it does for guys who play internationally their whole careers.

Otherwise we saw some good footwork from Baynes when rolling to the basket. He’s almost Splitter-like in how he moves in those situations. Unlike Splitter and the rest of the Spurs bigs, though, Baynes has the athleticism to go up and get a lob pass if it’s a decent enough toss. Baynes’ first points in a Spurs uniform came on a big dunk off a pick-and-roll feed from Tony Parker.

One of the interesting things regarding Baynes that I found from this game was how quietly he went about getting his rebounds. Not that rebounds are particularly eye-catching, but I figured he had four or five in the second half and checking the box score I discovered he already had eight. Considering how poorly Charlotte shot on the evening (41 percent), he could’ve pulled down four without really trying.

The Spurs were missing three big men on the night and Baynes logged about 18 minutes of playing time. With a full roster, he probably wouldn’t have sniffed the floor until garbage time. Thankfully, Baynes made his first legit appearance in silver and black and we were treated to some intrigue in what otherwise would’ve been a lackluster January game.

A few other notes for you following the Spurs’ win over the Bobcats

  • With the win, Gregg Popovich is locked in to being the head coach of the Western Conference All-Stars for the third time. This is the first time he’ll be there with Tony Parker, which is one of those strange-but-true things. The All-Star game is both the perfect and complete opposite fit for Pop. It’s a glorified pickup game that goes against everything the Spurs are about on the court, and yet the entire weekend is ridiculous enough that Gregg Popovich is surely able to take a step back and see how strange it all is.
  • For the first time in a while, the Spurs had a really good shooting game from the perimeter, led by Leonard and Danny Green. Leonard as mentioned previously had knocked down 4-of-5 3-pointers, while Icy Hot hit all three of his 3-point attempts. As a team, the Spurs hit 9-of-16 from behind the arc.
  • After shootaround, it was announced that Tim Duncan would sit out again with soreness in his left knee and DeJuan Blair would sit with what the team called “right knee effusion.” Shortly before tip-off, the team announced that Matt Bonner would also rest with right knee effusion. Whatever that is. No word on anyone’s availability for Saturday night yet.
  • frank

    Welcome Baynes… Hope you do not have to sit out with an effusion!

  • junierizzle

    I liked what I saw from Bane, that’s his nickname right? Anyway It was really nice to see him dunk of a pick and roll. That’s something the Spurs could use more of-finishing strong at the rim. He most likely won’t play much this year but I liked what I saw.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=173600134 Ryan McShane

    Isn’t it strange that they both had a swelling of fluids in the same knee? Sounds almost like they didn’t want their players to be traded to be actually injured during the game. Or maybe Pop just wanted a good look at Baynes without pressure from his potential pine peers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=173600134 Ryan McShane

    I think the Spurs are gearing up to trade at least Blair, if not Bonner as well. I think he’ll get some minutes this season.

  • soulhunter

    Patty called him Bangers :D

  • Colin

    Any word on severity/seriousness regarding Duncan’s knee? I know it’s a great stretch to sit him and let his body rejuvenate with the weaker stretch of schedule but was hoping its nothing more than that.

  • GoSpursGo

    Is right knee effusion code for ‘screw you, stern’?

  • ThatBigGuy

    I liked nearly everything I saw from Baynes. For me, 3 things really stood out. He hustled, beating guards up the court on several pseudo fast breaks. In time, he’ll get 2 or 3 easy baskets per game from that alone. He also played strong, with his chest and legs. While Hayward isn’t God’s gift to low post scoring, he’s still a massive human, and Baynes stayed low and didn’t use the Matty B arm bar. I would love to see him beef up the paint against the Memphis bigs. Lastly, he’s got hops. My wife uttered a verbal “What was that?!?!?!” when he and Parker almost connected on that oop early in the game. I can’t wait to see him and Manu get some court time together.

    Blair is gone. Baynes is everything Blair could be, only 3 inches taller.

  • ThatBigGuy

    I would guess it’s for trade purposes, especially for Blair. I’m not so sure about Bonner, because as a 4th or 5th big, he has an incredibly unique skill set. I don’t know why you’d want to trade Bonner unless it was for financial reasons.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=173600134 Ryan McShane

    I don’t know either. I think he provides something nobody (other than maybe Stephen Jackson, Kawhi Leonard, or Boris Diaw if you want to be liberal about it – I don’t believe it) else on the Spurs can provide – 3 point shooting and big man defense. Still, don’t you think it’s odd that they had THE SAME EXACT INJURY!?

    The other reason you’d want to trade Bonner is if you DID think say, Diaw, provides what he provides and had no more roster spots left to fill, so you needed to trade away two redundant players (Baynes is obviously a Blair upgrade) and take back one. The Spurs are currently interested in Greg Oden (I don’t know how I feel about that) and would need to find a way to clear one roster spot to pick him up for next season should he recover and develop this summer a la Da’Sean Butler. Simultaneously, it’s hard to find a quality player that’s making one or two million a year right now, but not as difficult to find one making five million a year. Trading Blair and Bonner gives you that opportunity.

  • El Diablo Blanco

    @junierizzle In the spirit of your BANE reference

    ‘Now you have my permission to get dunked on”

    “You guard the PNR like a younger man, admirable…. but mistaken”

    And. finally directed at David Stern (with reference to resting players), BAN[Y}ES says:

    “It doesn’t matter who we are… what matters is Pop’s plan. No one cared who I was until I put on the the silver and black”

    I smell a t-shirt range

  • leben

    After the game Parker said that b/c the Bobcats play small this was a good game to sit Duncan out. So what I gathered from that is Duncan could’ve played but why bother. He’ll prob. be back Sat.

  • leben

    It may not be so odd, if you think about it. Blair and Bonner haven’t played much this season and with Timmy sitting out these last few games they’ve gotten some good run. Not being used to it their knees reacted to the increased work–with swelling.

  • http://profiles.google.com/lordxar Ray Briggs II

    Time to start building the All-Aussie team. We already have Patty and Baynes. Time to get Bogut.

    Bogut for Diaw/Bonner/(Neal or DeColo)/Joseph and TJ Ford trade exception plus a pick. GS will do that deal right? Maybe we can get Isiah to be GM for a day.

  • etomai

    right knee F-U-son?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=173600134 Ryan McShane

    I read about knee effusions, and it seems like it’s something all/most big men get to a small degree during the course of the season but always play through. As such, it could be difficult to prove that they didn’t have it to Stern or someone else after the fact and allow the Spurs to avoid two “DNP – [any reason other than a faux injury]“. But yes, your explanation is fairly reasonable. Knee effusions can occur after overuse and especially in the heavy or overweight.

  • GoSpurzGo!

    Who are the Spurs… they are the NBA’s reckoning – nice use of DKR

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  • Sir Timothy

    The spurs are great. I would not want to add anyone except…J.J. Redick!

    I just ran a trade on the ESPN trade machine — DeJuan Blair, The Red Rocket, and Corey Joseph for J.J. Redick. The salaries are balanced and it says the Spurs get +2 wins. Redick is clutch. I like having the traditional bigs in Duncan and Splitter, I know that Bonner is the best shooting big man, but Redick is a gunner.

    Would Orlando do it? And would the Spurs get better?

  • Tyler

    Orlando could get much, much more.

  • Sir Timothy

    Just what I thought — too bad. I don’t want to send anyone else and I really do not want any other players – they just don’t fit the Spurs, you know? Please no Greg Oden.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=173600134 Ryan McShane

    And put JJ Redick (Duke) on the same team as Danny Green (UNC)?!

    jk, that’s a terrible reason not to do it. But the Spurs don’t need any more shooting. They need another wing stopper so the Spurs can play Kawhi, Jack and him all at the same time when the Thunder/Heat/Knicks play Durant/LeBron/Carmelo at the 4. Ginobili could play point for that group if he needed to, but could be like a backup wing defender. Green faded last year during the OKC series, so this defender would be insurance for that.

  • Titletown99030507d

    I bet Pop starts giving Baynes half of Tiago’s minutes after Tiago has earned all of those minutes.

    Heck I wouldn’t doubt it if Pop brought Baynes in for the purpose of not paying Tiago his due after this season. We’ll see what the thought is come playoff time. If Tiago doesn’t have a contract from the spurs come playoff time then they’ll be looking to let him ride off with a big payday with someone else. And some people thought letting Blair go without a trade in return was a waste.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Hey Andrew with the signing of Baynes if the Spurs don’t offer Tiago a reasonable contract by the end of the season are we in danger of getting nothing in return for Splitter? Meaning he could walk away and we get nothing for him?
    If that happens then that would be a classic example of “1 step forward, 2 steps back”. Or is the front office stalling and they’re using Baynes to motivate Tiago into raising his game another level? HMMM? By the looks of that would be running put down (dunk) Tiago almost had in the early moments of the Bobcat game looks like he’s trying a little harder. How do you see it?

  • Tyler

    He’s a restricted FA, meaning we can match any offer.