El Conclusion: Los Angeles Clippers 115, San Antonio Spurs 92

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San Antonio Spurs 92 Final
Recap | Box Score
115 Los Angeles Clippers
Tim Duncan, PF Shot Chart 32 MIN | 5-12 FG | 7-8 FT | 11 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | -6

Duncan was active, aggressive, smart against the Clippers on Monday night. Didn’t shoot great but played well.

Kawhi Leonard, SF Shot Chart 32 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | -20

I thought for a second, shortly after Tony Parker left the game, that Kawhi Leonard was going to take over this game. He had that look in his eye, or at least a look that I thought might mean that he was going to take over. It didn’t happen, but he had a solid game nonetheless.

Tiago Splitter, C Shot Chart 19 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-4 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -9

Not the best of injury returns, but four games off is four games off.

Tony Parker, PG Shot Chart 26 MIN | 3-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +1

Left the game in the second half with a shin contusion after colliding with Ryan Hollins, the Fogell of the NBA. Status for Wednesday night’s game at Phoenix is uncertain, though I’m going to guess the Spurs are cautious and sit him out.

Danny Green, SG Shot Chart 19 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 7 PTS | -14

A couple turnovers in the second quarter led to a benching to start the third quarter. Green came in later in the second half and knocked down a couple of shots, but seeing how Green responds over the next few games is something to watch.

Jeff Ayres, PF Shot Chart 9 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -2

*ball goes through hands and out of bounds*

Boris Diaw, PF Shot Chart 21 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | -13

Bobo had flashes of making an impact in this game, but it seemed few and far between. Los Angeles’ frontline might be too athletic even for him.

Patty Mills, PG Shot Chart 14 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | -12

I’m not certain, but Mills may be starting to lose his grip on the backup point guard spot. Over the last couple of weeks Cory Joseph has been playing more and more minutes, though the minutes are skewed with Parker going down early on Monday night.

Cory Joseph, PG Shot Chart 12 MIN | 1-1 FG | 2-4 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -15

See above.

Manu Ginobili, SG Shot Chart 25 MIN | 8-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 16 PTS | +5

I don’t want to say anything and jinx it, but Manu is playing really well.

Marco Belinelli, SG Shot Chart 23 MIN | 2-9 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | -28

Belinelli never got in much of a rhythm on Monday night. The Clippers did well to contest shots out on the perimeter and force the Spurs to put the ball on the floor.

Gregg Popovich

Kind of disappointed he didn’t pick up a tech in this game, though I’m always disappointed when Pop doesn’t pick up a T.

One Thing We Saw

  1. After last week’s win over the Raptors, I’ve seen more and more people pining for Aron Baynes to get more time. Just know that the difference between the Spurs winning a title and not will not be Aron Baynes.
  • Andres

    I think Kawhi and Danny Green really need to step up there games. They really seem to have taken a step back from last year. Tony is starting to look really tired, i thought Kawhi”s development was going to let Tony rest more, but the team is really dependent on Tony playing at elite level. Manu is playing better, but his game now is more of getting in the flow of things, whenever he tries to dominate a game, like he did very effectively in the past, he turns into a turnover machine. In short, I just don’t see why Jeff Ayres should be in the floor other than everybody else is injured. He just doesn’t bring anything to the table.

  • LukeDawg

    I know all the usual caveats (relatively early, some injuries), but is anyone else getting at all worried about the spurs play against the other best teams in the league? We are now almost a 1/3 of the way through the season and by my count, the spurs have exactly zero quality wins. They have now played the best team in the east and the other best 4 teams in the west and are now 0-5 against those teams, with an average margin of loss over 10 points a game. Yes the spurs have beaten everybody else and will likely cruise to 55 wins and a top 3 seed come playoff time, but it is disturbing to see how much they have struggled against their best competition.

  • LukeDawg

    Yes I agree, I have been trying to give Ayres the benefit of the doubt, but really can’t think of a single reason (other than necessity because of injuries.) that he should be seeing any meaningful minutes for this team. He can’t shoot, he struggles finishing around the basket, and he sometimes gets lost in defensive rotations. He is still young and can definitely improve with more time in the system, but I don’t know if that really helps the Spurs this year against Miami, Indiana, Portland, or OKC. I don’t necessarily disagree with Andrew about Baynes not being the long term answer, but I do think he would be a better option at this point than Ayres. Although I am not at practice everyday so there’s definitely that…

  • lvmainman

    Popovich deserves an F-.
    Starting Belinelli in the 2nd half, so he could go 0 for 7? Playing Splitter after an injury against a good team his 1st game back? Making Joseph the point guard after Parker got hurt, and not using Mills? Having Kawhi guard Griffin, are you kidding me?
    Capt. Jack made sure he was a part of the WORST loss to the Clippers EVER.

  • Graham

    Can we all calm down a little? We’re still on pace for 60 wins, and I’m not going to sweat schedule losses to good teams all bringing their A game since they see us as the measuring stick out west. All this hand wringing feels like looking for an excuse to freak out. I’m not getting concerned about our record against top 8 opposition until March at the very earliest. In the meantime I’m quite content NEVER SEEMING TO LOSE TO TEAMS WE HAVE NO BUSINESS LOSING TO. If we end up going 35% against top notch teams but 95% against every other team, that’s a hell of a record. Banking wins is the main thing now, finding the right rotations is a close second. ‘Signature’ wins don’t even exist until after the break in my opinion.

  • LukeDawg

    Nobody here is acting like the spurs won’t make the playoffs or finish with “a hell of a record”. But given what happened last year, the improvement in competition and the impending decline of the franchise cornerstone, I think we are at a point as a fanbase in sensing that the title window is indeed closing sooner, rather than later. So while not losing games you shouldn’t to inferior competition is an admirable quality for the regular season, it is really not an indicator of any sustained post season success. And I, like you, don’t really believe in singular, “signature” wins in the nba, but trends are definitely important. And over the last several years, the spurs have started to develop a trend of not being able to matchup well with teams with truly elite length and/or athleticism (Heat, Thunder,Blazers), it seems to be the kryptonite to clog the well oiled Spurs machine. This has further seemed to manifest itself specifically in their pick and roll defense. I believe this to be the reason the Spurs have been so generally terrible against Portland, Miami and OKC the past few years, all great pick and roll teams. So yes it is early, but their are some disturbing trends, and while the rotation will undoubtedly tighten and improve, I guess the concern would be that these problems are not schematic in nature, but dealing more with personnel.

  • Saneel Radia

    Seems generous to give Pop a B (but agree with the rest). Giving Joseph and Ayres those minutes with Patty & Big Bangah as clearly better options feels like a major error that made itself clear repeatedly. Also think we could have used an earlier timeout in the 19-0 run that seem to break Tony’s spirit.

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  • Graham

    Can we really point to a singular reason we lost these games? Blazers are a historically tough matchup for us, and a Nova Hot LMA is tailor made to take advantage of our defense. Thunder at home? Not many hope to win there frequently. Houston was a tough loss but I don’t think that’s any indication of problems. Indy is damn good and not having splitter really hurt. The clippers loss was a combination of things, but the team didn’t seem to have it that night.

    My main point is he sample size here is too small to draw a meaningful conclusions. Let’s revisit this after 20 games against the ‘contenders’. This just smells like a fluke to me.

  • rj

    I don’t think everyone made that implication.

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