El Conclusión: San Antonio Spurs 116, Los Angeles Clippers 92
|Tim Duncan, PF Shot Chart 32 MIN | 9-18 FG | 1-1 FT | 11 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 19 PTS | +25
Another steady game from the Spurs’ steadiest player. The Spurs did a few things a little differently on the offensive end to start the game, and Duncan was active and moving well with and without the ball. There’s not anything new to talk about. Tim Duncan is Tim Duncan. He gets double-doubles, plays great defense and is one of the worst-dressed millionaires on the planet. Wouldn’t have it any other way, though.
|Kawhi Leonard, SF Shot Chart 30 MIN | 5-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 10 PTS | +17
Kawhi is making his mark defensively this season, as he always has, but he’s been somewhat of an afterthought on offense. That was again the case against the Clippers on Saturday. The Spurs were a whopping 31 points per 100 possessions better than L.A. when Leonard was on the floor, but their offense soared to new heights (129.8 ORtg) when he was off it. Still, his defense was certainly important, and we may have seen Gregg Popovich try a slightly new rotation tonight to put him in the same position he did Danny Green in recent weeks — more on-court time with the bench unit. I’ll be getting back to you on that one.
|Tiago Splitter, C Shot Chart 25 MIN | 8-12 FG | 6-9 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 22 PTS | -4
Splitter was fantastic. He was in all the right nooks and crannies on the offensive end and his teammates were finding him on his way to a season high of 22 points. It was one of the only times the Duncan-Splitter combination looked good in the first quarter all season, and wadda ya know, they scored 37 points in the opening frame. But he was injured early in the fourth quarter when Ryan Hollins (DAMN IT RYAN HOLLINS GO AWAY!) crashed into his shoulder after Splitter faked him into the air. Tiago suffered a sprain to his right shoulder and has been ruled out for at least the team’s game on Tuesday in Memphis. Duncan addressed the loss of Splitter after the game.
“Very, very tough. It’s going to be a big loss for us. Hopefully, we get good news tomorrow and it’s going to be a minimal amount of time. We’ll keep our fingers crossed in that respect. He’s been playing great for us all year.”
|Tony Parker, PG Shot Chart 34 MIN | 8-9 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 9 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | +23
Some of the shots this guy was hitting against the Clippers were preposterous, and he was actually getting to the rim without having to deal too much with the long arms of DeAndre Jordan. He didn’t have to deal with Chris Paul (who was out with a sprained right shoulder and will miss the next 3+ weeks), and San Antonio was clearing all sorts of room for him to operate. It was clinical, and one of his best games in a while.
|Marco Belinelli, SG Shot Chart 25 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | +18
Marco was fine. If this was grad school, he’d make it through. One of the things he’s done so well all season is move without the ball and understand where he needs to be at all times, and now he’s starting to learn where his teammates are going to be as well. Seven assists in 25 minutes is a great number on a night the Spurs dropped a season high 34 dimes as a team.
|Aron Baynes, PF Shot Chart 5 MIN | 3-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +3
Baynes got some garbage time in the blowout and had some pretty solid moments, as he’s wont to do when the game has been decided. But any time a Spur records an authoritative dunk they get major consideration for a perfect grade. Eh, still, Baynesie thought he was Dirk Nowitzki for a moment as he floated across the lane off one leg for a runner that glanced off the side of the rim. He wasn’t Dirk.
|Jeff Ayres, PF Shot Chart 15 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | +12
Jeff Ayres continues to get a grasp on the offense, and his case of the ‘drops’ seems to have subsided for now. Very solid effort in this one off the bench in Boris Diaw’s absence. He’s been playing solid defense and rebounding very well, which are the two things he’s truly asked to do.
|Matt Bonner, PF Shot Chart 6 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | 0
Matt Bonner hit one shot and it wasn’t a three. In fact, he didn’t even take a three! WHY MATT?! But … despite all of that … his introduction to the game when the Spurs were up by 24 points in the third quarter drew a huge cheer from the crowd. It’s all respect for the plus-minus king of the Spurs!
|Nando de Colo, PG Shot Chart 5 MIN | 0-2 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +7
Nando played before halftime.
|Patty Mills, PG Shot Chart 10 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | -4
It’s difficult to assign grades to guys who really didn’t need to do a thing in this one, but the Spurs had a bad defensive run when he played.
|Cory Joseph, PG Shot Chart 4 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +5
Had a nice little drive to the hoop late in the game, but Popovich played Nando before Joseph. That’s gonna drop a dude’s score. But he WAS rooting for the New Orleans Saints in the locker room after the game, and they won. So, he wins? Kinda? I dunno.
|Danny Green, SG Shot Chart 27 MIN | 1-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +11
Danny missed a lot of shots again, and the one three he did hit was followed by a sort of exasperated reaction similar to the one Duncan has popularized on his bad nights. Green’s numbers on the defensive side of the ball have gone down a bit — which has a lot to do with the fact he’s spending more time with the second unit — but he’s still been a very important piece on that side of the ball in matchups with the opposition’s perimeter scorers. On the flip side, the offense didn’t slow down while he was on the floor (122 ORtg), but he’s got to shoot better from the field.
|Manu Ginobili, SG Shot Chart 24 MIN | 6-11 FG | 2-3 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | +7
The Spurs were absolutely blistering offensively when Manu was in the game, which has been the case for much of the season. It’s been a consistent theme: Manu Ginobili deserves Sixth Man of the Year consideration.
|Gregg PopovichBlowout. Good job, Pop.|
Five Things We Saw
- The Spurs added some new wrinkles to start the game, which is something we’ll be discussing at greater length early in the coming week. They found ways to get Parker going by creating more space for him in the paint, and they moved Duncan around more and to different areas as well. It was the team’s best first quarter of the season, so something was working.
- I hate Ryan Hollins so much.
- Kawhi continues to play in a very similar role to the one he did last season, and it’s been a little underwhelming. But that’s only from the perspective that we all were expecting a bit more. He’s been just fine in all actuality. He’s playing very good defense, his shot is falling at nearly a 50-percent clip and he’s not forcing anything. The 3-point shooting has plateaued a bit, but it’s better than it was to start the season and he looks confident taking it.
- Popovich said prior to the game that he’s still not watching film on other teams, specifically. The Spurs are still working on their stuff, and tonight was an example of how things can actually change from one game to the next. The loss to the Knicks was a bad one, but it was still their first ‘bad’ loss of the season. The elusive win over an ‘elite’ team continues to haunt Spurs fandom, especially since Paul missed this one for the Clippers. But San Antonio is still 26-8 and just a spot out of the top seed in the West. Portland lost at home to the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, and the Thunder came within inches of losing their third straight without Russell Westbrook. The West is still wide open at the top, and these sorts of victories afford the Spurs time to work out the kinks.
- Damn it Ryan Hollins! Tiago will be missed as long as he’s out, and as Duncan mentioned in the locker room, the Spurs will have their fingers crossed it’s not long-term. Paul’s injury was an actual separated shoulder, and Splitter’s has only been listed as a sprained shoulder. He’s been great defensively on top of everything, and Duncan has been able to operate without the pressure of dealing with the opposition’s primary bigs on a regular basis. We’ll keep you updated.