El Conclusión: San Antonio Spurs 103, Los Angeles Clippers 100

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In the interest of full disclosure, I want to let you guys know that I didn’t see the first half of this game. I had an unavoidable meeting and made it back in time for the game as soon as I could. That was at halftime. So what you read below are my opinions on the game from the third quarter on through overtime.

San Antonio Spurs 103 Final
Recap | Box Score
100 Los Angeles Clippers
Tim Duncan, C 41 MIN | 5-14 FG | 1-4 FT | 17 REB | 3 AST | 11 PTS | +14

Wow, 41 minutes for Tim Duncan. What do you think you are, 25 years old? Duncan was excellent on the glass in this game and made the key assist to Gary Neal for the go-ahead 3 in overtime. He even drew a double-team to open it up!

Richard Jefferson, SF 25 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 5 PTS | -4

Nothing especially productive from RJ. He fumbled a key pass in the corner on one of the last plays in the fourth quarter, when it looked like the Spurs would lose the game.

DeJuan Blair, F 17 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | -17

An efficient night offensively for DeJuan, but he didn’t play a lot of minutes as Pop opted to go small defensively and spread the floor with Matt Bonner offensively. That makes Blair the odd man out, even though he is kind of small.

Tony Parker, PG 45 MIN | 11-22 FG | 8-11 FT | 3 REB | 10 AST | 30 PTS | +15

Went up against the guy ESPN.com has third in its MVP rankings right now (Chris Paul) and out-shined him. Parker was undoubtedly the go-to guy for the Spurs offensively late in this game and he did his part to keep them in it.

Daniel Green, G 36 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 11 PTS | +3

Did a good job harassing Chris Paul on defense, which is a difficult task, and made a handful of plays offensively. I still hate that he reaches on defense when there’s no doubt a guy will score and Green risks the cheap And-1.

Matt Bonner, PF 36 MIN | 5-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 13 PTS | +3

Got knocked around a bit in this game, but his presence on offense helped open up the driving lanes for Tony Parker and give Tim Duncan some space down low. Pretty standard game for Bonner.

Manu Ginobili, SG 18 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 2 PTS | -5

Injured oblique muscle. No timetable on his return as of yet. According to Buck Harvey of the Express-News, he originally injured it against Detroit. “I think we lost him again,” Coach Pop said after the game, per J.A. Adande. The D is just a placeholder grade since I never really saw him play today.

Gary Neal, PG 27 MIN | 5-14 FG | 2-4 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 17 PTS | -3

I have no idea where to start to write about Gary Neal’s night. He fumbles away a pass with the Spurs down three and just seconds remaining. Hits a 3 on a crazy play to force overtime. Hits a go-ahead 3 in overtime than was the difference and missed two free throws that could’ve iced the game. Richter scale type of game.

Tiago Splitter, C 2 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | +2

Strained calf muscle. No word on how long he’s going to be out. For his grade, see Manu above.

Kawhi Leonard, SF 18 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 4 PTS | +4

Not much offensively, but was key in getting in Chris Paul’s face on the last play of the game without fouling. That gives him a slight bump over whatever I was going to give him without.

Cory Joseph, G 0 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | +3

Austin-bound soon.

James Anderson, SG DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | PTS |

James is still the odd man out of the rotation.

Four Things We Saw

  1. Gary Neal foreshadowed his big 3s late in the game when he stopped a Clippers 17-0 run with a big 3-pointer in the third quarter.
  2. The rims at the Staples Center are mic’d obnoxiously loud. It’s the same in Dallas. They do it so that dunks sound good on TV, but what you get is a terrible noise when players clank jumpshots and audio featuring lots of guys complaining about fouls. Kenyon Martin spent a couple of minutes late in the game swearing so loud that Andrew Monaco had to apologize for his language on the broadcast.
  3. I thought the Spurs looked a little selfish offensively in the third quarter. I could be wrong, but I thought there were several times that guys took shots that normally they make one more pass for a better shot.
  4. The blame for that crazy Clippers turnover late in the game falls on Ryan Gomes in my book. Chris Paul was clearly running into the backcourt to take the pass there, but Gomes threw it in the front court. Paul, not wanting to get a backcourt violation, sort of tossed it away. Problem is, he tossed it right to the “Nail Gun” Gary Neal. He should’ve taken the backcourt violation.
  • Titletown99030507d

    Agree and I’t looks that way to me. Pop thinks this guy can be parked at the corner and give Bruce Bowen points while ignoring his true strengths. This guy can slash too just run some plays for him Pop!

  • theghostofjh

    ” …… Bonner on Blake was a better option than Blair ….”

    I disagree. Bonner does not have the speed, size, strength, OR aggression for a Griffin cover. And Bonner played most of the 2nd half, which is when we got crushed on the boards (a minus 9). Griffin ended up having his first career 22 point/20 rebound game. In the first meeting earlier in the season when Blair (26 mins.) had Griffin (33 mins) the majority of the time, Griffin got 9 boards (and Blair had 20 points). In this game Blair had 6 early points and then he was yanked soon after for “the rest of the half” for two possible reasons, none of which were sensible: (1) he picked up his 2nd foul late in the 1st, and/or (2) the Clipper high flyers got off to a lob-angeles start, something that no teams/players have stopped all year anyway.

  • DorieStreet

    Or put Anderson out there —everybody out there –we’re on a 10 game winning streak; what has Jefferson contributed to this success? In what games–in what capacity? Just reviewing the El Conclusion grades, it was abysmal before the DET & TOT contests.
    He was out to lunch (dinner, late nite snack, etc.) in the first round last year. The $$$ saved by not amnestying (sic) this season may cost us a deep playoff run (possible 5th title?) this season.

    Thoughts–Opinions– everyone?!!!

  • Titletown99030507d

    Nice one.

  • Colin

    Players play. You overestimate the supposed control pop has to prevent guys from putting the ball through the hoop. Rj can thank Jason Kidd for giving him any reputation that preceded him………

  • DorieStreet

    Make it 3 years— ’09–  1-4 1st round  / ’10 swept in 2nd round / ’11 out in 1st round 2-4 –had home court advantage –#1 vs #8

  • Titletown99030507d

    His like Manu in that respect. Manu would make a great play then loe it for us on a ticky tack foul. I’ll take what happened today from “Nails” if it means we win and we did.

  • DorieStreet

    @ theghostofjh and Deeds130:

    Two different players –Blair (ghost) and RJ (Deeds) but you both mention the COACHING STAFF in regards to improving their play/contributions.

    Is it time for Pops to go?   Serious Question  —respond Fans, please–

  • theghostofjh

    Could be, Pekovic has been impressive.

  • DorieStreet

    Manu– 3 of the last 4 seasons;  Tiago – 2 straight years, along with Anderson. Team is showing fragility.

  • Titletown99030507d

    And this is the best PG in the league for years I’ve been hearing. Lost some cred there CP3. Great PG’s just don’t do that.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Was that  a play Splitter was calling on defense at 4:32 in the first qtr? Or was he signaling the bench that something was wrong? Because after the next defensive possession he looked like intentionally fouled Blake. After that Splitter was gone.  

  • DorieStreet

    They were 1st in conference practically the whole season but injuries and poor play by TP and RJ -plus DNP-CD of Blair made them first round playoff fodder by Grizz.

    This season:  RJ already in slide mode/ Manu injured again -and Tiago/ Anderson looks like he will be a non-conributor- again–

  • grego

    Of course, i’d take it too. Spurs still won. 

  • grego

    Bonner is outplaying Blair. Should we reward Blair for not playing well? he’s already starting due to him not being a good fit to play off the bench. He only can play with Duncan and small ball. Only one of the lineups works and that’s with Duncan. 

    He tries to reach too much and box out. I’m not sure how confidence is stopping him from boxing out on defense. 

  • theghostofjh

    Of course not. You don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. It’s just that it might not work out for Blair in San Antonio. I’d like to see him come off the bench in NY. He’d probably get as many minutes, and more production. He’d work well with Harrelson, who has a nice outside J with some range (or Amare), and would split time paired with Lin & B. Davis, each of which would know how to get the most out of Blair. If Pop’s going to play Blair like this he might as well work out a deal with NY. Maybe get Jeffries, who’s probably more of a Pop-type role player anyway.

  • grego

    Blair’s been handed the starting job and is having his worst season. He’s regressing. In this lockout shortened season, there’s even more opportunity since Pop wants to rest Duncan more. only, he has gone to Splitter and Bonner more because they fit what Pop wants to do more. 

    Blair isn’t work because he hasn’t improved. Whether it’s the coaching staff or not, Blair doesn’t look like he’s putting in the effort and time to be better. If Bonner is improving while Blair is not, something is wrong. Even as frustrating as RJ is, he’s still improved to fit around what the Spurs need. 

    Blair has not. And I don’t think he ever will fit with the Spurs unless his game has a huge makeover. Not likely going to happen. 

  • DorieStreet

    10 game winning streak / undefeated in February / 2nd best record in conference (behind 1 1/2 games) and 4th best league record (behind 2 games) and out of 52 comments so far, maybe 15 are positive.
    April 2011 is weighing heavily on a lot of Spurs fans.

  • TD BestEVER

     I think he needs to either QUIT(because right now he doesn’t earn his coaching pay check) or just start coaching again like he did when TP/Manu were young.  He would always be up pacing the sideline and yelling instructions. 

    We used to run more plays as well.  Now it is all PNR which is ok, but leaves too many players on the floor doing NOTHING but WATCHING THE GAME and not playing in the game.

  • grego

    He never had the jump shot with NJ. So he has changed his game. He was never a guy that was like Manu though. No idea why anyone thought that. 

  • grego

    Sure, but who? Spurs chased Dorrell Wright as their top guy. They also chased James Jones, Ryan “in bounds” Gomes and Rasual Butler. Then this year they chased Grant Hill, Battier and Caron. 

    But in that, they probably did better by being forced to pick up the youngin in Leonard that they got. They did want Paul George previously. He probably would have been awesome with the Spurs too. 

  • theghostofjh

    Yes, I’d be willing to cut RJ’s minutes for awhile and see how it works out. Maybe it would “spur” him to be more aggressive and play his role up to his potential. Besides, RJ has not had much impact during this current 10-game win streak.

  • TD BestEVER

     many players are like this, they play better when they KNOW where to get shots and what ROLE they have on a team.   Blair has been inconsistent, but some of that is on POP and how POP uses Blair.   He is being played out of position and needs to have a more set amount of playing time.  Even if it’s just for 15mpg, have those 15 min be around the same every game. 

    And this goes for most our players. 

    KL seems to be regressing a little as well…….mainly because of the sporadic minutes and confidence(lack there of) that POP shows in him. 

  • grego

    Well, the coaching staff could do more for RJ. They have done more this season running a few more shot based plays off screens for him. I think they don’t milk that stuff enough. 

    However, with Blair, it seems like he his effort isn’t fully there. A lot of his inabilities are not for lack of coaching. On offense, he gets the opportunities for easy baskets. On defense, I’m not sure how the coaching staff can make Blair box out on D-Boards? 

    Sure, the coaching staff can do better and sure they are at fault too, but the coaching staff has shown what they can do at their best. Blair, we’ve seen his best and it appears less often than the good. RJ, he has been re-molded, but his skill set never fully fit the team. That is one area where Blair and RJ have majorly in common. A lack of skills that fit the team best. 

  • grego

    The team’s D is already better than last year’s D. Last year’s team was just a weird lineup, but the weaknesses were there. This year’s team feels different with the roster. It also feels more balanced. And of course it’s more experienced. 

    The key is health in the post season just like it always has and will be (for every team). 

  • TD BestEVER

    Absolutely!!!!! As long as you have TD on the team you are EXPECTED to make deep runs into the playoffs.  You don’t have to win it all but you need to CHALLENGE for a title.  And right now I don’t see that happening.

    We STILL DEPEND TOO MUCH ON 3′s and in the playoffs you know they don’t fall at the same rate.  

    POP refuses to get the most out of his players(Neal/RJ) have WAYYYYYY more to offer than what they are currently giving us.

    And about you response about Injuries, HOW many years in a row can we keep making these excuses.  At some point you need to prepare for the injuries, or get rid of the players.   TD is the old man of the group, has terrible knee cartilage degeneration and still has been healthier than Manu(my man) and Splitter.  I think Anderson is on his way out of San Antonio.   The same could be said for Blair, but I think POP/RC keep him because of how cheap he is and how HEALTHY he has been.

  • theghostofjh

    Bonner got man-handled in the paint the entire series, and that’s where we lost. This would have been less of a problem if we gave Blair a consistent 25 minutes. Instead, Blair loses his starting job (a dumb decision) after going 50-11 as a starter. He ends up losing some confidence as a result, and instead of helping shore up that confidence by sticking with him in the playoffs, he gets a fairly quick hook, and is essentially banned from games 3-6. Ridiculous.

  • grego

    Bonner doesn’t reach like Blair. Bonner uses fundamentals in his game. I’m not saying, I’d take Bonner over Derrick Favors, but on this team, I’d take Bonner over Blair on any night. The team just benefits from Bonner on the court much more. 

    There’s a reason why Blair’s +/- is pretty horrid. And his stats are regressing. 

    Prior to this game, he hadn’t played in the 4th quarter (and only because Splitter was hurt) except for in the Atlanta blow out game. 

    He still played under 17 minutes because he can’t be effective in big minutes without the Spurs losing spacing or getting killed on D. 

    http://www.82games.com/1112/1112SAS.HTM 
    http://www.hoopdata.com/player.aspx?name=DeJuan%20Blair 

    http://www.nba.com/statistics/plusminus/plusminus_sort.jsp?pcomb=1&season=22011&split=9&team=Spurs 

    I’ll never mistaken Bonner for an elite defender, but I’d take him over Blair in the 5-man unit. He has much more versatility. And if it isn’t Bonner, i’d take Leonard or RJ at the 4 due to their versatility. Blair is not the answer. And he’s proving more and more not to be it with his own actions. 

  • grego

    Bonner also had a key box out on Blake for a big rebound near the end of the game. if that’s Blair, he either gets out jumped/out reached or it’s a loose ball foul on Blair. 

  • grego

    Or in the front office

  • TD BestEVER

     Actually it’s the same……we were 12th is PPG against last year and are 12th now.  And FG% against was .456 last year and is .453% this year.    So we are ALMOST EXACTLY the dame on D as last year….

  • TD BestEVER

    That’s more of a swipe at TP for not being able to help RJ the way Kidd did.   Also  POP can adjust his offense to fit the players, or the players to fit his offense.  And he did the later, So POP is to blame here.

  • theghostofjh

    As I noted earlier on this thread, Pop would be doing everyone a favor by looking to deal Blair. I think NY would be a good option. Pop doesn’t appear to be willing to accept some of Blair’s inherent weaknesses, nor fully appreciate Blair’s unique strengths enough to get him more involved in the offense for consistent, large enough blocks of time. His anal style on technicalities is beginning to harm Blair’s development. As I’m sure everyone realizes, part of coaching is psychology. Pop’s counsel appears to be losing its effectiveness with Blair. This is not necessarily Pop’s fault. It may just ultimately be a poor fit.

  • grego

    I apparently am not the only one who thought Bonner did a decent job…..

    Per MySA’s Tim Griffin http://blog.mysanantonio.com/spursnation/2012/02/18/game-rewind-lucky-or-not-spurs-stay-perfect-on-rrt/

    “Most unsung: Bonner provided another clutch effort off the bench with 13 points and six rebounds in 35:47 off the bench. More importantly, his underrated defensive effort was key in keeping Griffin in check down the stretch. “

  • grego

    Blair did too and that’s why he racked up the DNPs. However, this season, he’s improved and worked well with Duncan and Splitter anchoring the units. Grizz will always be a bad matchup, but Blair is not the answer. He provides no matchup advantages on the other end. 

  • grego

    He can, but the offense is built around Parker/Manu/Duncan. There’s only so much he can change. Yes, TP is not Kidd, but there’s nothing wrong with that. He’s great in his own ways. There’s some on Pop to get RJ involved, but he can’t re-make the offense fully if it doesn’t fit the team most efficiently. 

    The Spurs would be worse off if they tried to be NJ in their running days with Kmart and Kidd running with RJ. 

  • theghostofjh

    Because lack of confidence ultimately undermines motivation, effort, and focus.

  • grego

    Wait, so you think by limiting his time more, will help him, yet you think Blair, who is seeing not a lot of minutes (since he hasn’t earned them), deserves more. Ok. 

  • grego

    Blair’s time has been consistent. He plays between 15 and 18 minutes a game, unless it’s a blow out. he plays in the first quarter, a little bit in the second and starts the 3rd quarter. He doesn’t play in the 4 quarter. His minutes are pretty consistent. He’s consistently bad on D and Duncan/Bonner and Splitter/Bonner lineups are more consistent and effective. So Pop has a set amount of time that he fills Blair’s time with Duncan in the rotation. 

    Anything else would mean small ball with Blair as the big or Blair/Bonner. Neither of which we want to see. 

    as for Kawhi, he’s a rookie. His time is going to vary. He’s played pretty good recently, actually. His shot will always keep him from playing a lot this year. He’s been solid considering the lack of camp and lack of practice (only recently have they had a few). 

    I predict Kawhi will see some time at the 4, like he did against the Clippers now that Splitter is out. 

  • Jwill1919

     First of all, Manu is the key to any Spurs run….2nd it is imperative that we get some chemistry with with the team now that Manu is back and we have to sub in guys like Green/Neal and Leonard.  I hate RJ and still think he is the weak offensive/defensive link.  The biggest problem we’re gonna have, is re-incorporating TJ and Manu back into the fold, subtract RJ and everything would be alright. Blair with his non-defense reach and Matador style will kill us against anyone, at least Bonner will hustle and offer up a 3/stretch the D every possession. 

    Kill RJ from the lineup!  More Kawhi the better!

  • theghostofjh

    We’ll just have to agree to disagree. But just remember, Bonner has had a regular, significant role in the playoffs for the Spurs for the last 3-4 years and it hasn’t been too pretty. Bonner has underperformed and the Spurs faced 1st/2nd round exits. This pattern is on track to continue. Blair has not yet been given a chance, with the full confidence of the coaching staff, and in my view deserves one.

  • TD BestEVER

    You don’t have to change the ENTIRE OFFENSE to call 5-10 plays a game for a player.   SPURS get 80 or so offensive possessions a game.  RJ needs 5-10 called for him depending on how he is playing.  Even if he doesn’t take the shot, just to get him and keep him involved.

  • theghostofjh

    Blair should get more time with Duncan, and he should get at least one 9 minute+ uninterrupted stretch per game (probably either in the first or third quarters). He rarely gets that. 

  • theghostofjh

    RJ is a 31 year old veteran, 30+ mpg starter in this league. Veterans sometimes need different types of motivators than young players (like perhaps reducing their minutes as opposed to increasing them). Blair’s a 22 year old that’s in need of significant stretches of minutes to build his confidence and work on his game in a way that only experience can provide. You don’t really believe that all players are motivated the same way, do you?

  • theghostofjh

    The hook on Blair was much too quick, showing no patience or confidence in the young player.

  • theghostofjh

    Bonner had a better than average game, but the guy you quoted (is he Blake’s brother?!) is obviously delusional. Griffin had TWENTY boards, THIRTEEN in the second half, a half where Blair played 7 minutes and Bonner played close to 20.

  • grego

    You need to look at their recent games. They started off really bad so the average is skewed. And this season has had a lot of Manuless games. 

    Since that awesome Dallas game, Spurs have on defense allowed the following: 

    This is the last 10 games (including Clippers which had OT)
    90.5 ppg (93.7 season). 
    43% fg (45.3% FG season)

    If we remove the OT, the last 10 games falls to 90 ppg. 7/10 teams are +.500 teams. 

    And if I remove the three teams that are under .500, (the rodeo trip teams), the Spurs are giving up 87.9 and 41% fg%. 

    A quick look, but it is worth noting that they’ve been pretty solid on D in those sets of games. 

    The team is improved with Green, Leonard and Splitter playing more. 

  • grego

    He starts with Duncan in the first and third. Usually, when the offense starts to stagnate or defense gets really bad, Blair leaves. Usually it happens to be the case where Blair is not effective. coming up, he should be effective against Utah. he matches up well against them while he won’t matchup well against Chicago, another game coming up. 

  • grego

    This is a team trying to content for a championship. If the goal was ot make every player confident and stroke their egos, then pop should just start all his young guys. Why should Blair be anymore special than Kawhi or Green or Joseph? 

    Blair’s been with the Spurs for 3 years, as long as RJ. It’s not like RJ has an advantage over Blair when it comes to the Spurs system. 

    Green and Leonard this season have been more effective. neither of which had a full training camp with the Spurs.

    It’s not the coaching staffs fault that Blair ate himself out of shape last season. If you want it, work for it. Something that appears to not be the case for Blair, at least enough. 

  • grego

    Yes, I think he should be more involved consistently. I don’t disagree on that. I’m fine with them swinging the ball more to him off the move. he does that well when duncan screens the weakside defender. 

    It’s on RJ to be a little bit more aggressive though.