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.
  • grego

    I’m sure they tried to deal Blair. they were looking to move Dyess’ contract earlier in the season. It’s just no one would take. Blair’s weaknesses are a lot. And it doesn’t fit in the system. 

    And that’s that. I’m sure he’d put up a lot of stats on Cleveland. But NY wouldn’t really want Blair with Chandler and Amare in the front line. Or at least not willing to give up any of their young decent pieces that have size, something Spurs could use. 

  • theghostofjh

    Again, in my view Pop is too quick on the trigger.

  • grego

    And he got his starting job back. I’m not sure what else he wants. He came in better shape (than how he ended) and yet, is playing worse. Splitter in theory should start based on performance, but Blair isn’t going to lose his job. 

    I’m not sure what else he wants? A contract extension? Will that give him more confidence? the team has given him the ball in the post, but usually that doesn’t result in much. 

  • theghostofjh

    I’m not saying it’s ALL the coaches fault for Blair’s play. I get disappointed with him too sometimes. Just remember though, Blair is younger than Green, and he also has to contend with guys quite a bit taller than him. Blair is understandably more of a project than some of the other young players, and he should be coached accordingly with the hope of reaping more benefits down the line.

  • theghostofjh

    Agreed!

  • theghostofjh

    I mentioned for Jefferies. Why not? It’s a better fit for both players.

  • theghostofjh

    He averaged 14 and 7 in 24 mpg his first six games. What happened? He just decided to regress after that for the hell of it? How do you explain it? He can only play with Manu? I don’t buy it. Parker knows how to run pick & rolls, which Blair does quite well at.

  • Tim in Surrey

    Actually, I believe that in yet ANOTHER parallel universe, Pop plays him and he doesn’t get hurt again. And let’s not even talk about some of the other parallel universes–the ones where there’s no foul against the Mavs in 2006, where Timmy decides to join Grant Hill in Orlando, Derek Fisher’s doesn’t get his three off in time, Bob Hill actually shows good judgment and doesn’t have David Robinson single-cover Olajuwon all series, and where we close out that Game 7 against Washington and then beat the Sonics in the finals. Oh, and I’m sure it must keep Rick Pitino up at night if he knows there’s a parallel universe where the ping-pong balls worked out for Boston…

  • Tim in Surrey

    Isn’t Gallinari out for that game? And Deng isn’t a good enough offensive player to dictate rotations that way.

  • Deeds130

    Popovich, for all his flaws, is simply better than most every other coach you could hope to hire. The good is just too good with Pop, handily outweighing the bad. I have to want to keep him in SA until the next era is well established, and see how he does with that group. I also want to see us turn the page on Bonner, Blair, and RJ if they don’t vindicate Pop’s favor of them between now and then. I have asked to move these 3 guys for years now, and if they are gonna stick around, they need to turn it around. Some of that is on the coaching staff, who needs to identify and solve the problems these guys bring on the court… whether through teaching, strategy, or trade I don’t care, but this is the most inexcusible part of our postseason failures. Roster building and injuries you can make excuses for (though I caution against doing so). We would have EXPECTED to lose (as an 8th seed) last year, if Pop weren’t here.

  • Deeds130

    I’ve made that point repeatedly. But the guy is injury prone and needs to put a greater emphasis on his physical training or he’ll be heart-breaker for us every year… I say this as a Splitter supporter since day 1: Get better training or get out of own.

  • Deeds130

    I’ll say.

  • DorieStreet

    Loul Deng averages 16 per game (7 rebounds)–and occasionally puts in a 20-plus performance when he starts off hot and the Bulls feed him the ball.

  • Andres

    Finally Tony Parker is playing at the mvp level he is capable, spurs fans have been waiting for that for two years now. There is still room for improvement, in the last 3 minutes of the fourth quarter he  tried to do to much, forcing up a three ball, he overlooked neal and green several times. Still, amazing game.
    I insist that both Leonard and Green bring more to the game than RJ, when manu is finally healthy, the spurs best line up has to be rotating Neal, Green and Ginobili, giving spot minutes to RJ depending on how he is shooting the ball. 

  • Andres

    I agree, it is sad but true, Bonner is a better post defender than blair. That’s bad because bonner is well below average defensively…..

  • TD BestEVER

     we have been playing alot of BAD eastern Conference teams lately……. So the last 10 games are not indicative of much other than we are really HOT right now………

  • Andres

    neither Bonner  nor  Blair should be getting a lot of minutes anyway, both would get man handle in the paint against tougher guys. Blair can’t score on bigger guys, Bonner struggles with teams that don’t leave hiim open. Both these guys should be in the 15- 20 minute average. It’s Tiago Splitter that should be getting 28 minutes per game.

  • Andres

    it’s not that the spurs fan take parker for granted, he has struggled for two years now, with manu getting hurt he has step up his game. He is finally playing at the level he is capable, which is top 5 point guard. I hope he can keep it up.

  • Andres

    i  think that you are being hard on RJ, he struggles out there but not because of lack of effrot. That said, I agree 100% in that Green and Leonar should be playing more than RJ. They are so much better defensively, maybe they don’t shoot the three ball as good, but i’ll take defense over spot up shooters any day of the week

  • TD BestEVER

     You gotta love people who know nothing about basketball but think they do. Deng isn’t that good. LOL  What basketball has he been watching?

  • TD BestEVER

     that’s not true if you are talkin about 1 on 1 defense.  Bonner gets scored on more than Blair. 

  • ziijordan

     I agree. Tony also over-dribbled in the last couple minutes. Let’s hope Manu gets back soon as I think Manu should be our closer when he’s healthy.

    It’d be amazing if Tony lit the other team up for a couple of quarters, then have Manu end the game with some surgical precision passes or layups.

  • Titletown99030507d

    I don’t know if past parallel dimensions can be affected. So we’ll never know.

  • Pingback: The up-and-down 2nd half of Gary Neal against the Clippers

  • Titletown99030507d

    Like I said in other posts Bonner seems to be showing me something I haven’t seen from him before. Some Moxy.I really think he’s elevated some of his play from years past. I think he’ll be a different Bonner in the playoffs. The capable Bonner we expected in the playoffs.

  • Titletown99030507d

    He could be 18 and I still don’t want him on the floor.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Also when the game starts I’m counting the minutes till his first substitution then I don’t see him again if it’s close. I just wish they would sub him out sooner like at the 10 minute mark in the 1st.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Like last season in the playoffs? Not hardly.

  • Titletown99030507d

    All the points you stated is the reason he isn’t getting more minutes. If you don’t perform after those 1st 6 games then why should they keep rewarding him. Look at KL he’s rookie but has earned playing time.

  • Andres

    Deng might be the best perimeter defender of the league right now. 

  • Titletown99030507d

    You could probably add Nash, CP3, and a few others to that statement in regards to getting a reputation. 

  • DorieStreet

    @ Jazz & Blazers (each 12-5 at home) BTB, the @ Nuggets. Nearly a week off before 1st home game after RRT vs Bulls. Can we go 2-2 with the injuries?

  • DorieStreet

    Playiing international ball every summer for a decade-plus (how many years for Manu?) catching up to Tiago in terms of wearing down?

  • Titletown99030507d

    As far as I keep hearing from Pop he wants Tony to facilitate and score at the same time? Which one is it? So Tony chooses one. Scoring. I’d rather him get everybody involved 75% of the time than trying to score for everybody. Maybe last year scoring suited this team better but this year. It’s clear he needs to facilitate more than score this season. Nice numbers he’s putting up but it’s taking buttloads of attempts and honestly I’d give some of those up to others if I was him.

  • Titletown99030507d

    I’d be happy if he went to him 3 times a game.

  • Titletown99030507d

    The history of signing free agents in recent memory pretty much have been once great players on their way out or just plain mediocre. That’s pretty sad that’s all we can get. And so it looks like the FO is doing it the hard way —- with Rookies and 2nd year players. 

  • Titletown99030507d

    Good point, it worked wonders for Timmy and Bonner since Tiago came on hard this season. Professionals still have pride and don’t want to shown up.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Remains to be seen if RJ has a weak mind as Blair does. It affected Blair last season when Dyess moved to the starting unit and I’m not sure if this has been happening all over again because of the emergence of Splitter.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Pop will always screw with the rotation and minutes even when the obvious is apparent. Every game brings different challenges to certain positions but damn sometimes he just does stuff that scratches my head. He’s been very fortunate lady luck has been there to help.

  • Titletown99030507d

    I think he drinks too much wine sometimes before the game.

  • Titletown99030507d

    How do you figure Tiago won’t contribute in the playoffs. You make it sound he broke his leg. It’s a calf strain for crying out loud.

  • Titletown99030507d

    We just beat lob city without Manu and Splitter.

  • Titletown99030507d

    If not trade him to the Lakers maybe they’ll do a better job.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Does anybody feel Pop will pull the trigger on a 3rd big now that Splitter has shown injury even though it’s a minor one. Splitter’s been playing almost 10 years professionally and has some miles on him but he’s still younger than Timmy and Manu. Wish we would had got him after the 07 season. When he played for TAU Cermica he was thinner really agile and more athletic slamming down alley oops. Hope he comes back soon.

  • DorieStreet

    I’m talking about Anderson only as a non contributor; with Tiago -I was refering to his injury now–how long will he be out?
    My error in not using a separte sentence, Title.

  • DorieStreet

    For Bynum straight up!!!!!

  • DorieStreet

    I just can’t see the team going into the playoffs without making a move as you suggest. Tim’s a year older, Blair is regressing again, Bonner is trying harder (and playing better) but still gets overmatched at times. Pop shouldn’t let the injuries and lackluster play at the beginning of the Grizz series last postseason deem that adding another frontcourt player is not necessary.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Dream city. Maybe for Gasol.

  • Titletown99030507d

    He needs to do something now if he cares about going far in the playoffs. This is a sign for Pop. Hope he takes it serious. 

  • Titletown99030507d

    Realistically is there someone out there that will match Splitter’s contract that can help us? I’ll just keep him on this team.