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

    My bad for reading it wrong.

  • Titletown99030507d

    And we’ll continue to depend on the 3′s as long as Timmy is the only one putting up decent numbers late in his career (Splitter has been doing well but now the injury) unless they address more post presence on this team. Next year and the year after that the face of this team will change.

  • theghostofjh

    Then trade him if you’re going to waste him as an asset. As I mentioned before on this thread, to NY for Jeffries would be a win all the way around.

  • theghostofjh

     Pop’s quick trigger with Blair was ridiculous.

  • theghostofjh

    The fact is, Blair does not have a bad attitude or disposition. He wants to improve. For a 22 year old, coaching is part of that formula. So again, what is the coaching staff doing that is serving to de-motivate Blair? As I said before, maybe it has simply become apparent that the fit is not good between Blair and the coaching staff (same thing may have occurred with Mahinmi, who in his second year with Dallas has matured into a more dependable reserve). If so, trade him. Believe me, there are teams that would want him. How about to NY for Jeffries?

  • theghostofjh

    Duncan (-4) & Bonner (-6) should be getting less minutes, and Splitter (+6) and Blair (+4) more minutes. In addition, both Splitter and Blair should get at least one, more extended run of minutes. The substitution patterns are too micromanaged.

  • theghostofjh

    Agreed, and Bonner does not have the physical presence and toughness to create space in the paint — for himself AND his front court teammates.

  • theghostofjh

    Believe me, that’s an illusion. Bonner has always had his moments during the regular season to help win us some games. Whatever is “different” this year will not translate in any meaningful way in the playoffs. You can bank on that.

  • theghostofjh

    Trade Blair to NY for Jeffries.

  • Grego

    Hence take away the below. 500 teams. That streak includes OKC, Houston, the Grizz.

    The bad Detroit and Toronto teams actually did best statistically in the 10 games.

  • MSteele_in_Eire

    “…confidence(lack there of) that Pop shows in him.”

    Pop put him in to guard the pick n roll at the end of regulation, he fouled Paul and sent him to the line with around 29 secs to go, rookie mistake, Paul sinks them, they go up 1. Fast forward to the last 10 secs of the game Pop puts him in, for defensive purposes (showing confidence in him), Neal nails the 3, then Paul misses. Fastforward again to last 8 secs of the game, Pop puts him in, trusts Leonard to guard Paul straight up, which he does a good job of staying down on the pump fakes, then throws up a contested shot and thats all she wrote. Leonard isn’t gonna play many minutes when the opposing team doesn’t have a star wing player, like tonight. His offense just isn’t at a high enough level to merit him playing when we there isn’t a quality wing to defend at the other end. I think Pop’s made him aware of this fact and he seems like the type of professional guy who will just keep plugging away anyway. I get the impression he’ll play the same way regardless of playing time.

  • Sam

    Jefferies is an awful player, I just watched him in the game against Dallas and he did absolutely nothing except commit turnovers, it was embarrassing. The only thing he can do is get 5-7 rebounds a game, we can get much better for Blair. 

  • Colin

    He gave him the hook because he was getting HANDLED by Randolph, Gasol, and the rookie who tore his achilles this year (forget his name).  Granted, Bonner didn’t do much better but damn man, I don’t know what you were watching?!!

     Bonner and Blair are BOTH good rotation players at best in this league.  Bonner does what he does as good as anyone in the league (make 3′s) and Blair is the consumate garbage player who can create things without having plays drawn up for him.  If Blair could develop some semblance of a jump shot or offensive “go to” move then I would give him the nod ahead of Bonner without a doubt.  However, until that happens the coach will go with who feels can and will contribute to the win on that particular night.  Yesterday, Bonner hit some crucial 3′s (as well as Neal) that were responsible for the victory. 

    Granted, Blair has more “upside” (whatever that really means) but he has no “got to” move, can’t guard bigger players consistently, reaches too much on defense for a big and his production is highly dependent on match ups from the other team. 

    He just hasn’t proven himself enough to earn beyond 15-20 min/night in his young career unless he starts doing more.  Simple. 

  • Colin

     Boo hoo, blame it on the coach.  You forget that its a players league. 

  • Bry

    That’s got to be one of the dumbest suggestions I’ve seen here since a couple insane people were advocating to trade Tim Duncan and tank the season. Fire Popovich? Are you serious?? Look at the Spurs roster right now, and then look at their record. What other coach in the NBA is even coming close to winning this consistently with less? Gary Neal and Danny Green were undrafted castaways. Duncan is 35 with knee issues and Ford and Ginobili have missed the majority of the games this season. Leonard is a rookie and Splitter is now in his second season in the NBA. Popovich is routinely in the conversation for coach of the year and has a number of ‘coach of the month’ accolades over the past two years. And he’s very likely to be coach of the month for February. They have longest winning streak in the league (the last five of which were on the road) giving heavy minutes to guys that are hardly household names (Leonard, Neal, Green, Bonner) and you are saying “Is it time for Pops to go?” is a ‘serious question’!? You gotta be kidding me. Too many people on this blog demand perfection and equate somebody being imperfect with them needing to be traded or fired. It’s ridiculous. I’m pretty sick of hearing absurd trade demands or calls to fire Pop when the players, the coaching staff, and the front office have OVERACHIEVED consistently. Wake up, people.

  • Colin

    That’s a straw man’s argument. 

    Players play in this league. 

    It seems like everyone is quick to blame the coach, the system, or the PG instead of the player in this case, RJ.  No one told him to disappear. 

    TP has always been a “score first” PG and Kidd is the opposite.  So, is Parker supposed to do away with what he does best?  I’m not sure that would help the Spurs. 

    The NBA offense isn’t an equal opportunity system like many of you guys think it is. 

  • Bry

    Hear, hear! Pop is an outstanding coach. Although I don’t see any need to move Bonner or Blair as long as they are making small salaries. They just need to play less minutes (although with Splitter out they’ll need to play more in the short-term). Jefferson, on the other hand, is basically the only guy on the Spurs not coming close to earning his salary (and arguably Manu since he’s been unable to play).

  • Colin

     Of course, that is what great PG’s do.  Make other players better.  However, I wouldn’t lump Parker into the category of ball-sharing PG’s like Nash, CP3, Stockton, etc. 

    RJ had a special thing going with Kidd in NJ, something that probably cannot be reproduced with the Spurs. 

    I don’t understand all the blame on the coach and PG for RJ’s lack of success when the onus clearly must be on RJ himself in this case. 

  • Colin

     Not sure what you’re talking about here?

  • Colin

     Professional basketball players should all be internally motivated regardless of coach, playing time, disposition, or lack of being “coddled” as you seem to think Blair needs more of. 

  • Colin

     Jeffries sucks, what are you watching???

  • theghostofjh

    “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.”

    I have to admit, I’m a bit perplexed by this statement. As you know, the Spurs have won TEN STRAIGHT games. During that stretch Parker, our BEST scorer, has averaged 23.7 and 8.3 ASSISTS (an amazing 3.5 to one assist to turnover ratio), on 18 shots per game, in which he made 8.5 (47% shooting). Those exceed reigning MVP Derrick ROSE numbers! And we won EVERY single game. Really, what are you complaining about? That you don’t have Steve NASH?

  • theghostofjh

    The Knicks. What are you watching? Most of you guys insult Blair regularly on this blog, and you want him either traded or limited to a situational reserve player. But in trading him you want to get who? An excellent, tall defender that can score in the low post?! Doesn’t make any sense. Jeffries is a competent role player that has more height, plays better fundamental defense, has a better shot than Blair, and is a capable rebounder. He is a better fit for Pop’s style. Who are you going to get that’s better straight up for Blair?

  • theghostofjh

    It’s called appropriate player development, which ALWAYS includes with most young players a mental/psychological aspect. There’s not a need to “coddle”. It’s just that the Spurs motivational style has not worked with a number of good players around the league in the past. And now it appears that Blair may be one of those players. It simply may not be a good fit, because generally speaking Blair has a good and sincere attitude toward the game, and yet the Spurs are not getting enough out of him.

  • theghostofjh

    ” …. we can get much better for Blair ….”

    Not realistically, according to many people on this blog, who want Blair relegated to fewer, situational minutes, and preferably off the bench. Who do you think you could get for Blair? (by the way, if you think that Jeffries is an “awful” player you don’t know the game – just look at his last 8 games when he got some opportunity, and finally had a point guard that knows what he’s doing – also, he does some things that just don’t show up in a box score – he’s a very competent “role” player, which is all most on this blog see in Blair anyways, at best).

  • theghostofjh

    Yeah, coaches don’t do anything, particularly with young, non-star players. Please.

  • theghostofjh

    “He gave him the hook because he was getting HANDLED by Randolph, Gasol,
    and the rookie who tore his achilles this year (forget his name). 
    Granted, Bonner didn’t do much better but damn man, I don’t know what
    you were watching?!!”Yeah, “handled” for 5 minutes against very talented players. As I’ve said numerous times on this thread, he got a “ridiculously quick hook”, and then in effect neutered the rest of the series. Blair would likely have improved if they just stayed with him. Instead, you micromanage and persistently chide him, rather than encourage and show confidence. You obviously don’t understand the nuances of player motivation, and simply believe in the drill sargeant method of leadership with ALL young players. Wrong! Overall it’s worked for Pop, but it looks like it won’t work for Blair. So I say trade him. We’re not getting enough out of him.P.S. Sticking with Bonner, regardless of his impact on a few regular season games, is a recipe for another early playoff exit. Blair should be getting more minutes than Bonner, period!

  • TD BestEVER

     What these people don’t understand is that Blair would be PERFECT if he was playing 20 min off the bench.  Lesser expectations and against lesser talent.  He is playing out of position and DOES need to improve on his rebounding of late, but isn’t that far behind Splitter in Defense per 100 possessions this year. 

  • TD BestEVER

    I think he has to make a move, to ensure that all players are playing their Natural Positions, Kenyon martin would have been PERFECT, but we didn’t offer the same amount of money.   

  • theghostofjh

    Probably wasn’t just the money. For example, K-Mart has a home in LA.

  • TD BestEVER

    Danny Green was drafted by the Cavs the same year as Blair.  I think in the 2nd round behind Blair. 

  • TD BestEVER

     He scored and defended better when starting……… and getting 4 fouls in 18 min or so of sporadic playing time isn’t a confidence booster.  Putting someone in a game cold to try and guard CP3 isn’t a confidence booster. It’s a killer, because it didn’t work out and he was over matched.

    He needs more time and so do a lot of people on our team.  But since we cant give them all more time, we need to have consistent rotations, and USE people to their strengths better.

  • TD BestEVER

    ya, but we didn’t offer the same amount of money so we don’t know.  

    We can’t REALISTICALLY EXPECT people to play here for less money.
     

  • theghostofjh

    Perhaps, but I do like Blair with Duncan. I’d like to see them get Blair more touches in the low block as they were early in the season when he was averaging 14 & 7 in 24 minutes. I’d also like to see Blair be a bit more selective with his shots, and utilize his good passing skills to hit open shooters/cutters. But you’re right, he needs to rebound better. For some reason I think there’s a motivation issue going on there that the team needs to solve.

  • theghostofjh

    Sure, I’m not really sure what the money differential was.

  • TD BestEVER

     I think that he is trying to play smarter for the coaches etc and because of it he isn’t playing with his natural instincts and hustle. 

  • Deeds130

    Ahhh…. a 3rd big. I’ve been wondering who the FO has their eyes on, and kinda expect some interior additions this summer. If they do make a midseason addition I think it’ll be a minor one– a 5th big at best.

  • Colin

    Okay, I don’t know what you would expect out of an undersized power forward with no ACL’s and who can’t jump or defend.  Blair isn’t Charles Barkley and he would have gotten us past Memphis (only a HEALTHY Ginobili would have). 

    Relying on either of them (Bonner and Blair) very heavily will get us a first round exit.  I understand player motivation quite well.  Every pro athlete is internally motivated or else they will wash out quickly. 

    How do any of us know what’s going on in the locker room? 

  • Colin

     Coaches don’t put the ball through the hoop.  Players do. 

    You seem to think that if Pop played schemes the way you do behind your computer screen that everything would go just fine. 

    I don’t know what you are offended by here?

  • Colin

     You’re right.  It may not be a good fit.  A stopped clock is right at least twice/day. 

  • Colin

     Blair is a competent “role player” as I have stated time and again here.  We have a slew of players who can do what Jeffries does and better. 

    Try again. 

  • Len

    I was wondering why this blog absolutely exploded with comments.  I should have guessed it but I had almost forgot about JH and his undying love affair with Blair.  Or is it his undying fear of losing an argument?

    Welcome back Jim.

  • Colin

     Yes, 20 min/game is about the threshold of his effectiveness at this time. 

  • Sam

    In today’s game, I saw someone who takes the ball to the hoop and gets stripped every time. Now it may be just one game, but I’m not sure I would trade Blair for someone who gets booed on his home court.

  • theghostofjh

    I’m his ghost, not the real thing.

  • theghostofjh

    Then why are you guys always unhappy with him, even getting under 20 minutes per game (over about the last 15)? He’s essentially used as a situational role player in the guise of a starter (on a below average front court among playoff caliber teams), and all you guys do is bitch about him, complaining about his lack of fundamentals on the defensive end. And fundamentally, Jeffries is a better defender than both Bonner and Blair. You apparently don’t study the game and all of its players very carefully.

  • theghostofjh

    Yes, that makes some intuitive sense.

  • Colin

     You still haven’t read my posts very well.  I pretty much agree with you in principle here. 

    I have a pretty good idea of which way the wind blows and the most recent blog is really the first I’ve seen you post on this site.

    I don’t really know how you can surmise that: 
    “all you guys bitch and complain that Blair can’t play defense.”

    BTW:  Professing Jared Jeffries praises (where did you come up with this trade?) does you no good in claiming to be a student of the game while saying other posters “don’t study the game and all of its players.”   

    Here’s what I see as being Blair’s big deficiencies preventing him from becoming any more than a role player in the NBA. 

    #1.  He can’t and hasn’t shown that he can play 1v1 or team defense very well YET.

    #2.  No post move or “go to” move on offense

    #3.  No jump shot.  Can’t shoot free throws well.

    #4.  Can’t call plays for him.  See above. 

  • LPspursFan

    just laughable that people can come on here and insinuate – or just say straight out – that Pop and the coaching staff don’t do a good job coaching…yet in the annual GM survey, when other coaches (except phil jackson) talk about the best in the league, Pop’s name is right there at the top of the list.

    RJ is being crucified on here for fitting in…if he made the league minimum, nobody would care. He shoots a good percentaage and he can hit a clutch 3 on any given night, and if the opportunity arose where RJ needed to take the scoring lead, i think he could.

    But, imo, a coach’s top responsibility is to win games; Pop’s record speaks for itself.

  • theghostofjh

    I said that Jeffries is a better, and more fundamentally sound post defender than Bonner or Blair. Anybody that doesn’t know that needs to watch Jeffries play a bit more.

    On your four points of critique of Blair, I partially agree on the first three, but not on the fourth. But my challege to you is to make an effort to identify as many strengths as possible in Blair’s game, including all intangibles. That’s what seems to almost always be missing in the conversation on these threads.