El Conclusion: San Antonio Spurs 110, Memphis Grizzlies 108 (OT)

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San Antonio Spurs 110 Final
Recap | Box Score
108 Memphis Grizzlies
Tim Duncan, PF Shot Chart 38 MIN | 9-16 FG | 6-8 FT | 17 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 5 TO | 24 PTS | +5

Frankly, I’m running out of things to write about how baffled I am at what Tim Duncan does at his age and with the mileage he has on his tires. But if he can still produce, so can I. He was awesome.

Jeff Ayres, PF Shot Chart 22 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -9

The box score numbers look like an empty cupboard, but his impact was greater than that. He played active defense on Zach Randolph and did the screen-setting that he said he would. I’m not mad at him.

Kawhi Leonard, SF Shot Chart 33 MIN | 7-9 FG | 1-3 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | +17

A highly-efficient 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting. Outside of the solo assist, this was the bizarro Carmelo Anthony game (/waits for Melo supporters to blast me on Twitter). Honestly, I’m surprised to see that Leonard his two of his four 3-point attempts. They snuck up on me.

Tony Parker, PG Shot Chart 40 MIN | 5-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 10 PTS | -4

This was sort of the opposite of Leonard’s game. The Grizzlies typically do a good job defending Parker, and even without Marc Gasol and Tony Allen, Memphis was able to do it again. If Duncan, Marco Belinelli and Manu Ginobili hadn’t played the way they did, it would’ve looked like Mike Conley far outplayed Parker on this night.

Marco Belinelli, SG Shot Chart 30 MIN | 8-15 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 19 PTS | -6

Gelato had one of those up-and-down nights. He scored 19 points and hit some big shots for the Spurs, but he also committed some dumb turnovers (four total on the night) and played occasionally spotty defense.

Boris Diaw, PF Shot Chart 26 MIN | 5-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | +3

Bobo was quiet long stretches of this game and then made some fantastic, aggressive moves to the basket in others. Diaw hit both of his shot attempts in overtime which, you know, came in handy in a two-point victory.

Patty Mills, PG Shot Chart 13 MIN | 3-4 FG | 4-4 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +6

11 points on four shots in 13 points. Patty Mills is a busy man and getting buckets is what he’s got to do.

Danny Green, SG Shot Chart 23 MIN | 2-8 FG | 2-3 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | -6

ICYhot

Manu Ginobili, SG Shot Chart 33 MIN | 3-12 FG | 3-5 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | -3

Terrible shooting night, just look at the 3-point shot chart, but he distributed well on a night where Tony Parker wasn’t at his best and hit the game-winner late.

Gregg Popovich

He wanted to shave any minutes he could off of his starters’ nights with Dallas looming on Wednesday night, and instead they got an extra five minutes of game time. Best laid plans and all that.

Five Things We Saw

  1. The 12-0 run by the Grizzlies late in this one, when it should’ve been done and dusted, threw a wrench into the Spurs’ plans. San Antonio plays Dallas in San Antonio on the second night of a back-to-back, so the extra minutes the Spurs starters picked up in overtime were no bueno.
  2. On his game-winning basket, Ginobili picked up what looked like a minor injury. Not sure if it was a cramp, pull or what. The Spurs play the Mavericks on Wednesday night and then are off for three days before playing again Sunday evening. If Manu can’t (or won’t be allowed to) go against Dallas, he’ll have plenty of time to rest for the rest of the week.
  3. I hope there were lots of people who turned this game off after Belinelli’s 3-pointer with 1:59 left gave the Spurs a 12-point lead, only to check the score Wednesday morning (hopefully on 48minutesofhell.com!) and see that this game went to overtime. If this is you, OMG YOU MISSED THE BEST OVERTIME EVER!
  4. 25 pushups for the next Spur who throws a pass between Tim Duncan’s legs.
  5. One of the positives of Belinelli replacing Danny Green in the starting lineup is how active Gelato is moving without the ball. Green will mainly rotate around the perimeter and from baseline to baseline, but Belinelli is constantly cutting to the basket. And with a great passing team like the Spurs, there are plenty of easy, and fancy, layups to be had.
  • I need more cowbell

    Good game overall minus all the turnovers.
    Any news on any potential trades or maybe picking up bynum?

  • Graham

    *gags at thought of Bynum on this team*

  • Spurs fan in Australia

    Im curious, why the gag at the thought of Bynum on the team? Is it just an attitude thing or you think he has nothing left to offer after the injuries?

  • NYC

    First of all, we have a full roster of 15. We would need to cut a player to sign Bynum. It was reported today that Malcolm Thomas was not waived, making his contract fully-guaranteed. It’s highly unlikely the spendthrift Spurs will cut any of their 15 fully-guaranteed contracts. We’re SA, not Brooklyn.

    Second, if anything we need another wing player. Kawhi is the only SF we have on the entire roster of 15. That’s crazy. We have 7 big men, 4 PGs, and 3 SGs. Just 1 SF. (In other news, Stephen Jackson was waived by the Clippers today.)

    Speaking of the Clippers, Bynum reportedly is only considering the Heat, LAC, and the two NY teams as suitors. In other words, he wants to go to a big market team. (Like I said, we’re no Brooklyn and never were able to attract free agents.) And undoubtedly he still wants to get paid, so we couldn’t afford him anyway. What an idiot. He is exactly the kind of knucklehead who still thinks he calls the shots at this point in his career, having a proven track record of being a team cancer and an inability to stay healthy. He’ll be lucky to land on any team at all.

    Lastly, forget everything I stated above. There are just two words you need to know to understand why Andrew Bynum will never play for the Spurs: Gregg Popovich. ‘Nuff said.

  • Spurs fan in Australia

    I wasn’t aware of the Malcolm Thomas contract. But the rest of your points are valid. I especially like the last point.

    So with a full roster of 15 and still needing a backup wing for Kawhi, who do you think Spurs should try to trade and for who?

  • LukeDawg

    I understand trying to shave some of the older starter’s minutes the night before a back to back. It is the Popovich way and I am a full supporter. But could somebody please explain to me why the 22 year old, future face of the team was taken out of this game with nearly 6 minutes left? Did I miss something? And in a follow up question, is there ever a reason (besides injury) that Leonard should not be in the game in crunch time? If everything the spurs do is for the greater good (the playoffs), then it makes no sense to not play the one guy on the team that is really still developing and needs all of the reps he can get to further expand his game to help this team in June. Even when he is playing poorly, every mistake is a potential teaching point, a drop in the bucket towards his future star development. It Has now been 7(!) straight regulations since he has even eclipsed the 30 minutes played mark. 22 year olds needs reps more than they need rest.

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  • Mac Mac

    The Spurs won’t make any trades this season. They’ll stick with the development of Marco, and overall chemistry. Next season, they’ll bring over a stashed forward or two.

  • Graham

    Kawhi’s not exactly an iron man, as much as we may wish. He may play through injuries without complaint but he still has them. Remember his chronic bouts of Knee Tendonitis last year? I’m all for preserving him whenever the chance arises. Ounce of prevention, as they say…

  • LukeDawg

    Well I did mention the caveat for injury above, maybe there is something nagging him, but nothing else in his career has suggested that the tendinitis in his knee last year was anything more than an isolated,albeit nagging, incident. In fact he actually averaged several minutes more last year. But I’m not buying that for Leonard right now, Duncan (for whom there are legitimate wearing down fears concerned) is even playing consistently more than him over the last several games. Obviously it is a really fine line to walk, but the spurs need to do everything they can to speed and enhance Leonard’s development, without sacrificing his or the team’s health. 34 minutes a game on an average night would seem about right. 28 a game seem downright paranoid for a budding 22 year old and could even actively hamper growth.

  • NYC

    Unfortunately, I don’t see the Spurs making any moves. The only players with trade value are Parker and Leonard, and clearly we’re not dealing either.

    I would love to see us get rid of 2 superfluous PGs and Malcolm Thomas. I would go so far as to say get rid of either Ayres or Baynes as well. We have a log jam with the big men. Instead of splitting minutes btwn Ayres and Baynes, let’s give one of them consistent minutes and get rid of the other. The Spurs must see something they like in Malcolm Thomas to want him around, but I don’t know what.

    I really don’t understand why they brought over Nando. He doesn’t have any unique skill set, and he’s not super talented in any one skill either, a la Gary Neal. (BTW: Bucks are shopping Gary Neal after locker room altercation w Larry Sanders.) Other than being another body during practice, I don’t see the value of this guy.

    Given that we have Manu (who sometimes puts up more assists than Parker), and Boris (PG trapped in Eddy Curry’s body), and now Belinelli (who, if nothing else, handles the ball a million times better than Gary Neal, thank the baby Jesus!), we only need one of either Patty Mills or CoJo. I’m confused why Spurs invested so much in developing CoJo only to resign Patty Mills and stash CoJo in the D-League. Either they believe CoJo can be Parker’s backup, in which case they should have let Mills walk, or they don’t, in which case get rid of CoJo. I don’t see the point of keeping both of them around when we have more than enough ball handlers AND, on top of that, bring over de Colo. Why, Spurs?

    Far be it for me to second guess a brilliant organization w a proven track record, so I’ll just have faith they know what they’re doing even if their logic isn’t clear. But since you asked, I would trade CoJo/Mills, Nando, Malcolm Thomas, and Ayres/Baynes for draft picks and another SF. But that’s just talk, cause I don’t actually expect any team to want those offerings. Like the other guy said, we’re pretty much going to battle with the army we’ve got.

  • Graham

    I think part of the issue is we have such a deep roster that it lends itself to skewing minutes to more favorable matchups. If Leonard isn’t feeling it that night, playing Marco more might be the smart thing to do. Got a few guys who could use the ‘acclimation time’ as well as Leonard’s ‘development time’. Developing Leonard is a welcome Luxury but secondary to maximizing ALL the talent on this roster to make this last title run.

  • LukeDawg

    That is undoubtedly part of the issue, and an excellent point. The problem is that there is is somehow really no correlation between teams having an exceptionally deep roster and winning championships. As we have especially seen the last 2-3 years, the playoffs are usually decided by what team has the 4-5 best players not the best 12.This would help explain why the spurs have won considerably more games than anyone else in the NBA the last 4 years and have nothing to show for it. That’s all to say, that having Leonard prepared to be great for 42 minutes a night in June and share in the offensive burden, while matching minutes and sharing blows with Lebron and Kd, is probably more important to the team’s success,than Ayres, Cojo, or Mills being good or adequate for their 15 minutes. Admittedly it is a lot to ask from Kawhi so early in his career, and probably not fair to him, but unfortunately that is what it might take to beat OKC or the Heat in a 7 game series.

  • Graham

    But do we really need to ‘work up’ Leonard to that level? Hasn’t he already shown he’s already there? We certainly didn’t lose the Finals because we needed more from Kawhi. While we are still in the big 3 era, at least as far as playoffs go, we need Leonard to be the 4th Wheel Glue guy who fills in all the cracks on both ends. We don’t need to feed him reps as the offensive focal point because we certainly won’t be planning to come May/June. That’s a future thing, or even a ‘ease burden on Tim/Tony/Manu’ thing this year.

    I’m Confident Playoff Kawhi will show up once the time’s right, better than ever. For now, mining minutes for Marco to get/keep him going is critical to the Playoffs, while minutes for Mills and Ayres serve to grow their games as well as ease minutes on Duncan/Parker, not stifle Kawhi. Pop likely knows exactly what he has in Kawhi and doesn’t need to see him prove himself. Maybe he’s saving Kawhi as 4 rotations to save him the abuse, and more importantly keep it fairly hush hush once the playoffs arrive.

  • LukeDawg

    I don’t think anyone actually thinks that Leonard is quite “there” yet as an offensive player. Yes, he is “there” defensively but this team does not have the luxury of him just being a complementary piece. Again, we keep seeing this in the playoffs, “teamness”, and excellent ball movement does not trump or make up for another team having more, better players.

    The offense has bogged down in the playoffs the last couple of years as defenses tightened up and took away an exhausted Parker. And this is a huge point with the spurs: For long stretches, Parker is the only guy on the whole team that has the ability to make a defense react or rotate, nearly everything else is system based. That is just way too much pressure to put on one guy, which is why it is that much more important for Kawhi to be a secondary play-making option as opposed to just a stand in the corner floor spacer. Even if it is just feeding it in to him in a post mismatch, it is something the opposing defense has to account for. If you remember, A huge matchup issue the spurs had against Golden State last year was in the fact that Harrison Barnes killed Parker on switches, but Leonard could not do the same to Curry.

    Don’t get me wrong, I hope you are right, that he shows up when it counts, but watching him lately tends to show him stagnating and hesitating within his place on the offense, rather than growing. And your theory on lack of Kawhi as 4 lineups sounds nice, again I hope you are right, but is it really fair to expect a 22 year old to do things on the biggest stage, that he has never had much experience doing on a small one? The best and fastest way for a young NBA player to improve is by giving him ample, real game reps, and the freedom to both fail and succeed in the process.