The Heat take away Parker, Spurs offense goes missing

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AT&T CENTER — While stars make the NBA world go ’round, there’s sometimes no substitute for a good defensive gameplan. In sitting LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers, the Miami Heat were fortunate to have just that in a 88-86 win over the San Antonio Spurs.

The Heat trapped Tony Parker every pick-and-roll on Sunday night, doing their damnedest to force Parker to give the ball up. The Spurs point guard was never able to get in much of a rhythm with the constant defenders coming at him and finished with 12 points on just 4-of-14 shooting. Parker still notched eight assists, meaning he was still able to have some effect offensively, but most of those assists were limited to long skip passes to open shooters on the weak side of the floor.

“They did a great job of pick-and-rolls all night long,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said post game. “Without Manu, Tony is a guy who has to generate things for us and they pretty much took him out with all of their double teams and hard hedges.”

San Antonio did a decent job in the first half finding the open man on the perimeter. With two players occupied with Parker and another helping on the Spurs big man rolling to the basket, there was usually an open Spur somewhere on the perimeter. The ball often made its way to that player, but San Antonio’s inability to knock down 3-pointers didn’t do them any favors. The Spurs finished the night hitting 7-of-24 (29 percent) from 3, while Miami knocked down 12-of-28 (42.9 percent).

In the second half, the Spurs found fewer opportunities for open 3s. Although, had they found them, who’s to say they would’ve taken advantage?

“They do such a great job of moving the ball, spacing, and they’re unselfish,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said afterwards. “You really have to not only be aggressive, but you have to be focused on the next play before it actually happens and cover a lot of ground.”

The Heat covered much of that ground in beating the Spurs. Danny Green was the only member of the silver and black to knock down more than one 3, but he still shot just 3-of-9. The rest of the team was a combined 4-of-15.

The one player able to take advantage of the weak side of Miami’s defense was Kawhi Leonard. Often ending up in the opposite corner of the floor, Leonard abused the usually slower-footed defender closing out on him when he received the ball. Getting the pass in the corner, Leonard put the ball on the floor and drove baseline for three big dunks in the second half, including one monster over Udonis Haslem.

“[Leonard] just keeps blossoming and getting more and more confident reading situations out on the court,” Pop said.

The Spurs will need Leonard’s game to continue to grow as the playoffs near. With Coach Pop’s pregame admission that Manu Ginobili’s hamstring injury is “more than days, it’s more like weeks,” San Antonio will need someone to step up and fill the offensive void. If more teams commit multiple defenders to taking Tony Parker out of the game, the Spurs will rely heavily on Leonard’s ability to step up.

How much Leonard can take on this spring will go a long way in determining how deep into the summer the Spurs are still playing basketball.

  • Nima K.

    Hate to be a naysayer, but this squad will be lucky to make it to WCF. Miami is already celebrating LBJ’s ring#2. What a shame for Timmy and Manu. The sun has already set, unless an act of God changes things….

  • JT

    This team is actually worse than last year. Our offense has suffered a bunch, while our defense is still as lazy as ever. Our rotations were so slow playing against the Heat, we will have no chance. Danny Green, please stop driving the ball, if you get the steal, stop and give the ball to Tony, guy is a disaster.

    Why do we have so many players in this roster that will not see playoff playing time, DeJuan, Patty, CoJo, Bonner, Baynes.

    Hate to say it, but keeping Manu as a go to guy from now on, is a liability to this team, Many has shown no signs of coming back and also can’t seem to stay healthy and makes it extremely difficult for our team to develop any type of rhythm and cohesiveness.

    Is Neal still hurt, guy hasn’t shot well in I don’t know.

    Diaw seems to be getting worse and worse, all those passes from last year, are that, from last year.

    Jax, while he played a decent game today, seems to have slowed down a lot, and has been absent offensively for a while now.

    Is Pop’s best play at the end a Tim Duncan ISO, really?

    Unless this team gets it together really fast, they will be 2nd or even 1st round bump outs.

    God bless Timmy’s ability to do what no other player in this team can do while being a whole decade older.

  • assistman

    The Spurs deserved to lose this game to a scrub Heat team. With the way the’ve been playing lately idk why Pop said he thought we’d improved in these last few games heading into today… I haven’t been impressed much since TP got injured.

    Without a Manu Ginobili in top form TP is to easily shut down by playoff defenses, and so you can expect to see more of this, more of Thabo, etc. Winning is gonna be mainly on TD, and whether or not Pop can trust KL (and Jackson) much more, but another reliable ball-handler is a real need.

    We can now kiss ANY thought of the top overall seed goodbye. And with an all-time top 5 stud in LBJ, MIA will not lose 3 straight on the road in the Finals, everybody else is playing for second place anyway (too bad there’s no silver medal). That home court really could have made some difference, especially with the refs sure to be against us.

    Unless Jax can turn it on (or even gets a chance to), our bench sucks (even though our starters lost this game). I thought our early road loss in MIA was overblown as a positive, and gave it little merit, and this game proves that.

    Though TD has given me renewed hope this season as a playoff mismatch, I’ve thought these things all along, and am not really responding to this loss, but rather to this roster and the last month in particular.

    Hopefully we’ll still beat OKC this week and then comfortably grab the West home court while getting some rest down the stretch. First shake this one off, refocus, beat Memphis.

  • Spurs777777

    Keep the faith Spurs fans, we have beaten the best in the west and have proven we can hang with Miami, believe in our boys!!!

  • neverthehero

    You really hot the head on the nail. Why are there so many people on the roster that will not see any playoff minutes. I really think Pop had lost this team due to his constant tinkering with minutes. When Parker out he starts a pg that didn’t even play last night. He plays Bonner for 7 minutes. Plays Jax for only 14 mins (even though he he is shooting good). Could have easily played Blair but nope.

  • Andrew G

    I guess I’ll be the one to say it… where’s the quarter of a million dollar fine David Stern? Our fans paid good money to see blah blah blah. Double standards allow the Miami Heat to be the beneficiaries of a lot of cheek turning. The fact that LeBron was upset about how Chicago defended him was laughable.

    Other than that… eh. We lost one game, the world isn’t falling. It takes games like this, and a good two hour yelling from Pop, to get our players’ heads straight. I can’t expect too much more against Memphis on the wrong end of a back to back, I can only hope we don’t let the loss(es) demoralize us heading into the playoffs.

  • kane Ali

    The Spurs were fined because according to the league, they sent their player home last minute, and didn’t inform the Heat in a timely manner. I mean, for goodness sakes, Timmy/Manu/Green/Parker basically snuck away in the dead of night on a commercial flight.
    Miami had Wade and LeBron warming up earlier, said they might not play, then told everyone they wouldn’t play. Also helps that the game at San Antonio wasn’t nationally televised, while the one at Miami was.

  • jayflm

    Was in the nosebleed section at this game. Tony looked gassed almost all night. There was terrible ball movement all around. Most possessions were either taking turns at one-on-one moves or sticky ball movement where guys (Danny Green and Gary Neal, most notably) would catch, make two or three pass fakes, then throw it to a cutter after he was past the best place to catch and shoot. And I think we only had one trip to the free throw line where the player made both shots. I’ll chock it up to too much Easter candy!

  • Andrew G

    If those four left the night before, one would assume they weren’t present at any point for pregame warmups, which occurs hours before the game. Where’s the deception? Furthermore, no team makes any kind of binding promise to a TV network, national or otherwise, to put specific players out on the court on any given night.

    Having your players active, participate in pre-game warmups, be listed as questionable, and then scratched minutes before the game is far more devious than having them absent altogether.

  • merkin

    Now, someone that was at the game needs to sue the Heat.

  • leben

    To your point JT, I’ve never seen anyone have such a hard time finishing at the rim as DG. Maybe, it’s because he’s bow-legged and rather clumsy all-around.

  • Graham

    I’ll chime in as well.

    Had to digest this game for a good while before I could cool the initial frustration and see the big picture here. Miami came in with a great gameplan defensively and really took our Offense out of it’s ryhthm. They hit big shots and got a few calls to go their way…….. And only won on a last second 3 by Bosh.

    Here’s the thing, even though LeBron and Wade didn’t play I dont think Miami’s D will change much, and I noticed gaping flaws that are easily exploitable with more planning. Kawhi MURDERED them on the Weakside, and Tim was having his way with their interior.

    The issue of Parker getting trapped could be eased by having Manu back as a secondary initiator.

    The heat got the best of us last night, but the Playoffs are a different beast, and I think the Heat may have played their anti-spurs hand a bit too much last night.

    First things First, we gotta make sure we get to the Finals before we start to worry about Heat matchups.

  • senorglory

    Where are you tony Parker?

  • Jimbo

    The reason is that the Spurs aren’t a very talented team, just a team that knows how to play basketball. This team getting 60 wins is a minor miracle, similar to the last two regular seasons.

  • merkin

    “San Antonio will need someone to step up and fill the offensive void.”–you mean the 4-8 points usual of Manu these days.

  • Sir Timothy

    You are banned from this board “leben.” No more comments from you. You do not refer to any Spurs player that way. Get some class and perhaps after a month you will be allowed back.

  • Sir Timothy

    How many games have we won with Icy-Hot hitting shot after shot and playing really solid defense? The Denver game is the latest. He has earned our respect and, more than that, our affection.

  • True Spurs Fan

    Well JT, I guess it is time for you to quit watching and become a “fan” of another team.

    Have you ever watched basketball before? Most teams have 5 guys that will not see the court much in the Post Season.

    Tonight was not a great game but there was plenty of bad luck as well. Some shots missed, some tough calls, some extreme games by people on Miami who never see the floor, etc. Do you think the Spurs won every game during the years when they ended up as champions?

  • True Spurs Fan

    Guess the season is over then…so why do you care? Guess you are happy to be proven right in all of your predictions, huh?

  • Andrew G

    …and the 5 assists, and the double team he still draws. Generating offense goes a little deeper than individual points per game.

  • Sir Timothy

    Now this is the post of the night! Someone who understands a few things! Miami gave Pop an indication of exactly what to prepare for. Now, can the Spurs make the adjustments without Manu? Remember folks, No Manu, no titles in 2005 and 2007 (might have still won in 2003 with Tim Duncan walking on the moon!)

    Manu is that special player who just WINS. Who else takes Argentina to the Gold medal? Argentina – the Gold Medal. Who else makes those plays against Seattle in 2005 that are burned into my memory? To see Manu with the ball as the seconds ticked down and to know that he could draw the defense and kick it to Timmy or Robert Horry or Bruce Bowen OR that he could drive it straight to the basket.

    Now we have our Bruce Bowen (only better offensively) in Kawhi and I trust Green with that shot almost as much as “Big Shot Bob” Horry And Tim Duncan is Tim Duncan once again! But how do you replace Manu? How do replace Manu?

    I don’t care if he sits out the rest of the regular season and even the first round of the playoffs. I don’t care if he goes 0 -12 in a game. I want that ball in Manu’s hands as the seconds tick down. Just one more chance…The wounded veteran with one more shot at winning it all. Timmy and Manu – the greatest clutch duo in history – One more time!

  • Vermont Spurs Fan

    Anyone is lucky to make the WCF. Do you understand that? It is the final four. OKC is lucky to get there. Miami would be lucky to get there — in the West. Miami should not be celebrating the purchase a second ring too soon.

    Remember the acts of God (or the Devil) that cost the Spurs? The .04 that never really happened (to he.ll with Fischer). The phantom foul on Nowitski that Manu never committed. The shoulder injury that clumsy Phoenix player inflicted on Manu two years ago. You mean things like those “acts of God”?

    Which title would you rather win – the one that is bought and paid for by a sort of collusion in Miami? Or the heroic fifth title for Duncan and the 4th for Ginobili? A human life is long and you “witness” many titles won by many teams. Only some of these are special. Like Dirk finally winning one in Dallas. Like David Robinson hoisting that trophy in 1999. Like the Spurs in 2013????

  • kane Ali

    I’m not saying I agree with the rationale, however there IS a rationale, beyond the tired, “Stern loves the Heat and hates everybody else”.
    Sending your 4 star players home on a commercial flight so nobody knows about it is disrespectful to the league, the opposing team, and the fans. At least care enough to have them be at the game, go through the motions, and say they aren’t feeling well. Pop basically gave the middle finger to everybody that isn’t a Spur fan.

  • SpursFaninLA

    denizens in SA are more classy than those in Miami do that

  • merkin

    …and the turnovers that practically cancel out those assists…”generating offense” for the other team. You’re right it does go a little deeper.

  • leben

    What way? It’s obvious the guy is a klutz when he has to do something which requires him to do two things at once, like dribble and drive. I like Green as a player, but he needs to realize his short-comings and stick to what he’s good at–shooting. That month flew by.

  • Andrew G

    Assists are a measure of points assisted on. Turnovers are hardly guaranteed points for the other team. Not to mention his average lately is 2 with a variance of 2, still a net gain. You also ignored the double team comment despite its relevance. Manu draws the extra defender, leaving one of ours open. He’s an important cog in our offense off the bench.

  • merkin

    Maybe, it just seems this way, but Manu’s turnovers have a way of leading to a break away freebie for the opponent more often than not. And what good is drawing the double team when those are the times he most readily turns it over. Perhaps I’m being harsh, but Manu’s poor play of late has lead me to the realization that Manu is a shell of his former self.

  • Bob

    We’ve seen the same exact gameplan in the playoffs forever. There’s no need to learn anything new. Pop’s standby has always to been to rely on TD and Manu when that happens. It’s not good enough anymore.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Hey Graham like I said Pop has a tendency to put some head scratching rotations on the floor and that’s why I get frustrated with him. Like I said he’s a good coach but it’s the those rotations especially the front core rotations that erk me from time to time. Bonner in for 8 minutes in the crucial part of the game while Tiago sat. Bonner 0 points 0 rebounds in that time.
    Two crucial points late in the game that could have swung the momentum in our favor and pretty much could have broke the heat.
    1) at 4:11 in the fourth Bonner guarding birdman leaves him at the free throw line to help cover Tony’s man at the 3 point line? Tony had him well covered to begin with no need for the help. Birdman drives to the lane uncontested and is fouled makes both of them.

    2) 3:41 left in the game which was the next sequence on the other end Bonner is wide open for a 3 and hesitates and then he’s forced to put the ball down and drive into the lane but has to pass it out to Timmy with little time left on the clock and Timmy takes a desperation shot and misses the rim completely forcing a shot clock violation. That’s a 5 point swing late in the game.

    Tiago averages 10 points a game. He had 7 points and 10 rebounds. 8 more minutes or even 5 and he could had gotten his average. He did go to the line several times last night. You can do the math and see who wins. Pop was asked why he went with Bonner instead of Tiago for those minutes and Pop answered “we were searching for something”. What? I don’t think he found it. And the reporter asked “do you think it helped”? and Pop sarcastically answered “we had 83 or something like that”.
    Translation: NO

    That’s very thing I can’t stand about this coach. And with Bonner lately coming on to the floor when he hasn’t seen the floor in like for ever he is now starting to get minutes in the meat of the games. If this is a preview of what’s to come then I guess Tiago will start sitting in the playoffs and make way for Bonner. Like he did to Hill, Blair, and now Tiago. This is the shit that pisses me off. Don’t change what aint broke. Oh and get those guards to do their job defensively on the perimeter especially at the arc.

  • Titletown99030507d

    He’s right Danny Green should give it up to the trailing guy. He makes me nervous.

  • Titletown99030507d

    And again I rest my case to Graham. What the hell is Bonner doing on the court? Biggest blunder of the night on Pop’s end.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Actually you know how good we were rolling about a month ago. Everybody was healthy and rested and no funky rotations were on the court. Nuff said. It isnt Manu’s fault that a huge Center drives a knee into his hamstring. It isnt about being frail. That big dude just plowed a concrete knee into his flesh. What can you do? One thing I’m really concerned about is experimenting with the front court rotations at this point. Bad business.

  • neverthehero

    1:29Tony Parker misses 21-foot two point jumper88-84 1:27 88-84Tayshaun Prince defensive rebound1:17Matt Bonner personal foul (Zach Randolph draws the foul)88-84 1:17 88-85Zach Randolph makes free throw 1 of 21:17 88-85Tony Allen enters the game for Jerryd Bayless1:17 88-85Zach Randolph misses free throw 2 of 21:16 88-85Marc Gasol offensive rebound1:02 88-85Jerryd Bayless enters the game for Tony Allen1:00 88-87Marc Gasol makes 8-foot two point shot (Tayshaun Prince assists)0:42 88-87Marc Gasol shooting foul (Tony Parker draws the foul)

  • neverthehero

    from tonight’s game… wth is Parker shooting a 21 foot jumper for. Bonner is in the game, we give up an offensive rebound….. ugh…… fantastic that we limit how much our high percentage makers in the number of times we shoot. take away about half of what Diaw shoots and give them to Blair or Splitter and we win the damn game….. I just never understand, how they say oh don’t run plays for so and so, well if they are putting the damn ball in the basket run fing plays for them. screw about only running plays for “star” players.