El Conclusion: San Antonio Spurs 133, Denver Nuggets 102
|Tim Duncan, PF 22 MIN | 9-15 FG | 2-3 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 20 PTS | +14
Short night of work, but like he was against the Nuggets on Wednesday night, Duncan was dominant in his time.
|Kawhi Leonard, SF 23 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-1 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 3 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | +14
Kawhi Leonard was fantastic against Denver on Friday night. He made his presence known in all facets of the game. He was especially dangerous in transition offense, often after creating a turnover through a steal, deflection or blocked shot. He’s difficult for opponents to gameplan for, that’s for sure.
|Tiago Splitter, C 26 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 12 REB | 7 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | +13
A near triple-double for Splitter, which isn’t the first time that’s happened this season. Splitter was very good against the Nuggets and the seven assists were the result of some excellent interior passing from Splitter. Tiago would receive the pass rolling to the basket on a pick-and-roll and Splitter would find Duncan or Boris Diaw after the Nuggets rotated for easy baskets.
|Tony Parker, PG 19 MIN | 2-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | +4
He really could’ve stayed home, that’s how little the Spurs needed any contribution from Parker on this night.
|Marco Belinelli, SG 29 MIN | 10-15 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 27 PTS | +23
Six 3-pointers, all in the first half. Belinelli started in place of Danny Green and showed the all-around game that makes him more valuable coming off the bench than opening the game. How it took him this long into his career to become a Spur, I’ll never know.
|Boris Diaw, PF 23 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 11 PTS | +13
I mentioned the big-man-to-big-man passing earlier, and Bobo was another willing participant. How many backcourts in the league do you think the Spurs big men are better passers than? More than five or less than five? We’re going to set the over-under at 5.
|Austin Daye, SF 11 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 11 PTS | +10
It wasn’t the breakout game he had against the 76ers earlier this week, but Daye made the most of the garbage time minutes he received against Denver on Friday night.
|Jeff Ayres, C 20 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 0 PTS | +15
Not much to say about Ayres’ evening, other than that he didn’t screw anything up and soaked up 20 minutes of playing time in a lopsided victory.
|Patty Mills, PG 20 MIN | 7-11 FG | 1-1 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | +21
Mills got in on the action a bit with the 3-point parade that rained down on the Nuggets. He was no Marco Belinelli, but Mills hitting seven field goals and only one of those being a 3 has to be a first for him this season. That was the status of the Denver defense, though.
|Cory Joseph, PG 20 MIN | 4-5 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +8
Good garbage time minutes from CoJo.
|Manu Ginobili, SG 18 MIN | 2-7 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | +18
Ginobili looked like old Ginobili on Friday night. Not the Ginobili of the mid-2000s, but the Manu who tries and tries but is just too limited physically to pull it off. He was still good, but this was one of those nights for Ginobili where you could see the end is near. To Manu’s credit, we haven’t seen near as many of those nights this season as we expected to coming in.
Four Things We Saw
- Danny Green sat out Friday night after the foot inflammation he left Wednesday night’s game with. We’ll see whether or not he’s ready for Saturday night against the Pelicans. Green made the trip to Denver, so it would make sense that he was pretty close to playing, but Popovich opted to rest him on the front end of the back-to-back.
- Speaking of rest and back-to-backs, I would expect Duncan, Parker and others to rest on Saturday night against New Orleans, despite the low minute counts against Denver. It’s getting to be too late in the season for Coach Pop to take any chances and I would imagine he’ll stick to his principles in not playing those guys both nights of the back-to-back. I fully expected everyone to sit on Friday night considering the circumstances of the schedule (two straight games against same opponent, back-to-back).
- “Go Spurs Go” chants from the crowd in the waning moments at the Pepsi Center has to be one of those things that leaves the players with a sense of satisfaction.
- The Timofey Mozgov dunk contest was one of the funnier things you’ll see all season. It’s like he decided that the season was over and he didn’t give a crap, he was going to see if he could cock back every pass he received and see how many times he could make SportsCenter.