El Conclusión: Denver Nuggets 99, San Antonio Spurs 94

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Denver Nuggets 99 Final
Recap | Box Score
94 San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan, C 24 MIN | 7-13 FG | 0-2 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 14 PTS | -17

When was the last time that you could say most of Tim Duncan’s points came from dunks? 1998? I liked what I saw from Duncan when he reportedly had a stomach virus, but his lack of efficiency the last few games is worrying me. Are tired legs making him lose his jumper?

Richard Jefferson, SF 28 MIN | 2-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 7 PTS | -11

Hated his defense early in this game. Aaron Afflalo and Corey Brewer had him running in circles and beat him down the floor on several occasions. He also failed to run all the way to the basket on a 3-on-2, but was bailed out when he found Manu for an open 3.

DeJuan Blair, F 4 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -5

Incomplete for Blair. Banged knees with Timofey Mozgov on the first defensive possession of the game and never really played after that. Gregg Popovich played it same, possibly to a fault.

Tony Parker, PG 37 MIN | 10-16 FG | 4-7 FT | 3 REB | 7 AST | 25 PTS | -3

The stat line looks great, but if he’d been a little more aggressive offensively in the first quarter, the Spurs might be looking at a win here. The Spurs could’ve used their point guard getting them into a rhythm when they scored only 17 in the opening period.

Daniel Green, G 16 MIN | 0-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | -10

Danny Green was the only Spur with a negative +/- last game and registered a -10 tonight. Not the worst on the team, but it’s not a good trend for Green.

T.J. Ford, PG 6 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | 0

We talked about it on 48MoH TV after the game, but it’s a little curious that TJ Ford played so few minutes. I wondered if it had to do with Andre Miller being so big and physical, he probably would’ve posted Ford up every time down the floor.

Matt Bonner, PF 26 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 11 PTS | +1

Poor Bonner got abused by Kenneth Faried. The Nuggets rookie big man is far too big, active and aggressive for Bonner on the boards.

Manu Ginobili, SG 24 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 8 PTS | +6

Not a bad re-debut. He looked rusty at times and looked Manu Ginobili at others. Was in better shape than I expected, he was quick chasing Nuggets through screens on D.

Gary Neal, PG 25 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | -4

Can’t fault him for missing the shot that would’ve tied it for the Spurs. He got a good look, it just didn’t go down. I didn’t like Neal defending Ty Lawson at times in this game, though. That was bad.

Tiago Splitter, C 24 MIN | 2-3 FG | 2-3 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | +14

The three blocks is nice. Everything else you would’ve expected more of with Manu back in the lineup and the Nuggets’ depleted front line.

James Anderson, SG 5 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 PTS | -1

Is sending him to Austin a bad idea? I can’t tell.

Kawhi Leonard, SF 23 MIN | 2-5 FG | 8-9 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 13 PTS | +5

I was very happy with the shift Kawhi Leonard put in. He was very active on both offense and defense, ran the floor well and shot efficiently. 13 points on five shots? The nerds at the Sloan Conference just had the hair on the back of their necks stand up.

Three Things We Saw

  1. The Spurs defended well in the half-court early in this game, they just couldn’t stop the Nuggets on the fast break. I credit Tony Parker’s D on Ty Lawson for the Spurs’ stinginess in the half court early.
  2. The Spurs are traditionally one of the better transition D teams in the league, even when the defense as a whole is closer to average. Tonight, they were a bad transition defensive team.
  3. Tim Duncan’s dunk on Chris Anderson in the first half. Wow. I don’t care too much for highlights usually, but that was fun.
  • Sam

    Plain and simple, we got out hustled. Pop is gonna hand it to the team. I expect a much different Spurs team against the Knicks on Wednesday, with the rotations being eased in a little more and much more intensity.

    On a side note: That kid Faried is something special, it’s like a ripped DeJuan Blair combined with the Energizer Bunny.

  • TD BestEVER

    This post is for all you DJB haters out there…… Well you got what you wanted less DJB……how did that word for you…….. out rebounded, out worked, out hustled.   All the things that DJB does best. 

    And a special shot out to Title who always like to point out that DJB never plays in the final minutes of the game…… Well where in the hell was Tiago tonight during crunch time, riding the pine for Bon Bon…… And then when Bon bon came out POP put in RJ over Splitter…. So what does this say about Splitter…… smh

    Let’s look at what your boy did tonight vs the depleted front line of Denver(No Nene, Gallo, and Mozgov got hurt early in the 3rd)

    24min
    3 blocks(That’s damn good hustle)
    4 rebs – WHAT!!!!!!!  In a game where hustle/effort was needed the most
    6 points on 3 shots – While highly efficient……. We have gone over this, he doesn’t force the issue when he NEEDS to.  Blair put up 28 because he took some bad shots and made some missed some.  Tiago just floats around and HOPES his teammates will get him involved rather than ASSERTING himself and making something happen.

  • Hobson13

    It’s games like tonight and against the Bulls that have me wonder if the Spurs were playing over their heads earlier this year.  Keep in mind that the Spurs had virtually everyone healthy (besides Blair) and we lost to a Denver team without 2 starters and a solid backup.  Not only did Denver REALLY want to win this contest, but they looked like the better team for the majority of the game. This is only a couple games, but it’s not a good sign. 

    “Poor Bonner got abused by Farried.”  And he got blown up by Harrington.  The guy is worthless against an athletic, aggressive 4.  His only saving grace tonight was his good 1st quarter.  Even then he missed wide open shots.  

  • Hobson13

    While I’m not a Blair hater, I partially agree only because Bonner was so damned terrible on the defensive end.  However, when Blair was inserted back into the lineup to start the second half, he immediately got a 3 second violation (he does this once per game and still doesn’t seem to get it) and he got an offensive foul for running over a Denver player (Faried) while running back in transition.  These two turnovers really hurt the Spurs considering we were either tied or down a couple at the time.  He has to learn the game and play smarter.

  • Bob

     He wouldn’t even be playing if the Nuggets were healthy. When’s the last time you saw Blair throwing dunks like that down of offensive boards? Blair needs to learn to finish like that.

  • Bob

     He probably leads the team in low bbiq plays.

  • Bob

     The guys is like playing 4 on 5 on defense. He’s a giant traffic cone.

  • TD BestEVER

     The 3 second call was a result of TD pump faking like 10 times to get off a shot and DJB trying  to set good offensive rebounding position.  And Faried flopped.  But ya those 2 TO’s didn’t help at all……DJB was never in rhythm in this game because of the early injury and all that missed playing time.

  • TD BestEVER

    So does everyone on the Spurs, Splitter included…..Last I checked we had no one that is remotely close to that level of athleticism!!!!

  • TD BestEVER

    You obviously don’t watch must basketball……….

  • theghostofjh

    Plus, we’re going to judge a guy’s performance on 3 minutes with a bang-up knee? Absurd.

  • junierizzle

    Manu was back but I wouldn’t say we got beat at our best.

  • junierizzle

    Spurs just kind of went through the motions in this game. It looks looks like good fundamental basketball when they win. When they lose they look lethargic.

    TD’s missed free throws didn’t help either.

    Give the Nuggs credit, they never cooled off.

  • theghostofjh

    No, he doesn’t. If he had low BBIQ, he wouldn’t be starting on a team that wins with smarts. Also, as a consistent starter over the past 1.5 years, Blair has a record of 75 and 22, a winning percentage of .773. No other player in the league has had a higher win percentage in his first 100 starts.

  • MSteele_in_Eire

    Granted, Blair probably would have hussled more but Farried is a different animal regards hussle. He’s like a mixture of Blair/Leonard with a bit of Blake Griffin thrown in there. Blair wasn’t the difference between winning and losing this game.
    And TDBestEVER, RJ came in in the last minutes because of matchups and due to the fact we needed a 3, what a fricking stupid point to bring up! Splitter is better than Blair at nearly every aspect of the game of basketball, get over it!

  • Lvmainman

    Wow, play playoff caliber teams at home and lose both? What will happen in the next 2 games, vs. Knicks, vs. Clippers?

    No defense for Rose, no defense for Lawson. Will there be no defense for Lin and no defense for Paul? Where are you Bruce Bowen to cut the head of the snake, like you did with Nash?

    Will the Spurs be dominated on the offensive glass again like the Bulls, and Nuggets – Lawson got an offensive rebound off a missed FT – did? Will the Knicks with Chandler, Jefferies and Clippers with Evans, Martin, Jordan, and Blake clean up on the boards against the likes of Bonner/Blair?

    These next 2 games will be a good barometer of where the Spurs stand against playoff caliber teams. I’ll cut the Spurs some slack for integrating previously injured Ginobili and the injured Blair deflating the team to start the game.

    I’ll hope Novak doesn’t go 4 for 7 from downtown.

  • TD BestEVER

    “Will the Spurs be dominated on the offensive glass again like the Bulls,
    and Nuggets – Lawson got an offensive rebound off a missed FT – did?
    Will the Knicks with Chandler, Jefferies and Clippers with Evans,
    Martin, Jordan, and Blake clean up on the boards against the likes of
    Bonner/Blair?”

    Sorry Blair played well vs Chicago and hardly played at all tonight….. You need to say will they clean up against the likes of Splitter/Bonner……… Blair has been rebounding very well……..

  • TD BestEVER

     You are RETARDED!!!!!!!!!!!!    RJ was subbed in for Bonner with 4 min to go in the game down by 4 points.   So that makes about everything you said in your POST just wrong.  It’s one thing to disagree with someone and an entirely different thing to JUST MAKE THINGS UP AND LIE.   Blair played well vs Faried in Denver or don’t you FANBOYS remember that. Fared (22m, 5rb, 4pt) got little going vs Blair, because he is all hustle and energy just like Blair, but mad hops……

    And I know what the difference in the game was.  Rebounding/Fastbreak Points.   Blair doesn’t stop the fast break, but he does help out with rebounding and you saw tonight just how important rebounding can be.  When their Bigs had 24boards with ours only getting 19 tonight Vs the 25 they had in Denver and our guys getting 24.

  • STIJL

    “The Nuggets rookie big man is far too big, active and aggressive for Bonner on the boards.”Read more: http://www.48minutesofhell.com/spurs-nuggets-conclusion-grades#ixzz1oEmuirkP

    ANY decent to good big man from an opponents team is going to be too much for ANY of this team’s bigs.  And sadly…more times than not now than in the past…even against our own Tim Duncan will it be the case. The only cover up to it’s weak interior D this team can hope to accomplish is that it scores more efficiently and often than the opponent.

    Which leads to the Parker break down…”The Spurs could’ve used their point guard getting them into a rhythm when they scored only 17 in the opening period.”Read more: http://www.48minutesofhell.com/spurs-nuggets-conclusion-grades#ixzz1oEoXMYkV

    The m/o prior to the all star break which had been working was Parker looking to get others more offensively involved during the first 3 quarters of a game and then taking over in the 4th.  A move by Pop that might have to be shifted in games where the Spurs can’t get it going offensively early.  Because the one constant that has happened this year is when the Spurs manage to establish early leads (regardless of who)…they are hard to beat.

  • STIJL

    Plus…Green should not start.  Neal should be your starting 2 guard (if Ginobili isn’t) as well as Leonard your starting wing.  This allows for a balanced offense and better defensive/boarding team with Blair and Duncan.  Without the stats in front of me…it seems Green has proven to be a better contributor coming off the bench than as a starter.

    Jefferson should be relegated to coming off the bench and playing more time with Ginobili (if Ginobili will continue coming off the bench).  And…depending on matchups…would think Green and he (Jefferson) be better suited as b/u at the wing in that occasion.

    Hopefully…if (when?) T.J. Ford takes over as primary b/u to Parker…Neal will get the starting nod at the 2.  All in all…it’s been admirable of what Neal has been doing playing point…but his best (more efficient) production is of 2G.  So, regardless, whether he starts or comes off the bench…he should be playing the 2 for the Spurs to get the best his game has to offer.

    Green playing the 2, I think, should be over and done.

  • STIJL

     Bonner’s shot falling (or not) also seems to make a difference in his defense.  I don’t think it coincidental that when his shots are falling…he seems to play better defensively.

  • Len

    Yep, Green has been trending lower and lower recently and it’s time he gets his fair share of the blame.  His shooting touch has completely left the building.  I haven’t been sold on Green and unfortunately I’m starting to be correct.  He needs to learn where his points are going to come from.  Figure out what he does best and concentrate on it.  He can’t do everything well, ala Manu, and that’s what I see him trying to do.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Splitter is still adjusting from being 2 weeks out add everyone back and the chemistry needs to be reintroduced. Plain and simple. Once that happens and Pop doesn’t screw with Tiago’s minutes down the road we’ll be fine.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Hey genius look at the score when Splitter came out. Timmy the best ever missed 2 CRUCIAL FREE THROWS! in the last minute. Shout back at ya. Bonner is only in there because Splitter is still getting adjusted and you know it.

  • Titletown99030507d

    He has to start genius number #2 because Timmy starts and he can’t with nobody else. If he was that good he would be paired up with anybody.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Trust me he wasn’t going to win the game for us. Trade him already so we can get another big paired up with either Timmy, Tiago, or Matty.

  • Titletown99030507d

    If Blair played last night the entire game he would have got ate up by Faried as well. This is not the same Nugget team that he played against last time. Different energy from the Nuggets and honestly it wouldn’t matter what kind of energy Blair would have brought it still would have gave us stupid fouls and To’s and definitely not the same kind of energy Faried brought. Yes much smarter player than Blair. Maybe if he was chiseled like Faried then maybe those stupid little missed girlie put backs he’s so dearly known for under the rim would be monster dunks like Faried displayed instead. Go away. Just because he had two decent games while Splitter was injured and gone for two weeks doesn’t make him the go to guy. He’s only on the court with Timmy because HE CAN”T PLAY WITH BONNER OR SPLITTER! And by default that gives him tons of minutes because Timmy isn’t sitting the entire game.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Rondo got 17 rebounds the other night and he’s a point guard too. It happens. And by the way Timmy was a big part of that front court last night  and didn’t you say the Spurs live and die by the three. Guess what? They died last night by the three. Simple as that. The remedy is to get Splitter back to full game speed and play him 30 minutes even if it means he has to play with Timmy some Period. Or they they go nowhere.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Here’s a shot back at you TDBE – Timmy missed two crucial free throws very late in the game. And missed an easy 5 footer clanked off the rim as well and got shalacked a few times under the rim. Your superman (Blair) wouldn’t have fared any better. Just accept it they had more energy than all of the team. They wanted it more. They didn’t make the mistakes down the stretch and they didn’t miss down the stretch either. I’ll say it again your Superman (Blair) wouldn’t have made a difference either… Ridiculous.

  • Hobson13

    Jim, that’s absurd.  Blair’s winning percentage has MUCH more to do with the Big 3 and the entire Spurs organization than it does Blair.  It’s not like he’s a HOFer leading a bunch of scrubs.  Very misleading stat.

  • Hobson13

    TD, you do have a point on the 3 second violation.  A younger Duncan wouldn’t have needed so many pump fakes, but this is all we have at this point.  In the end, I just don’t think the current lineup of Bigs is going to take us very far in the playoffs.

  • Bentley

    It’s pretty much the same script as last year. Before the all-star break the Spurs looked like world-beaters on their way to winning 70 games but then after the all-star break the Spurs play really stumbled all the way to the first round flameout against memphis.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if that happened again this year, unless the defense picks up.

  • Bentley

    Watching the game, this team just can’t get key stops when they need to. A sucessful stop is forcing a miss AND  getting the rebound, both of which the Spurs struggled with in the Chicago game and tonight’s game. Add in the horrible transition D and that spells out the loss.

    This team will go nowhere if it can’t get timely stops

  • TD BestEVER

     Blair had 28 points 12 rebounds vs this same team like 10 days ago……He would have gotten more than 6/4 in 24 min I promise…….. And as far as TD 2 missed FT’s what does that have to do with your Blair is always on the bench at the end of games argument?  I love it how yall keep changing the argument when yall are on the loosing side…..lmao

  • Bob

     He’s a role player. He’s going to be inconsistent and shouldn’t be starting. Need to get Manu starting ASAP.

  • TD BestEVER

     SO just give Splitter minutes when he isn’t producing anything with them……lmao again………..As far as TD, he did his job on the boards last night……… 9 in 27 min I think……..That’s a rebound every 3 min(Perfect rate of rebounding) So you are WRONG here……. and as far as the 3 we shot 37% last night…..that’s not bad….we shoot 40% as a team so not that far off there.  

  • TD BestEVER

     Sorry – I remember Faried throwing Tiago to the ground and dunking on him like a MAN….and TS was just a little BOY.   He didn’t do that top Blair.    And The Blair can’t play with anybody argument is old and just false.   If he is so bad than why not just sit him and let TS play more…… Oh wait, we just saw that and it didn’t work out that well vs a depleted front court with out Nene, Koufus, and Mosgov got hurt early in the 3rd. 

  • TD BestEVER

     Excuses are like……….. you know the rest.  And saying TD missed 2 FT’s is a straw man’s argument.  Changing the subject when you don’t have a decent comeback.  And the score has little to do with Splitter.  Our lack or rebounding and transition D was our problem. Not 2 missed FT’s or any other excuse you want to use.

  • TD BestEVER

    I don’t either….I want Blair to come off the bench and Tiago to start so all these babies can stop Blaming blair for EVERYTHING that goes wrong with the Spurs.  When they see Tiago in the starting lineup they will have no other excuses other than we are not good enough unless TD finds the fountain of youth and POP stops it with his Bonner love affair. 

    Not that Bonner costs us the game, it’s just we have totally changed to a team that tries to win with offense, and that’s not gonna work.

  • TD BestEVER

    Tiago even said he was fine physically so stop it with the excuses.  he only missed like 5 games…..not 25 like Manu.  It doesn’t take 5 games to get it back.  Should have been fine after that Bulls game to get back into it. 

  • TD BestEVER

    POP keeps trying to win it with Offensive Subs like Bonner/RJ instead of Defense and rebounding though. So either we don’t have the personnel to win with D or POP just doesn’t trust them enough right now. 

  • theghostofjh

    Agree. I would start Manu now.

  • theghostofjh

    Your comment has NOTHING to do with my comment.

  • theghostofjh

    We had the same principal players before Blair became a starter and we had nowhere near the same winning percentage. I suggest that Blair’s part of the explanation, and with good reason. And the main point I was replying to was this nonsense that Blair has a poor BBIQ. THAT IS ABSURD! Most of the errors he makes are “physical skill-related”, not because he doesn’t understand the game or system. He also has very good instincts, which is part of BBIQ.

  • theghostofjh

    “In the end, I just don’t think the current lineup of Bigs is going to take us very far in the playoffs.”

    Probably not, but we know for a fact that with Bonner getting more minutes in the playoffs than Blair or Splitter, we would be lucky to advance to the second round before being soundly defeated. The problem has been Bonner. He should have not been resigned 2 years ago, as I suggested at the time, and instead replaced with a long, mobile, gritty type of defender (younger the better), and with merely an adequate 15 ft. “J”, if possible. This would have kept us efficient offensively, and improved us defensively in the front court, where we are lacking the most.

    Bonner’s main strength by far is his open 3-pointers. The problem is he can’t get enough of them off, and at a high enough make-percentage in the playoffs to make his contribution worthwhile when it counts the most. We have enough variety, skill and shooters at the wing to do fine without Bonner’s 3-pointers. And our other bigs as a group are plenty efficient from an offensive perspective (they all have their strengths and weaknesses defensively). In fact, I was on Hoopdata the other day, and I found out that there are just 3 bigs (PF/C) out of 36 in the entire NBA , with mpg. in the 20-25 range, that have a higher per than either Splitter (18.90) or Blair (16.93). Bonner was not bad, but down the pack a ways at 14.79.

    Our front court is imbalanced in favor of offense over defense, and Bonner should have been the odd man out to make a stab at improving this balance. Now, the only thing we can do is play Bonner less, and play our biggest/strongest, most efficient offensive players/rebounders more in the playoffs, and hope for the best.

  • Hobson13

    Good points.  If we just traded Bonner out with a decent young big who could rebound, play decent defense, and score a bit (say someone in the mold of Jason Thompson of the Kings), our front line would look entirely different.   In this dream scenario, I don’t think we’d be talking about Blairs weakness (lack of height) but instead talking about what he really brings to the table.

    IMO, it’s Blair’s lack of height combined with Bonner’s ineptitudes that make our front line so vulnerable.  Especially since we are talking about half or our Bigs since the Front Office in all their wisdom don’t think we need anyone else.If one of those weaknesses were taken away, then it changes the entire scenario. 

    I agree with your point regarding Bonner’s 3pt attempts in the playoffs.  The good teams know to simply run Bonner off the 3pt line and make him drive.  He can’t finish at the rim and I can’t remember the last time he shot a pull up from 15-18 ft.  If chased off the line, he usually either looks to pass or he throws up and awkward floater (it kills me that a 6’10” guy has a floater in his arsenal).  I was a bit shocked that Pop didn’t put Bonner in with 11 seconds to go and being down by 3.  I guess even Pop knows that Bonner can’t knock anything down under pressure.

  • Len

    Tiago obviously needs to get stronger around the rim and quit with all that weak stuff.  But, I see him learning and improving as his time in the NBA goes on.  He does have a high ceiling and can actually play above the rim.  He just needs to continue to get stronger and break all those bad habits he learned playing against weak interior defense.  Who didn’t love that PNR with Manu where Tiago flushed it with authority?  Sign of things to come.

  • Len

    And I’m not knocking Blair at all.  It’s funny to see the constant Tiago vs DJB debate.  There is a good chance that’s the Spurs starting front court in a few years.  It’s not an either/or choice.  They both have strengths and weaknesses and both are improving.

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    He doesn’t have great instincts on D….

    Either way it’s a misnomer to call out anyone else for the loss and the lack of front court activity apart from Bon Bon.

    Matt Bonner got ridden hard.  Our depth at the front line is obviously still the monkey on our back.

    On  plus note.  I thought KL Played fantastically when they used him at PF.  He was way more effective than mudguts trying to guard Harrington and Faried.

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    We can’t afford to trade any bigs out.  We need 1 more big regardless.  Bonners for situational matchups, 10 mins or 15 mins vs the right front courts.
    We need one more big.  Dejaun went down and bam we have three men playing 2 spots and one of thems 36 years old.

    KL was great in limited minutes guarding Harrington in particular