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.
  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    Look we get that you have a massive crush on the Dejauns play.

    I like Dejaun as a bench player and matchup for the coach to use.  He is not a starter for a contender.

    I also like Bonner as a stretch four for limited minutes but again he is not a finisher for a contender.
    It’s like we argue in circles on here about something that at it’s very essence we have absolutely no hope of seeing fixed regardless.

    DJB starts because basically who the hell else is going to start?

    Without some form of improvement to our depth at the 4 spot we’re not going anywhere.  

  • theghostofjh

    Yeah, good points. I just hope against hope that Pop drops the Bonner addiction in the playoffs. If he does, we just “might” have some outside chance (if everything went perfect) at getting to the WCF’s. And then, who knows, we have the experience of the big three, and we match up decently with, and have a pretty even head-to-head record against, the other favorites in the West.

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    Did you guys notice that Pop put KL in as the 4 at the end of the 3rd and the upgrade was enormous over Bon Bon.
    The kids motor is just enormous.  

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    TD mate cool your jets don’t go abusing people because they have a different viewpoint.  We’re all still Spurs fans.

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    Heres the argument in a nutshell.

    Blair can rebound and he plays hustling instinctive ball.
    He is also 6’6 and plays Poor D.

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    I pretty much think you nailed it with the second part there.

    Bonner/RJ/Ford/Neal/DJB none of these guys are good defenders.  Some are terrible.

    All are either first off the bench at their position or starting, with the exception of Ford.

    The only option i see that gives us any pickup at all on D is playing KL at the PF when matchups allow.  

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    Tiago is fine just needs to become a 36 minute player.  I don’t really think that’s ever going to happen with Timmy in the squad though.

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    KL is hugely athletic.  If you are talking about purely front court players then yeah.  Not one of our 4 guys is particularly athletic.  We don’t really have a PF that can throw it down.

    Everytime we get one that can dunk on a short contract Pop poisons their gatorade.

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    Pops never going to stop loving Bonner.  I have NO clue why.  It makes sense to no one.

    He got totally abused to the point that it was embarrassing last night and i was absolutely amazed when he got yanked and they switched up Leonard at the 4.
    I couldn’t remember the last time he’d actually pulled the plug on the red rocket just because he was getting hammered prison style.

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    Just for a laugh I went and looked at the rebound rates for players on Hollingers stats page.

    I thought Farieds play last night was a one off explosion but the guys going nuts on the boards.

    He is currently bringing in 20.2% of available rebounds when on the floor.

    Thats good for Sixth in the NBA….What the hell.

    His offensive rebounding % is a ridiculous 17.4% good for Second in the entire association.

    Our best rebounder is still Timmy who grabs 17.8% total good for 22nd in the league. Dejauns our next best at 15.1 and then Splits at 14.3%.

    The really interesting thing here is how terrible Tiago is at offensive rebounding and how great he is at defensive rebounding.   While the reverse is kind of true of Dejaun with some mitigation in his favor (see end of post).

    Offensively Dejaun pulls down 13.5% of the misses good for 16th in the entire league.
    splits only does 7.9% which is not something I find surprising.

    On defense Splits pulls down 20.7% and Dejaun only grabs 16.9%….Which did surprise me.

    To put this in perspective.  Kawhi has a defensive rebound rate of 16.3% which is top 15 amongst all Small Forwards.

    Then you have a look at old father time.  Timmy is going nowhere these days as an offensive rebounder.  He grabs a paltry 6.7% of misses on offense.

    On D?  he is 3rd in the entire league at defensive rebounding.  He grabs 29% of the available boards…Thats more than anyone not named Dwight Howard or Marcus Camby.  Forget Bynum, Klove, Gasol, Noah etc etc etc.

    1 in 3 shots missed on our defensive end goes to Timmy…Wow at 36 years of age he is still the anchor.

    I wonder how much of an effect playing the bulk of his minutes next to Timmy has on Dejauns numbers on the defensive end.  Would surely have to take a cut out of his piece of the pie right?

    Just food for thought ;)

  • STIJL

     Glad somebody did the research and put out the numbers. Great job nudityjfandango.  I for one don’t have the time to always gather in depth research.  But yours helps solidify my thoughts and casual glances.

    Look what you started.  (or better put…continued)  : b

  • STIJL

     By the way.  You can go here and see in depth stats of the team and individual players.

    This one being my favorite…   http://www.82games.com/1112/1112SAS2.HTM

    In case anyone was wondering why I’m always advocating Neal starting.

  • Bankshot21

    Duncan and Bonner shoot more, which is why their offensive rebounding rate is much lower. Hard to coral offensive boards when you’re shooting from 18 feet out and 3pt land.

  • Bankshot21

    You guys kill me with the soon and gloom routine. We lost a game. So what. You think Neal is gonna bail us out with miracles every game? Timmy missed key fts. That’s it. He’s my favorite all time player but if he hits just one that changes what we need in the final play. We never could get over the hump whenever we tied it. We will regroup and win the next 6.

  • Bankshot21

    Doom and gloom*

  • theghostofjh

    Nice post. Though I’m not in any way surprised with most of it (except the extent of TD’s defensive rebound prowess – though it does explain why we’ve been running 2nd in the entire NBA for quite some time in team defensive rebound rate), most commentators on here should pay attention and be thankful for the legwork.

    “I wonder how much of an effect playing the bulk of his minutes next to Timmy has on Dejauns numbers on the defensive end.  Would surely have to take a cut out of his piece of the pie right?”

    Most definitely, though DJB will probably always be shifted a bit more than average to the offensive end. But no question, Tim IS IN FACT hogging those defensive boards! It also hurt DJB’s defensive boards a bit when “Crash2″ was starting at the SG. That said, a component of DJB’s rebound drop-off has been inconsistent/insufficient focus and effort.

  • theghostofjh

    If we need to play KL at the 4 sometimes (when the other team’s playing small ball) to reduce Bonner’s minutes I’m all for it. ANYTHING to reduce Bonner’s minutes heading into the playoffs.

  • theghostofjh

    “He is not a starter for a contender.”

    If he’s not, than WE’RE not a contender (and we probably aren’t).

  • theghostofjh

    Yeah, good point.

  • theghostofjh

    Agreed about KL, but it will only work in certain situations/match-ups that are not that common. Kind of what Portland does with Wallace, although KL does not yet have the experience and savvy of a Wallace, so the effectiveness could be a little more hit and miss.

  • Bankshot21

    That’s called a loose ball foul where I’m from. I’m not going to fault Splitter for the refs allowing it.

  • theghostofjh

    Sure, I agree. A common tendency on here is to overreact. We’ve been a bit flat lately, particularly in the last two games. Pop’s going to put an end to that right quick I’m sure. Also, we’ve had several injured player adjustments and reintroductions to contend with. Those should continue to smooth out shortly. I’d rather see Manu back in the starting line-up soon so that our rotations can become more solidified.

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    yeah right now i don’t think we are 

  • http://radsci.uthscsa.edu/index.php/User:Nima Nima K.

    They should name this forum: “Who should we hate? Splitter or Blair?”

  • Avilaplana93

    I believe when splitter was on the floor the spurs were plus 14. I do not know why there is a splitter vs blair argument. For the spurs to be contenders they need a solid 24 minutes from both of them. I dont. Think the spurs lost because of them, i think the spurs have relax at home, after a tough road trip. Also, the chemistry has been lacking after getting everyone healthy, it will take a while before pop figures the rotation. I am not conncerned with tiago or blair , i am more concerned over the Rj, Kl, Green rotation

  • TD BestEVER

     I don’t hate Splitter for the record…..I hate how he is given a free pass basically because everyone like him and Blair gets DDT’d for EVERY Little thing…..

  • TD BestEVER

     Close…His D has improved vastly….He used to SUCK at help D and now he slides over and takes charges or at least tries to slide over……..sometimes it’s called a blocking foul. But he didn’t do that nearly as much last year.  Also he doesn’t GET BURNED reaching as much as he used to. 

  • TD BestEVER

    How about you cool your Jets………and I’m not abusing anyone’s comments. I’m simply retuning the favor.  If it’s ok for some, it should be ok for all

  • TD BestEVER

     Sorry that wasn’t a foul……on loose balls like that the refs will often give the more aggressive player the benefit of the doubt.  Just like on charges vs Blocking fouls.  Whoever wants it more usually gets rewarded.

  • TD BestEVER

    My point is neither is Splitter…..if you have been reading…….And I don’t have a crush on DJB….I just HATE how the FANBOYS worship Splitter….So I have to natuarally gravitate toward the ANTI-Splitter…..DJB in this case.   Kinda lik eyou dan’t have to LOVE BATMAN to hate the joker.  But if you hate The Joker(or in my case people’s love affair with him) you are gonna find yourself routing for Batman all the time even when you aren’t a huge fan.

    And i do agree we need a proven 4 to really have a chance ot advance, but since that isn’t gonna happen, we have to keep pulling our hair to try and get what we have right.

  • TD BestEVER

     I have been routing for some athleticism for a very long tie…..guys like Temple, Gee.  I know they are not big men, but we need more athletes all around.  

  • TD BestEVER

    OK guys I’m gonna change the subject back to something that many here have been saying. 

    Green is not a starter and shouldn’t be.    I agree partially with this statement. 
    His offense is pretty bad lately, and his energy, would be better suited for our bench and playing against backups not starters.

    But let me give you a few reasons why Green should start.

    TONY PARKER CAN’T GUARD TONY PARKER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Or anyone close to as fast or explosive.  Our last2 losses have been punctuated by both scoring PG’s shooting a WIDE OPEN 15-18 ft jumper.  And on both plays TP went under the Screen man.   And throughout both games you would see Danny Green guarding Rose, or Lawson.  This is to try and disrupt the other teams offense and to try and keep the opposing PG out of the paint.  We don’t have a Bowen like player so we use Green.

    This is why i think he starts instead of Neal……… POP knows TP will struggle to defend

  • Bankshot21

    Splitter is clearly the only big competent enough to sub Duncan out which is why they don’t play with each other much. Blair is our best power forward. Duncan is a 5 at this point. If Blair was to develop a shot a la millsap or boozer he would be less of a scapegoat. They are all undersized but the ability to lure their bigger defender out of the paint is priceless. Blairs defender doesn’t have to leave but 3ft away from the key. Splitter is by far having a better season so drop the nonsense. The ferocity that Blair used to play with is now gone. He is now officially Malik Rose 2.0. Not a horrible thing, but lets drop comparing he and Splitter like it’s close.

  • Bob

     That’s why you should follow your shot.

  • STIJL

     Here what you’re saying.  Agree.   But had to chuckle after the Malik Rose 2.0 comment.  IIRC…Rose hit jumpers at a respectable clip.

  • STIJL

     LOL…or Bonner?

  • STIJL

    “Tim IS IN FACT hogging those defensive boards!”….then…”That said, a component of DJB’s rebound drop-off has been inconsistent/insufficient focus and effort on his part”
    So what’s Duncan to do IF BLAIR is not focused and lacking effort….just let the other team garnish the rebound because Blair isn’t?
    LOL.  I swear.  It’s getting redundantly pitiful.  NOW Duncan is getting in Blair’s way?  “Hogging” the moment (boards)?  What bit of ANY good would it serve the team if Duncan WAS NOT getting rebounds if Blair is not focused?  AND…who would care if Duncan got more rebounds than Blair even if Blair IS focused?  At least its one of the least declining attributes Duncan has left in his once potent all around game.

    You do realize that Duncan and Blair are in different positions on the court when playing as part of a unit that accounts for the numbers more so than Duncan “hogging” boards on defense while Blair gets more offensive boards?

    and to this…”(which I believe is partially a coaching issue).”
    Pop is purposely telling (setting up Blair) to be out of place for rebounds?  I’m sure playing against taller (more athletic and talented than he played against in college) bigs that now exist in the NBA has nothing to do with it.
    Fact is…he has no acl’s.  He can’t jump.  So garnishing defensive rebounds while battling underneath against taller, as strong, AND CAN jump opponents is always going to be a difficult task for him even IF Pop ignorantly and intentionally would call Duncan off the boards just so Blair could try and “get his”.

    What is it you want GoJH?  A team of nothing but Blairs playing the post?  If I may…do you have any experience coaching a team or training players in a professional atmosphere?  If you do…by all means I differ judgement to you as Blair should be coddled, cupped, and given special treatment just in order to satisfy what you think he would be capable of doing if things were done different by this team and his teammates which surround him.

  • Len

    I agree that Pop knows he can’t start two guards that both are subpar defenders.  It’s another reason that RJ should/will be gone next year.  Leonard will open things up well beyond what RJ brings to the team.  Having a player like Leonard is such a gift.  Being able to throw different defenders and different looks at players.  This is something that Pop excels at and is why Bruce Bowen became a defensive star.  Pop knew how to use him!  And I can see Leonard reaching a point where he can realistically guard 4 positions on the floor, just like Bruce used to.

  • STIJL

     Here’s the line on Blair as it stands now.

    http://www.82games.com/1112/1112SAS.HTM

    Take it for what it’s worth…Or not.

    For me…I just hope the individual weaknesses of all the players can be concealed as best they can through player units that best allow their individual strengths to outweigh their weaknesses during a game.

    Stats don’t always tell the whole story.  But they are the best indicator of what to expect compared to what’s been tried.

  • theghostofjh

    I disagree. It’s not that simple. Splitter and Blair are substantially different types of players. Their individual impact on the team is very difficult to compare for a variety of reasons. And the “Bonner Effect” (can’t defend OR rebound) obscures ones ability to properly evaluate this issue with confidence and sufficient precision.

    I will say this, Splitter has shown more improvement in his overall play this year than has Blair, though in my view, Blair still has more upside being that he’s just shy of his 23rd birthday.

    Also, Blair plays more like a center on offense, and a PF on defense. Duncan still plays more like a PF on offense, but more like a center on defense. Splitter also does not have an outside shot, so plays more like a center on offense, and can play some PF & center on defense (but still may have some issues against the “stronger” & more “physical” and talented centers). The problem is, Bonner requires a tall and excellent defender/help defender AND rebounder in the low post. That’s the main reason why Pop likes to play Bonner with Duncan so much (even more so than with Splitter), because TD is the big on our team with the best combination of superior defense AND rebounding.

    In addition, because Splitter and Blair BOTH still do not have acceptable 15-18 footers, it makes it difficult to play them both together for very many minutes. If this were to change for either one or both, Pop would have more “freedom” to choose who would be best to play more minutes and/or more with Duncan for the overall good of the team, Splitter or Blair. In effect, we could then have the freedom to play the three bigs 80-85 minutes out of the 96, with Bonner playing a more situational and reduced role.

    And thus, absent a trade, only under such a scenario can we be sure whether Splitter or Blair is more valuable to the team’s success if they were to get more playing time. However, at present such a scenario is not occurring, and as a result, the Splitter/Blair debate is in no way an open and shut case. I suggest that if one is either a Blair or Splitter supporter, they should be arguing for one or more of the following to transpire ASAP: (1) A trade for another 4/5 that would shift the Spur front line dynamic in a meaningful way; (2) Reduced minutes for Bonner that would free up minutes for Blair and/or Splitter to either assert themselves or falter; and (3) get your guy to work his ass off to get at least a reasonably dependable 15-18 footer!

  • Colin

     Really, Temple and Gee?  Are they even in the league? 

  • Colin

    Wow.  Its a shit storm around here.  Remember guys, don’t get too fired up over one game.

    Why is everyone all hot and cold about Blair?  He is what he is which is an above average role player who MAY or MAY NOT have made a difference in the game IF he played more. 

  • http://radsci.uthscsa.edu/index.php/User:Nima Nima K.

    I think the big question that has to be addressed now is what are we gonna do b4 the deadline? Are we going to trade anyone? And what do we do with Anderson? He’s clearly not contributing.

    I saw an article mention a trade of JA, CJ, and RJ for Okafor:

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1089322-nba-trade-deadline-glaring-weaknesses-and-quick-trade-fix-for-all-30-nba-teams/page/28 

    I think RJ is actually not that bad of a player. Overpriced, yes. But useful, also yes. Still, we need to make a move. What say you?

  • theghostofjh

    Ask yourself one question:

    How does that help the Hornets?

  • theghostofjh

    “So what’s Duncan to do IF BLAIR is not focused and lacking effort….just let the other team garnish the rebound because Blair isn’t?”

    Dude, I was joking about Duncan “hogging the boards”! Geez, get a grip. I think it’s great that TD is still such an efficient rebounder. Obviously there’s nothing wrong with it. I was just saying that it does take away from some of Blair’s potential rebounds, and that this fact should be taken into account when assessing Blair’s rebound numbers.

    “You do realize that Duncan and Blair are in different positions on the court when playing as part of a unit that accounts for the numbers more so than Duncan “hogging” boards on defense while Blair gets more offensive boards?”

    Yes, of course. And perhaps some of those designed positions on the court have been modified to some degree this year, in a way that somewhat favors Duncan on the defensive glass, yet is also designed with the intent to favor the unit as a whole (and Blair has always been more of an offensive rebounder than Duncan. That hasn’t changed).

    On the coaching angle, as I’ve noted previously, it seems as though part of it is a psychological, motivational, or communication impasse. As you know, one of the jobs of a coaching staff is to get the most out of each and everyone of your players individually, and as a team. Obviously it’s a two-way street in this regard, but the coach is always the more mature leader in accomplishing this objective. Of course I’m speculating on this, but it doesn’t seem to me that Pop has done the greatest job with Blair in this regard.

    “Fact is…he has no acl’s.  He can’t jump.  So garnishing defensive rebounds while battling underneath against taller, as strong, AND CAN jump opponents is always going to be a difficult task for him ….”

    Sure, but Blair had a higher rebound percentage last year. As a result, one has to account for the discrepancy by examining all potential factors.

    Your last paragraph is nonsensical, so I won’t bother responding.

  • theghostofjh

    Bowen was a rare bird indeed. I’m not so sure KL is a clone in this regard. KL has much more potential on offense, defense, and rebounding. He’ll likely be far more of an all-around player to be honed as a “defensive specialist, spot up three guy.” But I’m very excited about Leonard. I think he has the potential of being a Gerald Wallace type player (I hate to say better, but it may be possible – he’s still very young, and has had some impressive stretches already, with limited opportunity on a pretty deep team).

  • TD BestEVER

     Problem here is that it is really close just look at the numbers………. IF Blair can up his rebounds by 1 or so per game than they would have close to even PER…… so to say it’s not close is just misleading……..

  • TD BestEVER

     I agree….Most corner 3;s either go long or comeback short……..but it seems no one follows their shot in the NBA…guess they all think they are gonna make them all

  • Bob

     A huge part of being a great rebounder is assuming every shot is a miss.

  • Bob

     I pretty much can’t stand Pop when he does that. You need defense to close out a game, not offense. And it shouldn’t matter whether you are down or up. Small ball is only for large deficits and you need points in a hurry because it’s weak defensively. You sacrifice defense based on the assumption you can score alot of points quickly. It’s not a winning strategy.