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.
  • Bob

     Larry Bird once said most rebounds are gotten below the rim. Rebounding isn’t about jumping but about desire.

  • Bankshot21

    As noted by Andrew in the post game, Popovich preaches getting back on defense for the wings. If a 3 clanks off the rim and goes long, crashing is only putting that player further out of position.

  • Bankshot21

    He extended his arm causing Splitter to hit the deck. That is a foul. Doesn’t matter how it is called. A foul is a foul. I remember yelling at the tv when it happened. Lol

  • Bankshot21

    They have wanted to unload Okafors contract for quite some time while adding wing depth, that they honestly don’t need. Lol. I agree…almost makes no sense.

  • Bankshot21

    The offensive roles of the PF and C are basically the same. As per the creator of basketball. Difference being size. The only line up where Blair makes sense as the 5 is with Rocket as the stretch 4 which seems to be dreaded amongst the readers. Lol. Splitter is the only player capable of subbing TD out with miniscule drop off at rim protection, pick and roll, and even post play. When Blair is gobbling up rebounds like they are going out of style again I will definitely consider him back. He’s just not there right now. He still grab rebounds but you don’t hear the thud when he snatches them out the air anymore. Used to be a bully on the glass. He can get back to being the near and giving teams fits the way Faried gave us fits.

  • Len

    I’m not pigeon-holing Kawhi into a “defensive specialist, spot up three guy”.  I said that he has the potential to guard 4 positions on the floor, which I stand by.  Kawhi has enough height, reach, strength and quickness to be able to do that.  And Pop has enough coaching skill to be able to use a player like that to his full defensive potential.

  • STIJL

    Not the first time this trade has been mentioned.  Wonder (as they say) “where’s there smoke there’s fire”?

    But for all “practical” purposes…this just doesn’t seem to make since on the part of New Orleans to do or the league to allow to happen.

    I would think if a deal for Okafur were to be made, it would have to include Splitter to the Hornets for the “justification” of the trade.

  • soulidefy15

    coaches teach to NEVER follow your shot.  especially on a jump shot.  it affects mechanics and the shooter is the person in best position to get back on D.  its the other 4 that should crash the boards….they have a head start on position.

  • soulidefy15

    having an offensive rebounder crash the boards also slows the other teams fastbreak quite a bit….allowing our defense to get set.

  • Bankshot21

    Thank you.

  • soulidefy15

    kahwi excites me because he reminds me of stephen jackson in his early days with the spurs, with his head on straight.  with kawhi’s defense and athleticism, if he develops that kind of offensive game, we will really have something.

  • theghostofjh

    “I said that he has the potential to guard 4 positions on the floor, which I stand by.”

    Yeah, the potential may be there, but that is something that isn’t seen too often. I just think his potential is far underrated on the offensive end, and some of his energy will inevitably shift there. But it’s possible that he could guard 4 separate positions on occasion, though probably not as a steady diet.

  • theghostofjh

    Yes, very perceptive point.

  • theghostofjh

    Sure, but I think your reply may have been better directed to STIJL.

  • theghostofjh

    Blair does need to get more consistently aggressive on the boards.

  • theghostofjh

    By the way, after the recent Chicago loss, people on here were bitching about how our front line was being manhandled by the Bulls front court. Blair of course got much of the brunt of the criticism. So let’s do a brief comparison between our front line performance against the Bulls, and the performance of the younger and talented front court of the 23-12 Indiana Pacers in their recent loss to the Bulls.

    -
    In the Pacer recent loss:

    -

    Hibbert:  25 mins., 1-6 FG, 2 points, 7 rebounds

    West: 34 mins., 4-11 FG, 10 points, 9 rebounds

    Hansborough: 25 mins., 1-6 FG, 2 points, 6 rebounds

    Team out-rebounded 60-32; 18-7 on the offensive glass

    -

    In the Spurs loss to the Bulls:

    -

    Duncan: 33 mins., 8-21 FG, 18 points, 10 rebounds

    Blair: 23 mins., 4-10 FG, 9 points, 9 rebounds

    Splitter (1st game back after missing 5-6 games): 18 mins., 2-6 FG, 5 points, 4 rebounds

    Team out-rebounded 50-42; 13-10 on the offensive glass

    -

    Perhaps we ought to all just admit that the Bulls just have a tough, aggressive front line on the glass, instead of bitching about our shortcomings all the time.

    -

    P.S.  Blair had virtually identical shooting %, points and rebounds as the former all-star David West in ELEVEN FEWER minutes.

  • STIJL

     “Perhaps we ought to all just admit that the Bulls just have a tough, aggressive front line on the glass,…”

    I’ve all but continually admitted this team will be in trouble against ANY front court dominant team.  As the numbers have shown all year.  The numbers don’t show anything that nobody already knows.

    How the problem may be remedied has led to multiple (almost infinite) discussion on who’s the most to blame, how to fix, and perpetual crying over spilled milk that in most cases should have already dried up and blown away as dust.

    Gotta love blog sites and fans.  : )

  • STIJL

    I’m responding to something “Bob” said earlier but posting here because I think it applies to all this he said/she said debating regarding Blair, Tiago, Bonner, (front line personnel) and coach.   Desire is a huge factor in accomplishing anything.

    At 6’6″ and no acl’s…it’s amazing Blair has accomplished what he’s managed to do.  That shows incredible desire and determination.

    But facts and physicality and talent of opposing players at this level limit him being more than who he is now.  And who he is…as well as Tiago and Bonner… are not “complete” front line big men.

    Having to “manage” their time according to matchups and circumstances is not an easy task for the coach either.  So…kudos to Pop for probably doing the best he can with what he’s got.

    I just think it unfair to all (players and coach) that lack of obtaining a win, a playoff series, a goal,  should be framed (or can be realistically justified) upon any one individual of a team.

    It’s the moments in spite of what you have that makes winners out of a team.

    Desire… being the crucial element of all… at any given time during those moments the key.

  • theghostofjh

    “But facts and physicality and talent of opposing players at this level limit him (Blair) being more than who he is now.”

    I disagree. At just shy of 23, there’s plenty of time for Blair to still learn how to better optimize his strengths, and minimize his weaknesses.

  • STIJL

     Hope you’re wright.

  • TD BestEVER

     Gee is with Cleveland…….and Temple should be…..remember it’s about fit on OUR TEAM not the NBA in general or Bonner wouldn’t be in the NBA.

  • Bob

     If it’s a good shot and good mechanics then I agree. But if you know your shot was short you’re in the best position to follow it.

  • STIJL

     One solution may be to start inserting KL in the PF slot on a regular basis.  It looks as though even he may be slighter in build to Bonner…he looks to have more strength than Bonner plus quickness to cover the weak side.

    You know…at only 20 years old…I think it’s not inconceivable Kawhi could grow another inch (possibly 2) and his frame could certainly handle another 12-15 lbs. of muscle without diminishing his abilities.  If that be the case…I think Spurs future PF issues may be somewhat resolved.

  • theghostofjh

    Only time will tell.

  • theghostofjh

    Even with the possible size increase, Leonard’s natural position at the NBA level will be at the three spot IMO.

  • titletown99030507d

    If you’ve seen him play he is limited in regards to side to side motion . It’s probably his knees or his weight. Take your pick. Maybe that’s why he has to reach in and try for the steal and usually it turns into a PF. Desire or no desire it’s a flaw.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Tell him to lose some weight.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Dude he just started playing decent again. 2 games. Cherry pick the good ones eh.

  • Titletown99030507d

    No way dude! your way off!

  • http://twitter.com/nudityJ nudityjfandango

    Gee is the starting two guard for the cavs now.  

    Kind of a Jamario Moon glue guy for them.

  • Titletown99030507d

    That was Splitter’s first game back. That is not how our front line will play them next time we see them if there is a next time with them.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Why Splitter send them Blair instead that way we can play any combination of bigs with Okafor.

  • TD BestEVER

    Most bigs struggle with lateral movement….And even Splitter’s movement doesn’t lead to many more stops…… So what’s the point of your argument……..

  • TD BestEVER

     Like you don’t do the same for Splitter…….Flip Flop city here folks

  • Titletown99030507d

    I agree  I would rather pair up any combination of real bigs 6″10″ or bigger like Duncan, Okafor, Splitter and Bonner or someone else instead, than having to deal with what we are doing now.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Right now this isn’t working the way it is. It’s like we have to accommodate Blair in our front line. Interchanging 4 real bigs is a lot better than what were doing right now. If that weren’t the case then why is Blair out of the meat of the game just about every game? Like I said in the above reply to Bankshot we need 4 real  bigs. Send him to the Warriors for Klay Thompson they’re both 6’7″. Add JA to make the trade work. Blair can run with those guys up and down the court all night if he wants. We’ll be down a big but so what? At least Klay can shoot. Make our 10 day contractee work for his money and give Splitter real frikin minutes. None of this p$$$y A$$ minutes he’s getting now. 

  • Titletown99030507d

    He’s nowhere near Rose either. Rose was a smarter player.

  • Titletown99030507d

    How bout trading Blair for a decent draft pick? They did it with Hill why not pull the same trick again?

  • Titletown99030507d

    Blair.

  • TD BestEVER

     Splitter is gonna crumble like a cookie when he is playing 30mpg……. he can barely play now without his tongue hanging out and looking like he died every trip up the floor.  He will always be a 25mpg or so player….He is not a starter or a guy you can ride for long periods.

  • Titletown99030507d

    No Blair is getting the free pass here by starting next to Timmy. Hello?

  • Titletown99030507d

    Timmy missed two free throws but we still hate Blair. (not personally just on the team)

  • Titletown99030507d

    Did it ever occur to you that Splitter boxes out the the guy trying to get the rebound on the other team and this usually allows Bonner to get some  easy pickins on the boards? Pretty obvious. Do you ever see Bonner returning the favor? Splitter is a smart player and the things he does to help the team don’t necessarily end up on a box score. Just sayin.

  • STIJL

     Hey…I’d all be for getting the original deal posted without sending out a big.

    It just wouldn’t make sense for New Orleans to do that.

    Just trying to look at this from more of a “reality” perspective.

    Splitter would be more of a “reality” target than Blair.

  • Titletown99030507d

    How can you blame the coach for his focus? He knows what he  has to do.

  • STIJL

     I don’t think so when it comes to Leonard playing some PF.  He would be better at it than say when R.J. has been asked to do on occasion.

    Regarding growing another inch or two.  Maybe. 

  • theghostofjh

    Sure, all players have limitations, some more than others. For example, Splitter often struggles against stronger 4/5′s because he’s not strong or athletic enough. As a result, sometimes he’ll get bullied inside, which leads to a score, rebound, or him committing a foul.

  • theghostofjh

    Yeah, with his knees that could help him a bit. It’s a fine line though. With his lack of height, he needs some muscle/weight too to be effective.

  • theghostofjh

    Dude, the main point was to address all the overreaction on here about the weakness of our “front line” against Chicago, when the fact is Chicago’s front court is just pretty damn good. Sure our front line is weak compared to Chicago, but some on here like to over-exaggerate it, particularly as it relates to Blair.

  • theghostofjh

    Care to elaborate?