El Conclusion: Spurs keep rolling in Indiana

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San Antonio Spurs 103 Final

Recap | Box Score

77 Indiana Pacers
Tim Duncan, PF 31 MIN | 3-10 FG | 3-4 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 3 TO | 9 PTS | +18

Great defense on Roy Hibbert and a congratulations for passing Patrick Ewing on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

Kawhi Leonard, SF 37 MIN | 5-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 11 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +19

Kinda looked like Finals Kawhi. He was everywhere. Aggressive on offense, hounded Paul George on defense. Can’t ask for anything else.

Tiago Splitter, C 32 MIN | 2-5 FG | 5-6 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +12

Sometimes you just want him to go straight up when he gets the ball down low, but if he’s going to get to the free throw line six times and make more than half of his shots, well then keep doing what you’re doing Tiago.

Tony Parker, PG 34 MIN | 10-18 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 22 PTS | +22

He was brilliant in the first half blowing by George Hill and then ramped back a little in the second, but seemed to get in the lane when the Spurs needed it most. Looked like 2013 Tony Parker.

Danny Green, SG 19 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +2

Offense wasn’t there but he hounded Lance Stephenson the better part of the night and that was the more important role.

Boris Diaw, PF 26 MIN | 5-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 14 PTS | +14

There was this one play early in the fourth quarter where drove to the basket and managed to squeeze between Luis Scola and Ian Mahimni for a reverse lay-in. I have no idea how he does these things sometimes, but it amazes me.

Jeff Ayres, C 4 MIN | 2-2 FG | 2-3 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +4

Most guys don’t get grades when they play four minutes, but Ayres made the most of his minutes in his return to Indy. Pacers could probably use his energy off their bench right about now.

Patty Mills, PG 13 MIN | 3-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | +4

Only shot five times, which is unacceptable, but he shows no fear and does an awesome job at killing the other teams’ momentum with his shooting.

Marco Belinelli, SG 21 MIN | 2-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | +13

See the second part of Patty’s grade comment and then copy/paste here:

Manu Ginobili, SG 17 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | +14

Looked fine, but he wasn’t really needed in the second half and the Spurs have a home/away back to back with the Warriors and Thunder coming up Wednesday and Thursday. So get that rest, Manu.

Gregg Popovich
Resting Green and Manu was crucial given the schedule the rest of the week. Plus they just wrecked the league’s best home team.

Three Things We Saw

  1. This is definitely the best we’ve seen the Spurs look in the last three years or so (the TP offense era? The super ball movement era? It needs a name). Keep in mind, this is the same team that won 20 in a row at the end of the 2011-2012 regular season and first two rounds of the playoffs. This is also the team that nearly won the title last year. But in this run their defense has been nearly as good as their offense. It’s been remarkable basketball.
  2. Next two games are home for Golden State and then on the road for Oklahoma City. That second game sounds like trouble, but Scott Brooks has been resting Russell Westbrook on the first night of back-to-backs, which OKC has Thursday. We’ll see if that happens this time. The Thunder are also still without Thabo Sefalosha and Kendrick Perkins, so getting to 20 wins is going to be a task for the Spurs, but not impossible.
  3. Question for everyone: Do you want the Spurs to lose a game at full strength before the playoffs start? Do you subscribe to the peaking too early theory? I have no idea if I do or not.
  • Graham

    Almost feel like we should pull a restgate for the OKC game, just to get the Thunder complacent about us come playoff time. Feels like we could boost our bench’s confidence even more by giving them the greenlight against the Thunder and I think it could pay huge dividends by denying them a look at our squad now that it’s humming at peak levels now.

  • camnpat

    The Spurs do their thing. Period. Shine or rain they play their game. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t they make small adjustments and move on. At this point I don’t care if they lose a game. I personally don’t think they should lose one because it may be “bad” to win this much. They are a well oiled machine. If the system works, and the team responds, why should we hope they lose? Jordan and co did well that 72-win season.

    Right now the team is playing at its most efficient, and not because they are not being contested. Keep going this way as long as it lasts and honing that coordination that, right now, every player in the team seems to have with each other.

  • I need more cowbell

    Let them keep winning. Maybe some of our players may get complacent but if we keep winning its a constant reminder to other teams that were unbeatable. If they keep hearing about our winning they subconsciously already think they lost.

  • Al McMordie

    I’ve always called this era the Gary Neal Era, as it started with his arrival. Even though he’s gone, I’d still keep his name in it, so I’d go with the “Gary Neal Era (Extended)”

  • Al McMordie

    We need to win the OKC game, as the Thunder own the tie-breaker, and have an easier schedule down the stretch. Can’t let up now. We have to get the #1 seed.

  • rj

    I think we should give our bench heavy minutes against golden state and go hard at OKC. They have been extremely confident against us and we need to slap that out of then before the playoffs start.

    Maybe we should schedule a loss? I do have concerns the Spurs may be peeking to early. Its reminiscent of 2012. Lets make the warriors feel good about themselves for one night, but our bench seems to feast on them anyhow….

  • spurs10

    It will be interesting how Pop plays it. I doubt if he cares about either win on this b2b enough to run his guys into the ground. We are already in everyone’s head. We just beat the number one team in the East by 26. Just guessing, but think strategy will trump getting the win.

  • neverthehero

    Not making the needed adjustments against OKC is what caused the losses not because they won 20 in a row. Keep the train rolling

  • colt

    All about resting up and letting a loss come our way just so we don’t completely fold when we do lose a game like back in ’12, especially if the streak reaches 20. I agree one of the best silver&black teams i’ve ever seen, just don’t want to get everyone to excited here and peak too early. Still a long tough and exciting road ahead.

  • Colin

    No one is talking about “signature wins” anymore……..

  • td4life

    “The Boris Diaw era.” The Spurs offense found a few more gears when we signed Boris after he was waived by CHA, and the Spurs went on that 20 game win streak. Tiago had already ended the Matt Bonner (and Dejuan Blair) era, but Boris buried it. If Tim had had had quality bigs next to him every year, the Spurs would have been even more successful.
    I’d like to see the good guys beat OKC. Even if they drop GSW, beating the Thunder would have us up by 3 games in the loss column with only 6 games left (meaning we could rest more games down the stretch) What I actually think will happen, however, is Pop resting on Thursday and picking up a loss, putting HCA on the line and in jeopardy.

  • Brandon Michael Metz

    I kinda agree with this theory. You’ve also got to remember one thing: we have the best bench in the league right now. Tim, Tony, and Manu could all have a night off or have a mediocre game, but when you have players like Belinelli, Patty, Diaw, Austin Daye (I feel he’s due for another good game), and Kawhi (starter, I know, but he’s young and dang good) pulling their weight around and all with the potential to score 20+ a night if they were on other teams, I think not only could we catch OKC off guard but it would send a message to the rest of the playoff-qualifiers around the NBA that if you face us in the postseason, you’re in for a long series.

  • Kristian Holvoet

    I don’t know that it is peaking too early as much as getting healthy while everyone else is wearing down (see also: Indiana). The benefit of having 9+ legitimate NBA players (contrast: Philadelphia), is the ability to spread minutes around. And it makes sure players in the 8+ spot of the rotation have the timing / conditioning / mental preparation to contribute when asked.

    I’d prefer they keep playing like this, where pretty much only Kawhi is getting 35+ minutes, and would like the rest to keep active 20-30 mins to keep sharp (depending on depth), but limiting fatigue and fatigue related injuries. If they lose, then make the other team play really well.

    Many players are in a real groove playing, don’t perturb the system now, when everyone is engaged and performing well. This isn’t a case of the Spurs playing at an insane physical and mental intensity. They seem relaxed, smooth and un-confused. Let it flow for now.

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    I’m with you on the Boris Diaw era. Needs a better name, though.

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  • SAJKinBigD

    No idea what Pop will do. I think he’ll manage minutes against GSW, let’s hope for 20-ish for the Big3! I think Pop and the team want home-court throughout, even given their road record. They’ll drop a game somewhere, but I don’t think it’ll deliberately be OKC.

  • ThatBigGuy

    Why not just call this era the Era of the Foreign Legion?

    In ’10-’11, we only had 3 foreign born players. Then we started grabbing foreign players like candy: ’11-’12 (6 players), ’12-’13 (8 players), and ’13-’14 (9) players. If you consider Tim as foreign born, add an extra number to the preceding ones.

  • ThatBigGuy

    Boris is a integral part of….The Foreign Legion. Just call this era the Era of the Foreign Legion.

  • DorieStreet

    The way the Spurs are playing, postseason opponents are in for a SHORT series
    (1-4, 0-4)

  • DorieStreet

    You’re kidding,

  • DorieStreet

    Better name by far; the contributions of Tiago, Patty, Marco along with Boris–
    joining the overseas stalwart tandem of Tony & Manu.

  • Campbell LeFlore

    I consider it the Total Football era: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_Football

  • David Salazar

    The BoBo Era

  • Joseph Dooley

    I’d like to see Parker, Duncan, and Ginobili take every other game off from now until the playoffs. Bench them against the Warriors, play em against the Thunder.

  • Graham

    Does ‘The Motion Era’ work? Seemed like our offense really kicked to another level once that became the centerpiece of the team’s game, and I’d say that this ‘system’ defines is better than any nicknames or individual players.

  • fkj74

    This team is better than the teams from 2012 and 2013. Danny, Kawhi, and Splitter have vastly improved. Belli and Mills more than replace Neal . Manu is more consistent . TP picks his spots and Duncan is the roack he has alway been. The biggest improvement is the D. This team can win it all against anyone. However like everyone we need to be healthy and get a lucky bounce hear and there.The era….Pop Gun!!

  • Brandon Michael Metz

    lol I think that’s what I meant to say.

  • Tess

    It just SEEMS painfully long when you’re on the receiving end of a thrashing like that.

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    @disqus_cYCDEFuSKb:disqus @iAlan:disqus @lastspurstanding:disqus What about the “Cube Steak” era? Not only does it capture the additions of guys like Boris Diaw and Patty Mills, but it also brings to mind the memories of Gregg Popovich resting his guys with regularity, often with hilariously fun results.