Advanced Scouting: San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets – Something to prove?


San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets 7:30 CST April 1, 2011

Even after 5 straight losses, the Spurs about given approximately an 80% chance to clinch the top seed. The Rockets playoff odds are listed in the neighborhood of 10%. Houston is also 13-5 in their last 18 games. Their best record has coincided with increases in minutes and offensive production from Hayes, Lowry and Budinger.

In the month of March, Lowry has averaged 20 PPG and 8 APG, while making 3 treys per contest and shooting a high percentage from the field. Meanwhile, Hayes have become a surprisingly effective passer and an efficient finisher. Additionally, Chase Budinger has seen his playing time skyrocket to 33 MPG in March. The Rockets have found the combination that works. Meanwhile, the Spurs have shown some signs of sputtering.

The first 4 losses in the Spurs losing streak are easily explainable. They were all against quality opposition without Duncan and, often times, other starters. Last night’s loss to the Celtics was also a challenging matchup. Was rust a factor? Did the Celtics finally get their act together? Or should we chalk it up as 1 loss with all the pieces in place. Whatever the reason, the Spurs will eventually have to get things right before the playoffs begin. Tonight’s back-to-back road contest will be another big roadblock for the Spurs.

Before last night’s game, our own Timothy Varner stated that the Spurs have the most to prove over the final two weeks. The following is his quote:

“They are on a four-game losing streak with a string of injuries at the worst possible point in the season. Meanwhile, their conference foes in Dallas, Los Angeles, Oklahoma City and Denver are finishing the season strong. Is San Antonio’s record a mirage, or is this team really as good as its winning percentage suggests?”

Ironically, two other writers picked Boston. The Celtics answered the call, at least for one night.

I suspect the Spurs will get their act together. An impressive 60+ game stretch is generally more meaningful to me than a handful of recent games. Additionally, it appears everyone will have ample time to reach 100% health, or close to it. I don’t believe the Spurs need to prove anything (at least not before playoff time). However, it would certainly be nice for our benefit.

Key Statistics

SRS ranks:

Houston: 2.19 (11th)
San Antonio: 5.76 (4th)

Player summary statistics from and

Houston Rockets Player Ratings 3-29

PlayerGMPGUSG%OrtgDRtgWS/482 Yr APM
Kyle Lowry7133.818.61161100.1326.07
Luis Scola7032.525.71081090.111-1.27
Kevin Martin7331.929.51181110.183-3.13
Shane Battier5930.812.21161090.1022.38
Chuck Hayes6727.2131201070.1445.03
Aaron Brooks3423.9261001130.02-4.42
Chase Budinger7121.3201101100.0921.8
Courtney Lee7420.617.61091110.076-2.85
Yao Ming518.224.81111060.145N/A
Brad Miller5616.516.81171080.137-0.45
Jordan Hill6716.217.71061090.076-5.09
Patrick Patterson4515.916.11181090.132N/A
Goran Dragic1513.222.51161100.151-3.14

San Antonio Spurs Player Ratings 3-29

PlayerGMPGUSG%OrtgDRtgWS/482 Yr APM
Tony Parker7132.525.41131080.155-0.47
Manu Ginobili7330.726.31161040.1975.18
Richard Jefferson7330.615.51151080.113-0.55
Tim Duncan6928.3231101000.1656.32
George Hill6828.3181161070.136-1.94
DeJuan Blair7321.8201061000.135-0.81
Matt Bonner5821.7131271070.1493.83
Gary Neal7220.820.61091090.099-2.48
Antonio McDyess6718.614.91051030.1043.05
Tiago Splitter5312.417.51121030.145N/A
James Anderson2310.715.21141090.099N/A
Steve Novak188.4161451090.226N/A

Player trends, based on Efficiency per 48 minutes:

Houston Rockets Player Trends 3-29

PlayerSeasonLast 10Increase
Jordan Hill23.132.39.2
Kyle Lowry24.129.65.5
Patrick Patterson26.129.33.2
Luis Scola28.929.30.4
Chuck Hayes26.626.60
Kevin Martin27.425.7-1.7
Goran Dragic25.523.8-1.7
Courtney Lee17.913.9-4
Chase Budinger21.215.7-5.5
Brad Miller2619.3-6.7

San Antonio Spurs Player Trends 3-29

PlayerSeasonLast 10Increase
Tiago Splitter23.729.65.9
James Anderson15.220.85.6
Steve Novak25.530.55
Tim Duncan32.735.83.1
DeJuan Blair27.9280.1
Antonio McDyess23.123.20.1
Manu Ginobili28.327.9-0.4
Gary Neal18.616.1-2.5
George Hill21.518.4-3.1
Richard Jefferson17.614.5-3.1
Tony Parker26.823.3-3.5
Matt Bonner19.815.2-4.6

Lineup data
Most valuable/utilized lineups:

Lowry, Martin, Battier, Scola, Hayes +160 in 797 minutes (+9.7 per 100 possessions)
Lowry, Martin, Budinger, Scola, Hayes +55 in 219 minutes (+11.3 per 100)
Lowry, Martin, Budinger, Patterson, Hayes +19 in 58 minutes (+18.6 per 100)
Lowry, Martin, Budinger, Hill, Hayes +26 in 49 minutes (+25.8 per 100)
Dragic, Lee, Budinger, Patterson, Miller +15 in 43 minutes (+15.9 per 100)

Parker, Ginobili, Jefferson, Blair, Duncan +147 in 669 minutes (+10.4 per 100)
Parker, Ginobili, Jefferson, McDyess, Duncan +36 in 161 minutes (+11.1 per 100)
Hill, Neal, Ginobili, Bonner, McDyess +67 in 105 minutes (+35.3 per 100)
Parker, Hill, Ginobili, Bonner, Duncan +49 in 55 minutes (+39.0 per 100)
Parker, Hill, Neal, Bonner, Blair +9 in 40 minutes (+16.5 per 100)

The Pick


The Spurs will be playing a back to back tonight, but I suspect that in this instance, Coach Pop could play just about everybody. Full participation and another loss could be cause for concern, especially if the defense continues to struggle.

  • junierizzle

    4 on 5 my foot. If you want to blame someone blame Ghill for losing the ball. The game was theres. All they had to do was hold onto the ball. Worst case is SPURS miss on that possession and Rockets have to launch desperation 3s. SPURS could have just closed it out easily.

    Trade TP? I don’t think so.

    And people can blame it on POP all they want. You can totally question his rotations. I myself don’t know why he won’t play SPLITTER but these this loss ain’t his fault. He didn’t turn the ball over. TP, TD and Manu did. Manu was the one that didn’t shoot the ball in time in regulation. Ghill was the one that lost the ball. TD was the one who threw the ball right to a ROcket.

  • TD = Best EVER

    And it was POP that put together a team that CANT PLAY DEFENSE……. and it was also POP that decided to not make any moves before the deadline…… So we need more Defense…… and he plays Bonner 25 min……. sorry but you are wrong it is ALL HIS FAULT…… Bonner can’t play D…… if we need MORE D than we need LESS Bonner…….. it should take Einstein to see that…….

  • spursgermany

    In God We trust
    D will be there on Dday(Playoffs)!!

    Pop BY NOW KNOWS he just have to yell at all of them and remind them the Fundamentals and endlich mal choose between Bonner and Splitter

  • spursgermany

    from Fran Blinebury,that summarizes our actual struggles and lacks of everything!!!!!

    “It’s not just that the Spurs have come undone in the win column after running 57 victories in the first 4 ½ months of the season. It’s the way they’ve come UNGLUED, MAKING MENTAL MISTAKESmaking mental mistakes, NOT EXECUTING LATEnot executing late,LOSING THE CLOSE GAMES THAT WE ALWAYS TRADITIONALLY WIN losing the close games that they have traditionally owned.”

  • spursgermany

    i did not watch the game, because of Prayer Night!!
    it will take some Amazing Ggggggrace!!

  • MSteele

    @TD=Best EVER
    “Then this summer – TRADE TP like you should have this year…….. he can’t defend any PG in this league and he is the ONLY player that we can get equal value from……..Atlanta still needs a PG……And we can go back and get Gee/Temple back to add some youth and athleticism to our lineup next year…… Might even be ablt to con someone in to taking RJ/Parker Combo to unload that bad deal……..”
    Wow I didn’t read the rest of the comments to see if that was a joke but are you kidding me. Tony Parker, the man who carries our offense for huge parts of the game and “he can’t defend PGs, huh???” Lowry had 14 pts 5 ass, Tony had 31pts 6 ass 2stls. Tony’s a top 5 PG in this league regardless of what anyone says.

  • MSteele

    Wow this is one of the biggest overeactions to a losing streak, I’ve ever seen. Last year Boston went 25-25 after Christmas, it was down to sheer boredom of the long regular season. I have absolutely no doubt this Spurs team will ‘bring it’ to the post season party.

    Some people were saying we’re first round cannon fodder, are you f*cking kid me, seriously?? How about we base our opinions on the whole season and not just 6 frickin games, Holy Jesus the Lakers had a four game losing streak earlier in the season, did they panick?? No they just kept playing and the game came to them, which is what our guys need to do – just let the game come to them. We may not win it all but I will take our roster over any other roster, except LA, in the West. We’re one of 5 teams capable of winning it all.

    And to the guy who said why didn’t we trade for Perkins – well thats down to four things mainly:
    1. OKC could give Green, we could give nobody of worth to the Celts.
    2. Bos wouldn’t trade a quality player to us, who would make us a lot better defensively
    3. Bos wouldn’t trade a quality player to us, who would make us a lot better defensively
    4. Bos wouldn’t trade a quality player to us, who would make us a lot better defensively
    Do you honestly think if we had a chance to get Perk our FO would not try to, Jeez there’s some deluded people out there.

  • MSteele

    Guys Pop is one of the best coaches in this league, I know he’s made a lot of mistakes recently but cut him some slack, it is afterall only the regular season.
    It’s strange as to why he ain’t playing Splitter but I think he is gaining Pop’s trust. Pop has started playing him minutes in games were at the start of the season he would have got a DNP-CD, so we’re making progress on that front but I would rather Blair got more minutes to. I’ve noticed lately that Bonner has been taking some of Blairs minutes but what Blair does can be relied upon moreso than Bonners outside shooting. I would rather see Blair get his shot blocked a ton of times than see Bonner play passive and shoot only when he has ‘clearance of take off’
    I would like to see a rotation of
    Timmy – 30/35
    Dice – 15/20
    Blair – 15/20
    Split – 20/25
    Bonner/Novak – remaining time based on situations
    but it doesn’t really matter what I want because this isn’t gonna happen, it will probably just stay the same, with maybe Split getting an extra 2/3 mins in the playoffs

  • chromao

    This season suddenly turned into a complete disaster. Six losses in a row (and counting)? Not ever in the Duncan era this has happened. Is it not that the opponents are elite teams: Portland, Memphis all Houston all have already lost more than thirty games (houston is even out of the playoffs! Denver lost 29 games). It is also not that we played with a depleted roster all six games.

    One sugestion: forget about advanced scouting for each game until we win one, and open just one topic “The Colapse” so we all can vent our opinions in one place.

    My ten predictions for the rest of the regular season and playoffs:

    1) This morning, Matt Bonner instructed his agent to rent a summer house in Jamaica for the month of MAY – CHECK
    2) Richard Jefferson is renting the house next door – CHECK
    3) RC Buford suspended the embroidering of a banner with the text “Southwest Champion 2011” until further notice; Also supended the order of 10.000 caps with the same text – DONE AND DONE
    4) The losing streak will reach double figures – POSSIBLE
    5) We are not reachin 60 wins – PROBABLE
    6) All oponents will surpass the 100-point plateau – CONSIDER IT DONE
    7) Oponents will surpass 25 points each quarter and surpass 30 points at least two quarters each game – VERY POSSIBLE
    8) LA Lakers will go undefeated all the way , consolidate HCA and not even bother to “load both barrels” against us April 12th – PROBABLE
    9) Spurs will face Portland in the 1st round, the most difficult matchup besides LA, an oponent that basicaly has swept us in 09-10 and this season (our lone victory early in the season does not count beacuse they were actually depleted) – PROBABLE
    10) During that said series, Gerald Wallace will comment that, once he knew he was going to be traded , he hoped it would be to San Antonio, that he respected the Spurs organization, that he could envision himself fitting well in our system, etc. etc. – VERY LIKELY

  • Bankshot21

    So much for Dallas helping us. Lol.

    We may lose 2 more…and I’m fine with that. As long as we are the ones giving the Lakers that 21st loss.

    I do want the 1 seed. It does matter. NOLA is going to drop to 8 and that should only go 5 games max. Meeting Memphis would be a tougher more grueling series even though it can also be won in 5 games (6 the more likely figure). Let’s go 4-2 and make it easier on ourselves. I’m not bashing anyone. There’s enough critics on here. Let’s salvage the rest.

  • TD = Best EVER

    @ chromao

    +10000 One of the Best post I have read here since I started posting……… During Worlds……..

    @ MSteele

    If you read my post it says nothing about TP Offense which has improved VASTLY….. It’s his D that sucks…… and Lowry had an off night missing several easy layups and shots….. He also got anywhere he wanted to on the court allowing others to get open shots off his penetration…… So the box score doesn’t do him justice…… You might wanna try watching the games…….

  • Titletown99030507d


    “Wow this is one of the biggest overeactions to a losing streak, I’ve ever seen.”

    What are you kidding me? It’s so close to the playoffs, that practically every game for us is a playoff game for us in regards to HCA. This is it man, what we are doing now is what we are going to do in the playoffs. Just because the word “playoffs” means another season doesn’t mean all the bad habits , bad rotations, lack of confidence, and poor execution play is going to disappear in one day. Yeah 6 game losing streak is nothing to sneeze at this team has problems. First starting with the leader (Pop) he used to be a great coach but what has he done for us lately? People change and sometimes for the worse. It’s a shame he is going to be remembered after getting 4 trophies to just melt down and waste the last legitimate championship season for Timmy. Now if he turns this around and wins then it solidifies his place in history as a great coach in my opinion. Having the stigma of failing in his last shot especially if you showed the entire league from the start to the last part of the season the success he was having just to piss it away is something people will always remember. Kinda like the Buckner thing in Boston God bless his soul. The players play hard and make some mistakes but its the coach who has to make adjustments instead of letting it ride. It’s so uncharacteristic of Pop to making these kind of adjustments that make no sense. Look at the rotations he’s putting down in the meat of the games they just have no use for this team and it makes people like Manu, Tony, and Timmy try harder to make up for inadequate adjustments making them fall in to the trap of making mistakes. It’s kinda like “I gotta put this on my shoulders because this rotation ain’t working.” They have no say so in what Pop does or say, its like one of the posters said they’re just puppets in a puppet show. It’s the puppet master.

  • Titletown99030507d


    “Pop BY NOW KNOWS he just have to yell at all of them and remind them the Fundamentals and endlich mal choose between Bonner and Splitter”

    The majority chooses Splitter.

  • betsyduncan

    Vielleicht haben Sie recht, @Spurgermany. But I still contend that I’d rather have Bonner in there for freethrows (over Splitter) in late game situations.
    C’mon, Spurs, set the Suns on Sunday! Get back some of your confidence and mojo!