El Conclusion: Portland Trail Blazers 115, San Antonio Spurs 105

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San Antonio Spurs 105 Final
Recap | Box Score
115 Portland Trail Blazers
Tim Duncan, PF 31 MIN | 12-23 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 24 PTS | -8

This will be the first of many times this season where the words the day off seemed to do Tim Duncan some good are hammered out on a keyboard. Duncan wasn’t the primary offensive charge — that, as usual, was Tony Parker — but Duncan played the role of finisher well. He found space for 18-foot jump shots, created passing lanes for Parker down low and even found himself with a put-back dunk.

Kawhi Leonard, SF 26 MIN | 4-9 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | -11

The “Kawhi Leonard for All-Star” train had trouble gaining steam three games into the year. Not to say that he’s been bad, that’s not true at all, but there have been hiccups. As he’s trying to find his place as a primary offensive option, Leonard seems a beat or two slower in his decision making than normal. The regular season is a long process, though, and Leonard and the Spurs have time.

Tiago Splitter, C 18 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -4

Splitter wasn’t bad in the loss to the Blazers, but he wasn’t much of a positive either.

Tony Parker, PG 33 MIN | 7-20 FG | 3-5 FT | 5 REB | 9 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 17 PTS | -5

Like I said after opening night against Memphis, Parker is much more efficient offensively when he’s in rhythm. Three games in and TP is still looking to get in sync. Otherwise, Parker had 9 assists and led the Spurs offense well.

Danny Green, SG 17 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0

I’m two games away from photoshopping Icy Hot’s face on the side of a milk carton.

Aron Baynes, PF 7 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -1

Baynesie looked okay in his seven first half minutes. As Mike Monroe pointed out on Twitter last night, that’s two games in a row that Baynes cracked Gregg Popovich’s rotation.

Jeff Ayres, PF 8 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-1 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | -2

Like Baynes, Ayres only got a few minutes against Portland, but put in a solid shift. I get the impression that Ayres will have a larger role in San Antonio’s rotation as he gets more comfortable in the system.

Boris Diaw, PF 31 MIN | 6-7 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | -5

Catch-and-shoot Bobo continued his newfound offensive aggressiveness in Portland. This is also a contract year for Diaw. Coincidence? You never can tell.

Patty Mills, PG 15 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -5

Mills was again the first, and only, point guard off the bench for Coach Pop. For a guy with “erratic” defense, Mills does an excellent job of being a pest. He’s quick enough to get in the way at the last moment, as evidenced by drawing a high speed charge on Damian Lillard in transition. Only three shots on the #PattyMillsShotCount Saturday night, though, which is kind of disappointing.

Manu Ginobili, SG 26 MIN | 5-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 11 PTS | -7

5-for-12 shooting from the floor probably speaks more to Ginobili playing the second night of a back-to-back at the age 36 years old than anything the Trail Blazers did defensively.

Marco Belinelli, SG 27 MIN | 8-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 19 PTS | -2

Plenty of nights this season will pass with nary a mention of Marco Belinelli, but Saturday night in Portland was one of those where everything clicked for Italian Ice. Belinelli tossed in shots from a variety of ways. He ran the floor aggressively and found some easy baskets in transition, he sank fallaway 3s that won’t go down most nights and attacked the rim within the friendly confines of the Spurs system. This will be one of the highlights of the season for Belinelli.

Gregg Popovich

Down the stretch, Gregg Popovich opted to go with Marco Belinelli instead of Kawhi Leonard. You can’t argue with Belinelli’s offensive production on this night, but in a game where the Spurs were searching for stops on the defensive end, Leonard could’ve done some good. Perhaps utilizing Leonard instead of Ginobili in the game’s final few minutes could’ve gotten the Spurs over the hump, but it’s a long season that’s more about process than results.

Two Things We Saw

  1. There was a play in the first half when LaMarcus Aldridge drove to the lane and bowled over Aron Baynes, who slid over at the last moment to take a charge. Baynes was clearly outside the circle, but one could argue that Aldridge was already leaving the floor. It was a close call to be sure, but for the refs to huddle together and decide to call a double foul was egregious. Forgive me for being juvenile, but reach down and find a pair. Make a call one way or the other and live with the consequences.
  2. A 116.9 defensive rating, as San Antonio posted on Saturday night, is not one that will win you many games on the road, that’s for sure.


  • Titletown99030507d

    I’m not too keen on seeing Timmy miss a butt load of shots in the first half only to make up for them in the 2nd half. Seems like if he’s not on early on let the other scorers in the action. Timmy’s top of the key shot as the primary is getting old. I want too see more kawhi going to the rim as well as “where is Danny Green?” going to the rim as well.
    We can’t expect to see Timmy and Tony shoot from the outside and make the bulk of the points night in night out. That’s just not going to work in the overall scheme of things.
    As good as Tiago is on the PNR and getting open, dishing out great passes on assists at this point I’d rather see him play with the second unit when Timmy is not on the floor going 3 – 10 or whatever it is. I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again Tiago get’s better as the game progresses. His 18 minutes is laughable. He needs to play 28+ minutes to get the kind of game we all want to see. That’s a fact and that’s life. I think at this point of his career Timmy is truly worn out and slower. 15 -20 good productive minutes for Timmy, 28+ minutes for Tiago, 20-25 Minutes for Diaw, And Baynes needs 15 on a nightly basis to get in rhythm and to improve. Give the some minutes to air ball Ayers as well. Some.
    As for Bonner the great hustler on the boards he needs to shoot and not think or else he’ll be on the chopping block come trade deadline. Oh I forgot he’s in the HEB commercials now he can’t traded. Ridiculous.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Hey Andrew on “two things we saw” you want to talk about calls? How about mentioning the fact that Tiago gets hammered every time he goes to the rim and ends up on the floor and the refs are already on the other side of the court oblivious of what just had transpired on the other end. I’m tired of this crap this dude should be going to the line just about every time he has the ball in the post.

  • Jwill1919

    Maybe if Tiago went to the rim strong instead of trying to up and under everytime, he’s gotten blocked more by PGs than he has Centers. I wouldn’t give him a call either, his shots are blocked below the rim. Grow a pair, I can’t bear to watch this all year long, too many missed chippies.

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  • Titletown99030507d

    I have a pair and probably bigger than yours. Keep watching moron as he gets clobbered every time he gets near the rim with out any sign of a call. Keep watching. BTW I’m tired of Timmy putting up 7-10 shots in the first half only to make 2. Yeah fill up on that. Those other 8 attempts should be going somewhere else. That strategy is old and isn’t going to do them anything in the scheme of things. They need to score elsewhere without having to depend on Timmy and you know it.
    Case in point no Timmy in the Laker game. Tiago 32 min. 14 boards and 9 pts and more if he would have gotten a few calls again under the rim. Get used to it. I call it how I see it. And you should too or else your not watching. Nuf said.