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