San Antonio Spurs 104, Golden State Warriors 93: Death, taxes and Tim Duncan double-doubles
AT&T CENTER — As the San Antonio Spurs continue to roll on without their MVP candidate Tony Parker, most recently beating the Golden State Warriors 104-93 on Wednesday night, Gregg Popovich and Co…
Who am I kidding? I haven’t seen a game in two weeks. The last time I saw the silver and black play, Cory Joseph starting at point guard for the San Antonio Spurs was still a novelty. It’s almost like a new season for me. Although, much like a player making his first appearance in several weeks, the game is a little too quick for me right now; I’m out of practice.
For the Spurs, they’re in limbo right now. As the playoffs grow closer they’d like to be fine tuning what was a well-oiled machine, but the absence of Parker prohibits them from doing so. Instead, they’re doing what they can to tread water in the standings while preparing for a postseason run.
That the team can continue to piece together wins against playoff-caliber opponents while missing their main offensive cog speaks well to the system in place (duh) and the ability of players like Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard to step up at a moment’s notice (probably also a duh).
On this night, it was Duncan’s turn to shine. Going against Golden State’s big man tandem of David Lee and Andrew Bogut, Duncan controlled the interior en route to 25 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and four blocked shots. Bogut was the victim of the majority of Duncan’s blocks, including one in the first half where the Aussie looked to have a big dunk coming until Duncan swatted it away.
While David Lee was abused as much as Bogut, the presence of Duncan and Tiago Splitter managed to harass the Warriors power forward into a 4-of-17 shooting night.
“They are a good one-two combo,” Lee said postgame.
But it wasn’t just defensively where Duncan carried the load. Clinging to a 92-88 lead with 3:21 left, Duncan hit a running hook shot across the lane after some beautiful ball movement from the Spurs. Duncan then got an offensive rebound on the next offensive possession and ended up hitting a 16-foot jumper from the left wing. On the following trip down the floor, Duncan got a layup at the rim after Boris Diaw stole a rebound from David Lee.
After the flurry from Duncan, the Spurs had a 10-point lead with just over two minutes remaining and the majority of the drama had exited the AT&T Center.
“He’s just unbelievable,” Splitter said after the game. “He’s figuring out how to play great at his age. It’s not easy, he’s not the same guy he was 10 years ago.”
No slouch himself, Splitter finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists for the Spurs.
“When the attention we have to show Duncan, it makes Splitter’s job that much easier,” Lee said. “Tim is one of the best to play the game, if not the best, and I have a lot of respect for him as a player.”
While Duncan produced the gaudy stat line for the Spurs, it was Ginobili who paced the team with the playmaking and control that San Antonio sometimes misses with Tony Parker out. Manu shot just 5-of-16 from the field, but scored 16 points and handed out seven assists.
Always in love with a big shot, back-to-back 3s from Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard finished off the Warriors shortly after Duncan’s six-point barrage gave the team some breathing room.
“Manu is a Hall of Fame kind of player,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said later. “You expect it from him and he gives it to you.”
The Spurs pieced together another victory on Wednesday night with a combination of timely shooting, lucky bounces and solid defense. They also got yet another standout performance from arguably the best big man of my generation. No matter how many games I miss, it seems some things don’t change.