San Antonio Spurs 104, Golden State Warriors 93: Death, taxes and Tim Duncan double-doubles

by

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.

  • jamberg

    Glad to have you back, Andrew.

    Great win. Love how we’ve been able to tree water with out lead without Tony. Truly impressive. Now lets get some revenge on Utah for that Mo Williwams game

  • assistman

    SA created just as space tonight (2.5 games) over OKC as Utah gave up to LAL; I like to think TP will help us get some payback against the glamour dolls in the first round.
    But we’ll need this TD to stand any chance of upsetting the Heat, he’s the only real mismatch we could hope to have in an era when James is the game’s biggest mismatch (maybe on par with MJ and Shaq in that regard). I’d like to see S-Jax playing better these days, because I believe he’ll have to be the critical x-factor versus OKC and MIA in the playoffs.

  • srbeaverotti (fka rj)

    here’s what i think can be gained from parkers abscence, as i was predicting:

    parkers injury has forced duncan to regain his rhythm after his injury earlier this year. tonights game is a perfect example of where he is the last time we played the warriors (pre tp injury) and how he loked tonight. tim duncan wasnt able to challenge the “stingy” position defense of david lee last time around. this time, however he carved him up as well bogut.

    it would appear duncan has found his early season rhythm, and then some.

  • OBI-wan-ginobilli

    I dont know if we realize what we are watching. ho hum…27.5/14.5/3blocks with sprinkled assists 4.5 per game for 3 games…..anyone else this year??? anyone??? looking….no? oh yes lets throw in that he is ridiculously far ahead of EVERYONE on blocks per foul…AND in retrieving his own block. If say…anthony davis or even Kevin Garnett did this for a 3 game stretch…the media would be simply gushing superlatives and doing articles…but EH…its Timmy. Someday after Tim retires and people sit around talking about GOAT’s I want people to discuss GOAT BASKETBALL players. Not athletic freaks of nature that relied on a superhuman gift and as soon as that gift began to wane their numbers fell off the table. I mean JORDAN scoring 40 on back to back games when he WAS 40 yrs old. He couldnt sky and his quickness had gone… but his skills and IQ were still that far ahead. Tim duncan had better be in that conversation. His closest comparable is probably garnett…who is averaging 15-7-and ,8 blocks Tim will post an 18-10-2.5. I watched the BROW jump right over Garnett tonight to tip in the winning shot at the buzzer. That doesnt happen if it’s Tim Duncan. With only Howard and Brook Lopez in that rare air. Howard cant shoot free throws and both lopez and Howard are fouling liabilities. Imagine committing 4.3 fouls a game for a career. You are blocking shots out of bounds so they get another shot and sending your opponents to the free throw line in the bonus. The media calls you great. Bill Russell just rolls his eyes. while Tim is shooting the BEST FT% of his career at 81% to improve himself from last year. Tim has an unheard of 1.5 blocks per foul which is .5 ahead of anyone else in the entire league. Tim also retrieves more of his own blocks as a % then anyone else in the league. His outlet passes are legendary. As a basketball player…only Kobe and Lebron can touch him. As a winner….NO one can touch him

  • merkin

    If Danny Green were a NFL running back, he’d lead the league in fumbles.

  • Andrew G

    To quote Tim after the game: “My jump shot is coming back. It doesn’t feel great,” Duncan said. “So, I’ll take it. I feel healthy, my body feels good and shots are going in.”

    The second complacency kicks in, you’ve already lost. I love that about Tim, never satisfied, never truly happy with his performance; always trying to get better.

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

    Some of us were talking about that in the media room after the game. When’s the last time Tim Duncan said, “Yeah, I think our defense is right where we want it to be”? I’m going to guess somewhere in the neighborhood of never.

  • Sir Timothy

    I am not sure what you mean by “stand any chance of upsetting the Heat” I do not believe that would be an upset. The Spurs are the one team that has multiple advantages over the Heat. Most experts believe that the Spurs would have beaten the Heat last year and I believe they will beat them this year. Just wait for that home game in a week. The Spurs will beat Miami, and it might not even be that close…

    Both teams are better this year – but the Spurs have taken the bigger step.

    I do not mean to sound flippant but Kawhi is our LeBron. He can do everything that LeBron does. Of course Kawhi does it less often and does not need to do it nearly as often as LeBron but he can GUARD LeBron which is a big point.

    And Splitter…what can I say about Splitter? He is the difference. Why so many blocks for Timmy and so few fouls, Give some credit to Splitter! (and to the rest of the defense, too). Of course Timmy is the best player of this generation so that helps!

  • ThatBigGuy

    If he’s moving, all bets are off on a clean catch. CoJo needs to demand the ball on outlet passes more when he and Green share the floor. I cringe every time Green gets the ball on a fast break.

  • ThatBigGuy

    Tim’s recent play is partially a result of Splitter’s improved 1-on-1 post D. Splitter usually takes the better offensive player on D, allowing Timmy to save a little bit of energy, but also serve as a free safety. This is the exact way Tim and Robinson used to work: Dave never had to help Tim 1-on-1, and vice versa, so you always had a shot blocker roaming the paint.

    Splitter isn’t Robinson, by any means, but he allows Tim to play free safety, blocking shots, grabbing boards, and clogging up the lane. This, combined with Splitter soaking up a lot of the punishing 1-on-1 D, lets Tim conserve a little bit more energy on the defensive end. If Tim can conserve 20% of his defensive energy by not having to deal with David Lee heads up all night, he can expend that extra 20% on the offensive end.

    It took us 8 seasons to find a reasonable facsimile of DR, and with the way Splitter’s playing, we finally have that. The Splitter/Duncan relationship is a synergistic one, 1 + 1 = 3. I’m not belittling Tim’s play. He performed an offseason routine that raised his potential to the upper limits of his age. He’s made himself available to be this type of player. Splitter’s presence is helping him reach that potential.

    Because of Splitter, Tim’s responsibilities are less now, which allows him to do more.

  • assistman

    The Heat are the reigning champs, top seed, and are currently looking like one of the all-time great teams. That’s what I mean. MIA also currently has the best player in the sport. I can understand if you like the Spurs chances, but you can’t love their chances, and neither will Vegas. You really want to bet against Miami? My larger point is that we’ll probably need a legendary run from TD, and several breakout games from Jackson when it matters most.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Nail on the head. But what would Timmy’s performance be like late in the game if he was the first big to be subbed? Would he be more rested going into the meat of the game? Would he be even more efficient? I would like to have seen that this season. Maybe next season.

  • Titletown99030507d

    You know the old saying the best player will get his points which we can live with. It’s D Wade Im worried about. If we can make him non existent than Lebron would have to beat us all by his lonesome because their bigs will have their hands full with ours. I just dont see LJ winnig a championship all by himself as was the case in 07.

  • Sir Timothy

    Yes, I would bet on San Antonio. I am not scared of Miami. They are a good team, it is possible that they will show themselves to be a great team. But this Spurs team is pretty special, too.

    Any team but the Spurs loses to the Heat in 5. Who else can match up? OKC? Without Harden there is no OKC. Miami is better than OKC at EVERY POSITION. Give me James and Wade over Durant and West-brick. Give me Bosch over any two players on OKC. Add Ray Allen and Shane Battier and that is a killer 5.

    But the Spurs match up! That is the thing…At the end of the game…Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, Leonard and either Splitter or Green /Jackson if they go small. Can match up with James, Wade, Bosch, Battier and Allen (or other combinations).

    If we play Spurs ball, No fouls and No turnovers then we negate what Miami excels at…

    Now the x-factors: We have Coach Pop! They have the media machine of ESPN/ABC and that means they likely have an advantage with the refs.

    All things equal I take the Spurs. Tell me who the refs are for games 6 and 7 and I will make a Championship prediction…

  • assistman

    Lebron doesn’t just kill you with his scoring, he’s a dangerous passer, rebounder, defender, does everything. S-Jax will have to dial it up. What I said about LBJ also applies to D-Wade. D-Wade will not be non-existent in the Finals, if that’s what you are counting on you should be very worried. And in crunch time those two guys are probably more clutch than anyone on our squad, night in and night out, as much as I like the Gino and the improved TP. Ginobili will have be the Manu of old for a series (to match them) and TP has to deliver it in the playoffs. I haven’t even mentioned Ray Allen. The real key will be if TD dominates without the refs on his side.

  • Bry

    Was Green as SF in college? How does he have no handle?