A bicycle is an ordinary everyday object, but to New Orleans Hornets head coach Monty Williams, a bicycle was the San Antonio Spurs, and the Hornets were the person who could not defend the bicycle.
“We couldn’t guard a bike if we were riding it tonight. It was unpleasant to watch our guys allow that much penetration over and over again.”
There’s a reason Williams wasn’t happy with his defense on Saturday evening in the AT&T Center, his team allowed the Spurs to score 128 points, shoot 61% from the field, and win by 25-points, as the Spurs extended their winning streak to 10-games, 128-103.
“They have shooting, they space correctly,” said Williams, “they execute out of timeouts.”
Shooting wasn’t a problem for this Spurs team as they shot 50% (9-of-18) from behind the arc, 81% from the free throw line, passed for 31-assists, and kept their turnovers at their season average (13).
“Defensively, they knew what we were running, they took us out of our stuff.” Continued Williams, “That Spurs team is about as complete as any team I’ve seen.”
Williams was right, the Spurs held the Hornets to 47% shooting, and only four Hornets players were able to score in double figures, but most of those points came in garbage time.
“Point guard play, they have the guards, they have four or five guys who can run pick-and-roll.” Said Williams, “they have a post option in Tim and Splitter, they space the floor well, and Pop has those guys ready to play.”
Tony Parker only played 16 minutes, but he collected six assists in the limited action. Backup point guard Patty Mills (14 points) was a big part of the win, as the team went on an 18-3 run sparked by Mills’ energy to blow open the game in the second quarter.
Manu Ginobili (14 points) and Gary Neal (13 points) also produced against New Orleans as they both shot over 60% in the game off of the bench. In fact, every Spurs player in uniform scored five or more points in the route.
Williams mentioned Duncan and Splitter, they both controlled the paint as Duncan lead the team in scoring with 19 points, while Splitter lived at the free throw line where he made more free throws (4) than field goals (3) for his 10 points.
“We just did not stop them,” said Hornets center Jason Smith, “flat out at all.”
Smith was correct because his team allowed San Antonio to score more than 27 points in every quarter. The Spurs had 72 points by halftime, and their bench set a season high record in the NBA with 82 points. The Spurs also had six players score in double figures.
With the win, the Spurs have taken over the number one seed in the NBA as the Oklahoma City Thunder (40-15) were defeated by the Indiana Pacers earlier on Saturday, allowing the Spurs move to 39-14 on the season, and holding the tie breaker over the Thunder.
The Spurs improve to 22-4 at home, and will have practice on Saturday before playing the Utah Jazz on Sunday. The Spurs have now scored more than 107 points in five of their last six games, while they also own the only two double digit winning streaks this season in the NBA.
“I heard coach tell us they’ve been averaging 115 points,” said The Hornets’’ leading scorer Eric Gordon (31 points), “I mean that’s crazy.”
But Gordon knows why the Spurs can score so much and win, “They play fast,” said Gordon, but he also mentioned one more key detail about San Antonio, “and they play smart.”
Is anyone else troubled by/curious about Splitter's limited minutes lately? Dude only logged 11 in a blowout last night, Diaw got twice that.
When games are close he sits, when they are blowouts he sits. I wonder why? Lingering back problems or is it something else?
My theory is that Pop plans to go small ball in the playoffs (again) to spread the floor around Duncan. Splitter will be used mainly to spell Duncan when he needs a breat so he is trying to work out his playoff rotations right now.
I'm not really worried about it because I trust Pop, but if we play the Grizz, Lakers or to a lesser extent the Rockets we may need both Splitter and Duncan to be productive. Seems like blowouts would be a good time to get him some run, and we are almost assured a series against one of these teams.
Anyway, just curious if anyone else has noticed this?
OK, the spurs won against the hornets but they are NOT playing defense as they used to. They were allowing the hornets to take a shot and it went down to who makes more baskets. Diaw, Jackson and Mills are having their day to practice with the team. It gives them some physical conditioning in time for the championship run. Will they seeded #1? Who cares. But homecourt advantage would be good. Go Spurs! With just 13 games, 3 against the lakers, 2 against the jazz and 1 against the dangerous grizzlies, they are not expected to win all.
@rtesoro440 I agree completely. Our defense is actually pretty bad. We're relying too much on our offense. I mean once we get going, it's difficult to stop us. BUT in the playoffs, this won't fly. I mean look at the game versus Beantown the other day. We got completely discombobulated. They turned up their defense and our offense couldn't execute anything. We kept shooting 3 after 3.. it's like the saying goes, "You live by the 3, you die by the 3." And it wasn't our defense that saved us. They just couldn't make a bucket. Guys on their squad were missing shots they normally make. That's what scares me about the spurs team this year. There is way too much of an emphasis on offense and our defense is at best mediocre. And the size deficiency is still there, it will catch up to us when we play LA or the Grizz.. those are the 2 teams I'm most worried about. I'm as excited as all of you guys, but I think we would lose our match-ups versus bigger teams who are solid defensively. OKC doesn't worry me b/c they play the same style we do, except more haphazardly, with lots of turnovers. It's basically one-on-one basketball with them. Either Harden, KD, or Westbrook will attack you.. no depth in my opinion. What do y'all think?
@jayt6 @rtesoro440 for defense you need elite defensive players, aside from Kawhi and Timmy we don't have any elite defenders and Kawhi is just a rookie and well Tim is well past his prime. While Jack is an upgrade over RJ he's not like Luol Dang or Lebron or Bruce on the defensive end. That's the reality at the moment and we have a really bad center on the defensive end in Blair, once playoff starts maybe Pop will start Tiago next to Timmy, although that line up hasn't played together all year long, I don't know if they'll be to adjust once playoffs come.
Reality is, it's not for lack of effort, as players get a little bit more time, we'll become a little bit better, but don't expect us to go into the playoffs playing stifling defense. Also our defense is not "abysmal" it's just average. The Suns defense was abysmal, our defensive and offensive numbers are pretty much like OKC and both teams have shown, they have what it takes to win series. Don't also underestimate our pace, it's a lot faster than it used to be that's why we're giving up more points than before, I do believe we are so stacked and talented on the offensive end that we can win series playing average defense and great offense.
@rtesoro440 You just can't win that way. Look at the talented phoenix suns teams of the mid 2000s. They were stacked and could light you up every single night. But they repeatedly lost to our spurs, who MO was defense. That's why I'm so scared this year. Expectations are high, but we can't ignore the abysmal D.
every spurs player played at least 10 minutes, and nobody played more then 25 minutes, that is pure balance!
correction though guys, parker didnt get 11 assists, he got 6 assists.