Tony Parker once again led the San Antonio Spurs to victory on Wednesday as the Spurs defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 100-90 behind Parker’s 37 points and eight assists. The full recap can be found here.
The Bright Side
• Making an All-Star case: As the NBA All-Star reserve rosters are announced tonight, voters have a tough decision on whether or not to include Spurs guard Tony Parker on the roster. Parker has stepped up his game during the absence of Manu Ginobili. In 22 games without Ginobili, Parker is averaging 20.2 points per game. In the month of February, Parker is averaging 28.4 points through five games. During the current six-game winning streak, Parker is averaging 24.5 points per game. And in his last three games combined, Parker has scored 100 total points.
Parker was spectacular against the 76ers as he not only shot 50% from the field, but he also had eight assists, and shot perfect (13-of-13) from the free throw line.
• The Passing “Sniper”: Gary Neal did his job of shooting (4-of-4 from three) and providing scoring off the bench with 18 points, but he also had his second highest assist night of the season with six assists, most of them, going to Tiago Splitter during the pick-and-roll. Tony Parker commented on Neal’s evolution of picking up the point guard role after the game, “I stay on him,” said Parker, “you are our best shooter. But sometimes you need to pass the ball.” Neal’s growing passing ability will only make the Spurs’ offense that much more dangerous as he’s a player that could wreak havoc with a consistent passing and shooting arsenal because of his ability to knock down outside jumpers so consistently.
• In the right place: Splitter sets a pick, rolls, waits a few seconds, then gets the ball in the right place on the floor for points in the paint. Splitter had six points in the second quarter, and six points in the fourth quarter. For the game, he had 15 points overall. Splitter is becoming a machine in the pick-and-roll, and he’ll be even more dangerous when Manu Ginobili returns to the lineup very soon. As Tony Parker had told me last week, he reiterated Wednesday again to the media that he, “loves playing pick and roll with Tiago." on Wednesday.
• Paint domination: One big reason why the Spurs won this game was because of their relentless attack in the paint. The Spurs were 10-of-40 shooting outside of the paint, but inside the paint they were 27-of-32. They outscored Philadelphia 54-38 in the paint.
Room for Improvement
• February air for Jefferson: The month of February has not been kind to Richard Jefferson as he’s only averaging 5.6 points per game, five games into the month, and he’s shooting 36% (5-of-14) from three. During the six game win streak, Jefferson is averaging 6.8 points per game. Against Philadelphia, he went 0-of-4 from the floor, scored one point while Andre Iguodala scored eight points on him in the first quarter. Kawhi Leonard would eventually be called upon to guard Iguodala in the second half, even though his primary assignment was Lou Williams. If Jefferson doesn’t start producing, he might find himself seated next to James Anderson in the future as Ginobili is expected to make his return this Saturday into the rotation.