The night ended with San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich commenting on assistant coach Ime Udoka’s shoes, Spurs’ Stephen Jackson informing the media of his dinner plans, the team releasing forward Josh Powell, the team picking up options on Kawhi Leonard and Cory Joseph; and Danny Green discussing how the Spurs are preparing for the opening season next week.
Yes, all of that happened in one night.
In their preseason finale, the Spurs used a dominant defensive second half to defeat the Washington Wizards 100-85 on Friday in the AT&T Center in a game in which the Spurs once trailed by as many as 13 points.
Following the media interviews, the team announced that it had waived Powell, and picked up the third-year options on Leonard and Joseph that will keep them in silver and black at least until the 2013-2014 season.
Tim Duncan, Jackson, Tony Parker, Leonard, Green, and Patty Mills all scored in double figures, but it was a tale of two halves as the Spurs’ defense was the fuel behind the offense that outscored the Wizards 26-2 in fast break points.
Here’s the rundown of the preseason finale.
First Quarter: Spurs 21, Wizards 25
Player of the quarter: Tim Duncan (16 points) and Leonard (11 points) combined for nine points in the first quarter even though the Spurs looked out of rhythm early in the quarter. At one point, the Wizards built an eight point lead as combination of A.J. Price and Trevor Booker continued to score from inside the paint. After a Leonard 4-0 run, the Spurs maintained the trail of four points.
Play of the quarter: Leonard had a back-to-back play sequence late in the first quarter. First, he drove through the Wizards and finished a layup using the Euro-step, and then he was the recipient of a Parker (14 points) alley-oop.
Second Quarter: Spurs 47, Wizards 50
Player of the quarter: After Matt Bonner and DeJuan Blair struggled to defend the paint in allowing Jan Vesely to score 11 points and build a 13-point lead for the Wizards, Duncan and Parker returned to the game and helped trim the Wizards lead. By half Duncan and Parker had combined for 21 points, and what was even more interesting was watching Leonard be the third scoring option in the lineup.
Play of the quarter: On one play in the second, Parker used a spin move to evade two Wizards defenders and finish with the underhand lay-up. The play made Jackson (16 points) cheer from his seat and throw out his arm with his towel.
Third Quarter: Spurs 74, Wizards 66
Player of the quarter: After the third quarter got off to a slow start, it was a Danny Green (10 points) air ball that changed the momentum of the game. Green shot an air ball on a forced shot, and on the following possession he made a 3-pointer in transition. Green scored eight points the quarter and his team followed his lead as the Spurs reclaimed the game for the first time since the first quarter.
“We approached it (the game) like it was a regular season game,” said Green after the game. “We wanted to shake the rust off before the regular season starts.”
Defense – The team defense held the Wizards to 16 points in the third quarter and it propelled the Spurs to close the quarter on a 9-0 run and take an eight point lead into the final quarter.
Fourth Quarter: Spurs 100, Wizards 85
Player of the quarter: Carrying over the momentum from the third quarter, Jackson brought the same energy and production to the fourth quarter as the Spurs’ lead continued to grow while Jackson scored his 16th point of the game.
“With Gino (Manu Ginobili) out, it was my opportunity to be aggressive” said Jackson of his night in which he shot 50% from the field and visited the free throw line three times.
The Spurs would hold the lead for the remainder of the game as the starters played an abundance of minutes and Mills (10 points) began firing away in the final minutes.
The Spurs will open the regular season next week as they visit the new-look New Orleans Hornets on the road, then they’ll fly back home to host the Oklahoma City Thunder the following night.
The Blair-Bonner front court
When the second quarter started, the Spurs were only down 25-21 with Blair and Bonner manning the front court. When they were subbed out with less than eight minutes remaining, they were down 40-29. The Wizards outscored them 15-8 in a matter of about four minutes. You can’t read too much into these numbers since its preseason basketball, but when Vesely continued to score at will on Blair and Bonner, one could infer that this probably wouldn’t be a good lineup to use in future situations.
Locker room notes
· In his short post-game interview, coach Popovich mentioned “Ime Udoka’s shoes” as something that caught his attention.
· In the locker room, Jackson informed the media that he and Gary Neal were going to go eat at Pappadeaux after the game and he mentioned that his upcoming album will be released at a later date, but his single with Kevin Durant will be released on October 30th on Itunes.
I think that our big man issues are real, if you go and check some of these post on other topics bonner and blair are the two i have been complaining about the most, and mostly because of their defense. matt bonner shouldn't be afraid to shoot the 3 but he's hesitating (at least late last year and into the playoffs), passing up or pump fakes and drives misses that floater that I see him work on in their practice videos. I'm a huge dejuan blair fan, but his attitude gets to me and if he could some how channel his inner Malik Rose and learn how to defend and rebound against bigger guys than I think he might have to go. Tiago Splitter had his chances last year to defend the paint in the playoffs and I think it was obvious especially against the Thunder that he wasn't ready for that. I'm hoping there's something he could take from that and get better but if there's not much change in his defensive game (he was never known for his defending when he played overseas) than I'm afraid we should really be looking for a backup center.
hmm here's a thought...
last season we didn't lose cause of big men issues, 2 seasons ago maybe but not last season. We were pretty good for the most part and could have won Western Conference finals if a few things went our way, but I don't think people crying about big men realize that Durant and James and wade are all in their prime, not sure trading tony parker for a "quality" big man whatever that maybe is going to have any effect whatsoever on us competing against them. Our best shot is for Leonard to play at a border All-star level, and as long as we have Tim Duncan our front court will be just fine.
I'm sorry but some of y'all are overreacting way too much and way too early. I've been a long time reader of Project Spurs, and I've got to say, these are probably the most pessimistic comments I have seen on an article. There is a time and a place where we can be pessimistic but now is not the time because like jojo707 said, the season hasn't even started yet. I understand we need size, but if guys like Curry, Powell, and Brown couldn't make the team, there's most likely good reasons behind why they got waived. I'm sure we can do better than the camp hopefuls. If the front office can pull off a trade like they did last season with the Jefferson/Jackson swap, I'm sure they can do it again. Also, there are going to be players waived throughout the season (a few of them being big men who might actually be better than the ones the Spurs recently waived). And finally, let's not forget that some of our guys will improve (Splitter and Leonard finally had a full training camp, for goodness sake). Can we give this team a chance please before we start judging them? Thank you. (By the way, if you decide to reply to me, be sure to keep it classy and respectful. Rememer, this is a Spurs site, not a Lakers or Mavs site.)
Why should the Spurs be waiting for players to be waived by other teams? If these players are good, then why waive them them?. Like I said, there might be something wrong with recruiting philosophy of the team or coach Pop, the rest of the coaching staffs and GM Buford and Mr. Holt have some problems in signing big men to fill the interior. Please give me a better reason, if you have. For so long they have not filled up the slot but took in players who stand 6'3" - 6'5".
@rtesoro440 There are going to be some good players that won't fit a team's system or might want a change of scenery and will eventually get waived. It pretty much happens every season. The Spurs can then try and go after those players. But that's not the only way. The Spurs can still trade for a big guy. There's plenty time before the February deadline. With Kawhi Leonard poised to have a breakout season, that will make Jackson expendable. I would hate to see Captain Jack go but his expiring contract can help make a trade work. I would like to see the Spurs go after Kenyon Martin (he's still a free agent, believe it or not), but he's asking for too much money.
Come on guys ! We haven't yet started the season. Trades will begin happening in the next 3 weeks and we'll see. We didn't lose in theplayoff because of post size. We could defend 4 long armed athletes. Perkins did nothing, Nazi did nothing. Collison (6'10") and Ibaka were the problem. Normally Blair destroys these guys, but we had no inner defense on slashers. Brown would have maybe helped, but JaMychal Green can be brought up from Austin, when he learns the system to fill that role. What would really help is D Green and Kawhi expanding. their games. Last night Green and Kawhi showed someplay making ablilities.Let's see how this plays out before we give up. Go back to last year and see what was said here baout the team and how hopeless we all were about no BIG added and how we got destroyed by the Griz with there size. Miami won with a 6'9" center who doesn't shoot or defend PnR.. Brown will likely be available, as maybe a number of thletic guys with an average mid range shot. Also remember when we got Diaw, Jackson, Mills. It was very late. Give Pop time to see how DG and KL grow before knowing what we need.
@jojo707And you were waiting for the season to start and trade? They had all the chances in the world to trade. In fact, the Spurs could have signed some of the free and agents and signed some guys during the camp but, they didn't. If one would try to understand the hiring philosophy of the team, he will go wacko. There seem to be no logic or rule they follow.
@jojo707 Slow down I dont see Lebron or Wade on this team...
I don't understand what our plan is. We had some good players come thru camp and get cut. Eddy Curry put up 11pts 7rebs and 3blks in 25 minutes for the mavs tonight. We let Powell go and Green as well. Are we trying to win a championship or not? A starting lineup of Duncan/Powell or Duncan/Curry is better than Duncan/Diaw. I don't like Diaw. Brown would have been better than Diaw. Richards would have fitted and we still have that final spot maybe they bring him in. I don't know our direction. We could make a deal where we trade Patty Mills and Blair to get some size. Mills is good but we have too much depth at the guard spot. I'm not against trading Joseph as well. We need size and had size and we waived it all.
@mrgodwin15 but did you see what byron mullins did to curry? 16 points, 19 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal. im glad curry is gone especially, dude is a defensive dud.
Well mullins did go 8 for 25 to get 16pts but he had 8 off rebounds so I can see where you coming from. Bottomline is we got to do something. I liked Curry for a safety blanket if Duncan or splitter go down. I would liked to have seen Duncan and Splitter start and have Blair and Curry come off the bench. Just to try something cause I am not too confident in what we have now. Curry alongside a good defensive player might work or even having Powell
@mrgodwin15 @JohnAbney you guys are right on Curry but when the spurs play teams with a large front court duncan and splitter go absent so do points in the paint. Curry would have been able to put up those points and that why we had the last playoff losses, We are stuck with an offensive minded team now so we need a big body to bang in the paint, also we havent had a large body to set up the pick and role since Nesterovic
@mrgodwin15 At this point, it seems Patty Mills is our best backup for TP, even better than GN. Trading him is not a good idea. But I'm sure many will disagree. What's going to kill us in the playoffs once again is pop's use of the same methods over and over again. DG, Bonner, Blair, and Tiago will all have excellent seasons, but vanish into thin air at the playoffs. The 3 amigos will cave in, and we'll have a 2nd round exit at the end. It's bound to happen unless PATFO pulls out a rabbit from the hat by the trade deadline.
You are right bout Mills ,but I think we could get more of a return trading him than Neal. I like Mills and feel that he should get more playing time but I know it's not going to happen. I am overseas and don't get a chance to watch the games ,but can you tell me whether or not Splitter has gotten better? If Splitter goes down and I am sure he will we will be hurting. We will have another good season but will fall short. Bonner and Blair has to go and Im not against throwing in Green depending on what we get in return. I like Jackson over Green and Leonard. Leonard plays good defense and is a great rebounder but I don't see him giving us 15pts a night. Tony, Jackson, Leonard could be the starting 1,2,3 with Mills, Manu,Neal as primary backups for the spot and work in Nando
@mrgodwin15 I agree. Ever since I witnessed how Sefolosha shut down TP in the playoffs, I've been convinced that his value is more in a trade, than on the team. Especially if he's used to bring in a quality big. Eventually, that's going to happen I believe. That's why they've been grooming CJ. And DeColo will hopefully turn out to be as good as they say he is.
I don't want to see Tony go ,but you are right. Mills could easly step into the starting guard role. He is as quick as tony if not quicker and is a better shooter. I hope they have some trade in mind thats gonna help us cause with this team we have now I don't see us going to far in the playoffs.
@mrgodwin15 Tiago has improved, but not too much. He's good as TD's backup, but that's about it. He will become an overpriced item particularly starting next season when his contract is up. he looks more comfortable lately, but i dont think hes fully recovered from the Thunder incident last season. The important thing is, we have so many guards stacked up that even if we traded TP for a solid big, our PG position would still be on a contending level. But no, Pop must waist another year on the same Bonner/Blair/Diaw lineup.
What did I tell you? Powell is waived. He is too tall for the Spurs. If he stood 6'3" - 6'5", maybe. Coach Pop and the rest of mgnt like GM Buford and Mr. Hilt are enamored with players who stands 6'3" - 6'5". Bonner and Blair could not match against Vesely and still they were retained. They are useless. Strange, but true.
@rtesoro440 Yea we are going to carry 9 gaurds and a center that is 6'7...WTF happen to the good ol days when we had a real center...The worst part is I'm crying that we lost Curry...
They have had several chances of correcting this deficiency but, they didn't. Can't imagine their recruitment philosophy.
@rtesoro440 It because every big man who is athletic enough is either to pricey or not in the spurs mold, thats why we look like the french national team out their. They could have signed Andray Blatche who is big plays both sides of the court well and got him for very low. Its time to trade parker but all the rest of his countrymen will be lost on the court. Its time to trade manu while he still has value and just let green and neal run the two and parker and mills run the point and get a decent center for what manu makes...
@rtesoro440 HOLT, peter HOLT! blair played 8 minutes and went 3-3 wit ha rebound a steal and an assist. vesley is listed at SF, i didnt get to watch the game ehre in houston but seems leonard was the SF on our team.
My mistake. Yeah. HOLT, a topographic error. Your confidence in Blair is commendable but this is far from consistent. The Spurs are trying to trade him but it is doubted whether there is 1 crazy GM out there to take him and this is true in the case of Bonner. They had the chance to get a big guy, but they didn't. There is no such player as ideal. Of course, they all have some issues. It is the coaching staffs duty to improve/change a guy. That's why they are there. Perhaps,you may have noticed the inclination of the Spurs to take in 6'3" - 6'5" guys. In fact they have 8 players now with that height. Time and again I said that the game of basketball is for giants. Remember last time's draft, they drafted Denmon a 6'3" guy. When will coach Pop, GM Buford and Mr. Holt accept that height is might. Place Parker against Howard and see who comes out winner
@rtesoro440 Powell looked like Crap tonight, and from where I was sitting wasn't communicating very well with the rest of the defense.