The San Antonio Spurs barely escaped the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night in a 99-97 contest at the AT&T Center. The Spurs were without Tony
Parker and Manu Ginobili while the Hawks sat Al Horford and Josh Smith.
This gave San Antonio a huge advantage in the paint with Tim Duncan playing against Atlanta's reserves and he didn't disappoint with a 31 point and 14 rebound night. The rest of the team was a disappointment however. Duncan shot 12-21 field goals in this game and Kawhi Leonard chipped in 7-10 for 23 points, but everyone else wasn't close to those statistics in overall shots taken with shots made. The team also shot 20% (3-15) from the 3-point arc, a reason why the team had to lean so heavily on Duncan for the entire game. Head coach Gregg Popovich wasn't too pleased with the outing from his team either.
"In general, other than Timmy, in a lot of ways it was a pathetic performance." said Popovich. "It's not the first time we've played like that in the last few weeks. This team needs to get its head around itself and understand what it takes to be there because as a group, they don't have it right now."
The Spurs have been struggling and the recent injuries to the team hasn't helped either. Popovich has a reason to be frustrated though because the Spurs have played sharp with their second and third units this season and haven't come close to repeating those performances during this stretch.
The team has been relying on 36 year old Tim Duncan like the team did 10 years ago and we don't know how long he can keep this up at his age. The team definitely needs to step up and give him rest where the majority of the games in the playoffs are every other day with little rest in between. With Tony Parker possibly limping into the playoffs and Manu Ginobili's status unknown as to when he'll return, the Spurs need to afford Duncan some rest and that will only come with improved chemistry. If the team can't start playing smarter and more effective, the depth of this time won't matter in the long run.