On Friday night the San Antonio Spurs did something they hadn’t done since March 29 against the Los Angeles Clippers, score over 100 points in a basketball game.
On that Friday evening in their 108-101 victory over the Sacramento Kings, Tony Parker returned from injury and led his team with 22 points and 10 assists. He looked like had regained his speed burst that he had been lacking due to various injuries.
On Sunday in Los Angeles against the Kobe Bryant-less Lakers, Parker again looked like he was missing that extra gear. Parker seemed like he couldn’t quite attack the defense consistently and deferred to passing to teammates in the open court instead of attacking his defender.
The Spurs fell 91-86 Sunday, but Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich didn’t attribute Parker’s 1-of-10 shooting game where he scored four points and handed out eight assists to the injury. Coach Popovich just said Parker just wasn’t playing well.
"It wasn't because he was resting,” said Popovich. “He was playing awful."
Awful was what the entire Spurs team looked the entire night as they shot 37% from the field. Aside from Tim Duncan, Popovich didn’t feel as if any of his players were focused.
"He's really the only guy on the team that played like somebody who wants to win a championship," said Popovich of Duncan, after Duncan led the team with 23 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, and three blocks.
"I thought other than (Duncan),” continued Popovich, “the group was in float mode most of the night."
From the get-go the Spurs and Lakers were an abysmal display of basketball to watch as both teams could score no more than 23 points after the first quarter. By halftime, both teams still had not reached 50 points and both were shooting below 36% from the field.
When quarter three ended, the Spurs and Lakers were tied at 61 apiece, the lack of offense from both teams continued as both squads could only muster 18 points in the quarter while the shooting continued to dip for both to less than 34%. Popovich used the Hack-A-Howard technique in the third to foul Lakers center Dwight Howard (26 points, 17 rebounds, and 3 blocks).
In the fourth quarter however, the Lakers found a spark in their offense provided by Antawn Jamison (15 points) who knocked down three 3-pointers early on in the quarter to help the Lakers stretch their lead to 11 points, but Duncan would continue to fight for his team all the way down to the final two minutes, where he got the lead down to five.
Parker would be benched down the stretch as he said postgame that Popovich felt he just didn’t have the energy. Another notable player who wasn’t given any minutes down the stretch in a close game was Kawhi Leonard who also watched the ending of the game from the bench where he finished with eight points and seven rebounds on 1-of-5 shooting in 33 minutes of play.
Overall, you can’t say that any of the Spurs had a good game as they were all out of flux, especially in their shooting throughout the night. Yes, Duncan scored 23 points, but it took him 22 shots to score those points. Tiago Splitter finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, but even he needed 13 shots for those points. Danny Green scored 16 points, but he too needed 11 shots for those baskets. The man in charge of the bench for now, Gary Neal, finished with 12 points on 5-of-13 shooting.
The Spurs just seemed like a mess on offense throughout the night. Their shot selection was quite questionable and Popovich was even using some new looking lineups like the one time in the second quarter when he had Duncan, DeJuan Blair, and Matt Bonner on the floor and the team was running a 1-3-1 defense.
With releasing Stephen Jackson and the team still waiting on Boris Diaw and Manu Ginobili to return from injury, the entire bench looks like a mess. Bonner had to play small forward for several minutes. Nando De Colo, who had supposedly earned the backup position, saw his minutes given to Cory Joseph in the second half and once again the team could not click on offense and never scored more than 25 points in a quarter.
With the loss, the Spurs fell to 58-22 on the season and 0-6 in their last six road games. The team hasn’t won on the road since February 24th in Phoenix. The team will play a back-to-back on Monday against the Golden State Warriors and it’s unknown who Popovich might possibly rest.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have two games remaining, but just need one game to clinch the number one seed in the Western Conference. That means the Spurs will finish no worse than the number two seed regardless if they win or lose their last two regular season games.
One thing is certain, whether it means resting Parker and Manu Ginobili the final two games or trying to bring them back in either of the games, come the weekend when the Spurs play in their first playoff game, they are going to need both as healthy as possible if they even want to get out of the first round.
The Spurs have sucked over the last 3 weeks, sputtering offense, inconsistently play, losing or barely beating teams that they should blow out. Frankly, they haven't been fun to watch lately. I don't know what the problem is. Injuries don't explain it all. Waiving Jackson the last week of the season makes no sense either. Spurs are better than this, but I haven't seen them play a complete game since the March 11th win over OKC and even that was sandwiched between two baffling blowout losses to Portland and Minnesota.
@JeffProjectSpurs If we meet the Nuggets i wouldn't, but feel like we can have a rematch in WC finals again with the same outcome as last year...we need a real big to complement Duncan!
Honestly, I think this blog is supposed to be here to support our spurs not put them down. It's sad how shallow the people's faith in the spurs are.. Based on the comments below. If you look at the stats for this game, with tony Parker playing well we would have blown thisgame out. Against the best 1-2 punch front line Tim and tiago payed very well both getting double doubles while playing significantly under 40 minutes. Dwight and Pau had to fight for every point and both played almost 40. We still held them to 91 points at 36%. That's good D and is something we need to see more than anything going into the playoffs.. To me, tony was holding back because this month has been more about Tim getting used to being the man and Pop getting a look at who will play in the playoffs and who won't. The team has worked hard for this comfort and I don't think they're bothered. I have faith and expect a very strong healthy team more than ready come day one of the playoffs. Those who don't have faith, maybe you should watch the lakers.
@KrisPittman So because we are honest on what we are seeing we cant comment? Or should we be delusional like most fans and believe the product we see is championship material...I bleed silver and black but will not pretend what i am seeing on the court will get us a ring
The game tonight between the Warriors vs Spurs could be a prelude to the championship wcf. With the way they are playing like amateurs, NO WAY will the Spurs win. Hey, somebody will kill his dog. Who says the Lakers can't win without Kobe? Anyway, here's some suggestions who to sign in free agency - PG Jeff Teague, $4 m or Eric Maynor, $4m in place of the bungling and amateurish De Colo and Joseph; SG - Gerard Henderson, $5m, Kyle Korver, $5, Tony Allen, $5m or Elliot Williams, $2 or Martell Williams, $2m in place of Manu Ginobili; SF - Devin Ebanks, $2m, Omri Casspi, $4m, Chandler Parsons, $1m, Luke Babbit,$2m or Brandon Rush, $4, in place of Jackson; PF/C Andray Blatche, $1m, JJ Hickson $4m, Dexter Pittman, $2m, Ryan Hollins, $1m or Al Jefferson. Consider Varejao, if available via trade. With the savings from the Jakson waiver, retirement of Ginobili and banishment of Blair, Bonner and Mills the
Spurs stand to have about $20m. Will the Spurs do these? With the way they are spending their $, your guess is as good as mine. I am almost sure the Spurs will stick to Manu, Bonner and Mills. Maybe, they will participate in the 2013 draft and sign a "never heard" rookie for a peanut. Are we surprised by the Spurs vs Lakers game result? Ha ha ha, kill your dog!
Ugly is the only word that comes to mind about this game. Timmy wanted to win but the rest just showed up. Tiago needs to attack the basket and forget his european up and under, baby hook stuff...Bonner cannot play defense (Jamison was his man)...Neal seems to have lost his shot...nobody goes to the boards for oofensive rebounds....teams have figured out how to stop TP's penetration. Manu and Diaw not back...Jack gone....Blair gets minutes ...Baynes doesn't play...Mills doesn't play. The future in the palyoffs will tell if there is any heart left! I'm hoping there is...Go Spurs Go!
It was obvious there was no since of urgency in this game. That doesn't matter much to me since this isn't the playoffs. Lets see what happens game one.
The spurs have been playing like this for the last mouth Duncan is the only player playing good all the others are fading away like they did last year
the second unit was never there. They played like amateurs, children.Ha ha ha
@kwbest i wish they would have made a move during the deadline, Bonner and Diaw are not enough to do anything come playoff time