With 42 seconds remaining in the game between the San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, it looked like the Spurs might actuallydo what the Miami Heat did the night before – win on the road without two of their main players.
At the 42-second mark Tony Parker (25 points) had just made two free throws to give the Spurs a 90-87 lead. But, on a night when the Spurs were missing Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard, and Manu Ginobili, they couldn’t do what Miami did Sunday.
Mike Conley (23 points) would knock down a 3-pointer on the next possession to tie the game at 90 with 30 seconds left. From there, the Spurs would fail to execute like they did Sunday and Conley would win the game with a hard-nosed driving layup over Danny Green to give the Grizzlies the go-ahead basket 92-90.
“They made plays down the stretch,” said Spurs forward Stephen Jackson after the game of the Grizzlies.
The Spurs face their third stint of two straight losses once again, a situation they hadn’t been in since December. Here’s a quick analysis of the good and bad elements of the Spurs’ loss to the Grizzlies.
· DeJuan Blair – With Duncan out, Blair was able to play 20 minutes against the Grizzlies big duo of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Blair was efficient on both sides of the ball as offensively he scored six points, grabbed four rebounds, and dished four assists. Defensively, he was responsible for two steals on the Grizzlies.
· Defense of quarters 1-3 - At halftime, the Spurs’ defense was holding the Grizzlies to just 37 points. The Spurs held the Grizzlies to 21 points in the first, 16 points in the second, and 25 in the third. Unfortunately, the fourth quarter goes in another category.
· Stephen Jackson – Jackson started in place of Leonard and finished with 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals. What was impressive about Jackson’s game Monday was that he wasn’t only a threat offensively from the outside. There were several plays where he beat the defense by driving into the lane and finished with layups, passed out to a shooter, or drew the foul.
· Nando De Colo – De Colo was aggressive finishing with 10 points and five rebounds on five of six shooting. In third quarter when Parker was resting on the bench, De Colo was basically guiding the Spurs’ offense with his shooting off of screens. However, his five turnovers were one part of the Spurs’ 16 turnovers as a team.
· Tony Parker – Parker led his team with 25 points on 9-of-19 shooting, but it was some of the shots he decided to take in the final two minutes that made this an “in-between” performance. On one play down the stretch, Matt Bonner set a pick for him and popped out for an open 3-pointer. Instead of Parker passing to Bonner, he took and missed a contested 22-foot jump shot with two defenders in his way.
· Fourth quarter defense – After playing solid defense against a team that struggles to score 94 points per game for three quarters, the Spurs allowed the Grizzlies to put up 30 points in the final quarter as the team just couldn’t string together enough stops to with-hold Memphis from the win.
· Turnovers – At this point in the season, 16 turnovers seems like a decent number compared to some of the high turnover nights the Spurs have had. However, the turnovers were once again a reason why the offense hasn’t been able to put together long runs or build big leads.
· Gary Neal – I normally avoid blaming single players in losses because it’s a team game, but in crunch time in the fourth quarter, Neal made some terrible mistakes on both sides of the ball that could have led to a Spurs win if he hadn’t done so. With 2:46 left and the Spurs holding a four-point lead (86-82), Neal had a 2-on-1 fast break advantage with Jackson open on the left side of the floor. Instead of passing to Jackson for a layup, Neal shot a 13-foot jumper. The shot bricked and Conley drove the ball down on the other side where he drew a shooting foul against Tiago Splitter, which eventually became Splitter’s sixth foul after he had posted 13 points and 11 rebounds. On defense, Neal was responsible for leaving Conley open on the game tying 3-pointer Conley made in the final seconds of the game.
Magic in San Antonio Wednesday
The Spurs are down to their final eight games of the regular season as they will have just one day off, Tuesday, before playing in another back-to-back sequence. The Orlando Magic will visit the AT&T Center on Wednesday and then the Spurs will leave right after to play in Oklahoma City against the Thunder the following night in what could be the prime game for which team will win the Western Conference’s number one seed.
Where San Antonio stands
Here are a few stats showing where the Spurs stand in certain categories in the NBA. With the loss, the Spurs hold a 1 game lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder (54-20) with eight games remaining on the season.
Season record: 55-19
Road Record: 23-14
Vs. the Western Conference: 32-14
Games decided by 3 points or less: 8-5
Vs. teams above .500: 26-13
tony is just not a closer. we NEED manu back. he is the only real closer the spurs have had. tim can hit that big shot, and jack has been known to but tony is just not that last second shot guy.
@JohnAbney when is the last time manu has been a closer, those days are long gone.
@ChrisCano @CraigThomas are manus best days behind him, sure they are, so are tims. now tony averaging 20+ per game doesnt make him a closer. tony is a batter player all around this season no doubt BUT he gets rattled and hurried and he rarely is able to pull off that game winner. and as for the points, tony plays 10 more minutes per game, and averages 6 more shots per game, thats kinda to be expected. doesnt effect the fact that manu is THAT GUY when it comes to making that game winner, that big basket, that one shot you HAVE TO HAVE. he has done it several times this season alone. 82games shows parkers fg% drops nearly 10% points (53% to 45%) in their clutch stats from last season (this season isnt listed yet as its still going) their clutch stats are based on " 4th quarter or overtime, less than 5 minutes left, neither team ahead by more than 5 points" . now parker is listed as #11 on that list but has the 4th lowest fg of those 11. manu's only true issue is hes prone to being injured. hes not on the list at all last year because he has to small a sample size. but to date, he has only played 3 less games this season then tony.
now we are all in agreement that tony is the better player at this point in his career, manu is the highest paid player on the team in the last year of his contract. is he worth 14 mil? ehhhhh, was duncan worth 21 last year? or garnet worth 23 last year? thats how the nba works. i expect manu signs a 2 year deal worth about 7 mil next year, maybe even a slight bit less.
in the end the point is the spurs will go as manu goes in this playoffs because they cant beat the thunder or heat in a 7 gamer without his clutch play.
@CraigThomas @JohnAbney TP is a better scorer than manu has been it quite some time, he is averaging 20+ per game and came back early from his last injury. we are lost without Parker granted it was an ugly shot with no time and a horrible look. Manu is the highest paid spur and averages 11 points a game...I love Manu but his days are done
This was the first game all season that I didn't watch, and it was by choice. The atrocious effort yesterday that the Spurs put out just made me too disgusted to watch the game today. It's also especially difficult for me to enjoy Spur games when Kawhi isn't playing because he's the only guy that actually improves game by game.
Without Manu this team is just average. The intangibilities he brings are hard to calculate. He just bring so much to the team that would not show on the box score. Teammates just get boost when he's on the court, that's what TP cannot do. TP can be the statistic leader but he's and will never be a true leader. Those just simply were not written in his DNA.
@WOWWOWBAD I think it has more to do with Duncan and Leonard being out. If no one else notices manu has been a non factor all year when he isnt hurt which is all the time now.
You forgot "the ugly". That play and ball movement, or rather lack thereof, on our second to last possession resulting in that forced Tony Parker jumper was hideous.
That being said, no Kawhi or Timmy, so its all good.
I bet that memphis is acting as if they won with the Spurs full force. This was a scheduled loss once it was known that Ginobili, Duncan, Leonard were all out. Would have been a whole hell of a different ballgame with the whole team. A little concerned with the defense, GO SPURS GO!
@BlazingDeath watching splinter play D is a joke. we are just not the same without Duncan or Leonard.
Neal throws up a brick with Jack standing unguarded underneath the basket. Diaw passes up open shots. Bonner couldn't play defense against my Grandmother and shes been dead for forty years. Didn't we sign Baynes to do anything but sit? Neal leaves Conley wide open on the 3 poit line in crunch time!