By Jeff Cerda
After losing to the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night, the Spurs were hoping to bounce back with what should have been a "W" against a less talented, injury-stricken Memphis Grizzles team with a 39-39 record.
The Grizzlies were without Marc Gasol and Ronnie Brewer. But as Spurs fans know, this does not usually go well for the Spurs when the opposing team is lacking players due to injuries.
In the first quarter the Spurs looked like they were going to run away with the game with the Grizzles looking sloppy at times. The Grizzlies did not score a field goal the last 2:50 of the quarter. With Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph and OJ Mayo scoring all but 2 of the first quarter points for the Grizzlies, this was looking like it was going to be a easy win for the Spurs.
The Grizzlies were missing open jumpers and not playing the best of defense and the Spurs were making them pay for it. Seven different Spurs scored in the opening quarter and DeJuan Blair even grabbed his own miss from the free throw line which led to one of Matt Bonner’s six threes for the night. The Spurs were up 30-21 at the end of the first.
The second quarter was where things really started changing. The Grizzlies were still struggling early in the quarter, as far as shooting goes, and the Spurs built the lead to as many as 13 points.
The Grizzles kept fighting and started making shots consistently late in the quarter. They were getting their team involved in the scoring this quarter instead of just the trio of Mayo, Gay and Randolph carrying the load. The Spurs were blowing assignments defensively and it was the Grizzlies who were making the Spurs pay this time. In the last 2:30 of the quarter the Grizzlies outscored the Spurs 14-7 and the Spurs got outscored 37-27 in the whole quarter and ended up going in to the half down 58-57.
The Grizzles started the third quarter on a 9-2 run to go up 67-59. The Spurs would answer with back-to-back three-point shots from Manu Ginobili and Bonner which put the Spurs to within 69-65. San Antonio was starting to look good again after blowing that 13 point lead.
A few moments later Ginobili got a steal and made a nice cross-court pass to a waiting Garrett Temple for a three-point shot which put the Spurs down only one and forced the Grizzlies to call time out and talk things over. After the time out the two teams went back and forth exchanging the lead a couple of times, but the Grizzlies would lead at the end of the third quarter at 84-80.
Early in the fourth quarter the Spurs were getting the stops they needed but they were not getting the buckets they needed on the offensive end to fully capitalize. At one point the Spurs got seven consecutive stops but only produced two points off of them. Two points off of seven straight stops is not going to get it done, especially when it is in the fourth quarter, the most crucial time of the game.
With 3:26 to go in the game the Spurs trailed 100-94, an illegal defense free-throw from Ginobili, a pair of free-throws and a put back from Tim Duncan put them within one with 2:30 to go. The Grizzlies kept their composure and answered with a Mike Conley jump-shot and the Spurs started to get desperate.
In the remaining minutes of the game the Spurs decided to start shooting up three-pointers with no luck. Roger Mason, Bonner, Temple, Ginobili and even Duncan all missed three pointers. In the last 2:30 of the game it was the Spurs who went scoreless to end the quarter, while the Grizzlies scored the last eight points to take the game 107-99.
The Spurs shot 32% from the three-point line while the Grizzlies shot 44%, and with Memphis shooting nearly 50% from the 3 point line, it’s hard to win. Another tough loss for the Spurs as the roller-coaster regular season comes closer to the end.
- Garrett Temple got his third straight start since Tony Parker is working his way back in the line up from a broken hand and George Hill nursing a sprained ankle. Temple had eight points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and was 3 of 7 from the field on 26 minutes of playing time.
- George Hill has still not participated in practices and his timetable for a return is unknown. With Parker's minutes increasing as the games come along, look for him to start come playoff time.
- The Spurs were outrebounded 48-39 with Zach Randolph grabbing 15 for the Grizzlies. Duncan recorded his 37th double double while Zach Randolph recorded his 55th, putting him in second for the season trailing only Dwight Howard.
- The Spurs are in the eighth spot at 48-31 in the Western Conference playoff race which currently pits them against the Los Angeles Lakers. A team the Spurs' coach Gregg Popovich admitted wanting to avoid.
- The Spurs will next play the Denver Nuggets in Denver.
In a Q&A session with the media today after a team practice, Manu Ginobili stated he went through a lot of emotions during contract negotiations with the San Antonio Spurs. In the end, I am sure fans are happy he will be with the team for another three years and even said he is willing to pick up the tab for season ticket holders. Of course he was kidding.
"I was a little upset, then understanding, and then I just let it go," Ginobili said. "I went through all the moods possible, and now it's gone. We are good friends again. We love each other again."
Ginobili on whether he will pay the season tickets for those season ticket holders who would not renew if he wasn't a part of the team next season:
Q: Does this mean you're going to pay for their tickets next year?
A: (Laughing again) "It's on me. It's on my tab."
Ginobili on whether he will play beyond the contract well into his late 30's:
Q: Does this contract mean you'll end your career with the Spurs?
A: "No idea. There are a lot of players who play over 35 years old. I don't know how I'm going to feel, so I'll take it year-by-year. Well, not year-by-year (laughing) but three years by three years. When this contract ends in three years, I'll figure it out."
Now Manu, about you picking up the tab for season ticket holders?
Click HERE to read the complete Q&A session.
Maybe they were also considering his long list of injuries and break-neck style of play that earned him the moniker “El Contusion.”
Yes it seems the Spurs’ front office had reasons enough to think twice about extending or re-signing him into a new contract. But after a slow start this season, Ginobili is giving many positive reasons why the Spurs kept him and gave him a three-year extension.
He started to regain his form in February when he was the best Spur as he led the team with his 18.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists averages.
When Tony Parker went down with an injury, Ginobili responded by improving his point production to 23.7 points per game leading the Spurs to an 11-5 record while Parker was out. Even when Duncan had an off night, Ginobili willed the Spurs to important victories and been the barometer of the Spurs' success lately.
As Coach Popovich said "He had a tough first half of the year, as we all know, but he's been playing All-Star-caliber basketball for the last month, that's the major reason why we kick-started it. Our rotations are more solid; trust on the team on both ends, execution-wise, has been better -- but Manu's play has been instrumental in us winning games."
What is even more impressive is Ginobili seems to play even better against tougher opponents. In last month's victories over the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics, he put up a combined 58 points. And is it coincidental, the Spurs lost to the New Jersey Nets with him sitting out due to lower back spasms. Just saying.
Recently, Manu scored 43 points in the win against the Orlando Magic and then scored 17 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter in the victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
This month the Spurs are 3-1 so far, and Manu continues to put up impressive numbers averaging 25.3 points, 5 assist and 3.8 rebounds per game.
Now that Ginobili is signed on for another three-years, he is guaranteed to retire a Spur. As he should! Maybe the Spurs will not only retire his jersey number when his days as a San Antonio Spur are over but also a red cape around it.
Now that it is official that the San Antonio Spurs and Manu Ginobili have agreed on a $38.9 million contract extension for three years, Spurs nation could not be any more excited.
The break down is as follows:
2010-2011 -- $11, 854, 584.00
2011-2012 -- $12, 981, 038.00
2012-2013 -- $14, 107, 492.00
But what will be the impact on the Spurs in retaining Ginobili? Is this a good or bad thing? Here are some pros and cons for you to look at now that the deal is official. Oh and I am not good at math so forgive me.
- Ginobili retires a Spur as he should.
- No other elite Western Conference team picks him up. Imagine him in a Dallas Mavericks or Phoenix Suns uniform? The horror!
- The reported deal is short term at three years.
- Spurs will be retaining a player with more overall value to the team than any other player brought in through free-agency.
- His final contract year might be a good bargaining piece to get a younger player.
- The "Big Three" stay intact at least through the 2010-2011 season.
- The "worst" season, financially, will just be the 2010-2011 season.
- The Spurs will not face a fan backlash if Ginobili walked away to another team.
- $38.9 million is a lot for a player at this stage of his career. Do the Spurs risk the chance he gets injured again?
- The Spurs will be at $54,135,160.00 in guaranteed contracts next season, not including Ginobili's deal. Add the $11.8 million due to Manu next season, that pushes the Spurs to $65, 989, 744.00 in guaranteed contracts. With the salary-cap lowering to what is being speculated to be around $50.4-$53.6 million dollars. That puts the Spurs way over the cap.
- If you take the lower speculated figure of $50.4 million, that puts the Spurs at $15, 589, 744.00 million over the cap.
- The NBA luxury tax is speculated to be at $61.2 million dollars. After the math is done the Spurs will be paying $15.5 million for being over the cap and an additional $9.4 million in luxury taxes. Spurs will be $4.7 million over the luxury-tax and an NBA team pays dollar-for-dollar over the luxury-tax line.
- Grand total for the Spurs will be paying $24.9 million for being over the salary-cap and into the luxury-tax.
- This will hamper the Spurs in retaining key role players such as Matt Bonner, or offer Tiago Splitter more than just the mid-level exception not to mention attracting a quality free-agent this summer to play for the team next season.
- It will be doubtful the Spurs can keep soon-to-be free-agents Roger Mason, Ian Mahinmi, Keith Bogans, Garrett Temple, Alzono Gee and Matt Bonner.
- What about Malik Hairston and Alonzo Gee? The Spurs have the team option whether or not to pick up their last year of their contract.
- Richard Jefferson will STILL be making more than Ginobili next season at $15 million. Where is the justice?
Of course there are so many outside factors affecting the Spurs including a possible NBA lock-out, the "Bird rights" option, but for now, do the cons outweigh the pros?
If we take a step back, keeping the "Big Three" together is expensive. Is it worth going over the salary and luxury-tax threshold on a 32 year-old player, who has been injury prone, and plays in the summer for his home country of Argentina? Will the Spurs fans pay the increased ticket prices to see the Spurs in action?
Again, with the NBA salary-cap speculated to go lower, this will be a deterrent for the Spurs to spend in free-agency because of the dollar-for-dollar penalty.
Or is this a situation of "who cares about the money" and Ginobili deserves every penny for what he has brought to the team, including helping win three of four NBA titles for the city of San Antonio?
The wait is almost over Spurs fans.
According to Johnny Ludden of Yahoo! Sports, the San Antonio Spurs and Manu Ginobili will finalize the reported $38.9 million three-year contract extension this Friday morning.
Manu Ginobili underwent a physical Thursday afternoon that revealed no concerning health issues, the last significant hurdle he had to clear before completing his three-year extension with the San Antonio Spurs, league sources said.
Spurs officials have a couple minor issues to work out with Ginobili’s agent, but the extension should be signed and finalized by early Friday morning.
And of course the news would come out on a Friday where Spurs fans can rejoice and enjoy happy-hour much more. Now let's hope he stays healthy and he helps the Spurs go deep into the playoffs.
Accoring to Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wojnarowski, Ginobili has officially signed the three-year contract extension with the Spurs.
Looks like Spurs fans will have to catch an Austin Toros game if they want to see one of the newest Spurs in action. The Spurs have assigned Alonzo Gee to the Toros:
The San Antonio Spurs announced today that they have assigned guard Alonzo Gee to the Austin Toros, the NBA Development League team owned and operated by the Spurs.
The 6-6, 220 lbs. Gee was signed by San Antonio on 3/29. He had previously appeared in 11 games with the Washington Wizards where he averaged 7.4 points and 2.9 rebounds in 16.5 minutes. Prior to joining the Wizards, Gee had appeared in 36 games for the Toros where he averaged 21.0 points and 6.6 rebounds in 38.2 minutes. Gee has recorded four double-doubles for the Toros this season and notched a season-high 34 points vs. Sioux Falls on 1/6.no comments
If you missed our Spurs vs. Suns postgame show and/or you want to relive the pain that was the Spurs loss to the Suns, we've got you covered.
Jeff and I did quarter-by-quarter analysis, went over the Spurs strengths and weaknesses, looked at the stats and gave out Shiny and Rusty Spur awards.
Our next live show will be for our 200th episode early next week.
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