Spurs Beat Heat, RJ Coming Around
The Spurs beat the Miami Heat last night 88-76. The game ended up being a lot close than it should have considering that the Spurs had a 24-point lead in the first half. The Spurs outscored Miami 29-14 in the first quarter, but the Heat tried to make a little run late in the game and even outscored the Spurs by six points in the second half. In the end, the early damage was too much, Ginobili was too much, and the Heat not being able to hit shots was too much.
RJ is still on a roll and there is an interesting article on the San Antonio Express News site about his chemistry with Manu Ginobili. Also, Popovich has been exceedingly happy with RJ’s recent play. Let’s just look at the numbers shall we?
RJ has started the past three games for the Spurs – all wins, granted two of those games were against terrible sub .500 teams and the last one was against the barely above .500 Heat. Let’s look at his averages in that span:
17.3 Points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and one block per game. He has been great at going to the glass lately and is averaging 7.1 rebounds per game in eight games in March. Also the Spurs are 8-1 in their past nine games. If we get this Richard Jefferson during the playoffs, the Spurs have a good shot at upsetting some folks. Now the question is how the Spurs will integrate Tony Parker back into the lineup in light of the chemistry and success that the Spurs have been building on lately. That might get tricky since Ginobili and RJ are playing very well together and the Spurs are doing great with them in the starting unit. Then again, I’m not too enthusiastic about the idea of sending George Hill to the bench. Since Parker has been so injury prone this season, is it really that bad of an idea to bring himoff the bench when he returns? I don’t think so. We all know he is our best point guard and an All-Star caliber player, but if it works then I say run with it – the question is if Popovich will try a Parker-off-the-bench approach or pull a Stan Van Gundy and throw everything off with a lineup change when the star point guard says he is ready to play again. (If you watched last year’s Orlando team during the playoffs you had to see that the Magic were clicking like nobody’s business and playing Jameer Nelson over Alston in Game 1 of the Finals was a serious mistake.) Anyway, on to the stats and my thoughts on them.
Notable Spurs Stat Lines
Manu Ginobili: 22 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals. I’m actually really surprised that he only had one assist.
George Hill: 16 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal. Unfortunately, Hill also had 5 turnovers which is just terrible.
Richard Jefferson: 15 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block. He is playing so much better right now and really doing a great job on the boards. If he keeps this up I will only have Keith Bogans to rip on.
Tim Duncan: 12 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block. The only double-double for the Spurs, Tim held his own as usual.
Antonio McDyess: 8 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, but 4 turnovers. Not a bad game from Dice, but those turnovers, along with the 5 from Hill, combined for 9 of the Spurs 21 turnovers in the game. To be quite honest, I am amazed they didn’t blow this one with the way they didn’t take care of the ball. Of course, the Heat’s 14 turnovers probably helped.
Keith Bogans: 8 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal. Not too bad for KB coming off the bench. If he keeps it up then I will have no one left to pick on.
Notable Heat Stat Lines
Dwyane Wade: 28 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, 1 block, 3 turnovers. D-Wade shot 11-of-26 from the field and only 5-of-8 from the foul line. In fact the team was 13-of-19 from the line, a stat that didn’t help their comeback hopes much. I won’t say Wade failed to get his teammates involved – they simply could hit a shot. Q-Rich was 0-of-3, Wright was 1-of-4, Chalmers 0-for-4, Beasley 3-of-10. Not much he could do about that.
Udonis Haslem: 10 points, 12 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal. Haslem was the only Miami player with a double-double.
Jermaine O’Neal: 13 points (6-of-11), 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 blocks. Not a bad game from J.O. who was the only Miami player besides Arroyo (3-of-5) to shoot at least 50% from the field.