The Spurs went back to their wishy-washy ways this weekend with a mind-boggling loss to the Grizzlies followed by another great win over the Denver Nuggets – a Western Conference contender. It’s a good thing the playoffs are starting soon because this recent trend of losing to bad teams but beating good ones will be much more useful in the coming weeks. Also, there hasn’t been a ton of minutes for Malik Hairston lately, but the good news is there haven’t been many for Keith Bogans either. At any rate, let’s recap the games a little bit and see what other Spurs news I can dig up.
Stupid Blue Bears
The Grizzlies beat San Antonio on Friday night thanks in part to Zach Randolph’s 28-point, 15-rebound performance. The Grizzlies outrebounded the Spurs 48-39 and held a 16-7 edge in offensive boards. It boiled down to the Spurs having seven more free-throw attempts, but the Grizzlies having 13 more field goal attempts – 10 of which they made. They were simply better at getting to the ball and outplayed the Spurs for the whole night except for the first quarter.
The game got out of hand in the second quarter when the Grizzlies scored 22 points in the paint on their way to 46 for the night. Watching Mike Conley run amuck at the end of the first half kinda shows you how important it is for George Hill to return.
Richard Jefferson had one of his off nights with only seven points on 1-of-4 shooting, and he only grabbed two rebounds. Not his A game in other words. Manu Ginobili, for his part, at least led the way for the Spurs with 26 points, eight rebounds, and five assists. A comforting stat line in light of his recent contract extension. Unfortunately he was off from downtown on 1-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc. Fortunately, Matt Bonner was able to hit 6-of-10 from deep on his way to 19 points off the bench. We needed every bit of it since McDyess was back to playing like crap (0-of-3 from the field for zero points, four boards and a turnover in 15 minutes), and DeJuan Blair couldn’t stay out of foul trouble (5 points, 3 rebounds, but four fouls in eight minutes). Tim Duncan did his usual double-double thing with 15 points and 10 rebounds, plus he had five assists. Temple was adequate with eight points as the starting point guard again, but Tony Parker played about the same amount of minutes (26) and had 13 points and eight assists. I think he will be starting again before season’s end.
No One’s Scared of the Nuggets
The Spurs showed up in Denver though, as they kept the pressure on the Nuggets all night before turning the game into a blowout in the 4th quarter. The Nuggets got about 50 technicals in the second half, two of which got Carmelo Anthony booted from the game. He finished with 19 points, four rebounds, two steals, one assist, and five turnovers. I kind of understand them losing their minds though. The Spurs shot 45 free throws in the game. That is not a typo. Forty-five free throws – they made 30 of them. The Spurs also outrebounded Denver 48-31 and shot 46% from the field compared to only 39% for the Nuggets. So basically it was everything that could wrong kind of did for the Nugs. Billups was on his game though with 27 points – he just couldn’t get anyone else going as he only had three assists. Yes, that was the team high for both.
For the Spurs, Tim Duncan had 18 points and 10 rebounds. RJ bounced back with 15 points, seven boards, and two assists. Ginobili was slowed down a little bit with only 15 points of his own to go with seven assists, three boards, and a steal. Temple was still the starter at point guard but only played 20 minutes, finishing with 11 points and four rebounds. He might have played more if not for foul trouble. Tony Parker played 31 minutes and had 12 points, six assists, two rebounds, and… you will never guess… five turnovers. Sheesh, man. DeJuan Blair had one of his better games lately with 12 points and eight rebounds in 19 minutes off the bench.
Next On the Schedule
There are only two games left. Monday night’s game against the T-Wolves, and the Wednesday night finale against the Dallas Mavericks. They should be able to win against the Wolves easy enough, unless they pull another Nets/Grizzlies game out of their hats, so the real fun will start on Wednesday when the Spurs play the Mavs. Then it’s Playoff Time! But I’ll get into all of that in my next update. Stay tuned…
Manu signed a nifty contract for $39 Million over three years, but is still deciding on whether or not he will play in the World Championships this summer. Personally, I would like him to take off because it would suck immensely if he got hurt after the Spurs just gave him all that money. Also, with his wife set to give birth to twins, maybe staying with her is a better way to spend the down time this year. I wouldn’t blame him either way – he’s a professional basketball player so that’s what he does – period. Still, I hope he leans toward an easier summer. He says he will make his decision in the coming days.