Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Spurs Update

Monday night the Spurs were in New Orleans to face the 3-13 Hornets, who were riding a 7-game losing streak. Spurs are coming off an OT win @Orlando, and two last-minute losses at home vs. the Kings, and in Houston.

Unlike most games recently, we didn't get off to a hot start, and trailed 12-5 almost 4 minutes in, before a Spurs' timeout, Image Source                                                                   followed by an RJ three.

It still took some time before we began seeing the familiar Tony-to-Timmy pick and roll time and time again. We led 30-28 after 1 Q.

With Duncan resting, Tiago makes the most of his playing time. Along with Tony, Gary Neal, and later Duncan, himself, he kept us in the game in which both teams were finding success on the offensive end. We led 56-55 at the half - 2 quarters of basketball in which Tony already has 11 assists.

The game continued to be close throughout the 3rd Q, as the Spurs' biggest lead was 3, but also fell behind by 6 at one point. Another RJ three and a Parker layup closed out the 3rd at 80-79 Hornets.

Jarret Jack continues his hot night (26), as he & Vasquez erase our early 4-pt. lead. Coming down the stretch, defense is prevailing, but so is Tony & Tim. Spurs led by 4 twice before two Hornets' timeouts, only to see the score tied on a Cerl Landry tip-in with 5 seconds left. So then we drew up a play, and this happened:

Video Source ..sorry, I couldn't find a clip with Bill Land and Sean Elliott.

Timmy finished with a season-high 28pts. 7rebs. on 11 of 19 shooting, turning back the clock yet again, and making all of us who were upset about him being held out of the Houston game eat our words. Tony Parker recorded a career-high 17 assists, and added 20 points. He's the first player this season to score 20 and record as many as 17 assists. A great Spurs WIN 104-102, although this is the only time this season that the Hornets (1-8, and now 1-9 on their home floor) have scored 100+ pts. Yeah, that's another serious concern!

Obviously focusing on their defense at home vs. the Atlanta Hawks, the Spurs take a quick 1st Q timeout down 13-9. From that point on, (6:54 left in the 1st), we would hold them scoreless for 5min. 42sec. (19-13 SA). A Green 3, and a Tiago layup ends the 1st Q at 24-18 SA.

Image Source (D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images)

Our lead of 6 became 9 in a few minutes, and for the first time in many games, we have finally find ourselves in a game where we are apparently going to hold a lead throughout. Leading 30-26, Spurs went on a 16-6 run --> 46-32. Jeff Teague then scores 7 in the final 2 minutes, to our 2. Our halftime lead is 48-44.

One minute into the 3rd, and Pop pulls Tony, Blair, and Leonard. A minute later our lead was 50-48, and Matt Bonner & the second team, for the most part, decides to pull away and never look back. It's the first time in 5 games that the excitement has surfaced. Already 2 of 3 from three, and 3 of 4 overall, Matt Bonner decides to ride his hot hand. Bonner hits two more threes, and several buckets by Tony and DeJuan help increase the lead to 15. 76-61 after 3 Q. Yeah the D has stepped it up, and we hold them to 17 in the 3rd.

Our D holds strong as we complete a 14-2 run and lead 84-63 with 8:33 left. With Duncan now done on the bench, Tony & Tiago carry us with the pick 'n' roll again, as Blair and Kawhi begin to take over. Cory Joseph sealed the win with a left-handed break-away dunk. And as our old guys rested, we get the 105-83 WIN in our best overall team game in more than a week. For this one, the box score says a lot. 29 assists on 42 made baskets is exactly what you want. We also out-rebounded Atlanta by 10, 44-34, a stat that when in reverse fashion, has no doubt contributed to many losses lately. Shooting percentage wasn't really a factor here (51% - 44%), but going 11 of 23 from three certainly helps. Thank you Matt Bonner (5-7 from three, RJ, Green, and even Tony also hit 2 each).

Tony Parker now has 37 assists in his last 3 games. I like this. And one other thing: It's about time we finally beat a team badly who didn't have "an off-night shooting". Hawks shot 43.8%. No argument can be made that "they had a bad shooting night". And we only shot 51.2%.

Next is a 3-game road trip to Minnesota (Fri.), @Dallas (Sun. the 29th), and the next night at Memphis on Monday the 30th.

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