Considering the residential diversity of PtR faithful, a decent number of you might be catching this post during a reasonable hour of the day. If you are like me, locked down in the heart of Spurs Country, then you’re probably able to count on one hand the number of hours left till the start of the workday.
But instead, here you are; drifting in from God-knows-where to read this little ol’ Spurs recap. So c’mon in, Sugar. Have a seat, rest that weary body of yours and I’ll serve you up the "Late Night Special."
"Why so late, Hirsch?" Well, aside from being an avid (synonym for "thick-skulled") Spurs fan, I possess the combination of a horrendous short-term memory and a wandering imagination. The longer I wait to write a review, the better the odds are that I write something close to "Tiago dunks grenade, Neal snipes Bin Laden from opposite hemisphere, and angry mob tar and feathers Craig Smith."
Although the previous statement wouldn’t be a far hike from the truth, in order to provide you with a more accurate recap, I prefer to get by with a little help from my friends.
Pre-game Small Talk.
The Spurs were in full Halloween-mode Saturday night as most of the roster showed up as the Dallas Cowboys. Ok, maybe that was a little harsh. Spurs’ shooting was abysmal at best; finishing the night with 38.8 FG% and a gut-wrenching 23% from beyond the arc. 9 of the team’s 20 long-distance bricks belonged to an ice-cold Ginobili.Tony and Tim suffered a worst night with both garnering a 4th quarter benching from an irate Coach Pop. The Spurs lost 90-99 after failing to capitalize on a valiant comeback attempt behind new-look Richard Jefferson and summer-league standout Gary Neal.
Lets be real here. Grimace would probably have Dallas over .500
A few weeks ago, the Spurs and Clippers battled it out in the pre-season’s "Juego en Mexico." Fans in attendance were treated to a wondrous exhibition of aerial assaults featuring Mr. Blake Griffin. After nearly three quarters of shoddy defense, the Spurs were able to capitalize on an abundance of Los Angeles errors and earned an exciting comeback victory punctuated by a clutch Gary Neal three. Spurs win meaningless game, 100-99.
All right, time for tonight's "special."
1st Quarter – French Press Coffee. $12.5 million per cup.
- 12:00 Holy crap! I see Splitter on the bench! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG!
- 11:41 Parker gets the first two points of the game with an aggressive spinning floater
- 8:57 Blair already in foul trouble. Tiago Splitter enters first career NBA game. 7 - 7
- 7:58 Griffin spins by Splitter marking Splitter's first defensive lapse. SA 7 - 12 LAC
- 6:32 Splitter's first NBA stat is a steal
- 4:28 Dice replaces Splitter. Splitter goes 0-1 with 1 REB and 1 STL in his first few NBA minutes
- 3:37 Kaman makes jumper. The worst FG% team in the league is shooting 64%. SA 18 - LAC 22
- 3:08 Ginobili gets 2 foul. Leaves game with 3-4, 10 Pts, 2 STL, and 3 TO. Neal replaces Manu
- 2:39 Anderson makes 3PT. SA 21 - LAC 22
- 1:30 Neal hits 3PT off nice assist from Anderson. SA 24 - LA 26
- 0:59 Neal hits running floater over Griffin. Neal with 5 quick points. 26 - 26
This was an aggressive quarter that got the Spurs into early foul trouble with Blair and Manu. Blair's early fouls necessitated the much anticipated debut of Tiago Splitter, who was abused a couple times by Griffin but did a good job on defensive rotations. Offensively, Tiago had no clue where he needed to be on the floor. I counted about three failed pick attempts. The Clippers started the quarter with hot shooting but cooled off drastically due to a tightened Spurs defense. LAC finishes quarter 33.3% from he field.
End of 1st: 26 - 26 TIE GAME.
2nd Quarter – Potato Slammers with Blake-on bits.
- 11:02 Neal makes contested 3PT SA 29 - LAC 26
- 10:43 Hill steals pass and runs floor. Hill is injured (neck/shoulder) during flagrant 2 foul by C. Smith. Smith is ejected from game.
- 10:43 Manu shoots technical for Hill. SA 30 - LAC 26
- 10:26 Beautiful assist from Neal to Dice SA 32 - LAC 26
- 10:07 Highlight block from Anderson. Neal catches ball and scores on fast break pull-up jumper SA 34 - LAC 26. 13-0 run by Spurs. Neal is 4-5 from floor, 2-3 from deep
- 8:13 Griffin makes tough bank hook against Simmons. First LAC score in five minutes. SA 34 - LAC 28
- 7:36 Gordon posterizes Anderson. Pop calls timeout to scream at people. SA 34 - LAC 30
- 7:00 Gomes makes wide open 3PT. SA 34 - LAC 33
- 6:19 Parker ends four minute Spurs scoring drought. SA 36 - LAC 33
- 4:05 Jefferson with nice steal. Forgets how to dribble during fast break but draws foul. Duncan gets clean layup after in-bounds pass. SA 45 - LAC 40
- 3:00 It is announced that Hill will not return to game. Muscle spasms in neck/shoulder.
- 2:13 Kaman makes easy jumper after dribbling around court aimlessly for 20 seconds. SA 47 - LAC 42
- 2:05 Bounce pass to Parker from Manu. And 1. SA 50 - LAC 42
- 0:36 Neal throws up wild 3PT (misses) while falling out of bounds. Not technically a TO but ball still goes to LAC. Previous two possessions were TO by Neal (led to points) and then Parker. Execution in final minutes for both teams is pitiful
San Antonio kept up the defensive play causing the Clippers to start the quarter 0-6. Los Angeles weathered a 8-0 run led by Gary Neal. Griffin and Gordon returned to the court at the 8:49 mark and the Clippers go on a 10-2 run before Anderson calmed the waters with his second 3PT of the game. After making six straight shots, the Clippers starting breaking down offensively with poor ball movement and contested shots. The Spurs fared no better, giving the ball away three times (technically only 2 TO) in the final minute. Pop had plenty of angry-ammo to fire at his guys during the break.
George Hill's muscle spasms would kill a normal man. Get well soon, Georgie.
Manu has a happy.
Spurs - 50
Clippers - 44
3rd Quarter – Meatloaf or a hot serving of Neal-basa?
- 10:21 Jefferson has 4 PTS and 1 REB within first 90 seconds of 3rd quarter
- 9:12 Blair with no-look touch assist to Duncan for easy layup. SA 58 - LAC 48
- 7:36 Jefferson hits smooth corner 3PT. SA 61 - LAC 50
- 6:42 Gordon layup. LAC singling out Blair on pick-and-rolls and one-on-ones with Kaman. SA 61 - LAC 52
- 5:15 Blair with bad inbound pass. SA and LAC trading baskets against relaxed defenses. SA 65 - LAC 58
- 4:43 Gomes jump shot. Gomes has a hot hand. 4-7 FG and 2-2 from beyond the arc. SA 65 - LAC 60
- 4:29 Parker driving layup. Parker is attacking every seam. SA 67 - LAC 60
- 4:20 Parker steals pass and gets easy break. Bledsoe catches lazy Parker and blocks layup attempt.
- 3:49 SA timeout. Spurs are getting reckless.
- 2:28 Richard attacks basket and is fouled. 1/2 from line. Splitter returns to game. The PtR crowd goes wild. SA 70 - LAC 62
- 2:00 Splitter sets first successful screen. Yay. Nothing comes from it. Boo.
- 1:31 Neal makes tough contested 3PT. SA 73 - LAC 64
- 1:12 Splitter wins jump ball against Griffin.
- 0:26 Dice playing hard in the paint. Earns two FT on offensive rebound. Temple comes in for first time. SA 75 - LAC 64
Spurs play good defense for most of the quarter and shoot effectively on offense. While the Spurs play on offense was a bit loose at times, they only committed 2 TO. A big improvement from the 12 TO in the first half. Blair is showing good hustle but is not doing a good job defending screens or pick-and-rolls. The perimeter defense is saving him and the Spurs from consistent drives into the paint. Although Kaman has made a jumper over Blair, Blair is doing a decent job one-on-one. Neal and Anderson play well with each other. Splitter also seemed more comfortable and moved/reacted well to both Neal's and Parker's movement on the floor.
End of 3rd, 75 - 65 SPURS
4th Quarter – Banana Splitter.
- 11:50 Turnover by Splitter but block by Temple prevents LAC quick score.
- 11:33 TIAGO DUNK!!!!! SA 77 - LAC 65
- 10:25 Excellent ball movement creates Neal 3PT. This is the kind of ball movement common with the older Spurs squads. Neal with 16 PTS in 14 MIN. Manu playing point forward. SA bench has outscored LAC bench 25-0. SA 80 - LAC 65
- 9:05 Manu leaner pushes Spurs run to 8-2. Tough Spurs defense has LAC shooting 1-6. SA 83 - 67
- 7:42 Kaman miss (Duncan defending) LAC is 2-9 from floor so far this quarter. SA 85 - LAC 69
- 7:35 Jefferson jump shot. The difference (so far) between seasons is incredible. SA 85 - LAC 69
- 6:38 Kaman hits jumper. LAC hits 3 out of last 4 shots but can't play defense on other end. SA 87 - LAC 73
- 6:16 Duncan running jumper. Case in point. SA 89 - LAC 73.
- 5:15 Beautiful spinning post move by Griffin (against Duncan). Blake will be an impossible guard once he develops some range. SA 89 - LAC 77
- 5:02 Jefferson 3PT from the top. He is shooting well from everywhere. SA 92 - LAC 77
- 3:28 Blair block on Kaman creates Parker fast break assist to Anderson. SA 96 - LAC 79
- 2:25 Dice rebounds missed 3PT by Jefferson. Jefferson drives on quick pass from Dice and earns FT attempts 1/2. SA 97 - 83.
- 2:03 Butler jacks up contested jumper. LAC rushing even more shots against a hustling defense.
- 1:26 Pop sends out Temple and Simmons. PtR fans hug each other in joy. SA 97 - LAC 83
Take away the five quick junk points by Los Angeles in the final minute and you have yourself a 39 pt half courtesy of a hustling Spurs defense. The Spurs bench owned this game from start (kinda) to finish. Griffin had 17 PTS (7-13) this evening and, for the most part, had to really work to earn those points. The Spurs transition defense didn't allow the Clippers to establish their run-gun style of game. Los Angeles was unable to consistently execute in half-court play; throwing errant passes, setting poor screens, and even getting in each others way. Whenever the Clippers did score (usually a highlight play) out of a set play, the Spurs were very late on a rotation and/or overplaying the passing lane. The Spurs need to develop better defensive awareness to go along with the hustle/energy they have shown.
SPURS WIN! 97 - 88
Anderson gets posterized by a Gordon dunk. Anderson needed a warm cookie and milk during the next break.
Griffin finished with 17 PTS but wasn't allowed to do whatever he wanted.
Post Game Mints
Clippers' Three Stars
3. Ryan Gomes: 14 PTS, 5-11 FG, 2-4 3PT
2. Chris Kaman: 18 PTS, 9-17 FG, 8 REB, 5 AST, 1 BLK
1. Eric Gordon: 23 PTS, 10-17 FG, 11 AST
Spurs’ Three Stars
3. Tony Parker: 19 PTS, 8-16 FG, 9 AST, 3 STL, 4 TO
2. Richard Jefferson: 18 PTS, 7-11 FG, 2-4 3PT, 3 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 0 TO
1. Gary Neal: 16 PTS, 6-10 FG, 4-8 3PT, 6 REB, 2 AST ( 20:21 minutes)
Honorable Mention: Duncan, Anderson (solid play), Manu (duh), Splitter (first game nod). Duncan's 14 points puts his his career total at 20,685. 23 points shy of George Gervin for 32nd place all-time and within 105 of David Robinson for 31st.
Best of the Best from the Best
Blair needs to take Smith’s arms.
SOMEONE GET ME A TOWEL IM GONNA NEED A CHANGE OF CLOTHES
The Clippers are going to be decent and actually a pleasure to watch up until Griffin’s or Gordan’s impending season-ending injury.
Five Quick Shots, RoMaJu style
1. Jefferson looks confident and aggressive on both ends of the court. Big improvement, Mr. Peanut, Sir.
2. Gary Neal looks like a 5 year NBA veteran.
3. Parker is mostly back to his aggressive and speedy self. He appears to be a bit more aggressive on defense too. Aggressive but not "better." He couldn't handle Eric Gordon one on one.
4. On his first time out, Splitter had no idea what to do on offense. He appeared more fluid the second time around.
5. Dice may be 100 years old and made of leather but he will bust you up fighting for the ball.
Late game versus the Suns on Wednesday. G’Night everybody. C'mon back now, ya hear?
NOTE: This post will be updated with pictures and any necessary corrections. Check back later.