Spurs grades vs. Mavs, All-First-Round teams and a "Gigantic" Ginobili

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

A potpourri of goodies to get you in the mood. It took me longer to figure out how to embed the video than to come up with lyrics.

Let's put a bow on the fantastic first round with a few items...

First Round Grades:

Tim Duncan: B

34.9 mpg, 17.3 pts, 8.4 rebs, 1.3 asts, 0.1 stls, 1.9 blks, 0.7 TOs, .580/.731/NA, 110.7 ORtg, 104.8 DRtg, +3.7 per game, 22.2 PER, .198 WS/48, 7 YTS pts

The Mavericks' switching and aggressive hedging on the pick-and-roll gave Duncan plenty of opportunities at the rim, which inflated his shooting stats somewhat, but overall his jumper was pretty wonky and he lacked aggressiveness at times, even when he looked to have an advantage on guys like DeJuan Blair. Samuel Dalembert gave him fits on both ends as well, and The Big Fundamental didn't have his usual impact on the boards. The Spurs got hurt there, especially when Boris Diaw was in the game alongside him. On the positive side though, Duncan held up well given the extra minutes load and he was the last line of defense on many Mavs forays to the rim, with Tiago Splitter stuck on the perimeter guarding Dirk Nowitzki. He'll get to play a helping role once more against the Blazers, with Robin Lopez not much of a threat to score.

Tony Parker: B-

33.0 mpg, 19.9 pts, 2.6 rebs, 4.7 asts, 0.4 stls, 0.1 blks, 3.0 TOs, .472/.333/.741, 112.7 ORtg, 104.3 DRtg, +3.3 per game, 16.1 PER, .017 WS/48, 12 YTS pts

It was a very idiosyncratic series for Parker, who vacillated between brilliant and awful through the first, oh, six games. He didn't look healthy early on and picked up an ankle injury in Game 4, but --and I realize this seems hokey-- he seemed rejuvenated by the birth of his son, Josh. In most of the games he came out of the blocks fast, even with Shawn Marion on him, but faded in the second halves, regardless of who Dallas had covering him, though he did come up with clutch buckets to pull out Games 1 and 5 and 13 of his team-leading 22 in a losing cause in Game 6. In Game 7 though he was back to his old self though, slipping through the cracks like mercury and getting to the basket with ease. Curiously, Marion didn't check him at all that game.

Parker's playmaking was compromised greatly by the Mavs' defensive strategy to stay home on the shooters and it led him to force the issue with the ball, leading to a lot of sloppy turnovers. His jumper was pretty decent though, at 40 percent from 10-16 feet and 48.6 percent from 16-22 feet. The only area where he really struggled was with his floaters/tear drops, shooting a miserable 14.3 percent.

It was mostly a series to forget defensively for Parker and he'll have to pick up his effort considerably against Damian Lillard.

Manu Ginobili: A-

27.4 mpg, 17.7 pts, 3.7 rebs, 4.6 asts, 2.3 stls, 0.1 blks, 3.1 TOs, .450/.378/.809, 112.6 ORtg, 102.6 DRtg, +5.6 per game, 24.5 PER, .184 WS/48, 14 YTS pts

Aside from a clunker of a Game 6 Ginobili was absolutely brilliant, playing his best ball over the course of an entire series since probably 2010 against these same Mavericks. He took advantage of how Dallas played the pick-and-roll and was aggressive going to the rim, getting to the line nearly seven times per game, almost two-and-a-half times his regular season rate. His mid-range jumper was dead on too, a welcome change after he struggled with it most of the year. He was a bit reckless with the turnovers to begin with, 10 in the first two games, but had "just" 12 giveaways over the final five. He more than made up for them with a team-high 16 steals, double the next-closest Spur (Kawhi Leonard, naturally).

Interestingly, Ginobili fared far better playing with the starters than with his bench mates in the "foreign legion," a stark reversal of the regular season. Actually he, Diaw, Patty Mills and Marco Belinelli playing together was something of an unmitigated disaster. We'll have to see if they can snap out of it against the Blazers weak reserves.

On the whole though, this was a far different Ginobili than the one we saw in any postseason series last year and the coaching staff can't help but be encouraged by his play so far. If he can maintain these averages and percentages, the Spurs have to like their chances.

Kawhi Leonard: C-

32.7 mpg, 11.9 pts, 7.4 rebs, 1.0 asts, 1.1 stls, 0.1 blks, 1.9 TOs, .492/.316/.591, 115.6 ORtg, 102.9 DRtg, +7.3 per game, 12.9 PER, .067 WS/48, 1 YTS pt

A disappointing start to the playoffs for Leonard, though to be fair to him, I don't think Pop did him any favors with that Monta Ellis match-up. It was too much of a stretch to ask Leonard, as lengthy and athletic as he is, to guard a guy in Ellis who's that quick, especially since there weren't two bigs waiting in the paint but rather just one. Leonard struggled to make any kind of positive defensive impact at all, outside of Game 3, and weirdly all of his eight steals came in two of the seven games. Offensively, Leonard took advantage at times of the smaller Ellis on him in the post, but wasn't as aggressive with that as he could've been and seemed confused when they did double him. Leonard did a much better job of looking for his shot in the last few games but in the first couple of home tilts he was decidedly one of the main culprits when it came to not ratcheting up the intensity for the playoffs. Game 2 might have been the worst I've ever seen him play.

Leonard will probably draw Nicolas Batum in this round and that should go a long way toward garnering his attention from the beginning. He definitely needs to be better though, it's just bizarre seeing a stretch of seven games where he was only one the Spurs' best three players once, considering he was their best guy after the All-Star break.

Tiago Splitter: A

27.4 mpg, 10.7 pts, 9.0 rebs, 2.3 asts, 1.0 stls, 0.1 blks, 0.9 TOVs, .619/.000/.767, 109.1 ORtg, 101.8 DRtg, +3.7 per game, 22.6 PER, .264 WS/48, 18 YTS points

As well as Ginobili played, Splitter was the MVP of round 1 for the Spurs. Not only was his defense against Nowitzki fantastic, but he rebound well and aggressively on both ends, hit a decent percentage of his dinky hooks, looked to finish strong when he could and shot a high percentage at the line. Splitter even made some plays as a passer down the stretch to win Game 5. The Mavericks did contribute to his play the way they lined up their defensive schemes, but full marks still to Splitter for making them pay. It will be interesting to see if it'll buy him more minutes on the floor against Portland. LaMarcus Aldridge shoots from outside like Nowitzki, but he is decidedly more athletic and can scoot around off the dribble if you get tight on him. The Blazers might also look to go small, and they've got the kind of athletes that will give Pop pause to stick with a second big.

Danny Green: C

21.6 mpg, 7.1 pts, 3.0 rebs, 0.7 asts, 0.7 stls, 1.1 blks, 0.7 TOs, .581/.550/.750, 108.2 ORtg, 102.7 DRtg, +0.7 per game, 15.8 PER, .150 WS/48, 5 YTS points

This series was the mirror image to Green's Finals performance, where he threatened to win MVP over the first five games and bombed badly in the final two games at Miami. Against the Mavs he was a disaster for the first five games, scoring 17 points total (and making numerous defensive errors, especially in transition), before he exploded for 33 over the final two. The thing is, Green never shot all that poorly, especially from three, he just really struggled to get any looks. I think it helped him mentally to get switched onto Ellis late in Game 5 and he was more engaged in both ends. Having a quicker Parker facilitating to him over the final two games also no doubt benefited his game. Maybe Green's foot was bothering him at first and it loosened up as the series went on. Maybe he just came out tight and nervous. Whatever the cause may have been, the guy who played in Games 6 and 7 against Dallas is the one the Spurs will need, particularly when it comes to defending Lillard.

Boris Diaw: C-

23.1 mpg, 8.1 pts, 2.9 rebs, 2.9 asts, 0.6 stls, 0.0 blks, 0.7 TOs, .537/.417/1.000, 107.2 ORtg, 117.3 DRtg, -6.0 per game, 15.7 PER, .156 WS/48, 5 YTS pts

Diaw shot well overall and made the game-winning (and perhaps series-saving) three in Game 4 and had an all-around good showing in Game 7, like most of his teammates. Aside from that though, he was pretty poor in a number of ways. Defensively he didn't cause Nowitzki anywhere near the amount of problems that Splitter did, and he often made the fatal flaw of giving the giant German far too much time and space. Diaw also committed a number of silly fouls, taking himself out of games and costing the team dearly. His rebounding was soft on both ends, to my endless dismay. Most troubling at all, he couldn't get anything going with his benchmates on the foreign legion. Their collective defense was a sieve and only Ginobili's efforts kept the offense afloat. The Spurs will need a much more consistent effort out of Diaw because it's really stretching Splitter to ask him to carry the load in consecutive series.

Patty Mills: D+

16.3 mpg, 5.9 pts, 1.7 rebs, 1.4 asts, 0.9 stls, 0.0 blks, 1.1 TOs, .350/.261/.750, 108.8 ORtg, 109.8 DRtg, +1.3 per game, 8.7 PER, -.019 WS/48, 0 YTS pts

Mills really struggled out of the gate for the first three, but contributed to the cause in Games 4 and 6, scoring 10 in each. He never quite found his jumper, but we can't fault the shot selection, he took the same kind of shots he's been hitting all year. We can only hope he'll hit more of them against a Portland team he's feasted on, averaging 14.5 points over the four games against the Blazers. He did benefit somewhat playing with Parker the second half of the series against the Mavs, and we may see more of that when the Blazers play Lillard and Mo Williams together. Mills will have to do a better job of staying on shooters though. He's much too soft on screens.

Marco Belinelli: D-

13.1 mpg, 3.1 pts, 1.9 rebs, 0.3 asts, 0.0 stls, 0.0 blks, 0.3 TOs, .375/.571/NA, 95.2 ORtg, 125.1 DRtg, -8.6 per game, 4.2 PER, -.015 WS/48, 0 YTS pts

There was one decent showing in Game 3 but aside from that Belinelli was by far the biggest disappointment for the Spurs against Dallas, an unmitigated disaster. It wasn't all his fault, but they simply couldn't get a stop with him on the floor and didn't score nearly enough to stem the bleeding. Eventually Pop just gave up on him, helped in that regard by Green's resurgence. I was surprised that Belinelli never got a chance to start, but Pop probably wanted to keep Green's confidence up since he'll be needed more in the coming rounds. Vince Carter destroyed Belinelli head-to-head and the Italian struggled to get his customary back door cuts on the other end.

As bad as Belinelli was, he played just 94 minutes all series, a pretty small sample size for a fellow who finished second on the Spurs in total minutes during the season. Rocky averaged 15.5 points on 56 percent shooting (and 55 percent from downtown) against the Blazers, so maybe he can redeem himself against them, though I doubt he'll get too many more chances to.

*******

All First-Round Teams

First-Team

C Dwight Howard, Hou

PF LaMarcus Aldridge, Por

SF LeBron James, Mia

SG Joe Johnson, Bro

PG Damian Lillard, Por


Second-Team

C DeAndre Jordan, LAC

PF Blake Griffin, LAC

SF Paul George, Ind

SG Manu Ginobili, SA

PG Stephen Curry, GS

Third-Team

C Tiago Splitter, SA

PF Nene, Was

SF Trevor Ariza, Was

SG Bradley Beal, Was

PG Mike Conley, Mem

Finally, if you've been watching the playoffs at all, you've no doubt been inundated with that iPhone commercial where a teenage band is covering "Gigantic," by The Pixies. I can't get the dumb song out of my head. So, naturally, if I suffer, than so must you.

Sing along, gang, it really is a catchy tune.



And this I know

His bald spot seemed to glow

A  hey-lo shining above him

Goes left every play

The paint's a dirty place

Oh mom-ma Land said

He said

Man ooh, Man ooh, Man ooh,  that dude can ball [3x]

Ginoblee, Ginoblee, Ginoblee

You big-nosed stud

Ginoblee, Ginoblee, Ginoblee

You big-nosed stud


Lovely legs they were

Nutmeg through that mess

What a pass he threw

Dri-ving every day into that dirty place

He's like the sand, they can't hold him

Man ooh, Man ooh, Man ooh,  that dude can ball [3x]


Ginoblee, Ginoblee, Ginoblee

You big-nosed stud

Ginoblee, Ginoblee, Ginoblee

You big-nosed stud

Ginoblee, Ginoblee, Ginoblee

You big-nosed stud

Ginoblee, Ginoblee, Ginoblee

You big-nosed stud

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