If we've learned anything about the Spurs in the past two nights, it's that they play in a league where nothing makes any sense. One of these scorelines is against the 29th ranked defense and the other is against the second.
- 114 points, 50% shooting, with 27 assists on 38 makes, and 9 TOs
- 100 (in OT), 38% shooting, with 17 assists on 36 makes, and 11 TOs
Yea, the good one was against the really good defense. Somehow. So the apocalyptic ramifications some were calling for last night seem to be quelled for the moment. The Spurs came through on a SEGABABA looking like they were the young, athletic team. (Though the Bucks also lost a nail-biter last night in New Orleans, I just assumed Giannis could get back to Wisconsin with but a mere triple jump or something.)
But which of the Spurs' band of masochists responded to Pop calling them "pathetic" and explaining that he "hates 'em all?" None other than Boris Diaw, the equally incomprehensible Frenchman (and Danny Green, but that was just a sheer volume of minutes to play through the mini-slump), who has been lukewarm at best this season.
The Bucks started the game hot, shooting over 50 percent and seemingly always a step ahead of the Spurs. Great effort and hustle with some timely three-point shooting kept the champs within one point to end the first. The second saw the Bucks shoot the same 11-for-24, but the Spurs shot 62 percent with 22 of their 36 points coming in the paint. This was the Boris Diaw effect. He was posting and passing with aplomb.
For an example slice of the Bizzaro pie: at the half, Boris was the Spurs leading scorer, Tiago had already had a 3-minute stretch where he was equal parts Bill Russell and Manu Ginobili, Reggie Williams scored consecutive buckets, and Danny Green had more floaters than three pointers.
The Spurs, mainly through Diaw and Duncan scoring and facilitating went on a 12-5 run to close the first half and then a 13-2 run to start the next. Though the Bucks would fight back to make it a nearly even quarter, it never looked in doubt after that point for a Spurs team that was properly focused on the task at hand.
Just to make sure, Pop didn't send the cleanup crew (any votes for calling this group "Los limpiadores de estrellas"?) until around the one minute mark, even with a 14-point lead. This was a game that needed to be finished.
Quote of the Night
For my money, it's a Danny/Boris tie. Kawhi, Timmy, Tiago, and Tony were all solid-to-very good at points, but Boris shined the brightest and Danny was the consistent force throughout.
Boris Diaw: 18 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal in 31 minutes. Also did this:
here's that Bobo dish. pic.twitter.com/OjztPQaMtW— Chris Itz (@Chris_Itz1) March 19, 2015
Danny Green: 20 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals in 39 MINUTES!! Also did this:
Here's some of that Danny Green transition D pic.twitter.com/nW38MZMkp7— Pounding the Rock (@poundingtherock) March 19, 2015
Already a not-incredibly-likeable player before the game, he surely cemented his status as a Spurs fan villain with this disgusting play on Marco Belinelli. There is clear intent to hurt Marco, and if Harden was suspended one game for kicking LeBron, this should probably be a few games.
Just a flagrant one. That's a cheap, dangerous foul. pic.twitter.com/WqJES2pJ9M— Chris Itz (@Chris_Itz1) March 19, 2015
Odds and Ends
- I really love the NBA's past (and especially the past few decades of Spurs dominance), and am obviously enjoying the present state of the game, but the NBA's future is going to be a lot of fun. Giannis Antetokounmpo, an athletic monster, played against the incomparable Anthony Davis last night and Kawhi Leonard tonight. There are a lot of likeable, hyper-athletic, smart players currently in the league and these three are somewhere very near the top.
- There was also a point in tonight's game where Tim Duncan and Boris Diaw had 12 assists and the Spurs Point Guard trio had 4, so take that for what it's worth.
269 minutes. The Spurs four non-Tiago starters have played an average of 67.5 minutes in the past 48 hours. That's a ton.
47 minutes. Even with Baynes out, Splitter has played a surprisingly small 47 minutes. There were 4 or 5 minute stretches in both games where he was exponentially better than every other player on the court. A bit baffling, really.
10 games. Spurs have had a double-digit lead against the opponents stretching all the way back to the Suns on the RRT.
57%. Over his career, nearly 60 percent of Danny Green's made field goals have been beyond the arc. (58% this season). 28% on Wednesday. A possible evolution of his game?
Never stop, Pop.
Does Popovich need to say anything to Spurs after loss to NYK? "They know I hate em. With every fiber of my body I hate em all. 1 thru 15."— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) March 18, 2015
Any truth to the rumor Bill Land skipped this trip so he wouldn't have to pronounce Antetokounmpo? @AndrewMonaco_Sr— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) March 19, 2015
This serves the duel purpose of building Boris' will power:
Fun Spurs fact: Trainer Will Sevening bellows "BUTTER" at the top of his lungs whenever the shot clock hits 5 on Spurs possessions.— Dan McCarney (@danmccarneySAEN) March 19, 2015
Zaza Pachulia perpetually looks like he is in the late rounds of boxing match. Eye sockets are Rocky Balboa swollen. @poundingtherock— Kyle Carpenter (@KyleCarpenter) March 19, 2015
Like a giant ballerina, that Tiago:
Tiago https://t.co/gXAQ4vFDQB— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) March 19, 2015
I call it the Brazilian wax. RT @JMcDonald_SAEN: Tiago Splitter euro step is the best euro step.— Ben Hunt (@benhunted) March 19, 2015
Tiago Splitter is beasting right now. pic.twitter.com/mdthU4aOu8— Chris Itz (@Chris_Itz1) March 19, 2015
Almost wish they would cancel the rest of the game and just let Kawhi and Giannis thumb wrestle at midcourt.— Dan McCarney (@danmccarneySAEN) March 19, 2015
Kawhi and Giannis just raced down the court on a fastbreak and it was majestic.— Kyle Carpenter (@KyleCarpenter) March 19, 2015
Not gonna dupe Tim Duncan with a fake shot clock count, Bucks fans. Tiago, maybe. But not Tim Duncan.— Dan McCarney (@danmccarneySAEN) March 19, 2015
LeBron, watching as the Heat-Blazers game is on in locker room, mutters "right to left step back" before Wade hits right to left step back— Chris Fedor (@ChrisFedor) March 19, 2015
Rudy Gobert scouting report: He's everything you wanted JaVale McGee to be.— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) March 19, 2015
This has 3000 words from Simmons written all over it:
Kelly Olynyk looks like the basketball player Wes Anderson would create.— Royce Young (@royceyoung) March 19, 2015
Textbook box out technique https://t.co/HSaSpJ9scS— Handsome Hank (@hen_ease) March 19, 2015
Scalabrine dutifully calling Novak "Novocaine" just shows the professional respect white bench shooters have for each other— ☕netw3rk (@netw3rk) March 19, 2015
Dirk Nowitzki's shooting coach, Holger Geschwinder, looks like a fun guy pic.twitter.com/I6ajPOtIGX— The Cauldron (@TheCauldron) March 19, 2015