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Matt Bonner Better Watch His Back

By Jeff Koch on March 21, 2011.

Golden State 96, San Antonio 111  //  57-13  //  1st in the West

Lots of scattered thoughts from Monday night’s predictable win at home against the Warriors:

–The big news of the night is obviously Duncan’s ankle injury. Early prognosis is severe sprain, which is bad but not catastrophic. He’ll probably be out for a couple of weeks. With a big road trip coming up (Denver, Portland, Memphis, all good teams making surges that could be first round opponents) and the #1 seed not entirely cinched up, you never want to lose a player like Duncan. But as Tim Griffin points out, getting Splitter bunches of playing time could pay dividends in the short and long term. Still, it’d be nice to continue winning regular season games.

–That being said, Splitter played great, getting a career high 14 rebounds and also notching his first career double-double with 10 points. Griffin is right in that time with the ‘A’ team will help him tremendously, as he always seems just on the verge of having everything click. Personally, I love watching him play and hope he can make some leaps in the coming weeks and possibly work himself into the playoff rotation, even if just for spot duty. A big who can move and run the floor and defend is never a bad thing to have.

–Parker and Ginobili both continued their stretch of impressive play. What’s particularly great about them as a backcourt is that they are both kind of combo guards, meaning they can both create their own shots and baskets and are both above average playmakers. We are able to run our offense through both players, and can remain somewhat unpredictable.

–Sean Elliott harps on this a lot, and it bears repeating because it’s true: the key to the Spurs’ offensive success is ball movement. When our offense really stagnates, chances are it’s most likely because we’ve abandoned ball (and player) movement and gone to too much dribbling and one-on-one basketball.

–Steve Novak provides a nice insurance plan off the bench if Matt Bonner’s shot isn’t falling. Bonner shot 1-8 in the early going (all from 3), so Novak got the call, and went 5-6 (3-4 from 3-point territory) for 13 points.

–Richard Jefferson had a nice little 5-minute flashback there, getting a flurry of points by attacking the rim, making spectacular finishes and then converting the free throws. It’s nice that he has improved his 3-point shot, but not utilizing his athleticism and aggression can be wasteful at times. Even if it’s only for a few minutes or a couple of possessions a game, it’s good to keep him involved and get him attacking.

The upcoming 3-game road trip is a big one, with or without Duncan. Like I said, all three teams are playing great, and any of the three could be first round opponents. The road trip kicks off Wednesday night in Denver.

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