We’ve Got To Stop Winning This Way
Another night, another ugly win.
Showing no real predilection to win this game–other than Danny Green’s barrage of 3-pointers, obviously–it was an old friend that helped us finally pull away in the closing minutes: execution. With the game tighter than it should be and no team willing to seize control, the Spurs were able to generate several shots that were either wide open, at the rim, or both. The Timberwolves, on the other hand, took mostly long 2s and didn’t generate a lot of high quality offense.
And this is why the Spurs will continue to win close games, ugly games, and many other types of games. Because they have the system and the trust built up to know what to do at any given point in the game and at any given place on the floor. While Rubio dribbles into traffic and looks for the home run pass, Danny Green hits Tony Parker on a beautiful back cut under the rim for an easy lay-up because both players just know and trust that they can do it. Because they have, hundreds of times before.
And that is all we’re going to take away from this ugly game.
While I was watching the game, the thought I kept having was that no role player was really stepping up and giving the team any thing of value, and most were actually playing poorly. Danny Green air-balled a 15-foot jump-shot on a 1 on 3 fast break, and I wrote down “Green / Neal = nothing!” in my notes. Of course, after that, Green hit about 14 straight 3-pointers. (There’s a reason 48MoH have dubbed him “Icy Hot“.)
But the point stands. With Duncan and Ginobili out, this is a prime time for the “other” guys to really step up and have great games. And tonight was a collective failure on the part of the majority of the team. I’m usually a pretty positive person, but for one night, I’d like to be negative.
Gary Neal: Is in more than just a shooting slump, he’s in a basketball slump. His greatest skill is his ability to score in bunches with confidence. He’s lost his shot, and he’s lost his confidence. If he was just slumping with his shot, that’d be one thing. But right now he is a net negative everywhere on the court. Patty Mills should be getting more of his minutes.
Matt Bonner: He can’t really get open for a 3-pointer any more, and when he does, he misses it. Not much else he can give to the team. He knows the system and always plays hard, but if he’s not spreading the floor, he’s not adding anything we don’t have elsewhere.
DeJuan Blair: I know why he is getting minutes, but he should see no meaningful time in any game of meaning.
Nando De Colo: Has flashes of brilliance, but mostly is still learning the NBA and is an almost-competent back-up. However, the offense generally stalls when he’s not sharing the court with another elite and clever passer. Patty Mills should be getting his minutes.
The bright side of all of this: it might make the playoff rotation easier to manage.
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