Search results: "parker" (page 2 of 23)

Spurs Beat Nets, Face Season Without Kawhi

Season 52, Game 46
San Antonio 100, Brooklyn Nets 95
30-16, 3th in the West

In 46 games played so far this season, the Spurs have been without Kawhi Leonard for 37 of them. It looks like that trend will continue.

Hours after Wednesday’s breaking news about Kawhi Leonard being shut down indefinitely with right quadriceps tendinopathy, the Spurs beat the Brooklyn Nets and retained their number 3 seed in the Western Conference.

LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with 34 points on 13-of-24 shooting in nearly 38 minutes of play. Aldridge was impressive from the start, but dominated the third quarter with 14 points, scoring at will. The Nets are young and play hard, but they had no match for the All-Star lock, as LaMarcus was able to shimmy, shake, pump fake, and dunk over pretty much any defender thrown at him in the second half.

His performance was accompanied by his trusty side-kick and former Blazers teammate, Patty Mills, who hit a career best 7-of-8 threes on his way to 25 points on the night, helping the Spurs hit “100” and earn their 30th win of the season. Mills shot his way out of a slump and looked like the Patty Mills we all know and love.

Danny Green is looking better by the day. Kyle Anderson has filled in admirably. Dejounte Murray is a monster on the glass. And while Pau Gasol continues to serve up Aldridge in the paint, Tony Parker remains the Spurs consistent playmaker.

The Spurs will need Aldridge’s continued dominance and this version of Mills if they want to stay afloat without their best player. In an over-crowded cluster of runner-ups to the Golden State Warriors, the Spurs have found themselves on the wrong side of the injury report this season.

My how quickly things can change.

Just a short calendar year ago, the NBA, and quite possibly the world, was starting to bask in the revelation of just how good Kawhi actually was. Words like “MVP” and “Superstar” were being tossed around. Talk of Finals trips were commonplace amongst Spurs fans. Even the “LeBron to SA” rumors were out in full force.

But alas, it was not to be. At least not yet, anyways. Kawhi rolled an ankle, we all lied to ourselves pretending the Spurs might have beaten the Warriors, and then we accepted this idea that, in 2018, when Kawhi is healthy, the Spurs can be that one team to upset them.

Two months later, “quadriceps tendinopathy” was being googled by every Spurs fan from here to Buenos Aires.

I’ve been critical of this new dynamic of Kawhi the Superstar.

I don’t think Kawhi knows how to be a superstar and I don’t think Gregg Popovich really knows how to coach a true superstar. But in 2018, it’s all about protecting your brand, protecting the product and now, protecting the future. So this entire dynamic is new to them, and to Spurs fans. Players brands are just as important now as their jump shot.

We’ve seen quite a bit of branding coming out of Kawhi since the end of last year.

Tim Duncan and David Robinson were better than Kawhi, but weren’t nearly as talented. Both were expected to be great players and both had the spotlight shining solely on them. Kawhi kind of came out of nowhere and his emergence, while welcomed, seemed to have caught the organization off guard.

You have to remember: the Spurs signed Aldridge and then suddenly, their defensive specialist turned into an offensive juggernaut.

Frankly, I am glad to see Kawhi shut down and would like to see him shut down for the year. The injury to my understanding is more of a “wear and tear” injury rather than just a incidental one (like Tony Parker’s). And don’t get hung up on the word “indefinitely.” LaMarcus was out last year “indefinitely” with a heart issue. He missed three games and came back.

I think there are one of two scenarios at play here.

The first: the injury is super bad and he ends up shut down for the season. That’s my hope. Let’s punt this season, let LaMarcus run the show, and then start fresh next season.

The other: keeping him out until after the All-Star break, which should bring back Rudy Gay and probably Manu Ginobili, all in one motion. This is a good point in the season to buy an extra week of recovery for players with lingering ailments. As much as I’d want to see that punt, having this team roar out of the All-Star break and win 20 of their last 25 isn’t a bad alternative.

There will be good and bad in this, but if the Brooklyn game is any indication, the Spurs aren’t as bad off as we may think. LaMarcus is still a really good player. Maybe a top 20 player in this league. And Popovich is a really good coach. Spurs fans should certainly raise eye brows in concern, but I don’t think panic is the right response yet.

We’ll see who decides to fill in for Kawhi again in Toronto on Friday. It should be a good test.

Go Spurs Go.

Spurs’ Depth Exposed in Road Loss to Lakers

Season 51, Game 43
San Antonio 81, Los Angeles Lakers 93
28-15, 3rd in the West

Lost, desperate, and panicked are usually the last three words you’d use to describe a Gregg Popovich-coached basketball team. But last night in Los Angeles, those are the only three words that described his short-handed Spurs.

San Antonio – missing its perennial MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard, as well as Danny Green, Rudy Gay, and Tony Parker – was completely out of sync for large stretches of the game. Miscues led to bad passes, turnovers, and easy fast-break points for the opportunistic Lakers. The Spurs constantly found themselves with double-digit deficits, and while they briefly took the lead in the third quarter, San Antonio dug itself right back into a hole, losing 81-93.

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Disturbing Trends

Season 51, Game 41
San Antonio 110, Portland 111
27-14, 3rd in the West 

The Spurs fell in splendid fashion to the Portland Trailblazers on Sunday night after CJ McCollum tossed in some junk in the final seconds of a back and forth game. The 1-point loss to the Spurs was a perfect ending to a fairly entertaining game in which the Spurs could have probably used one more possession.

The Spurs led in pretty much every category. They had more rebounds, both offensive and defensive, had more assists, shot better from the line, shot better from the arc, and committed less fouls. Unfortunately, they also had more turnovers. Late game heroics by Manu Ginobili, who has been nothing short of inspiring, as well as the continued dominance of LaMarcus Aldridge, was once again overshadowed by a chaotic whirlwind in the backcourt. Kawhi Leonard aside, this team is vastly different, sans Tony Parker.

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Comeback For Shorthanded Spurs Comes Up Short in Philly

Season 51, Game 39
San Antonio 106, Philadelphia 112
26-13, 3rd in the West

All in all, that actually wasn’t a bad game.

Granted, the Spurs’ defense looked porous at best, allowing the Sixers’ offense to look like the 2014 Spurs out there. Every back cut Philadelphia made was met with little to no resistance, leading to a dunk or layup. Nor could they secure a defensive rebound to save their lives. (Or, more accurately, to win the game.) And they did send the Sixers to the free throw line an absurd 43 times–only four of which were intentional.

On the other end of the court, the Spurs looked out of sorts for large chunks of the game. And it appeared that the Sixers were in possession of the Spurs’ playbook, seeming to know every cut, pass, and move before the Spurs even made it. The usual clever plays by the Spurs were completely swallowed up, usually leading to turnovers.

Putting all of that aside, though, it was a pretty good game for the Spurs.

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The Dynamic Duo Dominate at the Garden

Season 51, Game 38
San Antonio 100, New York 91
26-12, 3rd in the West

There were a lot of reasons to breathe a sigh of relief after this one.

After a dismal night against Detroit on Saturday, the Spurs showed signs of life and bounced back in New York, earning their fourth win in five games.

Six nights ago in Texas, the Spurs beat the Knicks handily behind a 25-point effort by LaMarcus Aldridge for a 119-107 win. Kyle Anderson subbed in for Kawhi Leonard during that game, but the Klaw was back in last night’s lineup. Given re-incorporation pains with Kawhi in previous games, tonight’s outcome was far from guaranteed.

From the outset, Aldridge and Leonard dominated and morphed into the dynamic duo San Antonio fans have been waiting to see all season. Aldridge stuffed his overflowing stat sheet with 29 points and 6 rebounds while geling with Leonard, who in his 7th game back from a quad injury recorded season highs in points (25), rebounds (8), steals (4) and minutes (31).

Through numerous tweaks to the rotation, the pair played well with others, forced fouls, and kept energy high. The Spurs went to the line 34 times scoring 28 points, more than doubling the Knicks effort with 14 points off 18 attempts.

Gone was the lackadaisical play seen against the Pistons. A balanced attack included 11 points from Pau Gasol, 12 from Manu Ginobili, and 10 from the other Latvian on the floor not named Porzingis – Davis Bertans.

Perhaps the result of last night’s super moon, some interesting plays occurred…

Late in the first quarter, a shot by Michael Beasley rimmed round and round and round and round and round before finally going in.

This would not be the weirdest thing to happen at the hoop.

At the end of the third quarter, Ginobili nailed such a lightning quick shot it was invisible to everyone, including the officials.

An intended alley-oop to Aldridge whizzed into the net, but Michael Beasley kept it in play as a deflection and brought it down the court. Ginobili argued at the other end and officials struggled to find a reason to review the play. They used the trigger of determining whether it was a two or three pointer to award the points.

Seriously, Manu is magical.

Watching this game in New York meant a local feed with commentators Walt Frazier and Mike Breen – Knicks-oriented this broadcast was not. Someone should remind them who writes their paychecks. These two praised the Spurs non-stop while sharing several stories about Ginobili, Gregg Popovich, Tony Parker, and even coaches Becky Hammon and Ettore Messina.

We also saw a beaming Ginobili greeting fans who’d arrived en masse from Argentina, fearing this season may be his farewell tour.

With win number 1,176, Gregg Popovich passed his friend George Karl, and is now the fifth winningest coach in NBA history. Not that we are keeping track, but after win 1,211 he will pass Pat Riley.

Kudos to Coach Jeff Hornacek for molding a young Knicks team that plays spunky and with heart now that the Curse of Carmelo has been lifted from NYC. Michael Beasley is a lot of fun to watch. All they have to do is get one win to be back at .500 and for the first time in over a decade I’m cheering for them to do it.

Here’s hoping Leonard, should he be kept off the DL, and Aldridge rekindle tonight’s spark in their back to back against Philly tonight.

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