Spurs vs. Knicks Postgame Thoughts

Note: Instead of a full-blown recap of last night’s game, which you can get in 201 other places, I’d thought I’d list out some quick thoughts in the form of bullet points from last night’s game. This will probably become a regular feature after games, but if you really must have a recap, check out the one from NBA.com.
• 4 of20
I could be making enough to buy season tickets if I built houses with the bricks the Spurs keep throwing up.  Ime Udoka and Roger Mason together made four of their 20 attempts from the field. Udoka had open looks all night and had trouble connecting whereas Roger Mason looks to be missing Tony Parker. Parker used to be able to drive, draw double teams and pass out. I think part of Mason’s success was due to Parker and he’s having to make an adjustment to George Hill and he’s also spending some time running the point. Anthony Tolliver was also 2 of 8 and made one of his six three-point attempts and Jacque Vaughn put up a doughnut on five attempts. If the Spurs want to swim, or at least keep their heads above water without Tony and Manu, they’ll have to knock down shots.
• Defense
The Spurs have been last in defensive efficiency early this season, but last night we saw several glimpses of defense. George Hill, Mason and Udoka were able to jump into passing lanes for steals and turn them into baskets at the other end. Tolliver also hustled for rebounds and loose balls, and I hope Satan enjoys the snow in hell, because Fabricio Oberto had 9 rebounds to go along with four aces and two kills.
• Lineup Experimentation
I like that Pop changed the lineup a bit to try to get the most out of his players and experiment with different rotations in an attempt to try to find out what works best. Bowen and Finley seemed to do well off the bench and I liked the energy Hill, Mason and Udoka brought to the starting lineup. I’m sure Pop will continue to shuffle the lineup to adapt to different teams or situations.
• The Verdict on Hill
George Hill started his first game at point guard but it’s not easy to give an overall grade on his performance. I liked some of the things he did, disliked others and saw areas for improvement. Normally, I’d want to see more of him distributing the ball, but with Parker out, the Spurs need offense. He was too tentative early and looked to pass when he had a clear path to a layup. After Pop got in his ear during a timeout, he looked to penetrate and get his shot more. He’s also a little shaky at setting up the offense, but I really like what he did at the defensive end. He was only credited with one block, but I saw at least two and he grabbed rebounds from all over the floor. He also limited both Chris Duhon and Nate Robinson to a combined 3 of 17 shooting performance.
Overall, it was good to see the Spurs get a win at home over an improving and inspired Knicks team. I liked that they were able to sustain the lead at the end, but it’ll still be a rough road ahead until Tony and Manu come back.

About Michael A. De Leon

Michael founded Project Spurs in 2004. He started The Spurscast, the first Spurs podcast on the Internet, in 2005. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others. He is a credentialed member of the media for the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros. He is also the founder of Project Spurs' sister sites, Toros Nation and Stars Hoops.

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