By Lance Fell
Through the first 18 games of the season, the Spurs sputtered to an 9-9 record, but since then, they have jumped to an 20- 12 record, going 11-3 in their last 14 games. A weak schedule and the resurgence of Roger Mason could be seen as the reasons for this turn around, but I wanted to look at the big three. I wanted to look at how they performed together through these last 14 games, and see if maybe it was inconsistency on the part of the big three that was the reason for such a slow start.
First I looked at their season averages.Tim Duncan is averaging 20 and 10, but what’s new? Tony Parker’s scoring average has dropped from 22 points per to 16. It seems like a drastic drop, but bringing in a prolific scorer like Richard Jefferson was certainly going to cause some scoring averages to fall. Manu Ginobili’s average has also dropped from last year when he averaged 16 per. This season Manu is averaging 12 points per game, which may seem low, but with George Hill and Michael Finley coming off the bench, as well as the new Roger Mason, 12 points is a good average. So two of the big three’s scoring averages have fallen this season, but with our new players stepping up, it hasn’t affected us offensively. The Spurs are ranked tenth in the NBA with 101.8 points per game.
Focusing in on the 9-9 start, I looked at the first 18 games and the big three’s averages through those games. Surprisingly, all three’s averages were about where they are now. Duncan was averaging a solid 19 and 10, while Parker’s average was up to 17.6 points per. Ginobili was still at 12 points per game.
Next, I looked at the last 14 games, which the Spurs have gone 11-3. Duncan’s average has gone up in last 14 games to 21 per, while Tonys fell to 15.2 points per game. Manu has been steady, averaging 12 points in the last 14 games. It seems that they have been playing consistently well together throughout the season. The one thing I noticed is all three missed games due to injury during the first 18 games. Duncan only missed two games, but Parker missed four, and Ginobili missed five. It seems that the injury bug definitely played a small role in the Spurs slow start.
So next I looked at the Celtics three, I refuse to call them a big three, to see how they are playing compared to San Antonio’s Big Three. Kevin Garrnett is averaging 15 points per, while Ray Allen is averaging 16 a game. Paul Peirce is averaging 18 points per game. Similar averages, yet collectively, a little better then Timmy, Tony and Manu.
So with the Boston three all averaging over 15 a game, I looked at when the real big three all scored over 15 points a game. To my surprise, the Big Three have all scored more than 15 points in only two games this season. First, in a 118-106 win over the Sacramento Kings on December 9, and lastly, on December 31 against the Miami Heat, in a 108-78 route.
Looking at our last two Championship seasons, 2007 and 2005, I noticed that each of the Big Three averaged over 15 points a game. In 2007, Duncan, like the robot he is, averaged 20 and 10. Parker averaged 18.6 and Ginobili was at 16.5 per game. In 2005, Duncan again was 20 and 10, while Parker and Ginobili were both at 16. So after going through all the stats, it’s easy to see that the Big Three have been playing solid together. Parker and Ginobili’s scoring averages have slightly dipped, but that was bound to happen with Jefferson and Hill becoming more involved in the offense. Health is and always will be the main factor in determining their success. Hopefully, they can stay healthy and continue to play together at a high level.