To find out how the San Antonio Spurs almost made an improbable comeback from down 18-
Room for Improvement
- The ghost of the bench in the first half: Where were they? They only made two points in the first half. Tiago Splitter, who had been dominating off the bench got in early foul trouble and Gary Neal, Danny Green, Cory Joseph, and Matt Bonner struggled to connect on any of their shots.
- Tony Parker, the team needed you: Parker finished with nine points and four assists, but his 2-of-11 shooting from the floor really hurt the Spurs. The main part of his off night was his decision to mainly shoot perimeter shots. In the first quarter, Parker was 1-of-3 and all of his shots were taken outside of the paint. In the second quarter, Parker was 1-of-5 and though four of his shots were taken from the paint, the only one he made was a three pointer. Parker was 0-for-2 in the third quarter and once again, all his shots were from beyond 10 feet. Parker’s fellow Frenchmen Rodrigue Beabouis, 14 points and seven assists, also outplayed Parker. This was a game where the Spurs really could have benefited from a big game from Parker. To Parker’s credit, he has been carrying the team on his back since injured guard Manu Ginobili was injured.
- Richard Jefferson: Jefferson for two reasons: 1) He allowed Vince Carter to score 17 points in the first three quarters, mainly the first quarter where Carter had 10 points. 2) After scoring seven points early in the first quarter, Jefferson once again, was quiet to only score five points the rest of the way for his 12 points.
The Bright Spots
- “The comeback kids”: The second unit of Gary Neal (19 points), Danny Green (12 points), James Anderson (8 points), Matt Bonner (8 points),
and Tiago Splitter (8 points, 7 rebounds) all combined for 53 points in the second half. The group hit seven three pointers in the fourth quarter and overtime combined. Neal showed courageous play whether he was stepping off screens and hitting threes, driving and making a floater, or even driving the lane for an and-one opportunity. Though Green didn’t connect on both potential game winners, he too had some clutch shots and drives to the basket. Bonner was instrumental again from behind the arc and his defense in the second half alongside Splitter were key in holding the Mavericks to 22 points in the fourth quarter. The biggest surprise was Anderson’s play. The Spurs recently opted not to pick up the third year option on Anderson’s contract, and Anderson may have made them rethink their decision as he scored eight points in 20 minutes on 3-of-4 shooting, perfect from beyond the arc.
- Kawhi Leonard: Though his shooting numbers don’t show it, six points on 3-of-9 shooting, Leonard looked like one of the only starters who continued to drive to the basket and not just settle for jumpers as the Spurs were behind in double-digits.
- Second unit defense: The defense was solid for the second unit as they held the Mavericks to 18 points in the third quarter, 22 points in the fourth quarter, and 10 points in overtime. The Mavericks were held to 8-of-18 shooting in the fourth quarter, and 4-of-13 in overtime by the Spurs’ second unit defense.