Thankfully that game is over. I was afraid I was going to wake up in the middle of the night shaking uncontrollably because of the combination of poor ball movement, shot selection and porous defense. But then I remembered it was just the Charlotte Bobcats and I slept pretty comfortably. I just don’t want to watch any more contested 20 footers with 15 seconds still on the shot clock please. Thank you.
After the Bobcats took a surprising 16-12 lead in the first quarter, the Spurs (bolstered by a Gregg Popovich time out) went on an impressive 11-0 run capped by a Tony Parker jumper. Interesting side note (per Spurs Nation): in the three games, the Spurs have allowed a .264 FG% in the first quarter.
Ultimately, the Spurs were just too much for the Bobcats. It’s pretty apparent that the No. 1 overall pick in the draft would be a welcome addition to this team. Currently, the Bobcats are last in offensive efficiency, effective field goal percentage and 29th in defensive efficiency.
Largely because of sloppy basketball — the Spurs committed 18 turnovers and allowed 10 offensive rebounds — the Bobcats were only down 10 at the half (for a team whose point differential is negative 14.8, that’s something to hang your hat on).
The 2nd half was much more boring because the game went the way you would expect given the collective talent on each side of the court. The Bobcats poor shooting eventually caught up to them and the Spurs were able to start a couple of decisive runs that put the game away.
The Spurs mercifully closed the game on a 19-6 run. The 30 point victory was good enough for the largest margin of victory this season.
Player(s) of the game: everyone
I’ll give a pass for Tim Duncan’s poor shooting (6-17, .353 FG%) because of his ancillary stats. James Anderson was completely nonexistent but since he didn’t do anything to drastically affect the outcome (but how could he?), he gets one too. Cory Joseph shouldn’t be on the roster at his current skill level but he did make a couple nice plays.
The Spurs were 10-20 from behind the arc, eight of those coming from Matt Bonner and Richard Jefferson. RJ had an efficient line of 14 points on 4-8 shooting, seven boards, one steal, one block and a plus-16. He averaged a mere 7.3 points and 3.1 rebounds in February so it’s a good sign to see him operating in the constructs of the offense.
Bonner continued his impressive shooting tonight with four three’s of his own. In his last eight games, his 3P% is .611.
MVP candidate (I have to get used to typing that) Tony Parker poured in 15 points on 7-11 shooting, three rebounds, four assists and five turnovers. He was a little complacent but you can get away with that against bad teams.
DeJuan Blair and Gary Neal had interesting games. Blair couldn’t convert anything but he compensated for his poor shooting with energy. He totaled 11 boards, five on the offensive side. Neal, despite shooting 3-8 and not excelling in anything specifically, had a plus-29.
I still have no idea why Danny Green had a minus-six last night. I could’ve had a plus-five against the Bobcats.
Something to hang our hats on:
That we aren’t the Bobcats? Sorry, that’s all I have that resembles insightful analysis.
Something to consider:
Lost in the shuffle of a largely uneventful Spurs blowout is the inclusion of T.J. Ford into the rotation. He earned 16 minutes during the blowout, contributing seven points and three assists. In this instance, it isn’t the contribution that matters (well for now, at least) but the fact that he is actually healthy.
With Ford into the rotation, Pop has the luxury of decreasing Parker’s minutes. With so many injuries as the Spurs have had, Parker’s minutes have actually risen from last year. If we want him to continue this pace, a lighter workload would definitely help matters significantly. It’s no surprise that with Ford in the rotation, Parker has averaged 30.7 minutes per game which is substantially lower than his season average of 34.3 MPG.
For more empirical proof of Ford’s significance, look no further than Parker’s minutes per day (hat tip to Wayne Vore of The Big Fundamental for this interesting stat). In a condensed season, the residual effect of consistent minutes is something to always monitor. I’m sure Pop does so on a daily basis. Last year TP averaged 14.96 minutes/day while this year that has risen to 16.41. An extra minute per day might seem inconsequential but that adds up over an entire season.