Elimination games are always fun as an observer. As the fan of a team involved? Yeah good luck eating or not needing a stiff drink to get through the game. The Spurs entered the game on the cusp of entering their 12th Conference Finals in their franchise’s storied history. The Warriors hoping the great crowds at Oracle arena could keep things going for a game 7 and hoping against hope things would break their way.This however, was not going to be a night were hope was going to work.
The Spurs came out from the tip and till the final buzzer with smothering championship level defense.forcing the Warriors into 38% shooting, and 4 of 16 from 3 point land. The likes of Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Andrew Bogut, and Carl Landry, ones that gave so many headaches in games 1 and 2 were virtually shut down games 3-6. Stephan Curry, the owner of 44 points in game one was held to 22 on 10 of 25 shooting. Klay Thompson, hero of game 2, 10 points on 4 of 12 shooting.
The Spurs were lead by Tim Duncan with 19, but Duncan made headlines by being benched for the final 4 minutes of the game! The Spurs never the less trudged on and pulled out the win with huge threes from Kawhi Leonard, and Tony Parker who had an absolutely horrendous game shooting going 3 of 16.
The Spurs move on and will begin the next round against the hated Memphis Grizzlies. Yes, those same Memphis Grizzlies that pulled off one of the biggest upsets in NBA history 2 years ago when they eliminated the Spurs in 6 games in the first round of the playoffs. As has already been said, it will be a war.
Who’s hot: Tough choice but I’m gonna go Kawhi Leonard. He had 16 points and 10 rebounds, after giving almost the same amount of points in game 5 and rebounds as well. His clutch threes in the 4th will guarantee, if this playoff run ends like everyone wants, will be remembered as one of those “moments”.
Who’s not: Tony Parker. I love ya Tony, but wow was that historically bad. Parker admitted after the game he was tired, and you can be surprised. This series started and pretty much went hard core from the tip. Hardly any time off in between games including the crazy 36 hour turnaround from games 3-4. Still that said, after his fantastic game 5, he was just way off tonight, of course till the last 3 minutes when he poured in 8 points, 2 threes, that pretty much helped win the game.
Turning Point: Quite easily it was immediately after the timeout following Tim Duncan’s pass to Joey Crawford. The Warriors had the ball, down 2, and a chance to tie or take their first lead since 15-14 in the first quarter. Klay Thompson and Stephan Curry both had fantastic looks at the top of the 3 point line and both, literally, went half in and rolled out. Spurs regained possession, came down, and Tony Parker hit a three to put them up 80-75, and they would never look back after that.
Whats next: World War 3. No that’s melodramatic message boarder talking there. No, it will be a giant battle however when the Memphis Grizzlies come to San Antonio to battle the Spurs in the 2013 Western Conference Finals. While its old hat for the Spurs, their 8th in 14 years, and 12th in franchise history, it is the Grizzlies first time playing in the hot temperatures of late May early June. Game 1 is Sunday, 2:30 San Antonio time, on ABC. No more TNT for the Spurs this year, :(. But hey, it could be on Oxygen and I think we would be just fine with seeing our Spurs back in the Conference Finals once again.
Tony Parker 13 points 3 of 16, 3 rebounds, 8 assists,
Wow that was tough. But hey, he was the epitome of finishing better than he started. On a night where he turned the ball over, and shot horribly. Parker turned it around by scoring 10 points in the final 3 minutes in helping secure the win. Points though were the star, his defense was very solid. He was up on Curry, Thompson, Barnes, and anyone else he attempted to guard. Going forward the Spurs obviously can’t win with Parker shooting 3 of 16, however, this was historically bad and I doubt we see it again.
Danny Green 11 points, 3 of 5 shooting, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal.
Danny had another very good night. His stellar defense on Stephan Curry and others was on display once again, as was his shooting. His shots were huge shots, including one that pushed the lead from 4 to 7 in the fourth quarter. Not only is he defending and shooting well, he’s rebounding quite well for his position. Green played fantastic in this series and looking forward, to move on the Spurs will need just as big an effort from him. Next up, Mike Conley?
Kawhi Leonard 16 points 6 of 13, 10 rebounds, 2 steals
Kawhi continued his playoff brilliance with another fantastic performance. Not only had he made Klay Thompson completely disappear, he pretty much was a huge reason offensively the Spurs are moving on.
The highlight play was Kawhi missing a three, grabbing the rebound and slamming it home emphatically. Kawhi was a gigantic reason the Spurs were able to shut the Warriors down and hold them to under 92 points in regulation for 4 straight games.
Tiago Splitter 14 points 6 of 8, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 2 steals
Tiago was fantastic last night, moving, defensively and offensively. Tiago was his usual savy self, finding himself open underneath the hoop after cutting and losing his man like always. Defensively he once again hedged the pick and rolls to perfection and guarded the perimeter as well as a 6’11 big man. While his rebounding was nothing to write home about, his positioning was good and the Warriors had him surrounded with multiple players. Tiago will be gigantic against the Grizzlies in his defense against most likely, Zach Randolph.
Tim Duncan 19 points 7 of 13, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks,
Eventful. Thats how I would describe Duncan’s game. After another fantastic start to the game, Duncan. didn’t really disappear as much as didn’t get much of a chance. Duncan was guarded well and was made to pass off many times, however, he hesitated quite a bit as well bogging the offense down, and then in the 4th throwin a pass to his hated rival Joey Crawford. Why he would do such a thing, I have no idea. After that Pop benched him and he was done for the night. Against Memphis, yeah, he will have to do better and in all likelihood, will do just that.
Bench 21 points 8 of 18, 19 rebounds, 15 assists, 1 steal.
Well the bench played, OK. Corey Joseph continued his amazing playoff run with more fantastic defense, more heady play, and continued to be the spark off the bench the Spurs have missed from back up point guard days since Jacque Vaugh and even Speedy Claxton. While Ginobili didn’t shoot well, his one basket was a giant one in the fourth, his play making was vintage Manu. Handing out 11 assists he found Parker for his three in the corner and others as well. Not only did he pass the ball fantastically, he did a damn good job rebounding the basketball. As usual, a clutch performance from the Argentine. Gary Neal was solid in his time on the court, at one point the scoring came from just him and Tiago Splitter. His defense was decent, however, he was just over matched speed wise. Matt Bonner didn’t get in the way, actually made a shot, but other than that was his usual invisible self.