Apr 28, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol and San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan meet on the court at the conclusion of San Antonio
Hey long time no, uh, read? Yeah OK anyways. Well that was a fun quick series, and were already onto the next one. However, before we get down to the dinner table of the second round, lets give a quick summation and grade how the individuals did against the Lakers shall we? Lets light this candle.
Tim Duncan 17.5 points 7.5 rebounds 3.7 assists 1.0 blocks
The biggest news out of this series for old reliable was just that. He was reliable. Not only did he come out of the series healthy but he looked great. Moved very well, was fluid, played fantastic defense.His jump shot looked great sans second half of game 1, and he looked as spry as he did before “the scare”. While his blocks weren’t fantastic, nor his rebounding, those numbers were brought down mostly to the small amount of minutes played in the last two games. The biggest thing that stood out was his defense. His defense on Gasol and Howard was nothing short of outstanding. He at times completely shut down Dwight Howard, and made Gasol work very hard for every single point that he earned. Going forward the Spurs will need this defense from Duncan if they have aspirations of getting out of the West.
Kawhi Leonard 12.3 points 7.3 rebounds 1.3 assists
The more the series went on, the more comfortable Leonard got, and what was expected to be a quiet series offensively, became a solid to good one.
With Ron Artest guarding him all series long, (I refuse as you know, to call him by that ridiculous name) it was expected his offensive impact would be less than normal. However Leonard attacked aggressively and often against the Laker’s porous defense and defended the Lakers equally as well. He was able to fly around guarding multiple players and was routinely intercepting a badly forced pass and taking it the other way. Against Golden State? He will definitely have his chance to shine.
Tiago Splitter 5 points 4 rebounds 2.3 assists .7 blocks
In a series to forget, it was a 3 game series for one Tiago Splitter and one, hopefully, he can recover from. From game 1 on he was not his usual self. Playing to contact hoping for fouls and not playing with any toughness or aggressiveness at all, Splitter had a painful first round match up. In more ways than one. Splitter in game 3 while driving to the basket on a usual pick and roll play seemed to turn his ankle while jumping into the air and therefore sprained his ankle, putting his status for the beginning of the second round in doubt. While Splitter didn’t play well vs LA, he will most definitely be needed vs Golden State in a need to stay big and prevent easy shots and plays at the rim.
Grade D –
Danny Green 7 points 4 rebounds 2 assists
In a series that started slow but finished very very well, I personally thought he played a good series. His defense was solid outside a couple miscues here and there. His shot making started off decently but finished just as good as his defense as his aggressiveness got back to regular season levels. His one on one defense was solid as always and as the series finished, he started getting those steals leading to fast breaks. Notably creating a steal in game 4 and flushing a great fast break dunk on the other end. Hopefully Green picks up where he left off in the second round.
Grade B +
Tony Parker 22.3 points 3.3 rebounds 6.5 assists 1.2 steals
In a very important measuring stick series when it comes to health, Tony Parker passed with flying colors, especially as the series wore down. In games 3 and 4 Parker diced, pulled up, floated, and ran like the pre injury Tony did and not gave a sigh of relief, but a giant tinge of excitement for future prospects as a healthy Parker means a long deep playoff run for these Spurs. Parker in this series, literally had no one who could guard him. Early on before Steve Blake got injured, he guarded him quite well, however in game 2, Parker exploded in the third quarter and pretty much erased any worries by Spurs fans about his prospects as he went on to dominate the series from then on out. Happy high fives everyone and cross those fingers, cause Tony is lookin like Tony again.
Grade A +
Matt Bonner 7.8 points 3.8 rebounds 1 steal 1 block
The red mamba. A nickname that has stuck since All Star weekend, and has gone from a bit of a running gag to now a cheer. Matt Bonner came out and immediately tried to expel any playoff demons by not only hitting big shot after big shot, but also playing amazingly good defense vs a taller, bigger, and stronger Dwight Howard. Bonner filled in for the ailing Boris Diaw, and honestly, it could be questioned whether Diaw could’ve done as well or better than what Matt Bonner contributed. With Diaw back, one wonders if Bonner will be used as much or at all now. Only time will tell.
Cory Joseph 4.5 points 2.8 rebounds 3 assists
While making his playoff debut, the young Joseph showed exactly why the Spurs used the late first round draft pick on him. His defense was not only spectacular, but his rebounding, and his offensive play making and shooting touch were on display as well. Joseph not only spelled Parker, but allowed the Spurs to give a little extra rest to him in games 3 and 4 as Joseph pretty much had a handle on things. His defense was disruptive , but he stayed within himself. The same could be said for his offense as he looked for his shot at the appropriate times and didn’t try to do too much nor get in anyone’s way.
Going forward, if Joseph can continue this play, the Spurs will become a really really hard out in the playoffs.
Manu Ginobili 11.3 points 3 rebounds 4.8 assists 1.8 steals
From game 1 on Manu Ginobili made Spurs fans not only twinge, but jump with excitement. Starting in game 1, no one, not even coach Popovich knew how the wily veteran from Argentina would fare.He was on a 20 minute, 5 minute blocks, playing limitation. In game 1 he tried to make Pop immediately forget that restriction and play him more as he scored 18 points in 18 minutes. From then on while not scoring as much, he wasn’t need to as his passing found open shooters, cutters, as he created as many points as he scored. HIs defense while not vintage Manu due to no one to guard, he was allowed to do what he does best. Ball hawk, and ball hawk he did, as he disrupted the passing lanes as well or better than Kawhi Leonard, and overall created his usual giant headaches. going forward, one would think with the ample rest the minutes will increase, along with the scoring responsibilities. Heres hoping his shot continues to be good.
Gary Neal 7.8 points 2.3 rebounds 1 assist
While Gary Neal wasn’t Gary Neal the sniper, he still contributed on the offensive end. The defensive end? Uh, did I mention his offense was solid? His mid range game when chased from the three point line was quite good, as he made floating jumpers in the lane, Tony Parker like tear drops, and pull up mid range open shots left and right. To be successful going forward, the Spurs will need however, Gary Neal to make his open threes, and make defenses pay for rotating off of him.