May 27, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Tiago Splitter (22) rubs the head of power forward Tim Duncan (right) after game four of the Western Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum. The Spurs won 93-86. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
It’s been 24 hours since the Spurs punched their ticket to the NBA Finals, and I gotta tell you…I’m still celebrating. So that’s my excuse for game grades being up so late. But it’s the effort that matters, so let’s get in to it. Happy game grades time!
Who’s Not: The trio of Mike Conley, Tony Allen and Zach Randolph were a combined 10/35 last night (29%) for a total of 26 points. Not exactly spectacular, but it was an improvement from the 0/7 first half Randolph and Allen had combined. Either way, the Spurs defense deserves a lot of credit for the way they shut down Memphis this entire series.
Turning Point: San Antonio was pretty much in control all game long, but there was a slightly obvious turning point in the third quarter. The Grizzlies went on a 7-0 run in just 50 seconds, to cut the Spurs lead 69-66. And then in typical Spurs fashion, Kawhi Leonard nailed a wide open three point, assisted by Matt Bonner.
Up Next: If the Heat advance, the Spurs start on the road. If the Pacers advance, San Antonio will have homecourt throughout the Finals. Regardless of the match up, the only thing that matters is June 6th.
PG Tony Parker | 37 points (15-21 shooting), 4 rebounds, 6 assistsAs if we haven’t said enough about Parker’s performance, not only in this game, but in the playoffs in general. The MVP candidate and Second Team All-NBA’er has been masterful in the postseason, and there’s no doubt the Spurs will only go as far as Tony Parker takes them.
SG Danny Green | 5 points (2-6 shooting), 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 stealsHe made the Spurs first three point field goal in the third quarter, and was never heard from again.
SF Kawhi Leonard | 11 points (5-7 shooting), 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 5 stealsNot only did Kawhi Leonard hit a clutch three pointer at the end of the third quarter, but the havoc he creates on defense is amazing. Leonard had five of the Spurs 10 steals, four of which came in the fourth quarter alone.
PF Tim Duncan | 15 points (7-15 shooting), 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 4 blocksEven after playing 44 minutes in Game 3, Duncan was strong in Game 4. His shot was slightly off on the night, but his impact defensively around the basket was undeniable.
C Tiago Splitter | 9 points (4-8 shooting), 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 4 blocksSplitter isn’t the offensive presence I want him to be, but his offense isn’t needed when Parker plays the way he did Monday night. And defensively, Tiago was a monster. The rebounding numbers need to improve, but that’s another story.
Bench | 16 points (6-19 shooting), 11 rebounds, 10 assists, 1 stealA very quiet night for the bench, and not the best of shooting performances by Manu Ginobili. But Gino did have a devilish stat line with 6 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists, to go with 6 turnovers. Hehe. Devilish. I’m funny. (I promise I’ll stop.)
Head Coach Gregg PopovichHe disposed of the Memphis Grizzlies in four games, making adjustments before Lionel Hollins could adjust to the Spurs original game plan. No disrespect to Hollins, but once again, Popovich proved to be playing chess and not checkers. His only mistake in Game 4, was probably playing Matt Bonner too long. But I’m just nitpicking.