NBA Playoffs: San Antonio Spurs Game 1 Player Grades


Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The San Antonio Spurs rallied and came out victorious by a score of 90-85, a game in which Spurs fans might consider too close for comfort.

The Big Three was able to turn back the clock (surprise, surprise) and come through for San Antonio to help them come out with the win.

It’s time to handout grades to the Spurs players that deserve to be recognized.

The players who will not be mentioned are:

Patty Mills: The Australian was basically nonexistent in this game.

Matt Bonner/Jeff Ayres: Played a combined two minutes and 30 seconds but failed to put anything in the box score.

Marco Belinelli: Scoreless and provided nothing to really talk about.

Danny Green: Had a couple great defensive plays, but not enough to breakdown.

Cory Joseph/Austin Daye: DNP’s.

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Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Boris Diaw

On offense, Diaw was quite disappointing. He was being passive and wasn’t moving the ball around as well as he usually does. He finished the game with four points on two for eight shooting, two rebounds, and two assists.

On defense, Diaw was a completely different man. He played physical defense against Dirk Nowitzki, refusing to back down. He held his position and stood tall against every shot Nowitzki put up. To be fair, Nowitzki wasn’t playing his best, but Diaw was a big part for that reason.

Nowitzki finished the game only making four of his 14 shots. Diaw wasn’t the only defender who guarded him, but he played some tough defense when he was on the Big German.

Grade: C/C+

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Kawhi Leonard

This wasn’t exactly the playoff performance of Kawhi Leonard that fans were hoping for, but he did manage to record a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

His defense lacked throughout the first three quarters, where he would have a strong defensive presence on one defensive possession, then on the next, he would have a defensive lapse.

Then, in the fourth quarter, Leonard decided to turn it on defensively by making some crucial defensive stops in the crunch time. Including a great strip against Nowitzki that lead to the ball hitting off the German’s leg and rolling out of bounds.

Offensively, Leonard made some questionable decisions. He was matched up against Monta Ellis a vast amount of time, which to my surprise, he didn’t take full advantage of. And who saw that incredibly awkward open lean-in three pointer with seven seconds on the shot clock deep in the fourth quarter?

After some film time, I think Kawhi Leonard will bounce back for a better Game Two.

Grade: C+/B-

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Manu Ginobili

The Spurs only made three shots from long range out of 17; Manu Ginobili was the one that made all three of those three pointers. The leader off the bench went into this battle alone and, surprisingly, came out alive. With the rest of the bench forgetting how to play offense, Ginobili really had to carry the load.

The 36 year old poured in 17 points while grabbing six rebounds and handing out three assists. Ginobili did a great job throwing head fakes in all directions and taking the ball to the hole. This allowed him to get to the line six times, in which he made each free throw.

Ginobili helped disrupt the defense, but there were some careless passes he made in the fourth quarter that lead to turnovers.

Grade: A-

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Tiago Splitter

Tiago Splitter is another guy who played some tough defense on Nowitzki, and, not to mention the tough defense he played down the stretch. On a very important possession for the Mavericks, with under a minute remaining, Splitter was able to put an incredible defensive effort on Ellis who missed a tough jumper.

Splitter really came alive in the fourth quarter and finished the game with eight points and 11 rebounds. Two of his three field goals came from him working hard on the offensive boards and putting a shot back up. Splitter needs to continue to crash the offensive boards throughout the series.

Splitter came up big when it was needed, and that’s a good sign for the Spurs. Splitter needs all the confidence he can get for these playoffs.

Grade: B

Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Duncan/Tony Parker

I think it’s fair to put these two players together after the fantastic games they both played. They must have decided before the game that each will take over a half.

Parker started the game hot: He was carving up the defense with ease through the first half. It seemed almost too easy for him to get to the hoop and lay it in. He finished seven of eight in the paint at the end of the first. He also was able to hand out a game-high six assists. Parker made two huge baskets in the clutch to seal the win for the Spurs.

But the biggest play by Parker was the spin cycle that he did around Devin Harris for the layup with only 3:30 remaining to give SA the lead.

Tim Duncan gave us a little scare after banging knees with Harris in the third quarter. Before that, he was knocking down jump shots and getting to the basket. In the fourth quarter, though, we saw some classic Timmy. He was picking apart everyone in the post, either knocking down hooks, fadeaway jumpers, or drawing fouls to get to the line.

He was too quick for Samuel Dalembert, too tall for Blair and too physical for Nowitzki. Duncan finished the game with a game-high 27 points and pulled down seven rebounds. He was efficient throughout the whole game and showed he has plenty left in the tank.

Grades: A+ and A+