Spurs’ shooting blitz doomed Jazz; take 2-0 series lead

Kawhi_attacks

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Cross posted at SpursOnFire!

Tony Parker led the San Antonio Spurs with scored 18 points and nine assist, rookie Kawhi Leonard added 17 points, and Danny Green chipped in 13 points as Spurs handed the Jazz their second-worst playoff loss in franchise history, crushing Utah 114-83 on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in the first-round series.

Coach Gregg Popovich practically put the Spurs on autopilot after a 22-2 blast in towards the end of the second quarter that stunned the Jazz, who had vowed to play better and more physical after the Spurs easily won Game 1.

But the Spurs quickly removed any doubts on which is the better team in this series.

A fire argues?

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Jackson and Diaw could be Spurs’ missing pieces

This article is cross posted at Spurs On Fire and Spurs Basketball.

The San Antonio Spurs have played consistent basketball throughout this season, some believed they outdid themselves running out of the gates and claiming the second-best record in West despite injuries to key players like Manu Ginobili and Tiago Splitter.

People tend to forget that last season, the same Spurs team finished the season on top of the Western Conference. Credit should go to coach Gregg Popovich who has done a masterful job of juggling the roster, while giving some of his veterans the needed rest and still managed to pile up wins along the way.

However, San Antonio was still not considered a serious threat to the title this season.

A lot experts predicted that the Oklahoma City Thunder or the Los Angeles Lakers will come out of the West and for a reason — the Spurs have not advanced deep into the playoffs in the past three years.

But the trade and waiver deadlines may have changed the course of the story.

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Duncan, Blair led Spurs to defeat pesky Hornets

This article is cross posted at Spurs Basketball.

DeJuan Blair kept the San Antonio Spurs in the game and finished with a team-high 23 points, Tim Duncan scored on two key baskets down the stretch as the Spurs rallied just in time to avoid an embarrassing loss to the short-handed New Orleans Hornets.

San Antonio trailed by a point twice in the final two minutes, but Duncan responded each time, atoning for a lackluster game by making two free throws and tipping in a missed shot with 1:19 left to give the Spurs the lead for good and won the game 89-86.

“New Orleans was more efficient than we were and executed better than we did,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “So we just had to hang in there and keep plugging. That is probably the best thing we did was keep on pushing, and at the end of the game it worked out. We were fortunate.”

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Duncan led Spurs in easy win over Wolves, Parker injured

This article is cross-posted at Spurs Basketball.

Tim Duncan had a double double performance as he the San Antonio Spurs in an easy 116-100 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

With Tony Parker hurt, Gary Neal rose to the challenge and gave the Spurs a lift off the bench.

Duncan finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block shot in just 24 minutes of action playing inspired basketball with Stephen Jackson back in the fold.

However, all is not good news in San Antonio.

Tony Parker left with a left hamstring strain with 8:03 remaining in the second quarter. He spoke briefly with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich before heading to the locker room with two points and six assists.

“I think they said mild hamstring, so we won’t know much until tomorrow,” Popovich said. “Not good timing.”

Jackson, Kawhi Leonard and Gary Neal stepped up with Parker going out early. The trio scored 16 points each for the Spurs who improved their record to 30-14.

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Jackson back in San Antonio

This article is cross-posted at Spurs Basketball.

The Golden State Warriors traded swingman Stephen Jackson to the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday for small forward Richard Jefferson, the rights to T.J. Ford (who announced his retirement earlier this week ), and a conditional first-round draft pick this year.

The Spurs are hoping that the veteran swingman responds to the challenge now that he is back in San Antonio.

San Antonio’s pick is lottery protected, but the Spurs are in second place in the Western Conference so that will probably not be an issue.

Jackson has averaged 10.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 26 games this season.

Jefferson on the other hand, has averaged 9.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 41 games with the Spurs this season. He could be in Bay Area in time for Friday night’s game against the Bucks, which will mark Ellis’ much-hyped, quick return to Oracle Arena.

In all fairness to Jefferson, he remained a professional even after he knew the Spurs wanted to amnesty him, and if not for his bloated contract, there  would have been no reason to move him.

Getting Jackson is not necessarily and upgrade, he is shooting a measly 28 percent from beyond the arc this season. But the Spurs, in effect, subtract a year of his salary by switching him for Jackson. Amnesty wouldn’t have been this financially effective.

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Spurs pounded the Knicks, Ford hurt again

This article is cross-posted at Spurs Basketball.

Tony Parker scored 32 points and the San Antonio Spurs dealt Jeremy Lin and the New York Knicks a third consecutive loss, 118-105 on Wednesday night.

San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili looked like his old self against the New York Knicks.

San Antonio pounded it on the inside, outscoring the Knicks 60-38 on inside points, on their way to a 54.1 percent shooting night.

Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili added 17 points apiece in Ginobili’s second game back after missing two weeks with a strained stomach muscle.

Carmelo Anthony led New York with 27 points.

The Knicks have lost six of nine, they bear little resemblance to their Lin-inspired resurgence before the All-Star break.

Lin came out of nowhere last month and delivered the Knicks the play-making point guard they craved for, but New York’s transition has been anything but seamless since Anthony returned February 20 after missing seven games, mostly because of a groin injury.

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Popovich named Coach of the Month, Manu could return on Friday

This article is cross-posted at Spurs Basketball.

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich was chosen by the NBA as the Western Conference Coach of the Month after leading the Spurs to an 11-2 record in February.

Gregg Popovich was named Wests' Coach of the Month for February.

During the month, Popovich led the Spurs to an 8-1 record on their Rodeo Road Trip, tying the league record for winning percentage on a nine-game road trip.

The Spurs had an 11-game winning streak that extended into the month, despite playing without Manu Ginobili and T.J. Ford for extended periods during the month.

It marks a record 13th month when Popovich has been selected as the NBA’s Coach of the Month, and broke the previous mark he shared with Pat Riley, who won the award on 12 occasions during his career.

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Splitter, Ford might return to action, Spurs still have a lot of work to do

This article is cross-posted at Spurs Basketball

The San Antonio Spurs have outdid themselves during the first half of the season finishing with a 24-10 record, good for second-best in the West and TNT analyst Charles Barkley picked the Spurs over the weekend to win the Western Conference.

After missing 24 games this season, T.J. Ford might be able to play Wednesday night against the Chicago Bulls.

But it doesn’t mean the team is letting their guards down.

“I saw that,” Tony Parker said. “ But we have a lot of work to do and we need Manu Ginobili at 100 percent.

It’s like I told everybody at the All-Star break. We’re not going anywhere without Manu at 100 percent.

“Oklahoma City is a very, very good team. The Clippers are a very, very good. Dallas is good, too. We need everybody ready to go and at full strength. If not, we aren’t going to go anywhere.”

There is some good news too, the Spurs’ injury situation appears to be getting a little better (via Spurs Nation).

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Undermanned Spurs clobbered by Blazers

This article is cross-posted at Spurs Basketball

Without their Big 3, the San Antonio Spurs (23-10) lacked the size and firepower to matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers (18-16).

Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 24 points and 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 21 points and the Blazers routed San Antonio 137-97 Tuesday night while the Spurs rested Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.

Jamal Crawford scored 20 points, shooting 5-of-7 on three-pointers, and had eight assists for the Blazers, who led by as many as 48 points and sat all of their starters for most of the fourth quarter.

Gerald Wallace and Nicolas Batum each had 19 points in the win.

Kawhi Leonard had 24 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and one block to lead San Antonio, which snapped an 11-game winning streak overall and an eight-game streak on the road.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said before the game that he was resting Parker and Duncan because the Spurs were playing three games in four nights.

“They’ve been going and going and going and if you don’t do it now I think you’re asking for trouble,” Popovich said.

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Manu taking it easy, Ford still not ready

Manu Ginobili is still rounding into shape.

After missing 22 games with a broken left hand, San Antonio Spurs star guard Manu Ginobili is trying to play his way back into shape after his first three games since returning to action February 11 at New Jersey.

“I’m a little tired,” Ginobili said. “My legs are a little sore after the long lockout and the short training camp.” (Hat tip Spurs Nation)

Even before his injury, Ginobili said his conditioning suffered.

“In the four games before I got hurt, I wasn’t even there in great shape and sitting for 40 days didn’t help me,” Ginobili said. “That’s why I have to be patient, take it easy and let the game come to me slowly. I’m not looking forward to too many things, taking too many shots. Just let it come to me.”

With the Spurs’ depth, Ginobili said he doesn’t feel it’s necessary to rush back into the team’s offense.

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