Mills to join Spurs

Patrick Mills (#8) could give the Spurs immediate help at the point.

This article is cross-posted at Spurs Basketball.

Patrick Mills has signed a contract with the San Antonio Spurs and could join the team within a week, pending the resolution of work visa issues.

“We had previously noted that Mills’ delay was a result of government work visa issues, so this should have been expected” said agent Aaron Goodwin.

Mills, 23, an Australian national who could be in line for immediate minutes backing up Tony Parker, is eager to resume his NBA career.

The former Portland Trail Blazer who last played in China during the NBA lockout, averaged 5.1 points and 1.5 assists in limited minutes during his first two NBA seasons in Portland. He is also a member of the Australian national basketball team coached by Spurs assistant Brett Brown.

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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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Parker returns, lead Spurs over Wizards

This article is cross-posted at Spurs Basketball.

After a one-game absence, Tony Parker scored 31 points in his return to the starting lineup to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 112-97 victory over the Washington Wizards on Monday night.

Tony Parker scored 31 points, leading the Spurs to victory over the Wizards.

Parker, who missed Friday’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers with a strained right quadriceps, hit 13-of-18 shots and had seven assists.

Tiago Splitter scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds of the bench, while Tim Duncan added 14 points and nine boards in 28 minutes of action.

DeJuan Blair had a double-double finishing with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

The Spurs extended their winning streak over the Wizards to 12.

Washington has lost nine of its last 11 and fell to 3-15 on the road.

JaVale McGee led the Wizards with 21 points and 15 rebounds, and Jordan Crawford added 19 points.

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Spurs’ Ford retiring

This article is cross-posted at Spurs Basketball.

San Antonio Spurs backup point guard T.J. Ford abruptly retired Monday following the latest scare to his surgically repaired spine, which once sidelined him for an entire NBA season and hampered the dazzling promise that made him a college star.

Spurs' T.J. Ford chose to retire after his latest injury at the age of 28.

Ford told reporters that lying motionless March 7 on the court against the New York Knicks wasn’t the first time it had happened, and he decided to walk away while he still had a chance. He was playing just his 14th game in an injury-prone season when Knicks guard Baron Davis elbowed him in the back, knocking him to the ground.

The 28-year-old Ford didn’t move for several minutes and wobbled while being helped off the court.

“I think I succeeded at beating the odds, of being the little guy, making it to the NBA and lasting as long as I did. I think I achieved a lot.”

“If it’s anybody else, it’s just a regular play,” Ford said at a Spurs practice before Monday’s game against Washington. “But because of me and my condition, a simple elbow in the back has a different outcome than hitting someone else in the back.”

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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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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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Defense, turnovers killed the Spurs on the Road

The Spurs chances of winning their first road win Tuesday night, took a big blow when T.J. Ford suffered an injury. (Photo via ESPN)

Despite a great shooting effort making 60 percent (45-of-75) of their shots from the field, the San Antonio Spurs suffered their fourth loss in as many games on the road after dropping a 106-103 decision against the Milwaukee Bucks.

It was the fourth time that the Spurs allowed their opponents to shoot 50 percent or more from the floor, all resulting in defeats.

Also, it didn’t helped that T.J. Ford, San Antonio’s primary backup point guard, strained his left hamstring after a driving layup with 30 seconds left during the first half of the game.

But losing Ford to injury was only a part of the problem, if the Spurs want to get back to their winning ways, they have to step their defense up a notch and take care of the basketball a lot better.

Coach Gregg Popovich took some blame in the loss against the Bucks saying this on the final possession:

“They worked hard to try and get something, I let them down at the end of the game.”

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Spurs’ team effort produced back to back wins minus Ginobili

When Manu Ginobili injured his shooting hand against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the San Antonio Spurs’ chances to compete at a high level took a big hit.

Spurs' Danny Green had the unenviable task of guarding Monta Ellis and Jasont Terry on two consecutive nights.

They eventually lost that game in Minnesota as the team looked slow without one of their main offensive weapon.

However, since Ginobili’s injury, the Spurs bounced back and produced a pair of wins on back-to-back nights against the Golden State Warriors and the Dallas Mavericks.

It was not surprising to see the Spurs rally around without Manu, the team after all, have a good mix of veterans, leadership and young talent to win games, but the manner in which they won those games is something to look forward to.

With Manu out, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Richard Jefferson are providing much of the offensive load, but the bench have also responded well in Ginobili’s absence.

Against the Warriors, San Antonio seem a step slow for three quarters until two role players provided the spark they badly needed in the final quarter.

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