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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Spurs uses depth to fend off Kings

This article is cross posted at Spurs Basketball.

Playing their fifth game in six nights, the San Antonio Spurs was supposed to be a tired team.

However, with the team’s depth, and coach Gregg Popovich able to rest some of his key players during the five-game stretch, the Spurs hold off a hard fighting Sacramento Kings squad.

Manu Ginobili scored 20 points and added five assists off the bench, and rookie Kawhi Leonard continues to impress, finishing with 19 points and nine boards on 8-of-11 shooting from the field, and the Spurs beat the Kings 117-112 on Wednesday night for their sixth straight victory.

Tim Duncan added 18 points and eight rebounds, Gary Neal had 13 points, Tony Parker finished with 10 points and 10 assists and Stephen Jackson had eight points, three rebounds and one steal for San Antonio.

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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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Spurs less Parker rolled over Mavericks

This article is cross posted at Spurs Basketball.

With Tony Parker sitting out because of a strained left hamstring, Manu Ginobili started at the point and delivered 11 points, seven assists and seven rebounds in 28 minutes of action, leading the San Antonio Spurs to a 104-87 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night.

Jackson has provided an added spark since he came back in San Antonio (Photo via Spurs Nation).

Danny Green added 18 points, Tim Duncan 15 points and 12 rebounds and Matt Bonner added 14 off the Spurs bench to improve their team record to 31-14 and hold a tight grip at the second-seed on the West.

Parker,  missed his third game of the season, but his absence didn’t seem to distract the Spurs, who had seven assists in the first quarter alone and finished with 28 total.

San Antonio led 24-21 after the first quarter and maintained their advantage throughout the game with the exception of a two-minute spurt by Dallas.

Jason Terry’s 18-foot jumper with five minutes remaining in the third quarter gave the Mavericks a 60-58 advantage, their first lead since 4-2 two minutes into the game. The Spurs responded quickly, however, closing the quarter on a 12-3 run to gain a decisive advantage.

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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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Spurs could make move at waiver deadline

This article is cross-posted at Spurs Basketball.

The San Antonio made a good move last week acquiring Stephen Jackson in exchange for Richard Jefferson, it’s a deal that made more sense money wise.

Gregg Popovich and company has some work to do later this week at the waiver deadline.

However, roster tinkering won’t end with Thursday’s trade deadline. Playoff-bound teams including the Spurs will likely seek to add players who have been or will be bought out of their contracts before Friday’s waiver deadline.

A few players have been waived already, including Derek Fisher (Houston Rockets), Brian Cook (Washington Wizards), Ronny Turiaf (Denver Nuggets) and J.J. Hickson (Sacramento Kings).

The Spurs who currently hold the West second-best record, still need to add depth if they want to make a deep playoff push this season.

They have expressed interest in signing Patty Mills to replace T.J. Ford as the team’s backup point guard, but the development of the 23 year old guard’s signing has slowed down lately.

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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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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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Ranking the Spurs’ best role players of the last decade

With the labor negotiations heating up, and more NBA players mulling offers overseas, it’s a good time to relax a bit and look back at some role players that helped the San Antonio Spurs win three titles over the last 10 years.

Robert Horry and Bruce Bowen both played significant roles in San Antonio's title runs, but who is the better role player? (Photos via Bleacher Report)

If there’s any franchise that should serve as a model for the organizations in the NBA, it’s the Spurs.

Part of this consistent success has been due to the play of their “Big three” of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker.

Nonetheless, the Spurs would not have been so good without the help of these role players that fits the team to a tee.

Adam Fromal of the Bleacher Report made this list of the best five Spurs role players of the last decade.

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Video: A look back at Duncan’s Greatest Performances

Tim Duncan had a lot of great individual performances over his NBA career  — from a 53-point career game against the Dallas Mavericks to a triple-double performance against the Golden State Warriors last season, Duncan has certainly done it all.

Today, Spurs World looks back at some of Duncan’s greatest individual game performances in his illustrious NBA career.

Duncan’s excellence may have been understated because the San Antonio Spurs is a small-market team.

Some of his most memorable performances came in the 2003 NBA Finals, during the team’s second championship run when Duncan displayed his all-around game brilliance averaging 24.2 points, 17 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 5.3 blocks and one steal in six games against the New Jersey Nets.

Throughout the series, Duncan exemplified his greatness. But there were two games where he shone the brightest.

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