Yes, I realize this was technically the last game of 2012, but I didn’t get to watch it until today. Regardless, the Spurs closed out the year in fine fashion, with a thrashing of the Nets. The blowout marked the season-low for a Spurs opponent and offensive and defensive efficiency ratings that look unreal. The downside? P.J. Carlesimo. I genuinely like the guy and hope he does well, but after this one, he had the look of a wounded puppy. Cheer up, P.J. You’re in the East. There are patsies on your schedule all over the place.
Song of the Game: Death Cab for Cutie, “The New Year”
It’s pretty en vogue for the indie crowd to take shots at Death Cab, since they went to a mainstream label. And, I’ll be the first to admit that their last release was terrible. But we should not forget that this band put together a 3-album run that was pretty amazing, starting with 2003′s Transatlanticism, from which this song comes, continuing with 2005′s Plans, and ending with 2008′s Narrow Stairs, which is my favorite of the three. If you are a fan of indie music at all, you likely already listen to or own this set, but if not, consider them all highly recommended from me. It’s pop – so if you don’t like pop, never mind, but it’s really smart, well-constructed pop that is definitely off of the beaten path.
Play of the Game: Boris’ Pass
Note: There were a dozen plays I could have chosen in this game. Literally, a dozen. I want the tape of this game to put into a time capsule so that future generations can see what really good offensive ball movement looks like and really good defense too.
Everytime I think we’ve seen the best of what Boris has to offer from a passing perspective, I am subtly reminded that Boris understands way more about basketball than I do. The no-look flip to a cutting Matt Bonner in garbage time was a absolute beauty. I think I watched 6 times in a row before moving on to the rest of the game. What will be underrated in all of this is Bonner’s movement. He starts the play, when Boris gets the ball on the block, on Boris’ side of the floor. Matt then cuts all the way across, pauses, then cuts back to Boris, before diving right down the lane to toward the basket. This is the movement of a player that understands how good Boris is. If you keep moving and can get a little bit open at the rim, he will find you and you will score.
Trending Up: Pretty Much Everyone
Tony was exceptional tonight, as both coaches pointed out. In fact, no one played poorly in this game. The 4th quarter mop-up crew let the lead slip a bit, but generally played well. Nando looked solid in his first extended minutes in a while. Patty Mills came in and did what Patty Mills does. And frankly, having Bonner on a 3rd unit is almost unfair, particularly when he shares the floor with a solid passing big, like Boris or Tiago.
Trending Down: Big Minutes
No player played over 25 minutes in this game, which bodes well for the upcoming Milwaukee-Knicks back-to-back.
Stat of the Game: Just This
We are starting to see some solid big-to-big passing from our starting PF and C. Splitter and Duncan assisted each other on a couple of occasions that were reminiscent of the Oberto-Duncan connections in 2007. The more time they play together, the better this is going to be. If Pop made one mistake last season, I believe it was not forcing this combination onto the floor and working through the rough patches.
Two more stat type things:
1. The plus/minus for the game was ridiculous. Kawhi led with +28 (in 23 minutes) and every starter was at least +14. Boris was +18 in 16 minutes of playing time.
2. Look at that 3rd quarter box score again. 11 assists on 13 field goals. For the game, it was 25 on 43. Crazy good passing. We’ll go a long, long time before we see another quarter like that one.
Happy New Year, everyone!