Tony Parker was the man for the Spurs for most of the night (and the season so far) while Gary Neal came up big in the end. He hit a game tying three to send the game into overtime and hit a big 3-pointer in overtime to put San Antonio up for good against the Los Angeles Clippers, who somehow let the game slip out of their hands.
Chris Paul, despite 21 points and six assists, will have to take the blame for that one. He was terrible from the field (6-19) his +/- was the worst on his team (-20) and he just couldn’t handle Tony Parker, finishing with 30 points and 10 assists. Parker has scored over 30 points four times this month, and is averaging 19.4 points and 7.8 assists this season so far.
Paul mishandled an inbound pass with 9 seconds left in the game, as Gary Neal came up with the ball, sinking the game-tying three. Some things really don’t change no matter the lineups, as the Clippers dropped their 20th game out of the last 21 contests against the Spurs.
As usual, the San Antonio Spurs make sounds of a potential championship team around February-March. The win was their 10th in a row, an NBA best this season and their second such streak within the last 14 months. Problem is, the real Spurs will come out in April or maybe May, and these Spurs, despite Tony Parker playing like one of the best in the league at the PG position and evoking Hall of Fame debates, just don’t have enough for a deep playoff run.
Tim Duncan still makes smart, small, almost unnoticeable moves that win games here and there, but won’t come up with enough big ones to win in the postseason. DeJuan Blair is OK-Good, nothing more. Tiago Splitter is around that same line, injured too often and still hasn’t reached what he was projected to turn into, an a-la Luis Scola type of player, with a bit more finesse.
Manu Ginobili? Like Splitter, he got injured against the Clippers, which is never surprising with Manu. Since the injury that took him out for over a month in January, Ginobili hasn’t returned to his old scoring self, partially because he’s been limited by Popovich. Parker alone, with help from the fringe players, along with good defense, is good enough for the regular season. Not for a deep run into the playoffs.