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San Antonio Spurs (4-0) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (4-1)

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,General,The NBA Playoffs by joelapinski on Thursday 28 April 2016 at 3:25 pm

No more tomato cans for the San Antonio Spurs or the Oklahoma City Thunder.  This should be an outstanding series, as these are two of the most talented basketball teams in the world!  Here is a look at the matchups in this series:

POINT GUARD:  33-year old point guard Tony Parker is one of the best big game players at his position, but he’s getting a little older.  He played in 4 games (all starts) in the first round of the playoffs and he averaged 22.3 minutes, 9.8 points, 1.0 rebound and 4.8 assists per game.  Parker is going to have to play more minutes than he has in a long time in this series and it will be interesting to see how he handles it.  27-year old Russell Westbrook is a beast on the basketball court.  He is an outstanding player at both ends of the court.  He played in 5 games (all starts) in the first round of the playoffs and he averaged 35.9 minutes, 26.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, 11.2 assists and 1.6 steals per game.

EDGETHUNDER

SHOOTING GUARD:  28-year old Danny Green‘s big contribution to the Spurs is his long range shooting.  But he runs hot and cold.  He started 4 games against the Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs and he averaged 20.8 minutes, 5.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 0.5 assists and 1.8 steals per game.  24-year old Andre Roberson of the Thunder has the same skill set as Green does, except he’s not as good.  He played in 5 games (all starts) in the first round of the playoffs and he averaged 23.3 minutes, 3.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocked shots per game.

EDGE SPURS

SMALL FORWARD:  This is going to be fascinating to watch.  24-year old Kawhi Leonard vs. 27-year old Kevin Durant!  The Defensive Player of the Year vs. one of the best offensive players in the NBA.  Something has to give!  Leonard will work Durant hard at both ends of the court, which not many guys can do.  Leonard played in 4 games (all starts) in the first round of the playoffs and he averaged 31.5 minutes, 21.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 2.8 steals and 2.8 blocked shots per game.  Leonard shot a red hot 52.7% from the floor, 61.1% from three point range and 94.4% from the free throw line in the first round of the playoffs.  Durant played in 5 games (all starts) in the first round of the playoffs and he averaged 38.3 minutes, 26.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.  But, he only shot 36.8% from the floor and 26.8% from three point range against the Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs.

EDGEEVEN

POWER FORWARD:  30-year old LaMarcus Aldridge will likely be asked to do more offensively in the second round of the playoffs, but that will be easier said than done against 26-year old Serge Ibaka.  Aldridge played in 4 games (all starts) in the first round of the playoffs and he averaged 28.3 minutes, 14.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 0.3 assists and 1.8 blocked shots per game.  He will be the Spurs’ #2 option on offense, behind Kawhi Leonard.  Serge Ibaka had a reputation as a defense first, rebounder coming into the 2015-16 season.  But his game has evolved and he has turned into a pretty good long range shooter.  He started all 5 games in the first round of the playoffs and he averaged 32.3 minutes, 12.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocked shots per game.

EDGESPURS

CENTER:  The Spurs are going to need 40-year old Tim Duncan to up his minutes in this series.  He started all 4 games in the first round of the playoffs and he averaged 20.3 minutes, 5.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 blocked shots per game.  It will be interesting to see how well Duncan can play in this series, because he’s going to be tested.  22-year old Steven Adams is a player I really like.  He does all the dirty work around the rim.  He played in 5 games (all starts) in the first round of the playoffs and he averaged 27.6 minutes, 9.2 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.0 assist per game.

EDGEEVEN

BENCH:  This is where the Spurs usually have a huge advantage over their opponents.  27-year old point guard Patty Mills and 38-year old Manu Ginobili give the Spurs a big jolt of energy when they come onto the basketball court.  Mills played in 4 games (0 starts) in the first round of the playoffs and he averaged 19.5 minutes, 10.5 points, 1.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.0 steal per game.  Ginobili played in 4 games (0 starts) in the first round of the playoffs and he averaged 19.0 minutes, 7.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.  34-year old Boris Diaw an literally play any of the five positions on the basketball court.  He played in 4 games (0 starts) in the first round of the playoffs and he averaged 20.5 minutes, 6.3 points, 2.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.  This series is why 35-year old power forward David West took less money to play for the Spurs!  He wants a ring so bad that he left $11 million bucks in salary on the table to sign with the Spurs.  West has played in 4 games (0 starts) so far in the playoffs this year and he averaged 18.0 minutes, 6.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game.  I look for the Spurs to tighten up the bench for this series, so I don’t expect Kyle Anderson, Kevin Martin, Boban Marjanovic, Jonathan Simmons or Andre Miller to play much in this series, unless one of the guys in the rotation get hurt.

Outside of 23-year old center Enes Kanter and 24-year old shooting guard Dion Waiters, the Thunder don’t use their bench much.  Kanter is an offensive machine, as he comes onto the court with the idea of scoring.  He played in 5 games (0 starts) in the first round of the playoffs and he averaged 20.5 minutes, 15.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 0.6 assists per game.  He shot 29 of 41 (70.7%) from the floor in the first round of the playoffs!  Waiters also gives the offense a jolt when he comes into the game.  He played in 5 games (0 starts) in the first round of the playoffs and he averaged 26.4 minutes, 11.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.  Anthony Morrow, Randy Foye and Nick Collison played in every game in the first round of the playoffs, but none of them added much production for the Thunder.  Kyle Singler, Cameron Payne, Josh Huestis and Nazr Mohammed will be watching more than playing in this series.

EDGESPURS

COACHING:  67-year old Gregg Popovich is quite simply the best head coach in the NBA.  He knows his players and the matchups better than any coach.  Popovich is now 152-94 (61.8%) during the playoffs in his NBA career and he has won five NBA Championships!  Billy Donovan of the Thunder is 4-1 (80%) in his career in the playoffs.

PREDICTION:  I think this is going to be one of the best playoff series ever!  I think the Thunder will win in seven very hard fought games!

The San Antonio Spurs got to rest their players against the Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,General,Steppin Up,The NBA Playoffs by joelapinski on Monday 25 April 2016 at 10:40 pm

The San Antonio Spurs got to rest their players despite being in the playoffs against the hapless Memphis Grizzlies.  14 players scored at least 2 points against the Grizzlies!  The Spurs outscored them 412-324 in the four game sweep!  The Spurs played well offensively as they shot 48.7% from the floor, 47.1% from three point range and 82.4% from the free throw line against the Grizzlies.  The Spurs also played stellar defense as they held the Grizzlies to 39.4% shooting from the floor and 29.7% from three point range in this series!  Small forward Kawhi Leonard is now the main man for the Spurs, as he was the only player on the team to average more than 30 minutes a game against the Grizzlies.  Leonard started all four games against the Grizzlies and he averaged 31.4 minutes, 21.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 2.8 steals and 2.8 blocked shots per game.  He shot 52.7% from the floor, 61.1% from three point range and 94.4% from the free throw line against the Grizzlies!  Power forward LaMarcus Aldridge also started all four games against the Grizzlies and he averaged 28.2 minutes, 14.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 0.3 assists and 1.8 blocked shots per game.  He shot 51.1% from the floor and 90.9% from the free throw line against the Grizzlies.  Backup shooting guard Patrick Mills also played well in his four games off the bench as he averaged 19.5 minutes, 10.5 points, 1.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.0 steal per game.  Point guard Tony Parker played in 4 games (all starts) against the Grizzlies and he averaged 23.3 minutes, 9.8 points, 1.0 rebound and 4.8 assists per game.  Shooting guard Manu Ginobili played in all four games in this series off the bench and he averaged 18.9 minutes, 7.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.  Center Tim Duncan played in 4 games (all starts) against the Grizzlies and he averaged 20.2 minutes, 5.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 blocked shots per game.  I hope that Parker, Duncan and Ginobili are all rested up…..because they are going to be needed to play big minutes if the Spurs are going to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second round of the playoffs!

Game #4: San Antonio Spurs 116, Memphis Grizzlies 95

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Game Recaps,General,The NBA Playoffs by joelapinski on Sunday 24 April 2016 at 4:04 pm

The San Antonio Spurs totally demolished the Grizzlies today, as they knocked them out of the playoffs!  The Spurs shot 50% from the floor, 45.5% from three point range and 83.9% from the free throw line in this game!  Kawhi Leonard led the way for the Spurs today with 21 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocked shots.  Tony Parker (16 points and 2 assists in 21 minutes on the floor) and LaMarcus Aldridge (15 points, 10 rebounds and 1 steal) also had rock solid games for the Spurs today!  David West was inspired off the bench with 11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals in 20 minutes off the bench.  The Spurs sweep the Grizzlies in four games and now they wait for the winner of the Thunder/Mavericks’ series.

Game #3: San Antonio Spurs 96, Memphis Grizzlies 87

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Game Recaps,General,The NBA Playoffs by joelapinski on Saturday 23 April 2016 at 6:26 am

The Grizzlies came to play last night and it wasn’t until the San Antonio Spurs outscored them 26-16 in the 4th quarter that they finally put them away.  Kawhi Leonard was unstoppable on both ends of the basketball court last night as he finished up with 32 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals and 5 blocked shots!  LaMarcus Aldridge also had a big game with 16 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 blocked shot.  Danny Green (11 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal and 3 blocked shots) and Manu Ginobili (11 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 steal in 27 minutes off the bench) also pitched in for the Spurs last night.  The Spurs are now up 3-0 on the Grizzlies!

Patty Mills is off to a great start in the playoffs for the San Antonio Spurs

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,General,Steppin Up,The NBA Playoffs by joelapinski on Friday 22 April 2016 at 2:14 pm

Backup shooting guard Patty Mills is making the most of the San Antonio Spurs‘ demolition of the Memphis Grizzlies.  He has played in 2 games off the bench for the Spurs so far in the playoffs and he is averaging 19.0 minutes, 15.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steal per game.  Mills is shooting 9 of 16 (56.3%) from the floor, 7 of 13 (53.8%) from three point range and 6 of 8 (75%) from the free throw line so far against the Grizzlies.  Look for Mills to continue to get a lot of P.T. against the Grizzlies.

The San Antonio Spurs are getting even more rest for their players against the Grizzlies

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,General,Steppin Up,The NBA Playoffs by joelapinski on Friday 22 April 2016 at 2:07 pm

The San Antonio Spurs have already had 14 players score in the first two games of the playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies.  The Spurs are averaging 100.0 points per game and they have been very efficient in doing so.  The Spurs are shooting 49.7% from the floor, 48.7% from three point range and 85.4% from the free throw line in this series, which is pretty darn impressive.  It’s not just the offense, as the Spurs are holding the Grizzlies to a paltry 71.0 points per game so far in this series.  The Grizzlies are only shooting 35.8% from the floor, 31.3% from three point range and 58.3% from the free throw line so far in this series.  Small forward Kawhi Leonard and power forward LaMarcus Aldridge have been getting some rest in this series.  Leonard has started both games against the Grizzlies and he is averaging 27.6 minutes, 16.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 2.0 blocked shots per game.  He is shooting 52.2% from the floor, 50% from three point range and 100% from the free throw line so far in this series.  Aldridge has started both games against the Grizzlies and he is averaging 26.7 minutes, 13.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocked shots per game.  He is shooting 50% from the floor so far in this series.  The Spurs are looking like they are going to sweep this series and wait back for the winner of the Thunder/Mavericks’ series.

Game #2: San Antonio Spurs 94, Memphis Grizzlies 68

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Game Recaps,General,The NBA Playoffs by joelapinski on Tuesday 19 April 2016 at 10:22 pm

The San Antonio Spurs destroyed the hapless Grizzlies on both ends of the basketball court tonight!  The defense was awesome, as they held the Grizzlies to 32.6% shooting from the floor and 14.3% shooting from three point range!  Offensively, the Spurs shot 47% from the floor, 52.9% from three point range and 82.1% from the free throw line!  Patty Mills led the way for the Spurs in this game with 16 points and 2 assists in 19 minutes off the bench.  Kawhi Leonard (13 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 blocked shot in 27 minutes) and LaMarcus Aldridge (10 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocked shots in 27 minutes) also pitched in with solid games tonight.  Kevin Martin made the most of his time on the floor against the Grizzlies, as he finished up with 10 points, 1 rebound and 1 assist in 17 minutes on the floor.  The Spurs are up 2-0 as this series moves to Memphis.

Kawhi Leonard is named the Defensive Player of the Year for 2015-16

Blogged under Big Spurs News,Bloglockers,Front Page,General,Steppin Up by joelapinski on Tuesday 19 April 2016 at 4:47 pm

24-year old small forward Kawhi Leonard has been named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year for the 2015-16 season.  It was the second year in a row that he won this award.  He caught a lot of eyes with his defense on LeBron James in the 2013-14 NBA Finals, which was won by the Spurs in a very impressive five games!  “The Claw” keeps getting better for the San Antonio Spurs.  He played in 72 games (all starts) for the Spurs in 2015-16 and he averaged 33.1 minutes, 21.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.0 blocked shot per game.  Leonard has now played in 324 games (297 starts) in his first five years for the Spurs and he is averaging 29.9 minutes, 14.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.8 steals and 0.7 blocked shots per game.  Leonard is a full fledged NBA star right now!

Game #1: San Antonio Spurs 106, Memphis Grizzlies 74

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Game Recaps,General,The NBA Playoffs by joelapinski on Monday 18 April 2016 at 6:33 am

The San Antonio Spurs completely destroyed the Grizzlies last night!  It was never a game!  The Spurs shot 51.9% from the floor, 43.5% from the three point line and 92.3% from the free throw line…..as they were very efficient offensively!  The Spurs also out-rebounded the Grizzlies 44-35 and they held them to 39.2% shooting from the floor!  Kawhi Leonard led the way for the Spurs in this game with 20 points, 2 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 blocked shots in 29 minutes on the floor.  LaMarcus Aldridge was also smooth last night with 17 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocked shots in 27 minutes on the floor.  Tony Parker looked like his old self with 15 points, 1 rebound and 6 assists in 21 minutes on the floor.  Patty Mills (15 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in 19 minutes) and Kevin Martin (10 points, 1 rebound and 1 assist in 12 minutes) were great off the bench for the Spurs last night.  The Spurs are now up 1-0 on the Grizzlies in this series!

San Antonio Spurs (67-15) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (42-40)

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,General,The NBA Playoffs by joelapinski on Sunday 17 April 2016 at 9:10 am

The San Antonio Spurs have the deepest roster in the NBA and they are well rested heading into the playoffs.  No more days off for rest for Spurs players the rest of the season.  The Grizzlies have been decimated by injuries this year, as they are limping into the playoffs.  The great thing for the Spurs this year, is that they won’t have to depend as heavily on Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan as they have in the past.  That’s because LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard will likely be handling most of the heavy lifting.  I also have a feeling that David West is going to come up big in the playoffs for the Spurs, as he took a gigantic pay cut last summer to try to win a ring before he retires.

PREDICTION:  Spurs in four games!

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