Posted by sasilverandblack on November 2nd, 2010
The Spurs took care of business tonight on the road against the 0-3 Los Angeles Clippers, winning 97-88. The win came thanks to a little help from one particular bench contributor. That guy is summer league standout Gary Neal. He poured in 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting, 4-of-8 from downtown last night in a replacement role for George Hill who went out of the game in the second quarter after the flagrant foul by Craig Smith.
The Spurs simply took care of business last night in what was also the debut of Spurs Brazilian rookie Tiago Splitter. Here are a few observations I gathered while observing the action.
Blake Griffin is my rookie of the year this year. Last night, he posted 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds. He truly is a monster out there. His leaping ability is one that mirrors Dwight Howard in relation to his frame. I have heard that he draws comparisons to an in shape Shawn Kemp. That is not too far off. This guy flies through the air to get any and every ball in his vicinity. Let’s just hope he doesn’t hurt himself again. His style of play is so sporadic that he could do so.
The new and improved Richard Jefferson showed up yet again in this still young season. He posted another solid outing with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Everything Spurs fans were hoping for last year, they are seeing a bit of this year. He is showing more aggressiveness and is feeling confident in his jump shot and I am loving it. There will be nights where the shot doesn’t want to go, but he still has the attacking ability. As long as he doesn’t get discouraged and perseveres through his struggles, I have no complaints.
Tiago Splitter played a grand total of 10 minutes, scoring one basket on a lone dunk in traffic. It was exciting to see him finally out there in the silver and black. he definitely looked out of shape at times, but that is to be expected after missing so much practice and playing time. His contributions to this team when he is in peak conditioning will provide a huge boost to the Spurs front line.
Who outside of San Antonio has heard of Gary Neal? Probably no one. I didn’t even know who he was until this offseason where he thoroughly impressed Gregg Popovich and the rest of the coaching staff in the summer league. His fill-in performance was encouraging to watch, as the Spurs have been needing another bench scorer outside of Manu Ginobili/George Hill. His development throughout the year will be fun to watch. Hopefully Pop gives him more minutes than Blair got in his rookie campaign.
Tony Parker had an efficient night, scoring 19 points on 8-of-16 shooting to go with nine assists. I always enjoy seeing Parker’s assist number near double digits. It means he’s getting his teammates the ball in scoring positions. I’m looking forward to a spike in his numbers this year. He can produce his career numbers of 22 PPG from two years ago.
The Spurs bench outscored the Clippers bench 32-7. Those numbers reinforce the fact that the Clippers bench is virtually nonexistent and the Spurs bench is surprisingly competent. James Anderson, while not a lock down perimeter defender by any means, is proving he is a capable defender to backup Richard Jefferson at the small forward position.
It was a good win for the silver and black. Up next, the Spurs travel to Phoenix on November 3 to avenge their playoff sweep of a year ago.