|7th Overall||7th Overall|
Statistics through 1/20/10
A healthy Tim Duncan is playing fewer minutes (32.3 a game), but being more productive at 19.8 ppg and 10.4 rpg. Richard Jefferson (12.8 ppg) and rookie DeJuan Blair (7.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg) are up and down.
A case of plantar fasciitis has taken some of the zip and effectiveness from Tony Parker (16.8 ppg). Keith Bogans is definitely Bruce Bowen Lite, not quite as effective at either end of the court.
Not as sharp as past editions without Bowen and a fully healthy Manu Ginobili. Last in NBA in forcing turnovers. But Duncan still protects the middle and they've surrendered the fewest points in the West.
When Ginobili (12.7 ppg) is healthy, he changes the lineup and everything about the Spurs. George Hill (9.8 ppg) is blossoming at the point and Roger Mason Jr. and Matt Bonner can hit big shots.
Nothing ever changes with Gregg Popovich. He's clever, grumpy, funny, brusque and innovative. One night he holds Duncan out of the first quarter, another night the whole game. And it works.
The plan was simple -- take on the $15 million salary of Jefferson and inject new life into the offense and make another run at a championship. But Jefferson has struggled to fit into the offense from day one. The Spurs haven't run enough to take advantage of his ability in the open court and he can't break down his man 1-on-1.
While a well-rested Duncan has returned to form, Parker shows the effects (plantar fasciitis) of five nonstop years of the NBA and international play over the summer. The Spurs need Ginobili to return to his old form that can explode at both ends of the court. But he has a lot of mileage on his tires and may not be able to do it every night.
The Spurs can still rebound and defend. But a tough second-half schedule -- only 12 home games after Jan. 31 -- puts pressure on a sputtering offense and makes challenging the Lakers unlikely.
-- Fran Blinebury
Explanation of Marking System