Player Grades: San Antonio Spurs 100, New York Knicks 99

Grades
New York Knicks 99 Final
Recap | Box Score
100 San Antonio Spurs
LaMarcus Aldridge, PF 34 MIN | 8-17 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | -6 +/-Started slow and let Kristaps Porzingis get the better of him, but then realized he’s much stronger than the rookie, and buried him under the basket. Did a good job recognizing different match-ups and attacking accordingly, taking Porzingis into the post and Robin Lopez out for his face-up game.

Kawhi Leonard, SF 37 MIN | 8-19 FG | 0-2 3FG | 3-4 FT | 12 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | -4 +/-This season Kawhi has unveiled some Jordanesque moments, like when the drove into Porzingis’ body, took the contact, and flipped the ball over his shoulder with perfect body control for the finish. But, perhaps, more than the highlights is the Jordanesque ability to destroy someone’s will, harassing Carmelo Anthony to the point where, on several possessions (including the last), he simply refused to shoot.

Tim Duncan, C 21 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 3FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | +6 +/-Continues to fill the gaps as needed in limited minutes, doing all the dirty work.

Tony Parker, PG 32 MIN | 7-16 FG | 0-2 3FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 8 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | +2 +/-Tony Parker continues to do a fantastic job of picking his spots, taking full advantage of his match-up with Jose Calderon. The Parker-Aldridge high pick and roll works as a reliable end of shot clock weapon, freeing one of the two for an open midrange jumper, which helped to hold off the Knicks.

Danny Green, SG 35 MIN | 3-9 FG | 2-3 3FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 3 BLK | 2 TO | 8 PTS | +8 +/-The focus on Green this season has been on his shooting woes, and though he shots just 3-for-9, he hit 2-for-3 from deep. But his defense has been invaluable to this dominant Spurs’ team. How frustrating must it be, if you’re Carmelo Anthony, to be hounded by Kawhi Leonard all game, and finally break free, only to get blocked by Green?

David West, PF 16 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 3FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +8 +/-Reliable source of physical defense, some floor spacing and ball movement, and a far more intimidating “I didn’t foul” face than Duncan making his eyes bigger.

Boris Diaw, C 18 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 3FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +3 +/-His post game has become the point of attack for the second unit, taking advantage of a smaller NBA more than guys like Lance Thomas can return the favor.

Patty Mills, PG 16 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-1 3FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -1 +/-Didn’t get many attempts, but moved the ball and pressured on defense.

Jonathon Simmons, SG 9 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-1 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -8 +/-Appeared to be part of some lineups that struggled to move the ball and score, and while that’s not all directly attributed to him, he did little to impact the game in his time on the floor.

Manu Ginobili, SG 22 MIN | 6-12 FG | 2-5 3FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 16 PTS | -3 +/-Might we see Manu Ginobili collect one more Sixth Man of the Year award for the road? Whether via scoring, pace, or playmaking, Ginobili continues to come in and change the dynamics of a game to the Spurs’ advantage in a way that his box score statistics don’t always give him credit for. Had a beautiful, vintage knifing drive he took directly at Porzingis for the lefty lay-in.

Gregg Popovich
Showed adequate disdain for defensive lapses, and absent any glaring errors, this defaults to A.

Three Things We Saw

  1. Kristaps Porzingis is a special player. Early on he gave LaMarcus Aldridge fits, pulling him away from the basket for three-pointers and disorienting the Spurs’ defense. The combination of small forward skills in a large, long frame is almost unprecedented. Only a lack of experience and strength are currently holding him back.
  2. If everyone attacked life with half the ambition of a Robin Lopez post-up attempt, the world would be a better place.
  3. There was some debate last night on whether the Knicks should have called a timeout to setup a final shot. The argument here is that it was the right move against the NBA’s best defense, and that an (by NBA standards) open corner three-pointer from a quality shooter is the best one might hope for. The Spurs were fortunate it didn’t fall after Ginobili helped from one pass away on a drive that Leonard had already all but swallowed up.