Danny Green

San Antonio Spurs rolling but Austin Spurs are real bright spot

The San Antonio Spurs are one of the hottest teams in the NBA as of late. Winners of 11 of their last 13 games, the Spurs look to be once again one of the powerhouses in the league, and, a championship contender.

While most of the focus recently has been on this San Antonio team, basketball enthusiasts should actually be putting their attention on the Spurs D-League affiliate, the Austin Spurs.

Since the San Antonio Spurs purchased the D-League franchise, the Austin based team has become a model for other NBA teams on how to successfully operate what is essentially a minor league basketball team.

While under the San Antonio Spurs ownership for the past seven, going on eight seasons, the Austin Spurs have posted a winning percentage greater than .600 five times. The franchise has also won one D-League title during that time span.

The amazing part is that all this winning has not completely been a function of players just wanting to come to play for a team run by the San Antonio Spurs. It’s also the willingness of players from the parent team to come up to Austin to develop their game.

Four players on the San Antonio’s current roster have had D-League experience, Kyle Anderson Austin Daye, Danny Green, and Cory Joseph. Two of those players, Green and Joseph, are playing significant roles for the team. One of those, Green, is in the starting five.

The work San Antonio has done to integrate the D-League franchise into their organization has been fantastic. They have been able to get everyone in the organization to buy in on how valuable a tool the Austin team is.

In fact, last season, Cory Joseph actually asked San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich to be assigned to the D-League team.

“Can I go back to the D-League?” Joseph told nba.com.

The request was odd, especially considering most NBA players experience negative emotions and thoughts when asked to serve in the minor league for basketball.

Players never want to be sent down, nonetheless ask to. Even Popovich was surprised by the decision.

“You don’t get that kind of a request,” Popovich said.

Nevertheless Popovich agreed and the run in the D-League seems to be doing wonders for Joseph’s NBA career.

Getting the players on-board is just one side of the equation though. The other side, and often equally ignored, is understanding the rules of the D-League and how assignments work.

What makes the Austin team so special is that San Antonio has a mastery on the rules of the D-League and knows how to put it to good use.

This offseason, San Antonio brought in five players on non-guaranteed contracts into training camp. They ended up waiving all five, which was not surprising considering the team already had 15 players under guaranteed contract.

While a move to bring in those five players when they were going to be waived may seem perplexing to the casual fan, to the San Antonio organization it is regarded as a smart move.

By waiving those five players before the start of the season, San Antonio was allowed to assign three of those players to their Austin franchise.

That understanding of the D-League is so valuable, especially in a league where the talent gap is small and any little advantage can make the world of a difference.

These two points are not the only things that make this Austin Spurs team so special. There are numerous reasons that serve evidence as to why this franchise is so great such as the team having former NBA players as coaches, former NBA front office men handling the team’s basketball operations, and much more.

The San Antonio Spurs are having another great season and they have the Austin Spurs to thank for quite a bit of that success. The Austin team has put a big stamp on this NBA organization from developing players to having some of their front office guys move up to San Antonio.

San Antonio might be rolling right now, but, the biggest bright spot of this organization just might be their D-League affiliate.

In keeping with the tradition of this series, Game 5 of the NBA Finals was all about a team trying to make a comeback. After trading wins with the Miami Heat in the first four games, the San Antonio Spurs survived a late-game push by the Heat to pull out an impressive 114-104 victory Sunday night in their last contest at home for the season.


About an hour before tipoff, a surprising announcement was made by the Spurs that would ultimately affect the outcome of this match: Manu Ginobili, who customarily fills the role of sixth man for the team, would be part of the starting lineup for the first time all season.


Gregg Popovich’s boldness paid off: Ginobili hadn’t had a game where he’d scored over 20 points with nine assists since November of 2010. But he capitalized on a hot start, and finished with 24 points and 10 assists this evening. Ginobili is considering retirement following this season.


Whereas Game 4 ultimately became a contest between two teams’ Big Threes, tonight’s story was all about role players. One glance at the box score tells you everything you need to know: all five of the Spurs’ starters finished with scoring in double figures (and combined for 107 points) while only three of Miami’s finished in double digits.


In addition to Ginobili’s podium game, Tony Parker provided a very productive 26 minutes while battling a strained hamstring, finishing with 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting and five assists. Tim Duncan had 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting and pulled down 12 rebounds. Kawhi Leonard also shot the ball well; he had 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting (with 2-of-4 coming from three point range) and eight rebounds.


In a game where, as a team, the Spurs shot 60% from the floor for the game (at halftime, they were shooting a cool 61.8% from the floor, their highest first half in the postseason since 2007), Danny Green was entirely other tonight. His 24 points came on 8-of-15 shooting with 6-of-10 coming from beyond the arc, including a dagger three in the fourth quarter to all but close this one out.

Green got into the record books with this game, with the most made three-pointers in a Finals series ever (he’s made 25). The record-breaking three came with Ray Allen, the previous record holder with 22 made threes, guarding him. Green also chipped in six assists and played lockdown transition defense. If the Spurs win the series, Green is making quite a case for Finals MVP.

The Miami Heat’s starters (and role players) were simply outscored in Game 5. Though LeBron finished with 25 points, six rebounds, eight assists, and four steals, it came on 8-of-22 shooting and he visibly was having a difficult time shaking Boris Diaw’s defense. Dwyane Wade also struggled, ending up with 25 points on 10-of-22 shooting, four rebounds and 10 assists. Chris Bosh went for 16 points and six rebounds. Ray Allen contributed 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting, boasting a perfect 4-of-4 from three and Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers combined for 14 points and five rebounds.
The Spurs ripped off three significant runs at different points in this game: 19-1, 15-2 and 10-0, forced 13 turnovers and pulled down 36 rebounds to Miami’s 34.
The Spurs lead the series 3-2 as they head to Miami for Game 6 at 8 PM Tuesday.

When two of the league's deepest and most talented teams collided Thursday night in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the results could've hardly been better. This game had a little something for everybody: intense pace, execution and mind-blowing heroics from superstars. 

The rest versus rust debate regarding the San Antonio Spurs after ten days off was quickly and decisively laid to rest after a blistering first quarter. Down four at the half, the patient Spurs got what they needed to come back for a 92-88 statement win and a 1-0 lead in the Finals. And all with only four turnovers. On the road. In the finals.

Tim Duncan was his usual consistent self, putting up a more-than-solid 20 points and 14 rebounds. Manu Ginobili chipped in 13 points and both Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard combined for 22 points on 7-of-18 shooting with 15 rebounds.  And then there was Tony Parker. 

Parker finished with 21 points and 50 percent shooting with six assists, though it felt more like 50 points and 18 assists. Plus the crossover, the spin move. And that shotclock beater was essential. 

However, the Miami Heat did not give up easily. The Heat outscored the Spurs in the first two quarters. Dwayne Wade scored 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting and Chris Bosh went for 14 points. Ray Allen went 3-of-4 from the three point line and finished with 13 points from the bench. LeBron James notched a triple double (18/18/10) but failed to meet expectations, scoring 18 points in Game 1. 

In Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night, the Spurs fell to the Miami Heat 84-103 to tie the series at one win apiece. The Heat took advantage of an uncharacteristic fourth quarter breakdown and 16 turnovers by the Spurs. 

The game was won towards the end of the third quarter when Miami ripped off a 33-5 run in which they had 6-of-7 shooting, 5-of-5 coming from the three point range. 

San Antonio's Big Three struggled throughout the contest combining for 27 points, 16 rebounds, two assists and nine turnovers. Parker had 13 points with five assists and five rebounds. Duncan had what was arguably the worst playoff performance of his career with nine points, 11 rebounds and only one assist, shooting just 3-of-13. 

The Spurs, however, did get some help from their bench in Leonard, who contributed nine points, 14 rebounds and two assists. Green was perfect from the three-point range shooting 6-of-6. Former Longhorn Cory Joseph added eight points and three rebounds. 

James contributed 17 points for the Heat with eight rebounds and seven assists. Bosh had his best game since facing the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Semifinals and finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, shooting 6-of-10. Wade had 10 points with two rebounds and six assists. 

Mario Chalmers, however, headlined for the Heat. Chalmers went for 19 points and four rebounds. 

The Spurs and Heat face off Tuesday night at 8 p.m. in San Antonio for Game 3. 

Spurs guard Danny Green throws down an emphatic dunk in San Antonio’s 114-83 victory over the Utah Jazz Wednesday evening at the AT&T Center in San Antonio. The Spurs now travel to Utah with a 2-0 series lead.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO — Tony Parker scored 18 points and the San Antonio Spurs handed Utah its second-worst playoff loss in franchise history, beating the Jazz 114-83 on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in the first-round series.

NBA Coach of the Year Gregg Popovich practically put the Spurs on autopilot after a 20-0 run in the second quarter that stunned the Jazz, who had vowed to play better after the Spurs easily won Game 1. But this humiliating rout was even easier.

The Jazz never quite greeted Parker with the hard fouls the All-Star was supposed to have coming, and the Utah frontcourt of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap wasn’t any more imposing on offense. Jefferson scored 10 points, and Millsap had nine.

Game 3 is Saturday night in Salt Lake City.

The only bigger embarrassment for the Jazz in the playoffs was a 42-point loss to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the 1998 NBA Finals.

It’s the first time the Spurs have led a series 2-0 since opening the 2008 playoffs against Phoenix. San Antonio won that series in five, and unless the Jazz can shake this off, this one will be over just as quick.

If not sooner.

“We were aggressive and we wanted to make sure we matched their energy,” Parker said.

It was a total collapse by the Jazz in spite of flying back to Salt Lake City and regrouping with two days of practice after losing the opener Sunday. Back home, Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin admitted feeling unusually nervous before that Game 1, but said before tipoff this time that those jitters were under control.

By the second quarter, Corbin appeared to be wrestling with disgust.

That’s when the Spurs held the Jazz scoreless for more than seven minutes while rookie Kawhi Leonard and unheralded swingman Danny Green outplayed the Jazz’s stars. Utah shot 5 of 28 in the second quarter and the Jazz filed off the court at halftime walking slow, heads down and quiet.

It had been only minutes earlier the Jazz were as close as 31-26. But the Spurs blew the game open so comfortably and quickly that Parker and Duncan never left the bench in the fourth quarter.

Jefferson and Howard, who also had 10 points, were Utah’s leading scorers.

It was the most lopsided postseason win for the Spurs since beating the Nuggets by 28 in 2005. San Antonio’s playoff record is a 40-point victory over Denver in 1983.

Duncan finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Leonard scored 17 points, and Green had 13.

At least the Jazz didn’t look the most embarrassed the entire night. Popovich again had to show off his coach of the year trophy before the game, this time for fans while standing between Duncan and Spurs great David Robinson. Popovich obliged for several seconds before scrambling to hand the trophy off to one of his assistants as fast as possible.

Printed on Thursday, May 3, 2012 as: San Antonio dismantles Utah, commands 2-0 series lead

Tony Parker had 34 points and 14 assists, and the San Antonio Spurs extended their season-best winning streak to nine games with a 113-106 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night.

Danny Green scored 13 points and matched his career high with seven rebounds, Tiago Splitter also had 13 points and Manu Ginobili added 11 for the Spurs, who have not lost since a 101-100 overtime defeat at Dallas on Jan. 29.

Parker went 12 for 12 from the foul line for San Antonio, which last won nine straight during a 10-0 stretch from Dec. 3-22, 2010. The victory was the sixth straight away from home for the Spurs, their longest run since winning eight straight road games to begin the
2010-11 season.

San Antonio’s Tim Duncan failed to extend his run of five straight double-doubles, finishing with eight points and three rebounds.

DeMar DeRozan scored 29 points for the Raptors, who have lost three straight and eight of 10. Jose Calderon added 16 points and 11 assists.

Toronto guard Jerryd Bayless missed his fourth straight game with a sore left ankle, while forward Linas Kleiza was sidelined with a sore left knee. Leading scorer Andrea Bargnani sat for the 18th time in 20 games because of a strained left calf.

“We’re a little undermanned,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said before the game. “If anybody is looking for a 10-day [contract], we’re looking for bodies.”

Toronto trailed by five points to begin the fourth, but used a pair of baskets by Calderon and a driving layup by DeRozan to cut it to one at 97-96 with 4:14 left.

San Antonio answered with a baseline jump shot by Gary Neal and a pair of free throws by Parker, restoring their five point advantage with 3:25 left.

Parker made all eight of his free-throw attempts down the stretch as the Spurs improved to 23-9 all-time against Toronto.

Green got all seven of his rebounds and made three of San Antonio’s six 3-pointers in the opening half as the Spurs, who shot 6 for 10 from beyond the arc, led 55-45 at the break.

Toronto battled back by making its first 10 shots of the second half. DeRozan scored 13 points in less than six minutes, and the Raptors followed with a layup from James Johnson that tied it at 66.