Spurs sputtering on offense

April, 10, 2008

Great win for the Suns last night, no doubt about it.

But is anyone else wondering what the heck happened to San Antonio's offense? Last night the Spurs scored 79 points ... and it was their highest output in a week. San Antonio scored 64 points in a loss to New Orleans Friday, then mustered just 72 at Portland over the weekend. Isn't this the team famous for peaking for the spring?

In particular, San Antonio appears to miss the long-range shooting threat that Brent Barry provided. Barry is still out as he recuperates from a torn calf muscle, and it's possible we won't see him at all this spring. The Spurs have long been one of the league's most proficient 3-point teams, but over the past three games they're only 8-for-36 from downtown.

With Robert Horry succumbing to age and Bruce Bowen losing minutes to Ime Udoka, the Spurs don't have the shooters to space the floor that we've become used to in years past. And the result is that Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker are finding a lot more company on their forays to the basket.

Additionally, they seem to be strangely low on fuel down the stretch, which one wonders is a consequence of having such an old roster. I mentioned in March that San Antonio had fallen into a pattern of following solid first halves with dud second halves, and they're doing it again. In the last three games they've scored 26, 33 and 34 points after the break -- that's 93 points in six quarters. Ugh.

The Spurs have one week to regain their offensive mojo if they want to win one for the thumb ... or even get out of the first round. In fact, with games still left against the Lakers and Jazz, it's possible San Antonio's recent offensive slump will see them on the road to open the playoffs -- which would be the first time that's happened since Gregg Popovich took over in 1998.



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