What we learned from the Spurs win over the Wizards

This San Antonio win was occasionally ugly, but LaMarcus Aldridge continues to shine.

In a first half that had all of the entertainment value of a YMCA tennis match for much of its run, the Spurs overcame a sluggish start offensively and delivered a dominating win. The 5th straight victory would not have been possible without the best big man in basketball right now: LaMarcus Aldridge. I’m dead serious when I say that it is a travesty this guy is getting no love in the MVP race.

Along with LA’s dominance, was a relentless intensity and team effort on the defensive end of the floor. The Silver and Black were flying all over the court Wednesday night and it was very obvious from the second quarter on that the Spurs weren’t mailing this one in. The win should be a huge confidence booster knowing this team can win games on virtually nothing but the back of, a) their defense, and b) their low post super star. It’s funny, that seems like a familiar combination for some reason…

Observations:

  • Man, it is tough seeing Patty’s struggles from the field lately. Our favorite Aussie has been playing his tail off, but he just cannot seem to buy a bucket as of late. Fortunately he’s remained aggressive and it has not effected his defense whatsoever (as a matter of fact, I feel like he’s been even better on that end of the floor). There’s no question it’s been a tough year for Mills, but I’m not counting him out just yet. He has delivered a plethora of big shots when it matters most in April and May, and the man has proven time and time again he isn’t afraid of the moments when the game is on the line. I have a strong feeling he’ll be sending us a friendly reminder once again when it matters most.
  • It was nice to see Kyle Anderson bounce back with a solid game after a string of streaky performances. The Spurs’ swiss army knife embarrassed Markief Morris on a couple of possessions and looked much more confident than he has been his past few times out. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, as SLOWMO had a few bonehead turnovers to start the game, but it is still a great sign to see him get back to exploiting flatfooted bigs and undersized forwards.
  • As I said above, Aldridge was magnificent, and he befuddled the Wizards’ big men. After blowing by Marcin Gortat and connecting on a couple of early hooks and floaters, it was obvious that Scot Brooks and Wiz had no answer for the 6 time all star. When they tried fronting, he overpowered his defender and the wings did a great job of finding a passing angle. When they allowed him to catch the ball on the block and sent a double team, he would either quickly pass out of it, or nail a turnaround J in the opposite direction. #12 was absolute artist on the block Wednesday night.
  • Dejounte Murray continued his intriguing play against the Wiz. The second year protegee seems to be gaining confidence and consistency as his team starts its sprint to the regular season’s finish line. Oh, and he’s also still doing things like this:
  • Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker brought some decent energy of of the bench. The 74 year old duo did a nice job of calming down the offense after an atrocious start to the game. They both do so many little things that go unnoticed (flashing the lane, driving baseline to make the defense react, moving the bigs around to create iso’s for Aldridge or desirable pick and roll matchups, etc.), but make monumental differences for the team’s ball movement. The impact of the hall of famers may not be as dynamic as it once was, but they’re still positively affecting the game. Their minute allocation moving forward will be very interesting to track as the playoffs vastly approach.
  • Pau Gasol, although not perfect, was immensely better than he was against the Warriors on Monday. Defensively, this is a much better matchup for him, as he is not thrust into pick and roll coverage nearly as often, and was able to sit back and protect the rim more consistently. On offense, it still looks like the shoulder he injured bouncing off his little brother is still bothering him. The past couple of weeks since he sat out after that meeting with Memphis haven’t been his best. He was much better connecting near the rim and finishing of pick and rolls against the Wizards, so hopefully that is signs of a return to form.

Source: Pounding The Rock

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