Who said the beautiful game was over?
The Spurs seem to be quietly gaining some steam after last week’s losing streak. Tuesday night the home team came firing out of the gates early, however turnovers allowed the Clippers to stay within striking distance in the first half. Slowly but surely, the silver and black managed to grind the Clips down and pulled out a dominating home win. For one of the first times this season, the Spurs put together a complete team win, as they compiled 33 assists offensively and forced 17 Los Angeles turnovers on the other end of the floor. Here are a few takeaways from a fun night of November basketball.
What we learned:
- It is still disturbing for me, as both a Spurs fan and Aggie grad, to cope with the fact that we passed on DeAndre Jordan not once, but twice(!) in the ‘08 draft. It’s heartbreaking to think about what the 7’0” phenom (and Houston native) could have accomplished in a Spurs jersey.
- Danny Green has received quite a bit of praise for his work in the off-season lately, but he’s not the only Spur who looks like he lived in a gym this past summer. LaMarcus Aldridge has been spectacular. The former Longhorn has come into the season noticeably slimmer and has clearly put in some work behind the three point arc as well. In particular, he has improved dramatically as a passer. His ability to pass out of double teams rather than shoot through them like he has done in the past has given this team a dimension to their offense which they haven’t had since Timmy D was consistently putting in 20 and 10 every night.
- Danny Green though…
Seriously, who is this guy? The former Tarheel is playing the most complete and effective basketball of his career right now. Green has continued to show a variety of new weapons in his arsenal, but when he is connecting from deep, each new wrinkle he’s brought to his repertoire becomes even deadlier. If this keeps up, it’s going to be a fun season for #14.
- Rudy Gay put in yet another solid night of work. It’s intriguing to see a guy who had been a volume scorer his entire career, completely adapt his game. Who would have thought that a player who was once labeled an “analytical nightmare”, would have revamped his career in a reserve role. That’s the power of being around a winning culture. Tuesday night was probably #22’s best night as a Spur, and the performance has got to provide a huge comfort to Pop and his staff. Having a guy who presents so many matchup problems with his size and length will be a crucial asset come playoff time.
- Pau Gasol rebounded nicely from a 2-12 night shooting the ball on Sunday. The aging Spaniard showed some flashes of his glory days in a Lakers jersey Tuesday night, with both his passing and scoring out of the low post looking like vintage Pau. It is also a welcome site to see Gasol’s hot shooting from beyond the arc carry over from last season.
- Dejounte Murray looks like he is fighting every urge in his body not to attack his way to the rim each trip up the floor. You’ve got to admire the 20 year old’s fearlessness, however it’s gotten him pulled out of numerous games this season. It’s important to remember that this is the first time in the young guard’s career that he has had to run a team. Until this preseason, getting into an offense and letting the set develop hasn’t been in his wheelhouse. As a point guard in the NBA, that is a skill that is pivotal to steadying a team’s offense when games start to tighten up. Dejounte has a long way to go on that front, but with the fantastic flashes he’s shown in the first month of this season, it’s clear that the light bulb is starting to flicker.
- At 40 years old, Manu Ginobili is still playing winning basketball. The instinctive plays on both ends of the floor, particularly passing the ball, make his teammates better. You can always count on the future hall of famer to make the most of his minutes on the floor.
- It’s so difficult to gauge where this team is without Kawhi Leonard. They just operate so differently with him in the lineup, and rightfully so. The second best player in the game is the difference in this team being elite, and just being competitive. #2 will also take some much needed pressure off of the Spurs’ play-makers. If there is one true flaw I can see in this group offensively, it’s not having a guy who can generate offense at a high level. Mills, Anderson, Gasol, and Ginobili can all do this in spurts, but it takes them all out of their comfort zone when tasked with the challenge too often. This is where the silver and black are feeling the void left by the rehabbing Tony Parker. This is also the root cause of many of the turnover ridden games we have seen so far this season. The good news is that when TP and the Klaw finally make their way back into the lineup, these problems should begin to straighten themselves out. Overall, with the two veterans rejoining a thriving LaMarcus Aldridge and eager Rudy Gay, the Spurs should once again be a tough out for any team they draw in a seven game series this spring.
Source: Pounding The Rock