Morning Rehash: CSKA plus Baynesie equals Spurs win in OT

Yes, that's Patty Mills. - Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Spurs win possibly the most preseason game ever as their Australian duo leads them to an overtime victory against CSKA Moscow.

Nobody wanted overtime in the preseason. That's for sure. But, you know, Baynesie is Baynesie.

- Coach Pop

Not much has changed for the Spurs since last season. And while that means Tiago Splitter still possesses one of the ugliest post games in the league and Danny Green still can't dribble, it also means the moving parts of one of the league's most well oiled machines remain intact. In a Western Conference full of question marks, last year's best team returns with its core primed for another run. As Zach Lowe noted earlier this week, that's not necessarily a bad thing. The Spurs roster is comprised mostly of known commodities capable of producing in the right system.

This season started much like the last one did. A rather svelte Tim Duncan played scant minutes, looking active and mobile throughout. Tony Parker toyed with his defender, orchestrated the offense effectively, and peppered in a spin move or two. Kawhi Leonard got his hands on a steal and returned it for a dunk. (He was a bit more aggressive than he was this time last preseason, but not outrageously so.) Danny Green made some shots and later failed to dribble in a straight line. Tiago Splitter created some unintentionally comedic situations while doing his part to keep the ship afloat. Matt Bonner hit a three. A surprisingly aggressive Boris Diaw played well enough to remind you why such aggression was surprising.

The essence of this team hasn't changed much, so what we saw in the first three quarters wasn't a surprise. Where the Spurs have changed this offseason is on the periphery. Primavera Neal has turned to autunno Belinelli. DeJuan Blair's pregame hype man ritual has been replaced with the stoicism of Jeff Ayres. Each new recruit had intriguing flashes, but given the context of a preseason game against a non-NBA opponent, it's difficult to get very excited about what was on display.

CSKA played a mostly competitive game, anchored by Jeremy Pargo and Sonny Weems, two players familiar with the NBA's style of basketball. After Manu Ginobili helped put CSKA in a fifteen-point hole, the Russian club clawed back against the Spurs' third-stringers to take a late lead. But San Antonio fought back, and it was the dynamic Aussie duo of Aron Baynes and a shockingly thinned out Patty Mills that forced OT and ultimately stole victory from the jaws of defeat. Baynes was aggressive, bodying his way into key rebounds, the last of which gave him the opportunity for an overtime-forcing putback. Mills brought his "erratic" presence to both sides of the court, hitting some deep threes and willing in some acrobatic layups.

It was perhaps the purest expression of the NBA preseason, two foreign bench players leading their club to a late victory against a non-league team it will likely never see again. And while there's never much to take away from an early game in October, it's definitely nice to have Spurs basketball back.

Be sure to read Matthew Tynan's full recap of the game if you haven't already.


Standard Pop Quote

No, I'm not going to do that. I'll get all kinds of emails or twitters or whatever you call them talking about my pronunciation.

- Pop, turning down a request to say something in Russian about the game


Game Boss

Manu

MANU GINOBILI

PTS

FGM/FGA

AST

REB

STL

TO

+/-

MIN

14

4/4

2

5

4

4

+13

19:55


Manu played a near perfect game in a tidy twenty minutes of court time, hitting all his shots and pushing the Spurs to crack open a big lead heading into the final frame. He did have four turnovers, but he made up for them by doing Manu things throughout, sneaking behind unsuspecting opponents to the tune of four steals, diving for loose balls, and scrapping for each of his five rebounds. It was just the latest in a long line of games that prove Manu only knows how to play with full effort. Some nights, that's just a beautiful thing to watch.

Game Runt

Sam-young-4-nba-20130516064200

SAM YOUNG

PTS

FGM/FGA

AST

REB

STL

TO

+/-

MIN

0

0/6

0

4

1

2

-10

18:04


Sam Young was so bad that for one brief moment of weakness I actually thought about Keith Bogans. Young was dreadful, missing both open jumpers and bunnies at the rim. Worse, there wasn't much to see in his game on the other side of the court, a confusing development in that defense is supposedly his calling card. Corey Maggette got a DNP, but it's hard not to pull for him to take the backup SF spot after watching this Sam Young performance.

By The Numbers

  • 20: Highest number of minutes played by a Spurs starter
  • 4: Number of American CSKA Moscow players that saw court time
  • 5: Number of American Spurs that played in the game
  • 8: Points scored by the Mills/De Colo/Young/Ayres/Baynes lineup in the fourth quarter
  • 1: Combined number of field goals made by Young and De Colo (11 attempts)
  • 3: Number of minutes that passed this season before the AT&T Center played some Tone Loc

Odds And Ends

  • Nando De Colo and Cory Joseph still can't shoot. Chip Engelland has an offseason, too, I guess.
  • Tiago's road to Finals recovery started with someone named Sasha scoring on him.
  • There was a rumor going around during the game that last season's grey alternate jerseys would be replaced by sleeved alternates. Most fans seem to hate that idea. Here's how we solve the dilemma presented by sleeved jerseys: make the sleeves removable, via velcro, and small enough to use as a headband. Swag increased. Problem solved.
  • The advertisements on the CSKA jerseys were neither distracting nor unslightly. Seeing ads on jerseys look totally normal on an NBA court makes it clear how silly that "debate" really was. I'd be shocked if ads didn't make their way onto NBA jerseys in the next three years. [Editor's note: I couldn't disagree more on this point. -jrw]
  • How many games go by before Pizza Hut designates Marco Belinelli as the official favorite player of Spurs ballboys?
  • As the Express News' Dan McCarney uncovered, Kawhi Leonard is starting Year 3 in San Antonio and still has not had a breakfast taco. This is unacceptable and needs to be addressed before the season starts. Get on it, somebody.

Bird Is The Word


Going forward, the Spurs need to...

...remind Baynes that nobody likes an OT game in the preseason. Beyond that, there are two things they can do. First, they can solidify the backup PG rotation a bit. Nando De Colo looked awful this game. Like really, really not good. It's a microscopic sample size, but Mills certainly outplayed him on both sides of the ball. It's something to monitor as the preseason continues. Second, the Spurs can give Corey Maggette a shot. Sam Young is the same player he was in Indiana. If you watched any Pacers games this postseason, you know that's really unfortunate. The backup SF spot is wide open.

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