Tim Duncan played 24 minutes and Manu Ginobili played 17 in what was likely their final game before the regular season tips off next Wednesday night. Meanwhile Tony Parker looked on rather suavely from the bench in a jacket and expensive shirt. After the game Coach Pop was non-committal as to whether the three will play against Houston on Thursday, but my bet is they won't. That means 10 young, fresh-faced Spurs and Matt Bonner will be tasked with outdueling Dwight Howard and Harden's beard. Let's think good thoughts for them.
After a sluggish start, the Spurs dominated the Magic for three-and-a-half quarters and several young players saw significant time. Everyone's favorite Irish-Australian, Patty Mills, was the star of the night with 22 points in 23 minutes, including a fantastic five-point burst where he drained a three, stole the inbounds pass and made a lay-up among the trees.
Slainte on the barbie, young Patty Mills. Slainte.
Kawhi Leonard contributed 19 points and 5 rebounds in just under 21 minutes, but he's probably still young enough to be able to handle the pending epic preseason finale against the Rockets Thursday night. Marco Belinelli pitched in 16 points including a fantastic shot at the 10:00 mark of the 2nd quarter.
With a pump fake from the baseline, his defender jumped to block and Belinelli made a wild shot underneath him with legs flying and arms flailing and Spurs fans could almost see the bald spot starting to grow on the back of his head as the heir apparent to Manu.
As the final tune-up for the core group (excluding Parker of course) prior to the regular season tip-off next week, it was a fine effort.
Standard Pop Quote
You guys have a good weekend.
-Coach Pop, on a Tuesday night.
Patty Mills with 22 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists,5 steals and 2 blocks in 23 minutes. 2 blocks in case you missed that.
By The Numbers
- 0: Points by Boris Diaw in 17 minutes.
- 92: Percentage of otherwise normal people that lose their minds when the Coyote comes out with a T-shirt cannon.
- 0: Free throws made by Tiago Splitter, and also the number of times he levitated.
- 7: Number of times our waitress in the terrace apologized for messing something up. It's preseason for everybody, Leah. No worries. Keep working on your game.
Odds And Ends
- Even though Diaw went scoreless in 17 minutes I am still totally asking him to play on our neighborhood softball team. Boris Diaw in sweat pants and a beer in one hand playing rover in the outfield and smashing homers for my softball team? Let's make this happen.
- The Coyote hit James Silas' #13 jersey in the rafters with his T-shirt cannon. He's definitely in mid-season form.
- My assistant, Keith, told me a story about the stadium emcee that looks like a skinny Tony Parker. Skinny Tony worked at Sea World and always wanted to be a trainer, but could never pull the 100-pound weight* up from the bottom of the dolphin tank. He tried for years but could never pass that test to become a Sea World trainer. It was very frustrating but the story has a happy ending. Keith went back to Sea World after having been away for a decade and saw the skinny Tony Parker emcee, finally in a wet suit, triumphantly training the dolphins. It was like a scene from Men of Honor, he said. He had finally pulled that weight up from the bottom and achieved his dream of training dolphins and now he's entertaining thousands at the AT&T Center two or three nights a week.
* 100-pound weight is just an estimate.
Bird is the word
Spurs dribbling out a 123-101 victory over Orlando. Six in double figures, led by Mills' 22. ONLY ONE MORE OF THESE THINGS TO GO!— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) October 23, 2013
Conflicting messages at the AT&T Center: "Hahaha, let's shame people on our 'Eat It' Cam!" [moments later] "Who wants a free XL t-shirt?!?!"— Caleb Saenz (@calebjsaenz) October 23, 2013
Now the backcourt is Joseph, De Colo, Mills. Pop clearly breaking into the wine early tonight. Or drawing lineups out of a hat.— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) October 23, 2013
Patty Mills with a 3, a steal and a layin: 5 pts. in 2.2 seconds— Mike Monroe (@Monroe_SA) October 23, 2013
Going forward, the Spurs need to...
...Continue to have success in the transition game. Lots of layups and easy buckets. Of course the competition will stiffen, but breakaway dunks and layups are easy money. Teach Danny Green and Jeff Ayres how to finish. The latter might be easier than the former, but seeing both would be real nice. Find some minutes for Mills. His energy and work on defense was great to see. I'll take 5 steals in 23 minutes every Tuesday please.