Here's as good as any place to start. We see Kawhi attack and go behind his back, dribble one more time as he pulls out a spin move, give a pump-fake and find an open Timmy who knocks down a 19-footer. J.R. Wilco and I can't remember ever seeing this particular move from Whi. Good news everyone, his game is expanding. So fluid, so aware, so nice. Tim's jumper looks almost pretty. Plenty of arc on the shot and Big Fun looks confident it's going in as he hops back to set up on D.
The next Spurs possession results in a Kawhi Leonard and-one. Timmy surveys the court, coldly calculating his options as the Spurs clear out his side. Since we're watching the modern Spurs, the offense doesn't just let Duncan do his thing. There is the movement we all expect, and Kawhi exploits an opportunity and cuts. Timmy, having played an unreal number of possessions from the left block, sees the play to develop before paying back the favor from Whi just a possession earlier.
What about Manu? He didn't have the greatest game, and since his shot wasn't falling, he found points in a high-percentage attempt. In the first GIF we see Manu do his thing. He has the ball for less than a second, but makes a ho-hum bounce-pass to the streaking Patty Mills. We get this every time that The Manu shows up. We're lucky. No really, I say it all the time, but when I see this play it really hits home. I mean, that's just a routine pass for Gino, and we're spoiled. That was amazine.
Not satisfied with just that dime, Manu see's an opportunity to go two-for-one on the next Spurs possession. What does he do? He just goes 3/4 of the court and finishes with a lefty layup in four seconds. He might need rhythm for his shot, but Manu still gets it done in other ways.
We've got to feature at least one play from the game-MVP Tony "baguette" Parker. TP drives baseline, doesn't find anything and is looking to reset when he finds (according to Pop) the best cutter on the squad. Marco Belinelli handles the great dish and scores with an easy layup. The good guys sure make it look simple sometimes. FirstName LastName is a couple of steps behind, and he can't do anything but give a late and lame attempt to block the shot.
We haven't spent much time lately appreciating the timeless Duncan. He put up a great line last night, finishing with 15 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and three blocks in only 24 minutes. Here we see him still doing his thing in the paint, and in an example of Timmy's commitment to excellence and changing his game as Father Time does his best to contain the GOATPUFF, he converts a Tonyesque teardrop. Well, maybe not as graceful as TP, but it finds the bottom of the net.
One more from the guy who started this whole 17-year run of success that is unmatched in all of sports. Let's finish this GIF breakdown with a classic shot from the most consistent guy the game has ever seen. During a look that is familiar to any long-time fan, he hits his 3,203rd 12-foot banker. Then he clears his nose, something I saw him do at least three times this game. Maybe the Ageless One suffers from the seasonal Cedar allergies that affect many in the Central Texas region this time of year. Mine are certainly going haywire.
This is the time of year when teams drop games like this. The grind is long, and as we approach the midway point of the season teams generally lose a little focus. You may not realize it playing a team with the Jazz's record, but it's easy to lose a game like this. Most contending teams drop more than just a couple of games like this. Luckily we have a bunch of guys who have been through this so many times before. And Pop, yeah, Pop. This is where one of the greatest of all time flexes his genius - pulling wins while limiting minutes. This is when the Spurs excel in the regular season. Not only do they pull out wins, even when shorthanded, but they seem to thrive as the excitement of the season's start has fully faded and the postseason seems to be just as far away as when the whole thing started. Even with the let down at the end of the game, I was happy with this win. I predicted 59 wins, and the Spurs are on pace for 65. 31-8. Wow, it sure is good to be a fan of the Good Guys.
Bonus GIF: Ayres' Dunks