During the second play of the game Brandon Jennings had a mismatch with Tim Duncan guarding him in the corner after a switch. Before you could even vocalize an "uh oh," the great big man was making an outlet to Cory Joseph. Perhaps Jennings was intimidated by Duncan's formidable one-on-one perimeter defense, or maybe we've been exaggerating Tim's supposed inability to guard anything outside of the paint, or maybe he just lost the handle. Whatever - Spurs ball!
Kawhi Leonard was credited with a tip-in earlier in the game, but that was actually a Drummond accidental tip. This is his real first-made basket in his return. CoJo looks to create something as he uses Timmy to get some room to work. He makes his way into the paint and Josh Smith steps in to close it down, but in doing so leaves a wide-open Whi, who swishes a three-ball. Welcome back young fella!
That triple appeared to give the Cornrowed One his mojo back after he put up an airball and missed a couple of layups he normally makes. Here we see CoJo and Whi combine for a steal which leads to a once common sight during Spurs games -- The Kawhi Leonard transition dunk. This one's even more impressive than usual as it's in the rare alley-oop form. I love how quickly Timmy is there to yank Whi back up after he took a spill that was momentarily a little scary.
Check out Tiago with a backwards bounce-pass out of a double team to an open Timmy in the lane. That was one of Tiago's SIX assists last night, which is pretty great in itself, and this one is especially nice. Bonus GIF content: Timmy's 120° and swipe at an imaginary ball, which is pretty sweet.
Did I mention how great it is to have Kawhi back? Well, here he is using his length and speed to poke a pass into the open court. He crosses over Will Bynum so badly that he has to hop over the now floorbound Bynum and still has the quick wits to put a bounce-pass in front of the sprinting Duncan, who doesn't put the ball on the floor as he flushes a nice one-handed dunk. So yeah, it's great to have the kid back.
The Spurs scored 27 points on fast breaks on Wednesday night, and these two start with Kawhi pushing the ball in transition. Josh Smith gets in front of him so Whi gives it up to Gino, and the best passing 2-guard in the game puts one on the money to a streaking Tiago Splitter. Tiago finishes the play with a rare two-hand slam, and I like the aggressiveness from Sparkles.
It's the Spurs in transition that we'll see again, and this time it's Marco who is leading the break. Manu is trailing Beli and they use their psychic connection to run a bounce-pass, no-dribble give-and-go that ends in a Marco and-one. It's so much fun to watch these two guys play together--so much spice. The ball moves 85 feet down the court with only two dribbles! This team is so easy to root for.
The Spurs can score in the half-court too! Point-forward Boris receives the ball at the right wing and attacks toward the free throw line as Marco cuts backdoor. That's too easy for the big Frenchman, whose aptitude for passing is as good as anyone his size, and he connects with the Italian (converting in the restricted area at 72%,) who has no problem getting the layup to go off of the glass.
Here's another assist from Splitter. He has the ball in the left block where he shows good patience waiting for Manu to get into the lane. Tiago makes a nice wrap-around pass and Gino twists his body to get into position to toss one in off the glass.
Let's finish this up with a nice play from Ginobili. We see him bring the ball up, hesitate as Timmy sets a semi-screen that pulls Kyle Singler out of position, and then split two defenders twice-ish. A crossover gets him through the first set, and he uses his wile and good body control to finish with a layup through the second set.