The Spurs were fluid at the beginning of the game and the offense came easy for them. Here Patty Mills and Tiago Splitter run a pick-and-roll and Jose Calderon chases Mills over the screen. Dirk Nowitzki takes the lane away from Patty, leaving nothing between the diving big man and an easy bucket. Patty makes a fantastic bounce-pass between the two defenders and picks up one of his six dimes.
Transition baskets make for exciting plays and we see plenty of them in GIF Breakdowns. This one between Patty and Kawhi is pretty sweet. From half court Mills pushes the ball to Kawhi just inside the three-point line and Kawhi attacks the baseline as Dirk moves to contest. Whi quickly stops in front of Dirk and hits a little one handed floater over Nowitzki.
It seems like every other game Tiago gets the ball in the post, remains patient, and then hits a cutter with an excellent pass that leads to a layup. This time it's Patty Thrills, and he gets a tough layup to go. Good stuff from the Brazilian big.
This from our editor, @jollyrogerwilco:
Bonus GIF Content: The look he gives the ref.
Let's see Kawhi do his Kawhi thing. He grabs a rebound and takes it all the way down the court, attacks two defenders, and then gets the hoop and the harm. This never gets old. Kawhi is playing some incredible ball right now, and the Spurs will need him in top form as they try to get Timmy his fifth ring.
One Kawhi coast-to-coast play is good, but two is better. Patty makes a great save to Leonard while he is falling out of bounds. Leonard immediately takes off at full speed, beats Calderon down the floor, and sees Dirk at the restricted circle. Whi gives a small fake left, before throwing down a big dunk. Dirk wants no part of this poster and just kind of gets out of his way.
After Patty Mills missed a layup we see Kawhi come flying in to grab the rebound and then just bullies his way under the basket and puts up a shot off the glass. It doeesn't go, but Leonard beats two Mavs to another board. Mills has moved from the baseline to the wing while this is happening and Whi takes a dribble, looks to take another attempt, spots Mills and then whips a pass to the Aussie who is wide open just above the break.
By the time that Patty gets the ball the entire bench is standing. Boris is up last, and his celebration is nice, but it's Matt Bonner who is the most fun to watch. His view is blocked by Marco and Danny so he's watching the game on the screen. He gets up, and you would think that this was to get firsthand view of the action, but he is unable to take his eyes off the screen as the shot falls and he celebrates with a double arm raise.
Tiago Splitter was a plus -39 last night. I don't know what to make of that number. Is it the highest league-wide plus/minus of the season in a game decided by 20 or less points? Since he was plus-39, the Spurs were minus-30 with him off the floor. That also seems pretty crazy.
Here we see Splitter go to work on Brandon Wright in the post. He's got some nice moves. He starts with a slow spin and he gets into better position before a pump fake. He brings the ball down and across his body to the left before knocking down a great lefty hook. Tiago looks fluid and that hook is pretty.
Whenever he calls it quits I'm really going to miss watching Manu Ginobili play basketball 70ish nights a year, with his competitiveness, his wiles, and his ability to forget what happened before and play in the moment. He spent much of the game in Bad Manu mode, where he turns the ball over. He finished with seven assists and five turnovers in the game. This late-game dime is otstanding. He works along the baseline before reversing back to the corner as Tim sets a screen on Dirk and Tiago hits the Argentine in the corner. Tiago cuts through the lane and Manu puts a fastball on the money. On the move. Between two defenders. Good Gino makes me happy.
See you next Breakdown, Pounders. This team is so easy to root for.