Here's Tim Duncan doing his outlet pass thing. First, he secures his 13,580th rebound (really), then he finds Game MVP Patty Mills with an 80-foot pass which leads to Patty finding a WIDE OPEN (thanks Bucks D) Kawhi Leonard for an easy one-handed dunk. Larry Sanders has no idea what's going on. It was not long ago that Larry Sanders was an advanced-stats darling in the the NBA blogosphere. Some people even suggested he should have been the Defensive Player of the Year last season. Now Gary Neal is calling out Sanders' effort:
I earned my money. Why don't you try it?
Here we have the bench after the above play. The Spurs are a close bunch, everyone likes each other, and they cheer each other on as well as any team in the league. Is it just me, or does Manu not look like he's completely ready to coach his kids' team?
Malcolm Thomas was called up from the Toros for the game. He hasn't figured out when to stand yet. Notice the fundamentally sound cheering from Nando to Ginobili. Feet shoulder-width apart, clapping and a little cheering, nothing over the top. Thomas sticks out; he rises late, and not only does he rise late, but his technique is questionable. I mean, he doesn't even fully rise.
Our man Kawhi takes a hand-off from Boris Diaw, who immediately sets a screen for him. Leonard then drives past four defenders, including Sanders again, who kindly moves out of Whi's way. What is that guy doing? He's on a four-year $44 million dollar contract.
Kawhi is again featured in his nightly coast-to-coast rebound/steal/block to dunk. Leonard almost has it poked away on this one, but keeps the handle before finishing with a high-percentage shot. This fast-break is really pretty. I can't stop watching it.
The bench thought the Kawhi fast-break was pleasant to witness. Everyone except Manu rises, he's busy parting the sea of defenders for Kawhi. Malcolm Thomas is again the last one up, and just seems to be trying to find his place.
Thomas got his first NBA minutes of the season not long after that Kawhi coast-to-coast. He was energetic, and grabbed nine rebounds in his fifteen minutes. He also had this nice put-back for his first two points of the season. Maybe Timmy will give him a pat on the head and make him feel like part of the team now that he's actually played.
Here's one of those nightly beauties we get from Manu Ginobili. He finds a cutting Patty Mills with a zippy pass through traffic. This pass is pretty ridiculous. Manu assists!
Speaking of Manu assists, here he runs the floor, and is passed by the very fast Jeff Ayres. Think about that. Manu is moving down the court, and Ayres easily passes him. Pretty quick for a big-man.
Fred Silva's new favorite player handles the bounce-pass from Manu and dunks it. Because Jeff has figured out that dunking the ball is better than shooting the ball. Look at that, I called him Jeff. Pretty sure that's the first time I've done that. He's established himself as part of the rotation (17.5 minutes per game in his last ten,) and it seems like catching those tennis balls is really helping his hands.
Our last GIF: Tim Duncan is fed the ball in the post from Cory Joseph, but Timmy sees Jeff cut through the lane. Duncan then makes an outstanding touch bounce-pass that finds Jeff's hands at neck level. Ayres finishes the play with a powerful two-hand slam in this, the season of dunks. I'll report back with some numbers about dunks in a future post.
For longtime Pounder Sh!fty - Manu Ginobili's nutmeg.
Bonus Bonus GIF: