The Spurs haven't lost this season when Tim Duncan has at least six assists. They also haven't lost when Tiago Splitter scores in twin figures, as Bill Land would say. So it was a good sign for the Spurs when Tim assisted on a Tiago score less than two minutes into the game.
This play starts with Tony Parker running a pick-and-roll with Timmy. Derrick Favors traps Tony up high as Enes Kanter switches onto Duncan. Meanwhile, as Tony is making a pass to Tim out of the double-team, we see Tiago cut to the basket. Big Fun hits the Brazilian with a spot-on touch-pass and with no rim-protector in sight, Tiago gets by Gordan Hayward and finishes with an easy lefty-layup off of the glass.
This one doesn't need much description. This isn't intellectual basketball, or an appreciation of some subtle brilliance. It's primal. It's angry. It's one of the meanest dunks Kawhi Leonard has ever had.
Bonus GIF Content: It's even sweeter that it's FIRSTNAME_LASTNAME who gets burned.
I find this play delightful. I like the way that Aron Baynes calls for the ball, doesn't get it, and then the way he clumsily fights Favors for position. I like that it has to be the longest that Patty Mills has ever stayed still. I like that Ty Corbin follows Marco's movement on the sideline. I think all of those things add to the charm of this play. But my favorite part is that movement from Marco. He moves to the top of the arc but Hayward takes away the passing lane, so Marco just yo-yoed back to where he started and Patty hits him with a nice pass. I just imagine Marco seeing Hayward at the arc and saying, "OK, well what about this?" and then heading to the hoop.Two easy points for the good guys.
Here we see Kawhi make a rare defensive mistake. He's expecting a screen that never comes and gets out of position which leaves Hayward unimpeded to attack the basket from the perimeter. Timmy's a great rim-protector, but it's tough for the veteran to help when a perimeter player gets into the lane with that much speed. It was a nice crossover and drive from Hayward as well. The Jazz have a bit of young talent on their roster and with a high pick in the draft they should be set up nicely to compete in the near future.
Manu Ginobili is playing some really good basketball lately. Here we see him in an iso as the first half is coming to a close and Jeremy Evans is tasked with guarding the wily Argentine. Manu backs up and looks to drive to the rack which backs Evans off of the three-point line. Gino pulls up and drains the triple in the defender's face. Evans shouldn't feel too bad -- when Manu is shooting like that he's nearly unguardable.
Hey, it's another Tim assist on a Tiago score and this one's in transition. Tony waits for Timmy to get into the play and hits Big Fun in stride on the way to the hoop. Jazz big man Enes Kanter steps up to defend Tim, but Tiago is cutting to the hoop and with Kanter concerned with Tim there is no one to stop Tiago from finishing with one of his reverse layups. Check out how great that bounce-pass from Duncan is. On the move AND between a couple defenders, plus it's on the money. Really fine play from the veteran.
Four Down used to be a staple of the Spurs' offense. It's seen much less these days, but the team still runs the play for the GOATPUFF on occasion. This is one of those occasions, and it's a good time to do it with Kanter guarding Timmy. Duncan starts in his spot -- a little further out than most big men like to work -- with his back to the basket and turns to face up. He initiates his drive with a quick rock-step to the right which freezes Kanter, then he makes his move to the hoop with a single dribble. Once Tim gets into the paint he gets into Kanter's chest, shoots before he can react, and the little banker goes in. Tim Duncan -- living legend.
Halfway through the fourth we got a dunk from Marco for the second game in a row. Splitter does a great job of fighting for the rebound and finding the Italian as he's falling out of bounds. It's just a dribble and a couple of steps for The Spicy One as he throws down an emphatic slam. I can't remember what kind of exclamatory sound I made when that happened, but I do remember being told to shut up by my girlfriend. That's when I know I have to GIF something.
If you're a regular Pounder you are probably aware of my affinity for Boris Diaw. The man who previously brought us the great "proverbial dagger" sideline celebration treats us with yet another great sideline celebration/towel wave. After the above Marco dunk the bench went nuts. Jeff Ayres celebrates with The Pirate, Patty Thrills goes with The Propeller, Baynes looks like he's about to unleash some sort of beast from within, but it's Diaw that wins best celebration. He sort of prances while working his towel back and forth in a childlike manner. Kind of an unplanned expression of excitement where he doesn't know what to do and just lets it happen. The the big Frenchman takes one really high step before sort of body-slaming his towel. I'm not exactly sure what is going on, but I love it. Look at how much fun the bench is having. This team is so easy to root for.