It's no secret that Austin Daye has struggled so far during his time in San Antonio. He's struggled with his shot in the minutes he's gotten, and been on the bad end of some Gregg Popovich rants more than a few times. However, he was able to break out of this funk on Saturday versus the Minnesota Timberwolves. His production was huge for a Spurs team that was on a SEGABABA, and short on bodies with Manu Ginobili and Marco Belinelli joining Kawhi Leonard on the injury report.
Daye got the start at small forward, and responded by scoring 14 points in the first half helped the Spurs get off and running against a porous Wolves defense. From that point on, San Antonio never looked back, never really giving Minnesota a chance to come back. To commemorate his performance, I re-wrote the lyrics to "Perfect Day" by Lou Reed.
Just a perfect DayeDrive up to the arenaAnd then later, when it's game timeTake the courtJust a perfect DayeSpot up in the cornerThen later drive for twoAnd then scoreOh, it's such a perfect DayeI'm glad we got the WOh, such a perfect DayeYou just keep shooting onYou just keep shooting onJust a perfect DayeMisses not to be foundGetting buckets on your ownIt's such funJust a perfect DayeYou made up for players outI thought you'd stay on the benchBut you played wellOh, it's such a perfect DayeI'm glad we got the WOh, such a perfect DayeYou just keep shooting onYou just keep shooting onYou've got to shoot when you're openYou've got to shoot when you're open
You've got to shoot when you're open
You've got to shoot when you're open
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"Pop believes in all his players and you know he'll throw you into weird situations at any time,"
--Austin Daye, via Jon Krawczynski
GAME MVP (Other Than Austin Daye)
Patty Mills - 19 points on 7-11 shooting, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal
Mills had maybe his best game yet since his return from injury in late December. He got a lot of run due to the bench unit playing because of the big lead, and Mills kept the pedal to the floor for the Spurs' offense. He shot well, found teammates, and was a key reason why the Timberwolves weren't able to come back.
NUMBERS ON THE BOARD
- 25: Minutes played by Tony Parker. He didn't have to play a lot because the game got so out of hand quickly, but he looked good when he was in. Parker finished with 12 points on 5-11 shooting with 5 rebounds and 1 assist.
- 18: Points for the number one overall pick in the NBA Draft, Andrew Wiggins. He had come into the game scoring at least 20 points in his past 6 games, and though he didn't quite keep that streak up, he scored well, going 5-11 from the field, and 8-8 from the charity stripe. It took him a while to get going this season, but Wiggins is showing progress towards filling out all of that potential that made him the top pick.
- 11: Total turnovers for the Spurs. For a team that has struggled with giving the ball away all year, San Antonio's ball-control was on point on Saturday. Granted, a lot of that had to do with the Timberwolves' defense being practically non-existent, but turnovers don't always have to be forced by the defense. There can be sloppy ball-handling, or passes into the third row of seats, and there was not much of that from the Spurs tonight. They moved the ball around sharply, and the offense benefited.
- It cannot be overstated how important Tony Parker's ability to cut through a defense is to the Spurs' offense. While Cory Joseph did a solid job starting while Parker was injured, the team is a different animal when he's in the game. He cuts through the defense like butter, forcing defenders to collapse on him, leaving shooters open in the corner, and big men down low open for layups. Minnesota's defense is already awful, so he sent them scrambling, which opened up chances for guys like Austin Daye to shine.
- For the first time in what seems like forever, the Spurs didn't have a third quarter collapse. It was a 15 point game at the half, and in the third, the Spurs just kept pushing. By the time the fourth quarter came around, it was a 20 point game. Minnesota worked hard to come back, and eventually got the deficit to 9 points with 1:52 remaining. But the Spurs quickly slammed any open door shut with 5 straight points from Daye.
That's still a new starting lineup though, the Spurs' league-leading 21st of the season.— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) January 11, 2015
Oh no RT @48MoH: That's right. IT'S SATURDAYE.— Pounding the Rock (@poundingtherock) January 11, 2015
Tiago is the litmus test for solid post defenders. If you fall for that up and under, you aren't one.— Jesse Blanchard (@blanchardJRB) January 11, 2015
In 9 minutes so far, Parker already has more points (8) than he had in 22 minutes last night vs. the Suns (7 points) last night.— Paul Garcia PS (@PaulGarciaPS) January 11, 2015
The Wolves are bad at defense. Everyone just sort of walked away from an open Boris Diaw.— William Bohl (@BreakTheHuddle) January 11, 2015
Minnesota letting Austin get hot like this is Dayengerous.— Ian Dougherty (@IanDougherty) January 11, 2015
Spurs are playing chess, Wolves are playing peek-a-boo. Or whatever comes before that developmentally. Smiling from gas?— Steve McPherson (@steventurous) January 11, 2015
Austin Daye step-back 3 off the backboard. Sanity is restored.— Dan McCarney (@danmccarneySAEN) January 11, 2015
BORIS DIAW FAT GUY TOUCHDOWN— Steve McPherson (@steventurous) January 11, 2015
Austin Daye picked up a double-double. He’s now 811 away from tying Karl Malone for fifth all-time.— Quixem Ramirez (@quixem) January 11, 2015