The Spurs looked like the Spurs with the return of Kawhi Leonard, who missed the last 15 games. After something like 23 different starting lineups this season, the Spurs rolled with what I think we can say is the "regular" lineup of Splitter, Duncan, Leonard, Green and Parker. Prior to the game, that lineup had spent just eight minutes on the floor together this season and it was great to have just about everyone back.
The Spurs controlled the glass in this one and held the Blazers to just two offensive rebounds while uncharacteristically grabbing 15 of their own misses to add up to a 17 rebound advantage (49-32.) Add in the 25 points the Spurs scored off of the 16 Portland turnovers and there's your ballgame. The other key to beating the Blazers is to put the game far enough out of reach that nothing Damian Lillard can do would matter.
Kawhi was fantastic, showing no signs of rust, in his return to the floor as the offense ran through him for stretches of this game. He looks confident and ready to destroy the league. I'm sure most Spurs fans feel a bit better about the team after watching Leonard get 20-4-5 and three steals, and more importantly, a win over a Western playoff team.
The Spurs went all Spurs and finished with six players (Green 19, Mills 18, Parker 17, Ginobili 13, Tim 11) in double figures and 34 assists on their 42 field goals. That's what we like to see. The energy was good and no one got hurt so I'm really pleased with this one.
The Spurs have now won six of eight, improve to 25-16 and will look to keep the wins coming when they host the Jazz on Sunday at 6:00 Spurs time.
GIF of the night:
Here's some nice ball movement and teamwork in transition from the good guys. A nice outlet from Timmy to Kawhi gets things started and Whi pushes the ball down the floor until he finds Boris under the hoop. I think Boris is happiest when he can expend as little energy as necessary, so he's right at home here waiting for the trailing Danny Green instead of banging in the post with Chris Kaman. Pretty stuff.