It's only Chapter 1 of 82 in the 2015-2016 campaign for the Silver and Black, but coming out of tonight with a victory would have been sweet. Alas, the Spurs suffered a season-opening loss to their rival Thunder in the House of Horrors that is Chesapeake Energy Arena. San Antonio held the lead for much of the game and kept threatening to go up double digits in the fourth, but it never came into fruition as nearly every Spur not named "The Klaw" struggled in the final period.
Kawhi Leonard led the way for the Spurs with 32 points on a very efficient 13-22 from the field. It was a new career high in points for Leonard, who is quickly showing that the preseason hype surrounding him may not have been enough.
Also, the Spurs' defense was extremely active throughout as pass deflections and blocked/tipped shots occurred on seemingly every other play. That didn't always translate into success as many 50-50 balls and offensive rebounds went the Thunder's way, but it's something the Spurs can hang their hat on for the time being.
LaMarcus Aldridge's performance was underwhelming to say the least as his solid play in the first half devolved into an unwillingness to be aggressive in the second. Though he finished the game with a disappointing 11 points and 5 rebounds on 4-12 shooting, don't start slandering him just yet, my fellow Spurs fans. Few games would have been a more difficult test for Aldridge in his first game as a Spur than on the road at OKC. Tonight's stat line will surely be the exception, not the rule.
Aldridge was not alone in his struggles, but at times Kawhi appeared to be alone on the court as no Spur other than Leonard managed to score 11 points. Tony Parker was solid offensively but got absolutely abused on defense. Manu had shining moments but with those moments came the turnovers that Spurs fans are so accustomed to seeing from the beloved Argentinian. Danny Green was 0-5 from 3-point land and garnered crunch time minutes over Manu, which Spurs fans would not have minded had their team won but now lament after Green's inexplicable three-ball attempt with 12 seconds left proved to be the final nail in the coffin.
Boris Diaw and David West displayed their versatile offensive games but were exploited on the defensive glass by Enes Kanter. How much Pop chooses to play these two together will be something to keep an eye on as the season progresses. Patty Thrills missed some wide open looks but only just, and seemed sharp overall in the season opener. Timmy didn't have his best shooting night, but his defense was on point as always. Nothing to see here, just a cyborg navigating through his 20th season.
All in all, it was a season opener worth the excruciating five-month wait despite the Spurs falling to 0-1.
KAWHILIGHT OF THE NIGHT
What do you say, KD? You wanna be part of my framily?
The Spurs head home to San Antonio for their home opener on Friday against the Brooklyn Nets. LaMarcus Aldridge will make his regular season debut in a Silver and Black uniform at the AT&T Center. An electric atmosphere awaits the Nets. We hope to see some of you there for Pounding the Rock Night!