After a slow first half, the Silver and Black found their rhythm and went on a game-defining 17-0 run, resulting in a convincing win against a scrappy Charlotte team that kept it close through two-and-a-half quarters. The Hornets, led by point guard Kemba Walker, appeared as if they would steal one in San Antonio, but a strong outing from the second unit propelled the Spurs to a 114-94 victory at the AT&T Center.
Kawhi Leonard once again led the Spurs with 23 points on 10-16 from the field to along with a pair of steals. Much like Leonard himself, his impact tonight was quiet yet extremely effective.
LaMarcus Aldridge finished the game with 16 points in just 18 minutes of action. He looked poised to have his first 30-point game as a Spur early on, but foul trouble kept the big man on the bench for most of the night. Even so, LaMarcus seemed comfortable tonight which is vital as the Spurs look to gradually assimilate him into their system as the season progresses.
The bench came up huge in the third quarter as the Spurs posted 42 points in the frame, which is the second highest point total for a quarter by any team this season. Patty Mills (15 points) and Manu Ginobili (13 points) led a three-point flurry, a sight for sore eyes as the Silver and Black (cough...Danny Green) have struggled from long-distance this season. David West had his best performance with his new team, posting a solid 9 points and 9 boards while filling in for the foul-plagued Aldridge. Boris Diaw fluidly moved the ball, per usual. Le Grande Croissant's valiant effort early into the season has been understated but crucial. Once the Spurs' starters begin to play with the same chemistry as the bench, the rest of the Association will be in major trouble.
Starting games continues to be a struggle for the Silver and Black, but the oft-mentioned "process" of working all the new pieces into the team took a positive (if small) step forward. "The Beautiful Game" Spurs may not be returning any time soon, but tonight proved that this new isolation-heavy version is still capable of playing some outstanding team basketball.
The Spurs (4-2) head to the West Coast to take on the Sacramento Kings (1-5). Star center DeMarcus Cousins has been out with an Achilles strain but is expected to make his return Monday night. Just our luck.