Despite the Spurs' continuous struggles with offensive execution, the team can fall back on it's pure depth to win games, at least against teams like the Kings. Early on, the Spurs seemed out of sync on offense, as they have been so far this season. LaMarcus Aldridge was nonexistent for the majority of the opening quarter, without a single notch on the stat sheet for the entire first seven minutes of the game.
Luckily Manu Ginobili, who has been great so far this year, was able to get LMA going late in the fist quarter. I'm not sure how long Manu can keep up this level of play, but he has been consistent spark for the second unit in these first seven games.
The Spurs's former sharpshooter Marco Belinelli reminded us how well he could move without the ball in the second, making us all wish he was still in a silver and black uniform, but a perhaps unlikely hero in the quarter was veteran forward Rasual Butler. He was active on defense, running the floor, and moving the ball to surge the Spurs to regain the lead, which they maintained to close out the first half. After shooting only 38% from the field in the 1st quarter, the Spurs improved to 47% by the end of the 2nd.
It just isn't very pretty right now on the offensive end, at least not by the Spurs' standards. Some runs gave SA a double digit lead in the third, but it's a reoccurring theme so far this season that no lead is safe. Random spurts of chemistry are seen, but it will be hard to keep winning games relying on scattered offensive runs. Teams are beginning to lock in on Kawhi Leonard as he continues to break out as a prolific scorer, and it's going to become more and more difficult to dump all of the weight on him when the team needs to put points up on the board. Tonight though, he was fine carrying the load.
Ultimately, solid defense and some strong bench play were able to put the Kings away in the final quarter. The Spurs took off and never looked back, and the Kings simply gave up. We even got a Boban Marjanovic dunk in garbage time! The Spurs improve their record to 5-2, and put the Kings at 1-7.
The Spurs did a good job of containing DeMarcus Cousins tonight, who was coming off of his achilles injury. Even though Cousins was taking a lot of jump shots as he tries to extend his game, it was a decent sign that the Spurs are still capable of solid interior defense despite the loss of Tiago Splitter. As a whole, the help defense has been better than it was in the first couple of games, but defending the pick-and-rolls and off-ball screens still needs some work.
Kawhi Leonard is still giving opposing small forwards trouble with his smothering defense. Kawhi forced Rudy Gay to shoot 5-for-15 from the floor tonight. He also was extremely efficient on the offensive end, 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting.
39 year-old Tim Duncan finished with 11 points and 14 boards. I'll have to check but I think that makes 7 million career double doubles for Timmy.
David West has quietly looked great in the past couple of games. He's absolutely finding his role on this team, and doing so quickly.
Danny Green is still struggling to find his shot. He was 1-for-4 from downtown tonight, and 2-for-6 overall. He simply doesn't look confident right now.
But this is a good sign
Evidence of the Spurs getting comfortable: Averaged 21.8 assists in first five games. Tallied 35 assists Saturday and 34 assists tonight.— Quixem Ramirez (@quixem) November 10, 2015
LaMarcus Aldridge returns to Portland to face off the Trailblazers on Wednesday night.