Stop me if you've heard this before.
Simmons played the entire third quarter at the expense of Danny Green. He showcased his athleticism - which is more uncommon than finding a unicorn for this franchise - and breathed some life into a team that was not separating itself from the reeling Lakers.
Green replaced Simmons to begin the fourth quarter, gave up a bucket to Lou Williams and Simmons found himself back in the game for the 16 seconds later. Green, meanwhile, got an earful from Gregg Popovich.
"Pop kind of screamed at me and said, 'Hey,' and I had to ask the other coaches, 'What did he say?'" Simmons said. "I was kind of in shock. But it's all basketball at the end of the day."
With a rare opportunity to make a dent in Popovich's rotation, Simmons scored a field goal and a free throw in his first 40 seconds on the floor.
Simmons made his mark in Summer League, paid his dues over the summer, took an assignment to the NBA D-League in stride, and played well enough to earn 19 minutes at the expense of a dude who just signed a $40 million contract in the offseason.
The operative word to describe Simmons is probably "bounce" because every movement has a unique sort of flair - whether its dribbling, passing, running or dunking - that we aren't accustomed to seeing. Among a group of ground-bround Spurs, Simmons glides to his spots.
Now this doesn't mean Simmons is by any means a regular in Popovich's fluid rotation. It's just a start, but the early returns suggest that Simmons can be a quality backup small forward in stretches. For a team looking for someone to save Kawhi Leonard minutes, Simmons could be the answer to that problem.
Besides, there's precedent for a relative unknown finding a role with the Spurs. Just ask Danny Green.
Patty Mills - 22 points on 9-11 shooting, 3 3-pointers, 3 assists, 3 rebounds.
Mills gets the slight nod over LaMarcus Aldridge (24 points, 11 rebounds) because of his ridiculous shooting efficiency. He scored a point a minute, while shooting 81 percent from the field.
Quote of the night
"It felt good to see all of those (Lakers) jerseys in the crowd. That's very rare to have that here in San Antonio."
- Kobe Bryant
By the numbers
- 2.00: The amount of points Mills averaged per field goal attempt last night, which is on the verge of breaking basketball as we know it.
- 19-5: Which is the Spurs' third best start in franchise history. The team went 21-3 in 2010-11 and 20-4 in 2001-02. Hat-tip to Jordan Howenstine.
- 21: Consecutive home wins for San Antonio, tying the third-longest streak in franchise history. The last regular season loss at the AT&T Center was March 12 against Cleveland.
- +20: Aldridge's game-high plus/minus. Spurs were a mere +22 in the 21 minutes that he sat.
- 1: Boban Marjanovic dunk.
- Forget basketball, I would pay to watch Boban tie his shoes. He's that compelling.
- This was the prototypical LaMarcus Aldridge game. 24 points on 20 shots, with 11 rebounds on 13 chances. His efficiency is even more impressive given the context - 12 of his 20 attempts were contested.
- Green's starting spot shouldn't be in danger because of his defensive ability, but his shooting descent doesn't seem to have an end in sight. All he needs to do is to shoot himself out of this extended slump, and eliminate the other miscellaneous blunders that Popovich abhors, and he'll be fine. That is starting to become more and more of question with each passing game though.
If Boban played 30+ minutes a night, he'd challenge Steph Curry for the MVP.— Quixem Ramirez (@quixem) December 12, 2015
When you and bae start spending too much time with each other pic.twitter.com/pcWZfsYBGX— Brayden Neubauer (@Braydenominator) December 12, 2015
SIMMONS!!!! I DONT WANT TO JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS BUT HES THE NEXT MANU GINOBILI!!!!!— Pounding the Rock (@poundingtherock) December 12, 2015
vanity is extremely taxing and I feel like Tim Duncan has really lengthened his career by not wasting energy trying to not look old— ☕netw3rk (@netw3rk) December 12, 2015
Tonights breakdown: MVP: Patty Mills Honorable Mention: LMA Breakout Game: Simmons Most Electric: Boban Best Player on the Floor: Bonner— Pounding the Rock (@poundingtherock) December 12, 2015
You asked for it, Spurs Nation and here it is! pic.twitter.com/LTbrMX4DW1— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 12, 2015
Fun youngster lineup right now. McCallum, Simmons, Kawhi, LMA…and Duncan, who shines with the eternal light of the Maiar— David McGinnis (@dav_mcg) December 12, 2015
Yes.— Did Boban play? (@DidBobanPlay) December 12, 2015
Taco Bell menu item of the game
Gotta be the boss nachos. Once you get to the second level of nachos -- in the steak and cheese territory -- the boss nachos are fantastic. San Antonio, similarly, didn't pry open the game until the second half, in which they outscored the Lakers 58-38.
And that's a wrap folks. Until next time ...