Fresh off a tough loss the night before, the Spurs had no time to hang their heads as they came back to the AT&T Center and made quick work of an overmatched Denver team. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili had the night off while the Nuggets were without injured key players Emmanuel Mudiay and Danilo Gallinari. Per usual, San Antonio received big contributions all around, leading by double digits most of the way en route to a 101-86 victory.
The Spurs as a team struggled with interior defense early on as Timmy's absence was felt, while the offense seemed stuck in a Christmas hangover. Careless passes and near-misses were the story of the first quarter, but a superb 34-22 second quarter put the good guys in the driver's seat for the rest of the game. The Silver and Black are now 26-6 and have yet to lose two games in a row all year.
Kawhi Leonard led the way for the Spurs (surprise, surprise) as he posted 20 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals. The Klaw didn't do anything particularly eye-popping tonight but his usual effort and focus were more than enough. LaMarcus Aldridge had 12 points, 9 boards and 3 blocks. Though Spurs fans would love to see 20-10 games on a nightly basis from LMA, it will take more than 30 games to yield such results. He's making great strides in the meantime and looking more comfortable with each game that passes. The best is yet to come for the star big man.
Tony Parker, who managed just 2 points (1-7 from the field) on Christmas Day, struggled in the first quarter but exploded for 13 points in the second. The Wee Frenchman scored from everywhere, knocking down midrange jumpers, uncontested layups, and finally a corner 3 right before the half. He finished the night with 13 points on 6-12 shooting, quickly dispelling any concerns that a slump was imminent.
Patty Mills provided a spark off the bench, hitting two quick three-pointers. Danny Green's struggled but hustled, which has become the norm. Boris pitched in 16 points as he had it going from distance, and Jonathan Simmons gave a great effort on a night where he didn't score. Kyle Anderson made a couple of tough shots and did enough to keep Pop from quickly pulling him from the game as we've all grown accustomed to seeing.
David West played sharply and efficiently in place of Timmy, finishing with a solid line of 10 points (5-8 shooting), 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and 4 blocks. He shoots and passes with such little hesitation that it's easy to forget he hasn't even been a Spur for half a season. West's toughness on defense and excellent decision making on offense have proven to be invaluable this year. Great game from perhaps the Spurs' least heralded big man addition from the offseason.
The Boban was unleashed with 40 seconds left in the first quarter, playing 6 minutes in relief of Aldridge. Thrice the Bobinator had great position on his defender down low, and thrice a helpless Nugget was forced to hack him in order to prevent an easy score. Our Boban still made 'em pay by knocking down 6 straight free throws while making Denver earn every defensive board. He finished the night with 10 points, 7 boards, 4 blocks, and 1 ferocious dunk. It's nice to see Boban be a key contributor in a win and not just a fan favorite/meme-target.
Timmy and Manu rested, the bench played well, and the Spurs won big at home. Great way to bounce back from a close loss. Tonight was an unmitigated success from every standpoint. Go Spurs Go!
The Spurs (26-6) will take on the Timberwolves (11-19) on Monday at home, less than a week after dismantling them by 25 points in Minnesota. With a rested Manu and Timmy making their way back into the fold, don't be surprised if this one is over by halftime.