Let's start this edition of GIF Breakdown with a ridiculous bucket by Kawhi Leonard where he challenges Omri Casspi from the top of the arc with a strong, two-dribble drive down the middle of the lane. There's some contact as the two get closer to the basket and Whi gets turned around as Jason Thompson brings help. Leonard gets just enough english on the ball before Thompson makes slight contact with his forearm to get the ball to drop through the hoop after a soft bounce off the backboard.
Here's another angle. Check out the concentration Whi shows as he finishes. Beautiful stuff right there.
The future of the Spurs gave us one of his patented, strangely absent as of late, coast-to-coast highlights in this one. Rudy Gay decides to go one-on-one at Leonard off of a screen from the left wing but Kawhi plays him perfectly and picks up a block and recovers the loose one. Both teams are off as Whi takes a second to gather himself and the ball before he races down the floor with purpose. Aron Baynes holds off the smaller Carl Landry, Leonard sees the opening Baynes creates and makes the most of the opportunity with an easy slam.
Before there were Kevin Love outlet passes, there were Tim Duncan outlet passes and Andrew McNeil paid tribute to Big Fun's mastery of the skill in in a video that will forever bring a smile to my face. Here's the latest masterpiece from the veteran: a 2/3 court, overhead chuck that found a streaking Baynes for a no-dribble flush just before the first half came to a close.
Tony Parker has been pretty absent from GIF Breakdowns this season, so let's finish up with three scores from The Wee Frenchman after his solid outing on Friday night.
Here's TP working off a Splitter screen, seeing a clogged lane, hesitating while Tiago comes to set a second pick and Duncan spots up at the top of the key. Jason Thompson honors the threat of Tim's jumper, which opens up enough room for Tony to slip deep into the paint. Carl Landry does a nice job of fighting through the Splitter pick, but the Brazilian bought Tony the split second he needed to weave through the defense and finish. This looks a lot like Tony Parker.
Here's Tony again working off a screen, driving, hesitating, waiting for a big (Baynes here) to clear out the lane and then squeezing through the hole created for the layup. Again, this looks like Tony, which is a welcome sight for fans.
It wasn't Tony's jumper that Spurs fans were/are worried about, though it was an issue, as much as his inability to finish at the rim this season. This came in the fourth as the Spurs put the Kings away with a 18-6 run and it's not that Tony hit this jumper off a screen that makes this second-view worthy as much as it was great to see him take it so confidently.
Okay Pounders, this game was a step in the right direction for our boys and let's hope that this is the start of a resurgence for Tony Parker and the good guys. It's probably been the roughest month in the regular season for the Spurs and Spurs fans in the Tim Duncan era, but let's not forget that there is still more than a quarter of the season left to be played which leaves plenty of time for the champs to find their groove.