San Antonio jumped all over the Hawks to start this contest. The defense was great, the shots fell for the good guys and eight minutes into the game they held a 26-6 advantage over Atlanta. Then the bench, still without their best playmaker in Manu Ginobili, proceeded to turn the ball over three times and go 0-for-4 from the field while Atlanta finished the quarter on a 7-0 run.
The early lead the Spurs built was plenty to keep the game in their control and even though the Hawks did cut the lead down to 15 a couple of times, the Spurs responded well and pushed the lead back out to a comfortable 20.
Boris Diaw, who was pretty bad for most of the night, was the only bench player that didn't finish with a negative plus/minus on the night. He was an absolute joy to watch in the fourth quarter with great, creative finishes and superb passing from the big Frenchman. THAT Bobo is one of my absolute favorite things to watch in the NBA.
I'm looking forward to Manu Ginobili coming back, he might still be the best creator on the team, though the gap isn't what it once was, and seeing where the bench gets to over the next month. The starters finished +22 (Big Fun), +18 (Whi), +24 (Sparkles), +28 (Baguette) and +26 (V3RD3).
Your Spurs improve to 44-25 for the season and are just 2 games back in the loss column of Houston for the three-seed. It seemed unlikely that the Spurs could climb into the three seed, but recent slides from the teams above and the Spurs' recent excellence has made that a realistic goal for the team. They'll have to avoid another head-sctratching loss to a team like the Knicks, though I'm not sure that that won't happen with the inconsistency this team has shown over the season. That loss excepted, the Spurs have played very solid basketball this month.
- Tim Duncan led the team in assists again with seven (Kawhi also had seven.) He also led the team with four blocks.
- Kawhi Leonard played another great game. After a three-game mini-slump following his six-game 20-point scoring streak, he's put together two great games in a row. On Sunday afternoon the kid finished with 20-10-7 and added four steals to his total and a tiny bit to his league-leading steals-per-game average. Is it just me or does four seem like just an average night lately? I think we'll see a number of 5x5s from Whi.
Quote of the night:
Boris on why he scored 15 points in the fourth quarter after scoring just two in the first three:
It took me a little while to warm up, I guess 3 o'clock is kind of early for me but by 4, 4:15 I'm kind of warm.
GIF of the Afternoon:
That Kawhi bouncer to Tiago was pretty great, but I love the ball movement on this play. Check out that beautiful wraparound from Kawhi. OTSTANDING!