It was just another Spurs Monday. It seems like the Spurs play every Monday, and this day was no different. The Brooklyn Nets, fresh off firing Lionel Hollins, seemed like they might be a team in disarray, but they gave a strong effort through the first half, but ran out of gas as the Spurs wore them down with their superior depth.
The first quarter started off with a flurry of points from LaMarcus Aldridge who scored 10 points in the first 7 minutes of the game, but the rest of the team was cold except for Tim Duncan, who scored 4 to stake the Silver and Black to a 14-10 lead. The bench for the Spurs came in and Manu Ginobili moved the ball, but it was a struggle as the Nets got a strong effort from Brook Lopez (he's the Lopez without the Sideshow Bob hair). The Spurs only led by 2 at the end of the first.
The second quarter started with the Spurs bench mob in, and Kyle Anderson got to run the offense a little, even though Patty Mills was the point guard. They started to get a little breathing room against the intense Brooklyn team, who were playing hard on defense for their new coach, Tony Brown (a former 4th round draft choice in the NBA, as Sean Elliot reminded us).
The Kawhi Leonard, who was cold from the perimeter, decided to make something happen inside:
What's cool about this play is that #KahwiLeonard initiates this spin to his left while dribbling with his ... https://t.co/c3fT668nnp— J.R. Wilco (@jollyrogerwilco) January 12, 2016
He also got a spectacular alley-oop, and the Spurs surged ahead to an 11 point lead and they looked to be ready to break the game open by halftime. But the intensity wavered, and a few turnovers allowed the Nets to cut into the lead behind a steal from Wayne Ellington and a three-point shot from Joe Johnson. At the half, the Spurs led by 7, 45-38, but it felt like it should have been so much more. LaMarcus has 16 points, but the rest of the Spurs seemed as lethargic as Sean Elliot on a cold day in Detroit.
The Spurs started off the third with a sense of purpose, and after a basket from Thaddeus Young, they started to wear down the scrappy players from the trendy borough across the bridge from Manhattan. Joe Johnson kept the Nets in range with silky shots and beating his man one-on one, but the Nets didn't seem to realize he had a hot hand, and went away from him. The Spurs had only increased the lead by 4 with 5 minutes left in the quarter to 60-49.
Then Pop inserted a player for the Spurs who changed the game: Boban Marjanovic entered the game and began to dominate on both ends of the floor. He scored just seven points in the last 5 minutes of the quarter, but he also had a block, an assist, and completely destroyed the Nets ability to score in the paint. By the end of the quarter, the Spurs had extended the lead to 21, leading 77-56.
Kawhi, who had hurt his three-point field goal percentage by going 0-3 from beyond the arc in the first half, hit a couple of three-point shots early in the fourth to bring the NBA universe a little closer to being in balance. David West came in to clean up against the Nets interior players, who couldn't match his toughness. Boris Diaw showed the Nets how to have tea time, as he effortlessly was able to pirouette into open shots close to the rim. Boban took a short break in the middle of the quarter, but came back in with 5:39 left with the Spurs up by 27, and Katie bar the door, it was all over. Marjanovic gave the fans something to keep them involved, as he dunked the ball and set a screen to give Jonathon Simmons a wide open path to the basket resulting in a dunk as the Spurs won 106-79.
- The Spurs outscored their opponent in each quarter. I should make a template for this.
- Boban Marjanovic got inserted before garbage time, and he made a big difference, playing a big part in blowing the game open for the good guys.
- "[Manu Ginobili] just makes everyone look better." -- Sean Elliot. Maybe it's the bald spot.
The cameras have finally captured #KawhiLeonard as he transitions from smile to game face. #KawhiSmile https://t.co/dVLYCMXF2e— J.R. Wilco (@jollyrogerwilco) January 12, 2016
— Did Boban play? (@DidBobanPlay) January 12, 2016
Yes.— Did Boban play? (@DidBobanPlay) January 12, 2016
Music for a sad Monday:
[NOTE: This version of the song is by Chris Hadfield, an astronaut who recorded this on the International Space Station. David Bowie is gone, but his music still inspires.]
The Spurs next game is tomorrow night in Detroit against the Pistons at 6:30 PM. It's another early start, so if you have a long commute, you might want to make an excuse to leave work early. See you then.
Don't forget to vote for your favorite Spurs in whatever form of social media you know how to use by using the player's name and the #NBAVOTE hashtag.