This season in the NBA was supposed to be a foregone conclusion--after the defection of Kevin Durant to the already loaded Golden State Warriors, the conventional wisdom had them losing a handful of games in the regular season and cruising to the NBA finals for a rematch with Lebron's Cavaliers.
Certainly, the preseason didn't do anything to dispel that notion, as the Warriors easily crushed all comers, and it looked as if Durant was going to quickly become assimilated as part of the most impressive offensive lineup ever assembled on the hardwood.
The Spurs, on the other hand, they were that team on the decline, having just lost an all-time great player and adding a bevy of new arrivals, including Pau Gasol and Davis Bertans. But the best performers tonight were some guys Spurs fans might already be familiar with, as Kawhi filled up the stat sheet with 35 points and 5 steals. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 26 and easily dominated anyone the Warriors tried to put on him.
But the biggest revelation on the night for the Spurs was Jonathon Simmons, who has come a long way since winning a spot on the Austin Spurs in an open tryout a few years ago. His energy and determination helped propel the Spurs to an easy win.
The Spurs rushed to a 10-4 lead, but Kevin Durant answered with a deep three-point shot, and the crowd began to roar. The team from Oakland started to get hot, but it seemed that every time the Warriors got an open shot, Gregg Popovich called a quick timeout, and the Silver and Black defense stiffened. The Spurs weathered the storm, and they finished the first quarter on a run, leading 31-20 at the break.
The second quarter was Simmons time, as he made shot after shot, hitting all six of his shots in the first half, finishing with this beauty as time ran out on the second quarter.
JONATHON. SIMMONS. pic.twitter.com/ac7tUtAmwn— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) October 26, 2016
The Spurs led 64-46 at the half, but the Warriors went on a little run of their own after the break outscoring the Spurs 12-4 to start the quarter, culminating with a breakaway dunk from Draymond Green. But on that play, Green drew a technical foul for taunting, and the Spurs took advantage to reverse the Golden State surge. Kawhi Leonard and Lamarcus Aldridge led the way for San Antonio as Golden State had to briefly rest their stars and got outscored 29-12 for the rest of the quarter as the Spurs led 97-77 after 3.
Steve Kerr kept his starters in the game for much of the fourth quarter, but they didn't have any answers for the Spurs offense, and Kawhi Leonard and Lamarcus put the game away. The end of the game saw the NBA debut of Davis Bertans, who looked impressive in the 3 and 1/2 minutes he was in.
- Remember when there was a rumor going around that LaMarcus Aldridge was unhappy with the Spurs? That was a crazy time, wasn't it? It seems like a really long time ago.
- If you're up three games to one in the NBA finals, it's still possible to lose.
- I used to doubt Kyle Anderson's ability to be a really good NBA player. That's crazy. Kyle only scored 3 points tonight, but he did a great job setting up the offense and playing defense.
- I thought Golden State's only weakness this year would be their bench. What bench? They Spurs reserves outscored the Warrior bench 30-6 in the first half and 54-16 for the game. Simmons was great but so were Patty Mills and Manu Ginobili. Davis Bertans only played in garbage time, but he looked great, scoring 5 points on two shots.
- Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry both had really good games for the Warriors. But their real problem is that they don't have someone like Bogut inside anymore to anchor the defense.
- In Portuguese, the word for 'flop' is Verejao.
- The Spurs outscored the Warriors in each quarter in the game, which usually leads to a win. They let Golden State have a few scoring runs, but answered those with even bigger runs from the Silver and Black.
- Pau Gasol played only 18 minutes, but was a -13 points on the game which was the worst for the Spurs. That's almost impossible to do in a 29 point win. He actually didn't play that badly, but in this game, the Spurs starters were completely outplayed by the bench.
- A shout out goes to Craig Sager, whose courage is an inspiration to us all as he fights cancer. Even the announcing team on TNT got into the act with special shirts.
The #SagerStrong shirts look magnificent pic.twitter.com/cceTDOHQVw— Mark Barrington (@MarkBarrington2) October 26, 2016
Player of the game--Jonathon Simmons:
Kawhi Leonard had probably the best offensive game of his career, and turned Golden State points into Spurs points with steals, And Lamarcus Aldridge looked great, but I still have to give the nod to Jonathon Simmons. He didn't just have an incredible game on the offensive end, he made several key defensive plays, none more impressive than this chase-down block on a Stephen Curry breakaway.
Jonathon Simmons Lebrons Stephen Curry’s breakaway layup into oblivion https://t.co/6JHiLEhZY1— Pounding the Rock (@poundingtherock) October 26, 2016
And he finished the game by putting Javale McGee on a poster
Jonathon Simmons posterizes JaVale McGee to end the blowout. https://t.co/JYH6MCug2b— RealGM (@RealGM) October 26, 2016
San Antonio vs. Sacramento, Thursday October 27th at Sacramento, 9:30 PM CT. Another late game, so stay up late with me as the Spurs take on the Kings.