The San Antonio Spurs became the second team to win 30 games this season, behind the Golden State Warriors, with a strong win over the visiting Charlotte Hornets. The Spurs had five players score in double figures and a dominant second-half saw San Antonio outscore the Hornets, 55-35, and that performance propelled the team to an easy win.
The Hornets shot well in the first quarter, a spicy 53%, while the Spurs struggled a little and hit just 43% of their attempts. But the game was tied at 24 after the first with Charlotte turning the ball over five times.
Charlotte’s gameplan was to pack the paint against the Spurs and make them hit shots from outside. It worked to some degree, but in the end the Silver and Black took 34 threes (12 more than their season average) and hit 13 of them. The Spurs ended up taking 38% of their shots from deep in the game, a season-high.
San Antonio only shot 40% from the floor but their league-best defense made up for their offensive struggles as they held the Hornets, who average just a hair under 106 points per game, to just 85.
The Spurs assisted on 84% of their buckets in the first half, amassing an impressive 16 assists in the first 24 minutes. Of course, that meant that SA hit just 19 of their 49 shots. No bueno. Charlotte led 50-47 at the break.
An ugly, low-scoring third quarter saw the game open up for the Spurs with an 8-0 personal-run from Davis Bertans on a pair of triples including one of the and-one variety. That was part of a 11-0 run from San Antonio that put the Spurs on top 69-60. Speaking of Davis Bertans, check out this jam from the first half. It’s even worth two looks.
And check out this feed to Jonathon Simmons for three from Bertans.
Kawhi with the block out of nowhere, to Patty ahead to Bertans through the paint out to Simmons for three. It's good pic.twitter.com/EFXXfPPYFu— J.R. Wilco (@jollyrogerwilco) January 8, 2017
A 26-14 third quarter put the Spurs in control of the game at 73-64. A 7-2 start to the fourth just about sealed the deal for the good guys, with Bertans scoring five more and Dewayne Dedmon throwing one down to get to double figures in the contest. Sort of out of nowhere the Spurs took a small deficit and almost blew the game wide open at 86-68.
But the Hornets pushed back and a 6-0 run from the visitors drew a timeout from Gregg Popovich to calm his guys down and he put his big gun, Davis Bertans, back on the floor. Out of that timeout the Spurs put together a quick 5-0 run, with three freebies coming from Bertans, of their own to stretch the lead back out to a comfortable margin.
The fourth quarter was a blast, for Spurs fans at least, as the home team put an exclamation point on the game, outscoring the Hornets, 29-21, over the last 12 minutes.
Your Spurs improve to 30-7 and are just a game back from the Warriors almost halfway through the season. Just a reminder, the Spurs have six new players on their roster. It’s truly remarkable that they’re somehow nipping at the heels of the ultra-loaded Warriors. Pop is somehow making a case for the Coach-of-the-Year award, again. Lucky for him, he’s ineligible to coach the All-Star game this season because it’s not farfetched to think that the Spurs might have the best record in the West come the All-Star break.
- After a rough start at home to begin the season (4-4) the Spurs have won their ninth-straight home game and are now 13-4 in the comfy confines of the AT&T Center.
- Dewayne Dedmon was a perfect 6-for-6 from the floor and scored a season-high 15 points. His season-high-tying 10 boards gave him his first double-double of the year.
- Davis Bertans was great in his limited minutes on the court. With David Lee out with a knee contusion, the big Serbian got a little more run than normal and he made the most of it. He scored 21 points on six shots. WHUT? That is COMPLETELY absurd. His 21 is a career-high and he did it in just 18 minutes. On another note, his athleticism on the defensive end has been a very pleasant surprise.
Since it was his night, let’s listen to him talk about the game and his role.
- Kawhi Leonard dropped 15 in the first half and finished with 19 (second-best for the good guys) on the night. Not his greatest performance but even on an off-ish night the dude’s a stud.
- I have an unreasonable soft spot for Matt Bonner, who just announced his retirement in the most Matt Bonner way possible. Coach B is seriously one of my favorite all-time Spurs and I’m so happy that he’ll be joining Spurs Live on Fox Sports Southwest starting before Tuesday’s game. Even though I’ll be at the game, I’ll be tuning in on my phone, no question. I’ll just drop this gem of a video below, H/T to Pounding the Rock’s good friend, Caleb Saenz.
Pure joy! I know he won’t get his jersey in the rafters, but I sure hope the AT&T Center provides a signature sandwich for the NBA’s all-time greatest player from New Hampshire. Fun Matty B facts - he won three state championships in high school and was valedictorian of his class.
The Spurs get a couple of nights off as part of their three-game homestand before they host Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks on Tuesday night. They get another night off after that game and host the Lakers on Thursday night before travelling to Mexico City to take on the Phoenix Suns on Saturday.