This one goes down in the loss column; but, a) it’s the preseason, so growth and gelling as a team are more important than any W or L, and b) the Spurs were up on the Magic by double digits, but in the fourth Pop put in his 4th stringers and Orlando went with a closing group that included Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon. And that, as they say, was that. Bruno Passos attended the game, and his recap will come later tonight, so I’ll skip straight to the fun part.
The team is solid
San Antonio is a team that’s going to give the rank-and-file of the league a real hard time; even the deep bench. They pass the ball well and move without the ball, so they’re going to score. They exert effort on defense while working to avoid fouling, so they’re going to get stops. Whether Gay plays with the reserves or not, the second unit will be just fine, and assuming Kawhi Leonard’s health isn’t a season-long issue, the starting unit should be a handful. The bottom line is this, the Spurs will win a lot of games again this year, and could very well be a two seed in the West.
Solid play from #12
LaMarcus Aldridge: 16 points in 25 minutes on 6-11 shooting with 4 boards, 1 assist and 1 three. The man is playing well, folks. He looks focused and calm, under control and energetic. I’m officially not worried.
Pau Gasol: 6 points in 23 minutes on 3-5 with 7 rebounds, 4 assists and a single monster block. The Spaniard might actually look a tiny bit better than last year. He certainly doesn’t look worse. He knows his own game, and he’s certainly more comfortable with the system.
Dejounte Murray: 15 points in 26 minutes on 5-11 with 6 boards, 5 assists and 3 blocks -- one which was a beautiful swipe from behind on a jump shooter. But it wasn’t all layups and licorice for the youngster. He still gets wild around the rim at times, and his floater comes and goes. But he needs to shoot it to get better, so you run him out there and take the good with the bad. Speaking of which, there’s quite a lot of the good to enjoy.
Rudy Gay: 13 in 20 on 3-6 with 7 and 4 plus a steal. Oh, and he got to the line and shot 6-6. Yeah, he’s good. I’ll need to see him against a regular rotation before I’ll judge his defense, but I’m pleased with what he’s shown so far.
Joffrey Lauvergne: I’m not even going to talk about his scoring, just consider: 15 minutes, 7 rebounds, 5 assists. I’m not going to go in depth on JoLau right now (because it’s just the preseason, and I’m already thinking about writing a story on him before the regular season even begins) but I will say that if I’m not in love just yet, I’m without a doubt seriously infatuated with his game. More to come.
In the meanwhile...