Has everyone who stayed up late and watched the entire Spurs /Lakers game gotten their breath back yet? That’s good, because it was one helluva game with many milestones set. If you weren’t able to see the game or survive until almost 12:30 in the morning, we have you covered.
DeMar DeRozan’s wild start
Let’s face it: it’s only been three games, but DeRozan is leaving scorched earth in his path. We mentioned yesterday that he had already set some Spurs records just in two games, and he didn’t slow down for this one. Here are some more of his accomplishments from both his 32-point, 14-assists (career high!), 8-rebound performance last night and this season as a whole (early as it is):
DeMar DeRozan is the first player in Spurs history to score at least 28 points in each of the first three games of a season.— Jordan Howenstine (@AirlessJordan) October 23, 2018
DeMar DeRozan is the second Spur in franchise history to post 32+ points and 14+ assists in a game.— Jordan Howenstine (@AirlessJordan) October 23, 2018
Tony Parker had 34/14 in 2012.
DeMar DeRozan is the first non-point guard to record 25+ points and 10+ assists for the Spurs since Manu Ginobili had 30/12 in 2008.— Jordan Howenstine (@AirlessJordan) October 23, 2018
Whose passes are leading to points at the highest rate in @NBA this season? @DeMar_DeRozan of the @spurs. DeRozan is leading the league with 26% of his passes leading directly or indirectly to points (min. 10 passes). pic.twitter.com/ivqXVTUsWh— Pete Newmann (@petenewmann) October 23, 2018
A rivalry renewed out West
It looks like we have the makings of a rejuvenated Spurs-Lakers rivalry thanks in no small part to DeRozan and LeBron James bringing their own rivalry over from the East.
DeMar DeRozan & LeBron James duel in LA!— NBA (@NBA) October 23, 2018
They ended up recording the exact same stat line: 32 PTS, 14 ASTS, 8 REBS. pic.twitter.com/gDqh3HV8yt
And in case anyone missed it, LaMarcus Aldridge had quite a game himself:
Of course, a Spurs-Lakers rivalry game is nothing without late-game drama. After a James three sent the game to overtime, capping off an 8-0 Lakers run the final minute of the fourth, the Spurs had a quick 7-0 run inside the final minute of OT for the win, complete with Patty Mills‘ game-winning shot:
Let’s look at that shot again, including with fan reaction from the stands:
Spurs’ Patty Mills with the gym-silencing OT game-winner vs. Lakers pic.twitter.com/FBiktec5GK— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) October 23, 2018
Compared to the Lakers’ final attempt, you can see the difference in approaches by each team: set play vs. hero ball (which in fairness had worked pretty well for James up until this point):
Comparing the last shot for both the Spurs and the Lakers pic.twitter.com/zXXDSzWRry— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) October 23, 2018
As Mills would say after the game, this was a play that the Spurs have run for years . . . it was just usually The Big 3 who ran it. Good to see lessons of a bygone but highly successful era carry over.
More Spurs milestones
This is prior to the game, so tack on one more win for good measure:
Spurs visit LA tonight. San Antonio has a .600 win percentage (21-14) against the Lakers in the Staples Center since it opened in 1999.— Jordan Howenstine (@AirlessJordan) October 23, 2018
No other team in the NBA has a winning record against the Lakers in the Staples Center.
I personally love this next one. It seems impossible since Marco Belinelli has spent less than half the amount of time with the Spurs (two seasons plus three games) compared to Robert Horry (5 seasons), but then you remember we’re in an era of more threes being taken, and Big Shot Bob tended to take the regular season off, it makes a little more sense:
Marco Belinelli has now hit more career three-pointers for the Spurs than Robert Horry. He moves into 18th in San Antonio history with 215 treys.— Jordan Howenstine (@AirlessJordan) October 23, 2018
And many more:
Spurs score 40 points in the first quarter for the first time since 2016.— Jordan Howenstine (@AirlessJordan) October 23, 2018
Tonight was the Spurs 1,700th road game in franchise history.— Jordan Howenstine (@AirlessJordan) October 23, 2018
San Antonio’s .498 win percentage away from home is the best of any team in NBA history, right above the Lakers (.483).
143 points is the fourth-most points the Spurs have EVER scored in a game on the road. All-time record is 155 at Denver in 1984.— Jordan Howenstine (@AirlessJordan) October 23, 2018
143 points is a new Spurs franchise record for most points scored in an overtime game on the road.— Jordan Howenstine (@AirlessJordan) October 23, 2018
Lastly, not the most positive of milestones, but a win is a win!
That's the most points the Spurs have given up under Gregg Popovich, who you might have heard has been here a while.— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) October 23, 2018
The Spurs won the game.
Finally, the Spurs are not going to get much attention this season (as evidenced by their many national TV snubs), so why not take advantage of one of their few games that not only got plenty of attention just because of their opponent, but also because of how it panned out? Here are some links to get you through the day:
- 8 takeaways from last night’s game, kinda (SB Nation)
- DeRozan is making the Spurs an underrated playoff team (Bleacher Report)
- How the Spurs are embracing their new reality (Bleacher Report)
- LeBron and DeMar’s rivalry moves West (The Athletic - subscription required)
It has only been three games, and the Spurs have already put up an instant classic that will be replayed over and over again on NBATV and will be remembered as one of the best games of the season when all is said and done. There’s still a ton of work to do (cough*, defense), but this team is already way more exciting to watch than last year’s iteration, and for now that’s satisfying enough. (I still want wins, though.)
Enjoy the ride Spurs fans! This season is going to be one wild experience. Have a good one!