The Spurs offense continues to play well. The team now has the eighth highest offensive rating after putting up 110 points on 95 possessions against the Magic. The Magic played tough, aggressive defense right from the tip, but there were a couple of highlights early on that are worth a second look.
The dunk itself is pretty, but the action that led to it is worth a look.
LaMarcus Aldridge inbounds the ball to Dante Cunningham at the top of the key, then runs across screens from both Patty Mills and Davis Bertans en route to the left block, in what looks like preparation for a post up. Nikola Vucevic fights through the screens and the rest of the Magic stay in good position throughout the first part of the play. Cunningham swings the ball to the left wing, where DeMar DeRozan enters the ball to LMA. Davis then comes off a down screen from Cunningham and curls around to the three point line on the left wing while DeRozan cuts up to the top of the key. This is where the defense’s first mistake occurs, as pointed about by our very own Jeje Gomez.
Two guys followed Bertans after a DeRozan screen, which led to DeRozan being all alone to take off for a big dunk. Davis helps the offense even when he's not shooting. pic.twitter.com/angDCMZOSZ— Jeje Gomez (@JejeGomezNBA) November 5, 2018
For the Magic, having two players focused on Davis and nobody on the guy putting up 27 a game is . . . a problem, but they should be more concerned with what happened next. When Evan Fournier gambled for a steal on that potential pass to Davis, he left DeRozan wide open. That should have put the Magic into a rotation, and Aaron Gordon clearly knew it was his responsibility.
DeRozan is shooting 22% from three so far this year, and he’s at 29% for his career. Gordon’s first job here is to stop penetration and give Fournier enough time to recover, but that is definitely not what he does. DeRozan gives him the slightest of shot fakes, just barely starting his shooting motion, and as soon Gordon commits, DeRozan takes off. This might not be the worst close out in NBA history, but it should definitely get an honorable mention.
Once DeRozan got a step, it was over, and the Spurs’ bench was very excited.
Then, with just under 3 minutes to go in the first quarter, Marco Belinelli drilled this Hail Mary.
There’s not really much to break down here, other than that Belinelli is somehow shooting better on tightly guarded three point attempts (4/7) than open (1/10) or wide open (8/24) attempts so far this year. In a related stat, he’s also shooting better on pullup threes (6/16) than catch and shoot attempts (7/25). I haven’t checked the tape, but I’m pretty sure he’s hitting 100% of his attempts while falling out of bounds as the shot clock expires, so maybe the Spurs should run this one more often.