The Spurs started out their Rodeo Road Trip in style this year with an easy win over the Hawks. Trae Young made some noise in the first quarter, but the defense stepped it up and he wasn’t heard from much after that, while the Spurs offense was running on all cylinders (and a few more) as they shot a ridiculous 53% [which should have been much higher] for the game, and scored 100 points by the midpoint of the third quarter. The final quarter was extended garbage time, which was great so Spurs fans to see players like Quinndary Weatherspoon and Keita Bates-Diop for the Spurs and Skylar Mays and Brandon Goodwin for the Hawks. The only bad note of the night was the poor performance of the Spurs’ end of the bench, who were outscored 36-13 in the final quarter as Quinndary Weatherspoon fouled out in 10 minutes of play and the Hawks outscored the Spurs 41-15 in the final quarter.
- I sometimes refer to Trae Young and ‘dollar store Steph Curry.’ It’s mean, but not completely inaccurate. He’s incredible at scoring the ball, and improving in the other aspects of his game, so it’s probably unfair to him as he’s still developing.
- Jakob Poeltl isn’t a huge scorer, but he does a lot for the offense with his screens. Something like half of the Spurs open shots are due to Jakob when he’s in the game.
- Patty Mills has a lot more in his game than he did when he got to the Spurs. He’s a terrific shooter but he can also pull it into the lane for a floater or a wraparound layup.
- There’s nothing more fun to watch than the Spurs when they’re really rolling. The first half was some brilliant basketball from the Spurs and not quite stellar defense from the Hawks.
- The poor play of the end of the bench players was the worst part of the game. The Hawks players that got into the game were really motivated, and the Spurs just looked terrible. There was never a chance that the Spurs were going to lose this lead, but the guys at the end of the bench need to be more ready when they play. Quinndary Weatherspoon, in particular, was very bad, scoring 2 points and fouling out in 10 minutes.
The Spurs got off to a good start, but things got a little chippy as DeMar DeRozan and John Collins faced off early and got the dreaded double tech, one on Dejounte, and one on Collins. The Spur extended their lead to double digits halfway through the quarter, but when the Spurs bench mob entered the game, Trae Young got loose, scoring 17 of the Hawks 29 points in the quarter.
The Spurs picked up their defense on Young in the second quarter holding him to 2 in the frame. The Silver and Black extended the lead with Jakob Poeltl forming an almost impenetrable barrier at the rim for the Hawk bigs. The Spur hit almost everything they looked at in the second quarter, led by as much as 30, with a ridiculous score of 77-48 at the half.
The avalanche of points continued as the second half started as the Spurs led by as much as 39 points early in the quarter. But after two quick buckets from the Hawks, a nervous Popovich called time out with a 35 point lead to regroup. The Spurs regrouped, and reached the century mark midway through the quarter, leading 100-61 with plenty of time to play. Lloyd Pierce can read a score board, and he began to empty the bench, and a Summer League game broke out as the Spurs led 110-72 after three on a Patty Mills four point play to close out the quarter.
The quality of play wasn’t that great in the final quarter as both teams emptied their benches, and while the Hawks bench made a little dent in the lead, it wasn’t nearly enough, although it gave plenty of opportunities for Pop to rail on the young guys for letting the Hawks bench players cut the lead from a high of 42 to 11, as time ran out. It will go into the books as an 11 point win for the Spurs, but it was never that close.
Atlanta, the home town of Blind Willie McTell . . .
What’s Next . . .
For the Hawks’ fans perspective, visit Peachtree Hoops.
The Spurs will continue their Eastern Conference sojourn with a game against the Hornets on Sunday night at 6:00 as they try to remain undefeated on this year’s Rodeo Road Trip. See you there!