Feb 11, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Tiago Splitter (22) posts up against Chicago Bulls power forward Carlos Boozer (5) during the second quarter at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
San Antonio’s future definitely looks bright. Kawhi Leonard scored a career-high 26 points, and showed off his mid-range game. The United Center was treated to the best game we probably have seen out of Kawhi Leonard (if you don’t count his total domination of the 2012 Summer League). Danny Green was, also, key in this win, scoring 18 points, hitting 3-5 from the perimeter. Gary Neal and Tiago Splitter added 16 a piece as well.
Without the Big Three and Stephen Jackson, the Spurs defense showed glimpses of past San Antonio teams that disrupted every offense they met. The Spurs forced 19 turnovers, and despite a late comeback attempt by Chicago, the Spurs withstood the run and held the Bulls to under 89 points.
Really who needs Manu Ginobili? Nando De Colo did his best Manu impression at the United Center, and while he still makes some rookie mistakes, De Colo is earning playing time and becoming a viable second option as a bench player that can bring intensity once he enters the floor.
Ball movement continued to be absolutely outstanding for just the Spurs JV squad. Without San Antonio’s floor general Tony Parker, these guys were setting picks, finding the open guy, simply making life hell for the Bulls on defense. When the Spurs say they can plug anyone in to the system and still play at a high level, they mean it.
If you look at the box score, then you may be wondering how the Spurs won by fourteen on the road when they were out-rebounded 26 to 49. The Chicago Bulls really got after the boards, especially getting second chance opportunities. It truly is a wonder how the Spurs came away with a double-digit win. The Bulls abused the Spurs on the glass. San Antonio simply cannot afford to not box out and allow any team to grab 17 offensive rebounds.
While the Spurs defense played well tonight, Chicago had ample opportunity to take control of this game. San Antonio has to avoid becoming complacent on defense, and allow these type of runs. For the Spurs JV, this was a great effort and benefited from some hot shooting, but the young guys have to learn how to close out and not let go of the momentum. However, I’m just nitpicking really, as their wasn’t that much bad.
Aron Baynes barely saw the floor at all. And he didn’t help his case for more minutes when he dove at a guy in the final seconds of the game and committed a foul. Baynes has to understand that late, there’s no point in being that guy that gets in the game in the final minute and tries hard.