The San Antonio Spurs scored 33 points in the 3rd quarter to break open a 1-point halftime lead and defeated the Atlanta Hawks 96-87 on Monday night. The Spurs improved to 2-1 and the Hawks dropped to 1-2.
The Spurs were down by as many as 7 points in the first quarter, but took a 40-39 lead into halftime. They started the second half with a 7-0 run and were up by as many as 11 points in the 3rd quarter. They began the 4th quarter up by 8 points and extended the lead to 13 points with 7 minutes left. The Hawks whittled the lead down to 4 points with a little under 2 minutes remaining, but missed their last three shots as the Spurs held on for the 9 point win.
Nando De Colo finally had the game we’ve been waiting for. He played the two-guard in the first half and scored 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor, including 2-for-3 from beyond the arc. He then played the point during the 4th quarter, ran the offense fairly well, and finished the game with 19 points and 8 assists. Overall, he played with much more energy and fire tonight… pumping his fist after making a 3-pointer and getting fouled. He converted the 4-point play with his only free throw of the night. He continually set up his big men for easy baskets and found open shooters off of good penetration into the lane. This is the type of play the Spurs need from the 6’5” guard to spell Tony Parker during the regular season.
Aron Baynes was a little too much for the Hawks big men tonight. After being completely frustrated by the 6’11” 230 lb Jonas Valanciunas of the Raptors last night, Baynes threw his 6’10” 260 lb frame around with better results tonight. Lucas Nogueira (7’0” 220 lbs) and Mike Muscala (7’0” 230 lbs) combined for 10 points and 12 rebounds for Atlanta, but were no match for the determined Baynes. He finished the game with 19 points and 15 rebounds. Dunks, jump hooks, a few offensive rebounds… he showed exactly why the Spurs were not afraid to start him against Dwight Howard during the first round of the playoffs this past season.
Deshaun Thomas was not as efficient tonight, shooting 46% from the floor, but still showed off his versatility with 3-pointers, jump shots, and aggressive drives to the basket. He chipped in 17 points and 4 rebounds. He definitely needs some work defensively as he was outplayed at times by Mike Scott who put up 27 points and grabbed 7 boards for the Hawks.
Marcus Denmon had a decent game with 14 points on 6-for-13 shooting, but was only 2-of-7 from beyond the arc.
Former Hawk and Spur, and current Summer League announcer, Steve Smith went on and on about 6’2” point guard Dennis Schroeder and how everyone is comparing him to Rajon Rondo. He reminded me of Rondo by going 0-for-5 from 3-point range, but other than that he was less than impressive. He scored 8 points and dished out 3 assists. His best move seems to be a left stiff arm which he used successfully to draw fouls on a couple of fast breaks.
Jared Cunningham (4-of-15) and John Jenkins (4-of-10) were not very efficient, but scored 15 points and 12 points for the Hawks, respectively.
The NBA announced a new tournament style schedule that will crown an NBA Summer League Champion for the first time ever. The tournament starts July 17, so the seeds should be announced early Tuesday. Stay tuned for more details.