The Spurs (20-5) are now 9-1 on the year in back-to-back games. They also improved the NBA’s second-best record in the league.
The game in little words was not pretty. What has been the achilles heel for the Spurs came and haunted them yet again, turnovers. As a team the Spurs turned the ball over 23 times.
Kawhi Leonard paced the Spurs with 22 points. The NBA Defensive Player of the Year definitely showed his strengths as he had five steals.
Having the leagues number one ranked defense in the league, the Spurs held the Hawks to just 25 overall points in the first half–the low total marks the best defensive half by a team in the NBA this season.
Dec 12, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks center Tiago Splitter (11) passes out of the defense of San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan (21) and forward Kawhi Leonard (2) in the fourth quarter at Philips Arena. The Spurs defeated the Hawks 103-78. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
With the 25 point thumping, Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich was not to happy with the play of his team as he described this game as “one of those NBA Games”. In part Popovich was speaking of the Spurs having a good night and the Hawks, not so.
With 23 turnovers in the game, the Hawks were unable to capitalize on their chances. Though they won with fast break points (23-11), it once again was the play of the second unit that brought energy for the team.
Manu Ginobili had himself a game. He came off of the bench to score 17 points in 18 minutes of play. He was 5-of-7 from the floor and 3-of-3 from 3-point.
Spurs bench outscored the Hawks 46 to 33.
It goes to show that any one player can step up and be productive on any given night.
Takeaways & Star Performer
Winning Rebound BattleThe Spurs won the rebounding battle against the Hawks 49 to 33. Big advantage for the Spurs as they could quickly get out and run in transition to get easy buckets.
Manu GinobiliGinobili was perfect from the 3-point line as he went 3-of-3. He finished with 17 points on the night and was a big key in the win.
Spurs Have Won 11-Straight Against HawksWith the win, the Spurs have now won 11-straight against the Hawks dating back to their lone loss back on March 21, 2010.
Overpassing?As a team the Spurs turned the ball over 23 times. I love the ball movement don’t get me wrong, that is what makes Spurs basketball. There are times when it seems as if we are overpassing. That was seen Saturday. Though the Hawks were having a rough night shooting, they could not capitalize on the Spurs mistakes. San Antonio is going to have to clean it up because other teams will and have taken advantage of the mistakes.
Star PerformerWith Leonard having a game as he did, it is an easy choice to pick him. But, I am going to have to give it to Manu Ginobili. He had a near perfect game from the floor and was valuable in the Spurs route of the Hawks.