The San Antonio Spurs held their annual silver and black scrimmage on Tuesday evening, and it was lighthearted fun for all in attendance.
The price of admission was free, as well as the parking. Mini- beers and sodas were to be had for only a single dollar. The arena was not in mid-season form in any aspect. The lines for the bargain beverages were long and arduous.
The scorekeeper(s) started counting black points for silver and silver points for black. After correcting that, they had silver players listed under the black team and vice versa.
Oct 12, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Davis Bertans (42) drives to the basket against the Orlando Magic during the second half at Amway Center. San Antonio Spurs defeated the Orlando Magic 95-89. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The halftime was non existent, so unless you wanted to miss the entire 3rd quarter to get another drink, you were forced to blow off having anymore discounted drinks. Being the fan that I am and my friend being likewise, we had to sacrifice wetting our whistles a second time in order to catch the 3rd quarter live.
When I see fans (if that is what they should even be called?) watching the game on a TV and talking a blue streak, while sitting around a table, just a few feet from being inside the actual arena where a live game is taking place, I am perplexed.
That is an article for another time, however, and despite my opening criticisms, I quite enjoyed myself.
Kawhi Leonard took to the court first and started warming up and taking shots. The crowd roared as he emerged onto the court, and Leonard acted oblivious to the fan fare, as is his style. The only roar from the crowd that matched Leonard, and possibly exceeded it, was for the Argentinian fan favorite, Manu Ginobili.
Ginobili waved to the fans and showed a personal touch and flare that helps make him such a fan favorite. LaMarcuss Aldridge and Jonathon Simmons both sat out the game, but were still announced by the PA announcer who introduced all the players on both squads while they completed a warm up drill to get themselves loose, and limber.
I had just read a rumor (I sincerely hope it is ONLY a rumor) that Aldridge might be traded this season, so when I saw he wasn’t playing it was slightly disconcerting. Seeing Popovich and Ginobili horse around with him, helped alleviate my anxiety and to dismiss those rumors.
The Silver team consisted of Leonard, Mills, and Ginobili vs a Black squad consisting of Gasol, Parker, and Green. The Silver team led by Leonard,who had 20 points with what looked like minimal effort on his part to excel. That is not a knock on Leonard, but a compliment that he had a very good game without any difficulty or made it look easy at least.
Davis Bertans was the second most notable player, and hit six three pointers, and showed he is a weapon from behind the arc. Once on defense, however, Gasol backed him down like he was made of Kleenex, and converted an easy shot inside.
That and his awkward handling of the ball, showed he will be a valuable 3 point specialist, but not a defensive asset by any stretch of the imagination. Deadmon had 10 points and 8 rebounds, and although not a smooth or graceful player, I could see potential in helping the Spurs bench this season.
Livio Jean-Charles also exhibited a nice looking outside shot. Mills would have been cut if not for the fact that everyone knows last night was not indicative of his normal game at all.
For the black team, Gasol had 12 points and 10 rebounds and had a solid outing. Kyle Anderson was quietly effective as is his nature and style of play. Anderson had 14 points, and his shot looked ready for regular season sharp. Patricio Garino had 11, and his fellow Argentinean, Laprovittola showed good point guard senses, and hit a clutch 3 pointer late to bring the black back within a point.
The defense, not in intense regular season mode, allowed Bertans to ice the game with another 3 pointer, rather than run him off the 3 point line and make him put the ball on the floor where he is less effective. (see Danny Green)
In the end, the Silver prevailed 70-68 over the Black in a game where the score was almost meaningless. The Spurs know what they have among their established veterans.
The potential is there for the signed newbies and rookies, like Murray who showed off his athleticism on a steal and break away dunk, and on the receiving end of an alley- oop from Leonard.
The rest are all fighting for the only open spot, maybe 2?, that is left on the roster. So next week, it is for real, starting with the biggest challenge right off the bat against the Golden State Warriors.
The scrimmage was a nice appetizer, but next week it is time for the real deal. It should be an exciting season once again for Spurs fans!