The San Antonio Spurs had a bounce back 3rd week of the season after getting off to a rough start again at home.
The San Antonio Spurs lost to the Rockets at home on Wednesday. It was their 3rd loss in a row at home, and the second game giving up over 60 points at half, at home in a row. That hasn’t happened since 1997!
The poor defense was Un- Spur like to say the least. The 39 percent shooting didn’t help either. Yet, because of the Spurs getting to the charity stripe, and their league leading free throw accuracy, along with Rocket turnovers, the Spurs were able to fight back.
In the end, the Spurs narrowly missed two shots to tie the game in the last seconds. It was Leonard with little help offensively for the most part.
The final score was Rockets 101- 99 over the Spurs.
On Friday at home against the Detroit Pistons, the Spurs won, but it was far from smooth. Pau Gasol had his best game as a Spur totaling 21 points, nine boards and six assists, and the Spurs defense held the Pistons to 86 points.
The final score was 96-86 Spurs over Pistons. It still wasn’t going to be good enough to beat Mike D’Antoni’s high scoring Houston Rockets led by James Harden (The Beard) the following night though.
They would need to play much better.
On Saturday night, the second night of a back to back, the Spurs transformed back into the team, we know and love. They played much better defense, not counting letting the Rockets loose in the 4th quarter, and having to survive a barrage of 3 pointers late, especially by Eric Gordon who kept getting open.
The Spurs put in their most complete team game of the season, since the season opening trouncing of the Golden State Warriors. Kawhi Leonard led the way with 20 points, a few coming late when the Spurs needed them to hold off the surging Rockets.
The Spurs shot 53.9 percent from the field, and got contributions from everybody. Tony Parker had his best game of the year scoring 16, and looking like the Parker we know and love. Gasol had another solid game with 15 points seven rebounds, six assists and two blocks.
Gasol looking like the player I envisioned getting this off season. LaMarcus Aldridge had 16 along with Manu Ginobili’s 12 points to complete the five player double-figure scoring group.
Ginobili was 5 for 7, a night after going 4 for 4, and remains a fantastic bench weapon for the Spurs. If Ginobili and Parker can be solid role players after years as part of the Big 3 leading the way with Duncan, that will be fortuitous for the Spurs.
Jonathon Simmons, David Lee, Dewayne Dedmon, Patty Mills, and Danny Green also played their parts well this night. In fact Green had a key block on Harden at the end while clinging to an evaporating four point lead.
The Spurs held on for an exciting road win 106-100. The Spurs are now a perfect 5-0 on the road offsetting their slow 2-3 start at home, and take a respectable 7-3 record into week 4 of this young NBA campaign.
This next week, the Spurs host the Miami Heat Monday and then head to California for a battle with the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday and the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.
I think the Spurs will go 2-1 again this week which will be fine. The way things have been going, they will probably drop the home game and then win the next two on the road. Having said that, I actually think think they will get the game at home against the Heat and split the two games on the West coast.
If they play similar to how they played the Rockets on Saturday night, they will win all three games.
All in all, a good week, thanks to the payback game against the Rockets in Houston. If the Spurs can get more of a balanced effort most nights, and not have to rely on Kawhi Leonard to have to do too much, the better they will be now and in the long run.
Leonard will be there to carry us when needed of course as long as the defense does their part, and I trust Popovich to make sure they do.