The day after the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Atlanta Hawks, what reactions have carried over?
The San Antonio Spurs pulled off its 11th win of the season, defeating the Atlanta Hawks, 96-85. It never reached blowout proportions, but the Silver and Black kept a comfortable lead for most of the 48 minutes. This was led by LaMarcus Aldridge’s 22 points and 11 rebounds, along with Kyle Anderson’s third double-double of the season.
With every game comes a healthy amount of reactions, whether it’s for a win or loss. It this case, it follows a victory, so the takeaways will be more positive than anything.
So, the morning after the Spurs’ win over the Hawks, what reactions remain? Let’s take a look:
3. Kyle Anderson isn’t flashy, and that’s great
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For three years, Kyle Anderson was just a role player for the San Antonio Spurs. He never played enough to showcase what he can do, but that was due to Kawhi Leonard being in his way (with MVP-like reasons). With the Spurs’ superstar out of commission from before the start of training camp, it allowed Anderson to attempt to shed that afterthought label.
Through 17 games, so far, so good. It continued on Monday night.
During the season and against the Hawks, Anderson’s performances have been quiet but effective. Just look at his flirting with a triple-double. He posted 13 points, 10 assists and 6 rebounds, on a night when everyone in the starting lineup was grabbing boards. With how slow and methodical “Slo Mo” plays, it takes the focus off of him and places it on Aldridge, Pau Gasol and the other well-known faces on the Spurs.
Pounding the Rock’s post on the “Anatomy of a Kyle Anderson play” perfectly paints his style of play, including his drives to the basket that confuses and lulls the opposition. Even Anderson’s comments aren’t flashy, via Jeff Garcia of Spurs Zone:
— JeffGSpursZone (@JeffGSpursZone) November 21, 2017
The UCLA product has made the most of his opportunity. This won’t last forever, but it increased his value to the team and for the future. In the meantime, look for more stat-sheet performances like this that aren’t noticeable for the “eye test.”
Next: Manu Ginobili turns back the clock
2. Manu Ginobili continues turning back the clock
Manu Ginobili looked 40-years-old in the first seven games of the season. He produced 7.7 points on a paltry 30.6 percent shooting and 20 percent from long distance. A decline in production has not been a secret for the past five years of his career, but this was career-low marks.
Well, since November started, the tables have turned for Ginobili’s 16th season. Including Monday’s game, he’s had four double-digit point performances and shot 47.8 percent — a far cry from the October numbers.
The Hawks game was arguably the Argentinian star’s best performance of the season. He had 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting (2-for-5 from 3-point range) in 26 minutes. “Manu gonna Manu,” right?
Say it with us …
? MANU GONNA MANU https://t.co/xurcpOaseZ
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) November 21, 2017
It wasn’t just this game, but prior ones that saw Ginobili look like his old self. Remember how he dunked over Frank Kaminsky about two-and-a-half weeks ago?
— NBA (@NBA) November 4, 2017
These spurts look better than most of what we saw from Ginobili in 2016-17. Whether that’s due to a redesigned offseason preparation or being healthier than ever is unknown, but it’s led to a fun and effective role player for the Spurs, rather than someone on a nostalgia tour. Monday’s game pushed that narrative forward, with plenty of season ahead in what may be his final go-around in the NBA.
Next: Rudy Gay's playing time
1. What happened to Rudy Gay’s playing time?
For the fourth time in the past five games, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich used Rudy Gay for fewer than 20 minutes. That’s compared to the 20-plus minutes he played in 11 of the first 12 games.
Monday’s game represented Gay’s lowest mark of the season — 13 minutes. He wasn’t in foul trouble, either. What does it mean?
There’s a correlation between this decline in minutes and Kyle Anderson’s uptick in playing time. During this five-game stretch, the fourth-year pro played 25-plus minutes in every appearance for the first time this season. This included 30-plus minutes in three of the past four games.
More important, Popovich has left Gay out of crunch time. This happened against the Oklahoma City Thunder, even when the Spurs were building to a comeback win. He played just half the quarter. However, versus Atlanta, the UConn product never made it on the court in the fourth period. That may have been due to 4 turnovers and 3 personal fouls.
This has not been what you'd call Rudy Gay's best night in a Spurs uniform. It happens, I guess.
— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) November 21, 2017
During this five-game stretch, Gay has shot 42 percent for just 7.8 points. These numbers may have already placed him in Popovich’s doghouse, or with at least one foot in.
Let’s see what develops on Wednesday. It may just be a matchup situation and how Popovich wants to deploy the rotation. However, it’s possible that’s not the case and there’s an underlying reason for reducing the would-be sixth man’s role.