The San Antonio Spurs had three of their four injured players return to the court, and it resulted in a dominant performance.
Few times this season have the San Antonio Spurs rolled out a healthy lineup. That’s with everyone available to play and an empty injury report. This did not happen vs. the Denver Nuggets, but it was one of the closest things to normalcy the Silver and Black had in the 2017-18 season.
Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and Danny Green all returned to the starting lineup on Saturday night, playing at least 18 minutes each. They combined for 35 of the team’s 112 points, with Leonard’s presence as a plus, to help shoulder the scoring load from LaMarcus Aldridge.
Getting Leonard, Parker and Green back pushed the rotation to a normal state, or as close as possible. The team still missed Rudy Gay, who does not have a timetable to return from right heel bursitis. However, it meant Dejounte Murray, Bryn Forbes and Kyle Anderson returned to the bench, deepening the substitutions for the Spurs and allowing players that may work better off the pine into more comfortable roles.
Along with them, the red-hot Davis Bertans had another strong game. He pummeled the Nuggets from 3-point range (6-for-7) for 18 points and propelled the latest win. This production may not last forever, but it’s a terrific spark plug while it lasts, especially without Gay’s 20-25 minutes off the bench.
"You can't make somebody else shoot it the way Dav does." – Coach Pop pic.twitter.com/dRA67ZuZJY
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) January 14, 2018
Otherwise, this was potentially a normal look for the Spurs, or what it had meant to be when the front office put this team together in July and August. Under 40 games remain for this team to play together and avoid the injury bug, something that has not proven to be easy in the 2017-18 season, to say the least. It may mean head coach Gregg Popovich rests players more often or cautiously uses them when they do play. Whatever the case may be, it will remain a storyline until the playoffs start.