San Antonio Spurs News

San Antonio Spurs vs. Phoenix Suns: Rudy Gay saves the day

SAN ANTONIO, TX - JANUARY 29: The San Antonio Spurs react after Rudy Gay #22 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots the game winning basket against the Phoenix Suns on January 29, 2019 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JANUARY 29: The San Antonio Spurs react after Rudy Gay #22 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots the game winning basket against the Phoenix Suns on January 29, 2019 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Although Gregg Popovich wasn’t pleased with his team’s efforts, the San Antonio Spurs toppled Phoenix 126-124 in spite of a sloppy defensive night.

Escaping close games has been one reason why the San Antonio Spurs have held firm in their pursuit of a playoff bid this season. The combination of poised young players, confident veterans and intelligent coaching has enabled Gregg Popovich’s squad to execute down the final stretch of fourth quarters. Even without star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan in the lineup, the Spurs were able to trust a different leader to finish off the night.

It was an odd night for Rudy Gay, who finished with 16 points on 7-of-17 shooting without a single three-pointer attempted. He snagged five rebounds and assisted on five baskets but struggled to find his rhythm despite increased usage. Gay found himself switched onto a red-hot Devin Booker on many occasions, getting torched on the defensive end consistently, and yet, none of those missed reads mattered because Rudy showed up when his team most needed him.

In a moment of clutch instinct and intense focus, small forward Josh Jackson stole the ball from Marco Belinelli and threw down the game-tying slam dunk with 19.6 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Without a single ounce of hesitation, Rudy Gay took control for the final possession of the night.

He timed his dribble and patiently waited for a screen from LaMarcus Aldridge before repositioning himself on the opposite side of the floor. All it took was one quick double-crossover and a long step into the mid-range for Gay to find a comfortable shot from the elbow.

? RUDY RUDY RUDY ? pic.twitter.com/9BEbrViayg

— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) January 30, 2019

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Rudy had a well-deserved moment of glory as his teammates rushed him at mid-court, flailing in celebration and forcing their dear comrade to the ground. In this instant, the shared passion and distinctive unity of the Spurs Family outshined a stressful night of basketball.

Aldridge had himself another All-Star-worthy evening with 29 points and 14 rebounds including eight offensive boards. To keep things in perspective, Phoenix finished the night with three offensive rebounds in total. LaMarcus’ attention to the offensive glass bailed the team out on multiple occasions and was a large reason why the team kept in the game. Phoenix finished the night with 38 rebounds to San Antonio’s 36.

Fresh off of a career scoring night against Washington, forward Davis Bertans ran away with his opportunity as a starter. The Latvian Laser finished with 18 points and five assists with five made three-pointers on 12 attempts. He nabbed a career-high 4 steals including two intercepted passes in the opening moments of the contest. Popovich won’t be happy about his one rebound in 36 minutes of play, but Aldridge supported him well from the center position.

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Next. San Antonio can make two legitimate offers for Anthony Davis

San Antonio will look to extend its winning streak to four games with the booming Brooklyn Nets coming to town on Thursday evening.

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