San Antonio Spurs top Sacramento Kings in their return to the regular season

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - JULY 31: Derrick White #4 of the San Antonio Spurs is defended by De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Visa Athletic Center in the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on July 31, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. 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. (Photo by Kim Klement - Pool/Getty Images)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - JULY 31: Derrick White #4 of the San Antonio Spurs is defended by De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Visa Athletic Center in the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on July 31, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. 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. (Photo by Kim Klement - Pool/Getty Images) /
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This isn’t the same San Antonio Spurs team that you’re used to watching. Here’s how they performed in their first regular-season game in the Orlando bubble.

For all of the talk about the young guys taking over the development being a priority for the San Antonio Spurs, DeMar DeRozan went out and proved why this is his team. In a 129-120 victory, DeRozan had 27 points, 10 assists and five rebounds on 77 percent shooting including a majority of those points coming in the fourth quarter.

DeRozan managed to simeltaneously prioritize his teammates and help the team win. This was an example of the absolute best version of DeMar and if he continues to play like this, the Spurs are going to be a sleeper to make some noise in the West.

Having a go-to scorer in the backcourt is going to prove pivotal for the Spurs down the stretch of the season and it’s looking more and more like Derrick White is that guy. In 33 minutes, White dropped 26 points, eight rebounds and five assists on 53.3 percent from the field. He drained four triples on one end and drew an astonishing five offensive fouls left on the other.

20-piece for @Dwhite921 ?#GoSpursGo | #WholeNewGame pic.twitter.com/bBjlhPx6Gc

— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) August 1, 2020

White is a dominant two-way player when he’s engaged and he picked up the slack for his teammates in this one. If not for his scoring outburst, the Spurs would’ve been completely blown out, but White’s assertiveness as a shoot and finisher made it a competitive ball-game.

He wasn’t the only Spur with a strong scoring output. Veteran forward Rudy Gay picked up where he left off in the final scrimmage, looking more engaged than he did all season. The 14-year veteran tacked on 19 points and eight rebounds on 53.3 percent from the floor. If San Antonio gets this version of Gay for the rest of the season, they may have a shot at making the postseason after all.

San Antonio came out of the gates scorching in the first quarter, driving aggressively to the rim for 43 points including 10 at the charity stripe. That was the most first-quarter points for the silver and black since they dropped 46 against the Memphis Grizzlies in December. This was sparked by 10 points from White and nine from both Dejounte Murray and Marco Belinelli. The bench unit sparked a 19-0 run that put the silver and black up big.

DEMAR DEROZAN TONIGHT:

27 Points5 Rebounds10 Assists

77% FG% (10-13)

•7th double double this season.•2nd 25/10 game this season.

Derrick White tonight:

26 Points8 Rebounds5 Assists

53% FG% (8-15)

•Season high 26 PTs.•1st 25/5/5 game this season. pic.twitter.com/xdzOtuWedv

— NBA Stats (@DailyNBAStats) August 1, 2020

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Still, San Antonio let their foot off the gas pedal to start off the second and let the Kings take that lead back. It seemed like the up-tempo scoring brigade that the Spurs began with teetered off as they got into the flow of the game. De’Aaron Fox had himself a spectacular game, using that blistering speed to keep the Spurs off-balance en route to a career-high 39 points and six assists on 17-of-33 shooting.

For a team that’s missing its starting big men and ran small-ball for most of the night, the Spurs sure have done a good job of making up for it on the glass. They tied the Kings with 42 boards apiece, which is astonishing when you consider Jakob Poeltl had just six of them.

San Antonio’s team-based playstyle was evident at they assisted on two-thirds of their made field goals and drained an efficient 22-of-27 shots from the charity stripe.

Next. What we learned from the NBA's opening day

They need this to carry over as they face the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday.

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