A Year Later, Spurs Flex Newfound Depth Against Jazz

Game Recaps

Quin Snyder’s Utah Jazz are a disciplined, hard-playing, and talented group.  Unfortunately, they’ve also been bit by the injury bug.  Having lost guard Dante Exum to an ACL tear as he prepared for FIBA Oceania before the NBA season began, and finding themselves without three more players (Alec Burks, Derrick Favors, and Rudy Gobert) who had accounted for nearly 40 points per game this season,  to stop the Spurs from improving to 21-0 in San Antonio was too much to ask on this night.  The Spurs rolled to victory, shooting 60 percent from the field and handing out 34 assists.  A season high eight Spurs scored in double figures and the team topped 120 points for a third straight game.

Considering the score, some of the games within the game were more interesting than the contest itself.  Here’s a look at a few.

San Antonio Spurs 123, Utah Jazz 98

Grades
Utah Jazz 98 Final
Recap | Box Score
123 San Antonio Spurs
David West, PF 25 MIN | 7-8 FG | 0-0 3FG | 0-0 FT | 13 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +20 +/-David West is starting to find his comfort zone with his new team. Or, perhaps, they are starting to find their comfort zone with his, having changed to a style more suited to West’s physical play. Absolutely buried Trey Lyles under the basket on a high-low combination with Tim Duncan. West hit a few jumpers and bullied and spun his way for a basket or two while providing physical defense and cleaning the glass.

Kawhi Leonard, SF 23 MIN | 6-11 FG | 2-4 3FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | +14 +/-Kawhi Leonard is officially the perimeter version of Tim Duncan–so reliable that it’s easy to take performances like these for granted.

Tim Duncan, C 26 MIN | 8-13 FG | 0-0 3FG | 2-2 FT | 8 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 18 PTS | +27 +/-This was the game that coach’s dreams are made of. The most important post work is done before a big man even touches the ball. Duncan ran the floor hard, beating younger, more athletic players down the court to establish great position, sealing defenders as he accepted quick entry passes for easy baskets. He tipped rebounds to areas where only he could get them. And he made exquisite reads and passes from the high post.

Patty Mills, PG 23 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-2 3FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +13 +/-The night belonged to others.

Danny Green, SG 11 MIN | 2-3 FG | 2-2 3FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +7 +/-Hit two corner three-pointers and was solid enough on defense, which is enough to merit a B in just 11 minutes.

Kyle Anderson, SF 19 MIN | 6-9 FG | 0-0 3FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +7 +/-Does a great job of using his body to create space, had a nice dump-off pass to Tim Duncan.

Rasual Butler, SF 6 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-1 3FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +6 +/-Lost his spot in the rotation, but remains a reliable insurance option at the end of the rotation.

Boban Marjanovic, C 19 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-0 3FG | 3-6 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | -3 +/-Stephen Curry is often considered the most marketable player due to how relatable he is to the everyman. But what’s more relatable than destroying a smaller, younger sibling under a Nerf hoop? Which is what Boban does every night.

Matt Bonner, C 7 MIN | 1-3 FG | 1-2 3FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +4 +/-#LetBonnerShoot – When a teammate delivers the type of pass that Jonathon Simmons fired off in traffic from under the rim, you have to connect on it. Matt Bonner did. Winners all around.

Boris Diaw, C 16 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-1 3FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | +1 +/-Diaw probably enjoyed this game, with six assists to just two shots, to any of the higher scoring outputs he’s had recently.

Ray McCallum, PG 25 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-1 3FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +12 +/-Pushed the ball up the floor, stepped confidently into jumpers, and had a nice zipper cut. McCallum wasn’t spectacular, but he was a credit to the Spurs’ development system in Austin.

Jonathon Simmons, SG 17 MIN | 5-7 FG | 2-4 3FG | 1-1 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | +9 +/-Simmons’ confidence is starting to snowball, and he finally let a few three-pointers fly freely; including one off the bounce. For a second consecutive game, the rookie has an amazing block negated by a dubious call. Something to watch–he appears to becoming more accustomed to the length and physicality of the league, finishing through contact.

Manu Ginobili, SG 23 MIN | 6-10 FG | 2-4 3FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 14 PTS | +8 +/-It’s amazing that this is still a typical Manu night.

Gregg Popovich
Got his starters some valuable rest and the Spurs’ younger players important development time on the court.

Three Things We Saw

  1. After a slow start, the offense is starting to dial up to ridiculous levels, scoring 123 in back-to-back games. While they’re no longer the same three-happy spread pick and roll attack, the same principles of movement and execution apply, creating wide open shots from their players’ favorite spots.
  2. Concerns that the Spurs sacrificed too much depth have proven to be unfounded. Jonathon Simmons is a legitimate rotation player, Boban Marjanovic can be terrifyingly productive against certain match-ups, Kyle Anderson fits, and even Ray McCallum is coming along.
  3. Jonathon Simmons would be the best backcourt player on the Philadelphia 76ers. He’d be a rotation player for almost any team in the league. The Spurs picked him up out of nowhere. It’s just not fair.