After the San Antonio Spurs defeated Montepaschi Siena on Saturday 106-77, there was one common theme amongst the players in the locker room. Defense.
Manu Ginobili summed up the theme, “We played pretty well, especially defensively.” “We tried different types of defenses and the guys followed,” continued Ginobili.
Defense was the key for the Spurs on Saturday as they held Sienna to just 35 points by halftime and limited Siena to shooting less than 30% on the night. The Spurs were led in a balanced scoring attack as they continued their element of scoring from last season by scoring over 100 points as Ginobili (11 points) and Gary Neal (11 points) led the way.
Sienna was led by 20 points from Bobby Brown and 15 points from Benjamin Eze, but after one quarter of play, it was a route the rest of the way.
In the first, Tony Parker started the game with a dish to Kawhi Leonard for a one-handed dunk. The theme of dunks and layups in the open court would continue through the night.
Viktor Sanikidze only scored five points in the game, three of those points came from a made three-pointer in the first quarter. If you recall, the Spurs currently hold the draft rights of Sanikidze after trading for them in 2004 from the Atlanta Hawks.
Siena hung in for half of the first quarter but the Spurs’ bench provided some separation as Ginobili, Stephen Jackson, and company provided the Spurs with some outside scoring that eventually led to a 13-point lead. The Spurs ended the first quarter with a 29-18 lead. Tim Duncan scored all of his nine points in the first.
The newest French Spur Nando De Colo came in early in the second quarter, as he and Neal showed some production from the backcourt. Neal with his shooting and De Colo with his passing. The Spurs took a 59-35 lead into the half, forward Josh Powell added five points off the bench. In just one half, the Spurs shot 55% from the field.
Cory Joseph, Neal, and Powell started the second half as Parker and Boris Diaw were finished for the night. Joseph showed vast improvement as he was hitting his outside shots, playing aggressive defense and setting up his teammates in the open court. After Joseph was benched toward the end of the third, the action slowed down as the Spurs took a 79-57 lead into the final quarter. At one point, the Spurs led by 30 points in the quarter, their largest lead of the night.
Eddy Curry came in with nine minutes to play in the fourth quarter, and began poorly, but finished strong. Curry didn’t look comfortable at first. He was getting boxed out by smaller opponents; he couldn’t grab a rebound, committed early fouls, and committed some turnovers. But toward the end of the game, Curry began to assert himself offensively as he took his defender one-on-one several times to score seven points in nine minutes. One and-1 opportunity made Jackson jump out of his seat with excitement. Curry finished the game with aone handed dunk over his opponent after grabbing an offensive rebound.
De Colo dazzled the crowd in the fourth quarter as he zipped a pass behind his back to Derrick Brown in the open court. The Spurs finished the game shooting 51% on the night.
The Spurs will continue to work on improvements and defense as their preseason continues Wednesday when they host the Hawks.
- In the second quarter, the Spurs ran a small ball line-up with Parker at the point, Patty Mills at shooting guard position, Ginobili at the small forward spot, Leonard at power forward, and Powell at center. If you remember, in the Olympics Mills played shooting guard the majority of the time for Australia.
- Neal came into Saturday’s game with an 0-6 personal record against Sienna when he was bouncing around Europe before joining the Spurs. After the game, he said he was glad to make it 1-7 against the team.
- In the middle of his interview, Jackson promoted his new album that will be coming out later this month. After, he performed some free style rapping to the media after being asked if he could provide a sample.