Ah, the joys of preseason NBA basketball. Aron Baynes making a clutch, game-saving basket and Kyle Korver scoring 26 points have a way of telling you exactly what part of the season it is.
In the San Antonio Spurs’ first game against recently-departed top assistant turned Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer, the Spurs managed to get the 106-104 win on a Baynes floater with three seconds left on the clock in regulation.
Korver, who had been hot all night, missed a corner three that was taken after the clock expired.
Tony Parker and Tim Duncan looked to be in regular season form. Parker finished with 17 points, five assists and four rebounds while Duncan added 16 points and eight rebounds.
The Spurs had a 15-point lead entering the fourth quarter after piling up 38 points in the third. It looked like both teams would empty their benches for most of the fourth, but Budenholzer sent out his starters in hopes of stealing a win at home.
With backup guards Cory Joseph and Patty Mills spending a majority of the night on the bench, Nando De Colo was on the floor for 18 minutes and part of a matchup Spurs coach Gregg Popovich went to in the second in third quarter consisting of De Colo, Manu Ginobili, Marco Belinelli, Jeff Ayres and Boris Diaw.
Ginobili and Belinelli playing together seems to be a common trend that we’ll likely see during the season. Ayres should also continue to see time on the court along with both players. The pairing seemed to work as Ginobili and Belinelli were both aggressive when the bulk of the offense was on their shoulders.
While De Colo played point guard in that lineup, Ginobili was clearly the distributor. He finished with 11 points and four assists while Belinelli racked up 13 points and four rebounds.
De Colo continues to struggle. He went 0-5 from the field and added two rebounds and one assist.
All five Hawks starters scored in double figures, lead by Korver, and they also got 11 points apiece off the bench from Mike Scott and Jared Cunningham. The Spurs’ other double-digit scorers were Patty Mills, who had 11 points in 10 minutes, and Baynes, who had a strong 11 point, seven rebound game in just 16 minutes.
The Spurs’ next preseason game will be on Saturday in Miami against the Heat. It’ll be the first time the Spurs play in American Airlines Arena since Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals. It’s safe to say they’ll be happy to make new memories there as opposed to the ones that have haunted them all summer.