AT&T Center – It had been almost three months since the San Antonio Spurs played basketball on their home court at the AT&T Center. Then, it was Game 5 against the Miami Heat where the Spurs would win the game and go into Miami with a 3-2 series lead where they would eventually lose to the Heat in a classic seven games.
Sunday, gone were Gary Neal and DeJuan Blair, new to the court were Marco Belinelli, Jeff Ayres, and multiple training camp invites. After a free open scrimmage to the public, the Silver team consisting of notable Spurs players Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili (9 points) defeated the Black team 58-50. The Black team featured players such as Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Danny Green.
Though you can’t put too much stock into an open scrimmage against players from the same team, there were some notable standouts on Sunday.
1. Tim Duncan – “That guy’s got young legs man,” said Ayres after the game of Duncan’s endurance, “he’s out there moving looking great.” Duncan almost put together a double-double in just three quarters as he finished the game with 11 points and eight rebounds. At times on the floor, he looked like the leanest player outrunning his peers considering he’s 37 years old.
2. Kawhi Leonard – Aside from having Ginobili on his team, Leonard was the main player the Silver team ran their offense through on his way to 12 points and seven rebounds in 29 minutes. Leonard looked comfortable running the pick-and-roll from either his left or right side and either shooting a pull-up jumper or attacking the rim. Another interesting series of plays the Spurs ran for Leonard was putting him in the post similar to how to they do with Duncan and allowing him to post his defender, in Sunday’s case, Nando De Colo.
3. Corey Maggette – In 20 minutes, Corey Maggette was the standout over Sam Young as far as the 15th roster spot is concerned as he scored eight points. The area that made Maggette stand out was his ability to get to the free throw line as he scored shot 6-of-9 free throws. At times, it looked like he could get to the free throw line at will off the dribble or coming off a screen. On one play, he pivoted, and used his first step to get past Leonard and draw a foul. Leonard is considered to be San Antonio’s best perimeter defender.
4. Patty Mills – Over in the battle of the backup point guard duties, Patty Mills was the shining member between he, Cory Joseph, and De Colo. Mills was aggressive taking 10 jump shots where finished with 10 points and three assists in 24 minutes. His ability to knock down the outside shots was a big reason why the Silver were able to build a lead over the Black team.
5. Jeff Ayres – Veterans Tiago Splitter (10 points) and Boris Diaw (8 points) provided each of their squads with what they normally bring to the floor, but Ayres, a new player, was effective in his 26 minutes where he finished with six points and six rebounds. The most notable part of his game that he’ll bring to the offense will be his ability to knock down 10-15 foot jumpers.
The Spurs will play their first official preseason game on Wednesday as they host the Russian team CSKA Moscow on Wednesday at the AT&T Center.