AT&T CENTER – The San Antonio Spurs evened their preseason record Friday evening with a 113-93 victory over the Sacramento Kings. Both teams had numerous players out, as the Spurs were without Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili, while the Kings played minus George Hill, Zach Randolph, Harry Giles, Kosta Koufos, Garrett Temple and Vince Carter.
Led by the duo of Danny Green (20 points) and Patty Mills (15 points), the Spurs came back from a 12-point deficit to win the game by a comfortable margin of 20 points.
Here were four standout players from the Spurs’ win as well as a few observations.
Joffrey Lauvergne – Coming off the bench as the backup center, Lauvergne once again had another stellar performance on both sides of the floor for San Antonio. He finished with seven points, 10 rebounds, and four assists in just 17 minutes. Lauvergne once again was patient in the post finding cutters toward the rim. On offense, he used his crafty footwork in the low block to get defenders off their feet and finish with vintage jump hooks. A stat line close to 5-5-5 looks very similar to that of former Spur Boris Diaw, who Laurvergne has already drawn comparisons to. Spurs assistant Coach Ime Udoka said after the game Lauvergne does have some Diaw in his game and Lauvernge himself said he’s learned a lot from Diaw over the years and put it into his game, since the both have played on the French National team for many years.
“I spent five summers with Boris (Diaw),” said Lauvergne. “We play the same position and I first started with the national team when I was 20, so I learned a lot from him for sure and when I was growing up he was one of my favorite basketball players.”
As written earlier this summer, you can see flashes of Diaw’s game in Lauvergne’s play all over the floor.
Patty Mills – In 21 minutes, Mills was also a steady punch off the bench for San Antonio, as he finished with 15 points, six rebounds, and four assists. Whether it was spreading the floor and knocking down open 3-pointers, running a pick and roll and hitting a three when the defender went under a screen, or attacking the basket and passing to a cutter at the last minute, Mills played a balanced game for San Antonio.
Danny Green – Green was more active off the ball, as his teammates found him cutting for layups and he had good chemistry with LaMarcus Aldridge in coming off screens, as both Aldridge and Green’s other teammates found him for his 4-of-7 three pointers in the game. Green finished as the team’s leading scorer with 20 points and three rebounds. It’s early in the preseason, but Green already seems to be in a rhythm at the AT&T Center, after he was drilling threes in the Spurs’ open scrimmage just a week ago.
Pau Gasol – In 21 minutes, Gasol also brought a balanced game to the starting unit with seven points, seven rebounds and five assists. Gasol initiated a lot of the Spurs’ early offense from the elbow through the use of the dribble hand off action, while he also used a 1/5 Pick and Pop to get a wide open three pointer. Gasol and Aldridge tried to convert the high low sequence a few times in the game, and they finally did on one attempt that got Aldridge the easy two points.
- Rudy Gay made his return to the court and though his numbers aren’t eye popping with four points and three rebounds, he did show flashes of his former self on a possession when he beat his defender off the dribble at the baseline and drove in for a two-handed dunk. After the game, Gay said he was glad he could convert that play because that rip through move was originally how he got hurt back in January and ruptured his Achilles.
- Gay also showed he’ll be a playmaker for San Antonio as he ran a successful 3/5 pick and roll with Gasol and a few other pick and rolls when the offense stalled.
- Though Dejounte Murray racked up five fouls, he did have three blocks in the game. On one attempt, De’Aaron Fox tried to shoot a pull-up jumper over him, Murray blocked the shot, Fox got it back and attacked the rim, but Murray used his length to contest the shot.
- Derrick White came off the bench with nine points and two blocks. On one particular block, Buddy Hield was headed down the court for a layup attempt and White chased Hield, timed his jump perfectly and completed the back-board block on Hield. Those types of defensive plays can eventually lead to White getting more minutes on the floor.
- Brandon Paul finished with nine points and four rebounds. After the game, Udoka had an interesting quote when asked about the comparison between Paul and former Spur Jonathon Simmons. “He’s a good overall player,” said Udoka. “Probably a little further ahead of Jonathon (Simmons) defensively, and Jonathon might have been ahead of him offensively. He does a lot of different things. We have a few different young wings and they do different things. Brandon (Paul) is a guy you can play at the one through the four (position), guard a lot of positions, bring physicality. He’s another young energetic wing. We’re looking for some of the same things that Jonathon brought last year.”
- Kyle Anderson suffered an ankle injury in practice recently Udoka said which was why he didn’t play in the game. Udoka said the injury isn’t too serious.
Up Next: Denver Nuggets
The Spurs will have Saturday off and then they’ll resume their preseason schedule with a 3:00 PM CST tip-off Sunday against the Denver Nuggets in the AT&T Center. Manu Ginobili is expected to play in the game.