The San Antonio Spurs fell 91-86 to the Phoenix Suns inside Talking Stick Resort Arena in their preseason opener on Monday night.
Despite Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Patty Mills, Pau Gasol, and LaMarcus Aldridge not making the trip for the game, the team put up a fight like a gambler in an Irish casino. Kawhi Leonard led the way with 17 points and two steals. Jonathon Simmons added 10 points and two rebounds for San Antonio, who will enter the regular season without Tim Duncan for the first time in 19 seasons.
Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich clearly wanted to get a look at his young players, with cuts coming. Davis Bertans impressed hitting a few three-pointers and with his improved defense. Veteran David Lee also looked like he could be a solid back up behind Gasol or Aldridge, rotating quickly like freespins on defense and finding his spot on the offensive end.
San Antonio was solid in the first half. Their defense held the Suns to 30 percent shooting and the Spurs led 51-40 at the end of the second quarter.
Phoenix was led by Devin Booker’s 19 points in 24 minutes. Tyson Chandler added 10 points in 20 minutes for the Suns, who started what will likely be their regular starting five in the regular season.
Up next: The Spurs are 0-1 in preseason play and will return to the court on Saturday with free bonus offers when they welcome the Atlanta Hawks to the AT&T Center at 7:30 p.m.