A week into the 2017-2018 regular season, the Spurs sit well in the standings as one of only 6 teams that remain undefeated.
As impressive as that statistic may seem, the Spurs have only played twice. Still, the silver and black, without Kawhi Leonard, held their own in their opener against the up-and-coming Minnesota Timberwolves and the less established Chicago Bulls.
Spurs 107 – Timberwolves 99
The Spurs started their season in a much-anticipated matchup with the young and talented Timberwolves Wednesday night in San Antonio. Dejounte Murray (16 PTS) and Kyle Anderson (12 PTS) started for the injured Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard respectively. San Antonio couldn’t have asked for a better performance from its starters as all but Pau Gasol (7) scored in double digits.
The Spurs, who shot 46.1% from the field and 38.1% from beyond the arc, mostly controlled the game with a combination of fast-paced spurts and standout performances. A few players left their mark on the game including, LaMarcus Aldridge, Dejounte Murray, and Rudy Gay.
Aldridge, who just signed his contract extension with the Spurs through 2021, racked up a double-double with 25 points on 9-21 shooting and 10 rebounds which were equally split offensively and defensively. Its seems as though the veteran power forward, who played the five when necessary Wednesday, is rejuvenated by the extension.
Murray also came out strong with 16 points on 7-8 shooting with five rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Only starting his sophomore year, this young point guard is filling the shoes of veteran Tony Parker pretty well.
Gay, who made his Spurs debut, rallied for 14 points on 5-9 shooting off the bench. The veteran forward, who spent most of last season injured, came out strong and ready for action.
Spurs 87 – Bulls 77
The Spurs went up against a struggling Chicago Bulls team for their second game of the season. The Bulls, who are going through a bit of a rough patch, managed to stay close to the Spurs throughout the game. Despite the efforts from Chicago, the Spurs stayed on top to pull out their second straight win.
The Spurs shot 40.9% from the field but suffered terribly from 3-point range only making 1-of-12. Aside from Aldridge, the starters didn’t perform as well as they did in the opener. Along with Aldridge, Rudy Gay had another good performance to provide a spark off the Spurs’ bench.
Shooting 50% from the field, Aldridge finished with 28 points and 10 rebounds for his second consecutive double double. After his performance from beyond the arc against the Timberwolves, Aldridge attempted two threes against the Bulls but wasn’t able to knock them down. Even without the threes, Aldridge pushed the Spurs toward victory as only one of two players in double digits along with Rudy Gay.
The second top scorer in the game, Gay had 12 points on 6-for-13 shooting. Just like Aldridge, Gay attempted two shots from downtown but missed both. With 23 minutes he tied Manu Ginobili for the most minutes off the bench.
The Spurs will face four teams in the week ahead: the Toronto Raptors, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, and Indiana Pacers.