The San Antonio Spurs rang in the New Year with a 100-91 win over the New York Knicks (18-19) at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.
The victory was the first of a two game road trip for the Silver and Black, who lost to the Detroit Pistons on December 30. Tuesday’s game showed yet again that LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard can co-exist together as the pair combined for 54 points.
Here is what went good and bad for the Spurs, as well as three standout players: Leonard, Aldridge, and Manu Ginobili.
- The Spurs started off 2018 with a win, it is always a good thing to open a new year on a positive note.
- Also on a positive note, Kawhi Leonard looked the best he has so far on the defensive end of the court. More on that in a moment.
- Manu Ginobili worked his magic.
- San Antonio’s defense caused issues for Knicks big man Kristpas Porzingis, who finished with just 13 points.
- Danny Green went scoreless on his only shot attempt in 14 minutes of action. We’re not sure if its the back-to-back or possibly he re-aggravated his groin, but he was held out in the second half.
Three Standout Players:
LaMarcus Aldridge: For all those wondering if LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard can co-exist together, the pair shut up critics for another night. Aldridge continued where he left off last week at home against the Knicks as he easily got to the rim around New York’s Porzingis and Chris Quinn.
Aldridge finished with 29 points on 10-of-23 shooting to go along with six rebounds. Once again, fans got to see the chemistry between Aldridge and Leonard build as LMA found Kawhi for an open three and had a nice pick-and-roll game going with him.
Kawhi Leonard: Despite having a poor shooting night, Kawhi Leonard easily had his best game of the season since returning from injury. He finished with a season-high 25 points and eight rebounds. He struggled shooting as he went 8-for-20 from the field and 3-for-8 from three-point range.
Together, Leonard and Aldridge shut down the talk of egos and unhappiness as Kawhi and LaMarcus found each other on the court early and often. Both of them looked to be in sync and as the season continues I expect the two to tighten up their chemistry. What’s more telling is Leonard had a solid game on the defensive end, including his signature steal for a breakaway dunk.
If Leonard and Aldridge can continue to be a solid force together and Kawhi fully gets into game shape, the Spurs could challenge the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets for a top two seed.
Manu Ginobili: The Spurs fan favorite once again used his magic…literally. Ginobili finished with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting, but the most amazing thing came on what was intended to be a pass to LaMarcus Aldridge turned into a three-point basket.
Despite being 40 years old, Ginobili’s love for the game and his heart are still young. He may be the biggest spark on a deep Spurs bench and there is no doubt that will come in handy come playoff time.
The Spurs are now 26-12 on the season and will return to the court tomorrow night when they wrap up their three-game trip against Philadelphia 76ers at 6 p.m.