The San Antonio Spurs got big games from LaMarcus Aldridge and Patty Mills as the pair led the silver and black to a 100-95 road victory over the Brooklyn Nets (16-29) at the Barclays Center on Wednesday night.
The victory saw San Antonio rebound from a Monday afternoon to the league-worst Hawks. The win came on the same day that the Spurs announced Kawhi Leonard would be out of the lineup for awhile to rehab his injured quad.
Here is what went good and bad for the Spurs, as well as three standout players: Aldridge, Mills, and Pau Gasol.
- With the news of Kawhi Leonard being out for an extended period of time, Patty Mills had a career night and proved he’s worth his $50 million contract.
- LaMarcus Aldridge left his mark on the Barclays Center.
- San Antonio’s defense held Brooklyn below 100 points, making it the 27th time the Spurs held an opponent below the century mark this season.
- Pau Gasol turned back the clock.
- San Antonio started off slow, going down 11-4 early in the first quarter. After a quick timeout from Coach Pop, the Spurs ended the first quarter strong and led 31-26 after 12 minutes of play.
- The Spurs took a 17 point lead in the second half, but got too relaxed. Their relaxed play caused Brooklyn to make a run and cut the deficit down to just four points.
Three Standout Players:
LaMarcus Aldridge: With Leonard out an extended period of time, LaMarcus Aldridge will be the key focus on offense for the Spurs, and on defense from opponents. Aldridge delivered once again on Wednesday, but unlike past games – he had help.
Aldridge finished with 34 points on 13-of-24 shooting and eight rebounds. The All-Star forward easily got around Brooklyn defenders Tyler Zeller and Rondae Hollins-Jefferson. Aldridge also found Mills for two three-pointers in the second half and looked more in sync on the offensive end after an off game last week.
Patty Mills: The fan favorite guard has struggled to start off the month of January after having a solid shooting month in December. However, the past few games has seen Mills get back into form and with Leonard out, that is a welcome sight for Coach Pop.
Mills scored 25 points on 70 percent shooting and converted a career-high seven of eight three point attempts. As I wrote in an earlier feature, Mills will need to be one of three key Spurs players to step up his performance in the absence of Leonard.
If these past two games are any indication, Mills may be on the right path.
Pau Gasol: The veteran NBA center turned back the clock as he posted 13 points and 12 rebounds in the victory.
Gasol’s veteran experience will come in handy as the Silver and Black look to veteran leadership from Parker, Ginobili, Gasol, and Aldridge to help lead the Spurs’ young role players in the absence of their star.
San Antonio Spurs (30-16) at Toronto Raptors (30-13)
Air Canada Centre – Toronto, ON
Friday, January 19 – Tip-off: 6 p.m. CT