DeRozan and Aldridge run the show
DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge were both aggressive from the get go, DeRozan in running pick and roll sets, Aldridge in getting to his sweet spots on the floor. The Timberwolves, however, made it a priority to keep Aldridge from getting the ball in his spots, double teaming him early and often. Although LaMarcus Aldridge had a tough time finding his jumper, he still found ways to be productive on offense putting up 21 points. The real story, however, is how he dominated the glass racking up 19 rebounds including eight offensive boards while playing great defense on Karl-Anthony Towns limiting him to just eight points.
In his debut with the Spurs, DeRozan racked up 28 points and if he wasn’t scoring he was collapsing the defense and kicking the ball out to wide open shooters.
The Spurs were missing someone like DeMar DeRozan all last season. Someone who can penetrate a defense at will and draw defenders away from their man on the perimeter.
Rudy Gay looks good, really good
Rudy Gay has finally had an offseason not occupied with recovering from injury and it’s allowed him to come into this season feeling 100% and so far, he sure has looked like it. Gay has been on a tear all preseason and it carried over to the regular season last night, he put up 18 points on 8-12 shooting in only 23 minutes.
So far Rudy Gay is looking like the Rudy Gay that could get buckets from anywhere on the floor and that is huge for the Spurs.
Defense at the point guard position is going to be a problem for now
The Spurs desperately missed Dejounte Murray and Derrick White on the defensive side of the floor last night. Both have good size for a point guard and play good defense, especially Murray who was 2nd team all-defense last season, and the Spurs sure could’ve used it against Jeff Teague who constantly out-muscled the smaller Bryn Forbes and Patty Mills and scored 27 points on just 12 shots.
Unfortunately, there are no real solutions for this except to wait for Derrick White and Lonnie Walker IV to return from injury since Forbes and Mills are the only two healthy guards on the roster not named DeRozan. In the meantime, however, the Spurs will have to get creative with their defensive game plan in order to help their point guards out.
LaMarcus Aldridge did not have his jumper and the Spurs still managed to hold onto a win against a talented team, that alone is a very good sign as the Spurs couldn’t buy a bucket last season if Aldridge was off with his jumper. Overall, this was a very encouraging performance against a team that will (barring a Jimmy Butler trade) likely be in playoff contention. One thing is for certain, with DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge at the helm, a healthy Rudy Gay, and a solid mixture of talented young guys and vets (especially Derrick White and Lonnie Walker IV when they return), the Spurs are going to be fun to watch this season.