The depth of the San Antonio Spurs was never more evident. With Kawhi Leonard (knee) out for the next couple of weeks, Stephen Jackson (9 PTS, 9 REB) stepped in as the starting SF, and Manu Ginobili had his best game of the season, with 20 points in 23 minutes off the bench. I still haven’t figured out the C rotation, but Gregg Popovich wisely gave DeJuan Blair the start (19 PTS, 8 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 1 BLK in 22:38) against the bigger, slower Kosta Koufos. The Spurs led by 20 at halftime and increased it to a 32-point lead midway through the third, when Tim Duncan and Tony Parker (14 each) took the rest of the night off.
The Nuggets have lost three in a row and are 4-6 overall, not what we expected. Ty Lawson scored just 13 points in 35 minutes and had as many TO (5) as AST; Andre Iguodala scoted a mere 9 points in 28 minutes and any numbers the bench players put up are skewed by garbage time arriving so early.
Other November 17 Games
TOR @ BOS: It was like a bored cat toying with a mouse. Every time the Raptors got close, the Celtics swatted them away. Rajon Rondo took only four shots (making three) but dished out 20 assists, while Kevin Garnett (15 PTS) played just 17 minutes and wasn’t needed thereafter. Jason Terry found his stroke (20 PTS, 4-of-7 from deep) and the bench was very good. Toronto’s starters fell behind early and while the second unit did some nice work, they could never close the gap. Rookie Terrence Ross (10 PTS) got a career-high 24 minutes and fellow freshman Quincy Acy showed a lot of hustle and athleticism in a 12-minute stint.
UTA @ WAS: Lineups were both shaken and stirred, as Utah coach Ty Corbin started Derrick Favors at PF and Paul Millsap at SF, bumping the ineffective Marvin Williams to the bench.
With all that size up front, Corbin chose Randy Foye over Gordon Hayward at SG. The experiment lasted all of one half, in which they scored all of 38 points, then Hayward started the second half, sending Favors back to the bench. The Wizards also made changes; Jordan Crawford (20 PTS, 8 AST) took over from rookie Bradley Beal (6 PTS in 13:00) at SG, with Jan Vesely (5 PTS) replacing Trevor Booker (zero in 19 bench minutes) at PF. They remain winless, and although Nene has begun to appear at practice, they are just about hopeless.
DAL @ CLE: I guessed completely wrong on one important matchup. Chris Kaman (15 PTS, 8 REB, 6 BLK) hadn’t looked good the night before, so I loved Anderson Varejao, who proceeded to miss nine shots and scored four lousy points in 39 minutes. So much for my FanDuel lineups, which keyed on the Brazilian. Kyrie Irving led all scorers with 26 (but zero assists and zero rebounds), but the Cavs shot 37.5% and the Mavs 51.4%, and the Dallas bench did a lot more than Cleveland’s weak second unit.