(Photo Credit: Eric Gay, The Associated Press)
Season 51, Game 03
San Antonio 101, Toronto 97
Fresh off his double-digit rebound game in Chicago, the Spurs’ Dejounte Murray led San Antonio with 14 boards and added 16 points in a 101-97 victory over the Toronto Raptors to improve to 3-0 on Monday night. With the veteran starter Tony Parker sidelined by a leg injury, Murray has grabbed the starting job by the horns and doesn’t seem keen on letting it go.
He’s yet to crack 30 minutes in a game this season, but his PER 36 numbers have really impressed me already, particularly the rebounding. As a point guard he’s averaging 13.1 rebounds, 3.6 offensive rebounds, and 18 points. According to Basketball Reference, Murray has grabbed 10% of all available offensive rebounds while on the court – as a point guard. That seven-foot wing span is incredible. One nitpick: He hasn’t gotten to the line a ton, and Murray is only connecting on 75% of free throws when he does get to the line.
That said, Sweet Honey Dejounte is exactly what San Antonio needed to power through the opening stretch with true superstar Kawhi Leonard and Parker recovering from injury.
Murray, of course, isn’t alone in keeping San Antonio afloat. LaMarcus Aldridge has been a rock for the Spurs in the opening slate of games this season. He’s averaging a cool 24.3 points a game to go along with 9.3 boards and to everyone’s excitement, he’s playing some great defense and came away with a key block late in the game against Toronto.
Aldridge also showed some emotion last night, getting into a shoving match with Toronto’s Serge Ibaka with 3:36 left in the game. Both were assessed technical fouls, and shortly afterward Ibaka drew his sixth foul hitting Aldridge on a layup that gave San Antonio a 97-87 lead they would not relinquish.
- San Antonio is on pace to win 82 games this season, something no team has ever done in NBA history
- Murray gives great quotes, like this postgame gem: “I just do anything to win. If I don’t score a point, I’m going to go rebound. If I don’t rebound, I’m going to try facilitate or I’m going to try to play defense. That’s the thing that you’ve got to have.”
- The Spurs have now won nine home games in a row vs. the Raptors
- Danny Green led the team with five blocks, and finished second in points with 17
- Kyle Anderson isn’t totally shitting the bed in filling in for Leonard and I appreciate that, but obviously this team would be way more fun to watch if Kawhi was on the court every night
- Pau Gasol disappeared on offense, going 0-6 with one point in the win
Spurs head to Miami on Wednesday night. It’s not exactly the same Heat team from 2014, so they should be able to snag another W in South Beach.
Go Spurs Go.