Season 51, Game 52
San Antonio 113, Sacramento 98
33-19, 3rd in the West
Pop had seen enough.
After a lackluster first half against the NBA’s worst team (by the advanced numbers) that saw them trailing by one point, Pop pulled 3 of his usual starters and inserted a few young reserves to begin the 3rd quarter.
The move worked, as the young Spurs helped the team decisively win the second half and finish off a 15-point win.
Bryn Forbes was clearly the player of the game. Proving himself to be much more than just a shooter, Forbes is developing into a reliable NBA scorer. There’s a world of difference between a shooter and a scorer, and Forbes growing into the latter could be huge for the Spurs in the near-term and long-term.
His stroke is pure from deep. But he’s already developed counter moves when he is run off the line, slowly mastering the two dribbles and pull up and also the midrange floater from the paint. He has a knack for finding his shot, and his confidence is growing by the game. He’s also a tenacious and willing defender, if not quite a great one yet. Still, he stays within the scheme and works the proper rotations.
DeJounte Murray continues to shine as the starter. He is relentless attacking the rim. When he learns to actually finish at the rim, his offensive game will be deadly. For now, his penetration helps to break down defenses, and he’s slowly learning the offense and learning how and when to make the proper passes. Much like a young Kawhi Leonard, you can almost see him learning game to game.
What makes Murray special is the non-traditional skills. With apologies to Russell Westbrook, he might already be the best rebounding PG in the league. He has a nose for the ball on both ends of the court, and he doesn’t pad his stats. He just goes and gets the ball. And he’s already a great individual defender, still learning the system.
When the game was still close (enough) late in the 4th quarter, Murray was the player who seemed determined to finish the Kings off. We like that killer instinct.
He still has a long way to go, but it seems as if Pop made the right move elevating him to the starting position.
Tony Parker is also excelling coming off the bench. He looks solid, and playing against second units will help him contribute to the team and extend his career. He’s not quite good enough to be a starting PG, but he’s overqualified to be the back-up. Moving him to the second unit gives the team an advantage in those bench minutes, and also gives us confidence that he can step in if Murray is having an off game.
It’s only the Kings, but every win counts as the team fights to maintain their position in the West.
The Denver Nuggets come to town Tuesday night.
Go Spurs Go.