The San Antonio Spurs 2017 Rodeo Road Trip is officially over and they return home to the AT&T Center on Wednesday to host the Indiana Pacers.
The Spurs went 6-2 in their eight straight road games. And while the losses were disappointing, quality victories over the Pacers and LA Clippers are notable wins on their current four-game winning streak.
So before things tip off Wednesday and the Spurs begin their final stretch towards the playoffs, let's take a look at some of the best plays from this year's Rodeo Road Trip:
As you can see, probably the best thing about this year's Rodeo Road Trip was the development of Dewayne Dedmon into a playmaker. Dedmon's court awareness has increased significantly now that he's starting and his athleticism and reliable defense allows Gregg Popovich to hang with him for extended minutes even though he's a young guy and this is his first year with the team.
Look at the above play again. He's all the way under the basket upon the defensive rebound, but uses his speed to get ahead of his primary defenders and finds a lane for Manu Ginobili to feed him. When Dedmon is on the floor, every Spurs player is running after a rebound, which creates chaos and easy buckets on the other end.
And while Dedmon is starting, he can play with any combination of players on the floor. His reliability on defense to effectively switch on pick-and-rolls is what allows him to be on the floor at the same time as LaMarcus Aldridge when he starts or David Lee when second unit guys are on the floor.
But there's one play from the Rodeo Road Trip that still baffles me: Manu Ginobili's no-look pass to Kawhi Leonard against the Orlando Magic:
I've watched this play dozens of times and I still can't figure out how Ginobili knew Leonard was there aside from some kind of Jedi power.
Watch it again. On the replay from the camera sitting above the basket, Kawhi Leonard several feet and almost directly behind Manu. As Manu works his way to the other side of the floor for a pass from Patty Mills, Leonard starts catching up to the play, but Kawhi could only possibly on the extreme edge of Manu's peripheral vision.
Slowing it down, you can see that it's barely possible for him to make that play in slow-motion. But watching it at full game speed just has me throwing my hands up in the air and settling on the conclusion that Manu is magic.
Is this really his last year?