SAN ANTONIO – With LaMarcus Aldridge watching from the bench, Kawhi Leonard and newcomer Davis Bertans put on quite a show in leading the Silver team to a 70-68 victory over the Black in the Spurs’ scrimmage Tuesday night at the AT&T Center.
A crowd of 12,000 watched Leonard and Bertans hit a combined 8 of 13 shots from beyond the arc and finish with 20 and 18 points, respectively.
Looking for the long ball from the get-go, Bertans went 6 of 13 from the field, with all of his baskets coming in 11 attempts from the 3-point line. Bertans added three rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block.
“I won’t have to tell him to shoot when he’s open, which is great,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich joked. “He gets it off pretty quickly, too. At 6-10, that’s a good thing.”
Aldridge, whose name was in the news Tuesday when reports surfaced that the Spurs would be open to trading him this season, suited up and took some shots during warmups. But when the teams went on the court for the tipoff, Aldridge remained on the bench with the Black team.
Popovich was asked after the game if Aldridge was injured.
“No, he’s just going slow,” he said. “He was out at UT getting loved and everything the other night, so he’s just going slow.”
Popovich was referring to Friday night, when Aldridge was excused from the Spurs’ preseason game against Miami so he could attend his induction into the University of Texas Men’s Athletic Hall of Honor. The Spurs returned to practice Monday after having Saturday and Sunday off.
San Antonio hosts Houston in its preseason finale Friday night, and opens the regular season against two-time defending Western Conference champion Golden State next Tuesday in Oakland, Calif.
Bertans was selected by Indiana in the second round of the 2011 NBA draft with the 42nd overall pick, but was acquired by the Spurs from the Pacers in a draft-night deal that also brought Kawhi Leonard to San Antonio for George Hill.
Bertans, who has played in Europe the past two seasons, has battled back from two ACL injuries to pursue his dream of playing in the NBA.
Asked if he has to control the urge to attack the basket, as he did when he played overseas, Bertans chuckled and said, “Actually, I want to shoot every time. That’s the truth.”
Leonard made 8 of 13 shots, 2 of 2 from the 3-point line, and also had five rebounds, four assists and one steal. Center Dewayne Dedmon, who signed with the Spurs as a free agent this summer after playing in Orlando last season, finished with 10 points and eight rebounds for the Silver team.
Kyle Anderson (14), Pau Gasol (12) and Patricio Garino (11) led the Black squad’s scoring. Anderson also finished with a game-high five assists. Gasol, another free agent who was signed this summer, hit 6 of 11 shots and had a game-high 10 rebounds.
The Silver team started Leonard, Bertans, Dedmond, Manu Ginobili and Patty Mills, while the Black went with Anderson, Gasol, Danny Green, David Lee and Tony Parker.
Jonathon Simmons also missed Tuesday night’s scrimmage, but Popovich was at a loss when he was asked about the nature of Simmons’ injury.
“He has a . . . he’s got something,” Popovich said.
Told by a reporter that “we’ve all got something,” Popovich laughed and said, “Not as much as I have.”
Green started the game, but went to the bench with an injury.
“He kind of banged his hip, but he’s fine,” Popovich said.
No admission was charged for the game, which was played with a running clock.
“It was amazing,” Bertans said, when asked about the big crowd. “I couldn’t believe it when I walked in before the game. It was wild. In other cities during the season, it’s not that wild and crowded.”
(© 2017 KENS)