SAN ANTONIO – The Spurs' starting five of Tony Parker, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol got their first dress rehearsal Saturday night and played relatively well in the team's preseason home opener at the AT&T Center.
The Silver and Black beat the Atlanta Hawks 102-91 to even their preseason record at 1-1. They lost at Phoenix on Monday, but Leonard was the only starter who made the trip. Parker, Green, Aldridge, Gasol, Manu Ginobili and Patty Mills did not travel.
Parker led the team in scoring with 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting Saturday night, and showed he still can drive to the basket and finish. Aldridge and Leonard chipped in 14 points apiece and reliable backup Ginobili finished with 11.
The big surprise of the night was 6-foot-10 Latvian forward Davis Bertrans, who nailed 4 of 5 shots, 2 of 3 from beyond the arc, and contributed 10 points. He also had three rebounds.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was not on the bench for the game, instead watching the action with assistant coach Ettore Messina and general manager R.C. Buford from Buford's box.
"Well, you don't coach, you can evaluate," Popovich said, when asked about the difference in watching the game from the stands and not the bench. "That's the reason why Ettore and I were up there.
"We were looking at different players. We have to make decisions on gulys. We are not thinking about O's and X's too much. Just trying to evaluate people."
Popovich was asked what he thought about Bertrans.
"His shots went in, and that's always a good thing," he said.
Gasol, the Spurs' big free-agent acquisition this summer, made 1 of 4 and finished with five points in 23 minutes. He also had two rebounds and three assists.
Gasol was asked if he would like to get considerable time in games with his new teammates.
"Yeah, I think to a certain extent it is important," he said. "Obviously, you don't want to overdo it, but it is important to spend some time out there on the floor because I think that that's going to help me and us as a team, and in the regular season."
Ginobili expressed confidence that Gasol will have no problem adapting to his new teammates.
"He was a little hesitant, still trying to figure it out," Ginobili said, when he was asked about how he thought Gasol played. "A couple of plays that he usually makes, he slipped, but it's completely normal. First game and he's trying very hard to fit, to be productive, and it's going to take time.
"It takes time for everybody, so we completely understand and I think he does, too. He's an expert. He's been around."
Final: Spurs 102, Hawks 91
Fourth quarter (4:31): Spurs 97, Hawks 84. David Bertrans just hit another another 3-pointer. He has eight points. Dejounte Murray, drafted by the Spurs this summer, entered the game in the fourth quarter and he's still on the floor.
Fourth quarter (5:48): Spurs 90, Hawks 84. David Bertrans scored another basket on a double-clutch drive. He has a nice touch.
Fourth quarter (8:33): Spurs 84, Hawks 80. Rookie David Bertrans nails a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to put the Silver and Black up by four. Earlier in the fourth quarter, Jonathon Simmons had a monster tomahawk dunk that brought a roar from the crowd.
End of third quarter: Spurs 78, Hawks 68. Tony Parker leads Spurs in scoring with 15 points, followed by LaMarcus Aldridge (14) and Kawhi Leonard (14) and Manu Ginobili (11). Aldridge and David Lee are the top rebounders with six and five, respectively.
Third quarter (2:18): Spurs 74, Hawks 64. Spurs first-teams started the third quarter, but are now on the bench and probably won't return for the remainder of the game. Backups getting a lot of work.
Third quarter (5:55): Spurs 65, Hawks 51. Tony Parker hits a jumper to put the Silver and Black up by 14. Timeout Atlanta.
Halftime: Spurs 52, Hawks 45
Leading Hawks scorers in first half: Malcolm Delaney (11), Kris Humphries (9)
Leading Hawks rebounder in first half: Thabo Sefolosha (4)
Leading Spurs rebounder in first half: David Lee (5)
Leading Spurs scorers in first half: LaMarcus Aldridge (12) Kawhi Leonard (12)
Second quarter (7:26): Spurs 36, Hawks 28. Timeout. Tony Parker just scored on a twisting layup. Before that, Pau Gasol had a nice pass to LaMarcus Aldridge under the basket.
End of first quarter: Spurs 26, Hawks 21. Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with eight points. LaMarcus Aldridge added six points.
First quarter (2:24): Spurs 21, Hawks 16. Second unit is in the game for the Silver and Black. That includes Dewayne Dedmon and David Lee.
The Spurs are playing the Atlanta Hawks in their preseason home opener Saturday night at the AT&T Center. Coach Gregg Popovich started Tony Parker, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol.
SAN ANTONIO – Fans at the AT&T Center will get their first opportunity to see the post-Tim Duncan Spurs in action Saturday night when they play the Atlanta Hawks in their second preseason game.
Tipoff is at 7:30.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is expected to play all his veterans – at least for a few minutes – against a team coached by former San Antonio assistant Mike Budenholzer.
The Silver and Black lost at Phoenix 91-86 in their preseason opener Monday night. LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, Patty Mills and Tony Parker did not make the trip, leaving Kawhi Leonard as the only projected regular season starter who played in the game.
Duncan retired in July after playing his entire 19-season career with the Spurs. He and coach Gregg Popovich are the constants on all five of the franchise’s championship teams.
The Silver and Black signed Gasol as a free agent in July. A 15-year NBA veteran, Gasol won two NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers and has been named to the All-NBA team four times. A six-time All-Star, Gasol averaged 16.5 points, 11 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2 blocks with the Chicago Bulls last season.
Gasol will team with Aldridge, last year’s big free-agent acquisition, to give San Antonio one of the best frontcourt tandems in the league.
The Spurs continue their preseason schedule at Detroit on Monday night. They open the regular season against two-time defending Western Conference champion Golden State on Tuesday, Oct. 25 in Oakland, Calif. San Antonio plays New Orleans in its home opener on Saturday, Oct. 29.
The Silver and Black finished a franchise-best 67-15 last season and lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference semifinals.
(© 2016 KENS)