Here is what we know: DeMar DeRozan is good at scoring the basketball. The Spurs can score, but they cannot play defense — but neither can the rest of the league. It makes sense considering the Spurs are starting defense-unaware Bryn Forbes in place of the lengthy Dejounte Murray.
DeMar did not get the calls vs the Lakers down the stretch, but he passes better than Kawhi did — DD’s 14 assists were a career high and he should have plenty more opporunities for that kind of thing.
DeRozan got a rebound early and pushed the ball. Instead of pulling up for a top-of-the-key three, he passed to Bryn Forbes who did the same. Meanwhile, earlier in the night Kawhi went 4/7 from deep on the same shot against Charlotte.
He had a hard time at the rim, not getting the calls that one gets in the first quarter. His game is more finesse than power, and late in games the power stuff is more useful when the refs swallow their whistles. LeBron, all power, takes over when that kind of game is played. 1
The Spurs jumped out to a big lead on the strength of the shooting — everyone was on and DeMar was cooking. LaMarcus had an advantage and ate up the competition, getting Javale McGee fouled out and socring 37 and grabbing 13. He was the good LMA, bullying his way to buckets.
For all the trouble — and no-calls — DD faced, his scoring early, passing late, and ball-control were huge. He took the late ball-handling role of Tony, Manu, and Kawhi late. He got a couple of huge assists to Forbes and Rudy Gay that were instrumental in the win.
He doesn’t have a bully-ball game, and that is a good reason why playoff DD is not as good — they do not give him the same foul calls and he gets trapped the way he did tonight. If the Spurs staff can find shots for him that do not involve him attacking long-armed defenders at the rim, everything should be fine.
Kawhi Leonard does not look hurt while doing Klaw things up in Canada. It hurt Spurs fans to see a double-block from Danny Green and Kawhi the other day while the Raptors beat Toronto.
I think we — I know I did — forgot that the Raptors were a well-constructed team last season and the addition of a 3-and-D guy like Danny Green, with the game’s best two-way player in Kawhi, was going to be a plus.
The Lakers are 0-3 and their flaws are evident. It is a long season and I would not bet against LeBron.
The Rockets are struggling with the new Melo experiment, while young guns Denver and New Orleans look great running up and down the floor.
Utah, an early pick to finish 2nd in the West, is 1-2, and dropped an ugly game to the Grizz, who are forever grit and grind.
How Do We Feel?
We all wanted to see DeMar go for 30 a night and he’s at 29.3 so far. LaMarcus looked good. The Spurs are scoring and playing fun basketball. Everything feels much better and less dour and depressing compared to last year.
- This fact makes me confident he could play in the 90s, when it was rough. It is ridiculous to think otherwise. ↩