Scouting Report: San Antonio Spurs
The Hawks will play the Spurs Monday night as Atlanta head coach Mike Budenholzer makes his return to the arena where he coached under Gregg Popovich for 19 years. The Spurs have a 14-3 record and lead the West, though they’ve lost two of three.
Popovich has used his bench heavily so far this season, as only Tony Parker has played 30 or more minutes per game. San Antonio has always been a team that can plug guys into roles and succeed in that system, and they’re doing so to perfection early this season so far. Manu Ginobili is one of the most recognizable guys off the bench and is averaging 10 points per game and shooting 93 percent from the free throw line. Marco Belinelli, another guy off the bench, is averaging 10 points as well and is shooting a blistering 57 percent from three.
As a team, San Antonio is shooting 49 percent (third in the NBA) thanks to efficient offense and good shot selection. They aren’t shooting well from three, though that hasn’t impacted the wins and losses.
Defensively, they’re fundamentally sound, ranking third in the league with only 91 points allowed pr game. The Hawks are going to have to make shots to beat them, because San Antonio bates opponents into taking perimeter jump shots. Another thing the Hawks can do to help their cause is get out and run. Lately they’ve struggled to score points in the half court, but Jeff Teague and Shelvin Mack have been able to create in transition. If they force the Spurs into tough shots and rebound, they can look to run before San Antonio gets its half court defense set.
Coach Bud knows the Spurs, which should give Atlanta a bit of an edge. The Spurs are a tough team to beat, especially at home, but if anyone can, it’s the man who knows the system inside and out.
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