Saturday night’s road victory for the Spurs(5-4) was all about DeMar DeRozan. The 12-year veteran scored 13 of his game and season-high 38 points in the 4th quarter and overtime, and ultimately, the Spurs would defeat Minnesota(2-7) 125-122 in overtime. The Spurs play Minnesota again on Sunday night
“DeMar won the game for us,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said after the game. “He and Patty(Mills) playing out there with their pick-and-roll created a lot of opportunities. DeMar was the guy.”
Spurs’ Dejounte Murray, who scored 22 points against Minnesota, added this on DeRozan: “He’s a beast. That’s DeMar. Definitely, not the 82nd(ESPN’s list of best players in league) best player in the NBA. Damn sure, tell you that. That’s DeMar; we believe in him. We are really, really confident in him. We got the win; that’s all that matters.”
Late in games, DeRozan is one of the go-to guys for the Spurs, and according to him, it’s his job to make things happen for San Antonio down the stretch.
“It’s a mindset that I have, especially late in games when games are close,” he said. “I feel like It’s imperative; it’s my job to go out there and make something happen and pull out a win.”
Patty Mills, another 12-year veteran, who scored 21 points off the bench against Minnesota, added this about DeRozan: “He(DeRozan), obviously, loves the big moments, and loves to makes plays, loves to make big plays. He lives for those moments.’
San Antonio is 3-0 on their current five-game road trip, including wins over the Clippers and Lakers, and the veterans are leading the way. Patty Mills led the Spurs with 27 points in the team’s win over the Clippers, and LaMarcus Aldridge, a 15-year veteran, led the team with 28 points in San Antonio’s win over the Lakers, and of course, DeRozan’s big-time effort against Minnesota on Saturday night.
According to Mills, the Spurs’ leaders are showing the young guys what it takes to close out games.
“Not being rattled in those big moments. I think that’s huge,” Mills said. “In terms of leadership and actions. The conversations that we’re having on the side, making sure the young boys understand what we’re doing while we are doing it. Helping them here and there have been good. The actions that we’re showing on the court, knowing who the leaders are and how to go about certain situations, and that helps young guys learn on the fly as well.”
Getting Aldridge back, who missed the team’s winless three-game homestand, helps. Now, after nine games, the Spurs are over .500 and playing some terrific basketball, and the veterans are leading the way.