Marco Belinelli filled in as a starter on Tuesday with Kawhi Leonard (eye infection) unavailable, finishing with 15 points, three 3-pointers, two rebounds, three assists and one steal.
The Scoop:Leonard is likely to miss one more game, giving Belinelli another start, but he's anticipating a return vs. the Hawks next Wednesday. Consider plucking Belinelli off the waiver wire if you need a short-term boost at SG, particularly for points and 3-pointers.
James Harden scored 25 points, and the Houston Rockets used a big run before halftime to beat the San Antonio Spurs 96-87 in a preseason game on Friday night. Isaiah Canaan added 18 points for the Rockets, who shot 42 percent from the floor, including 15 of 35 from behind the arc. Terrence Jones had 11 points and 12 rebounds, and Trevor Ariza added 11 points and nine boards. Marco Belinelli led the Spurs with 19 points, and Danny Green scored 14.
At 38 years old, San Antonio Spurs star Tim Duncan remains an extremely effective big man, likely one of the greatest players in the history of the NBA at this relatively advanced age. Nevertheless, we seem to have a pretty clear picture of what skills allow Duncan to succeed at this point in his career — a peerless grasp of fundamentals, knowledge of how to use space effectively, and all sorts of other qualities that emanate more from intelligence and experience than any physical dominance.
Early in Sunday night's Game 2 of the NBA Finals vs. the Miami Heat, Duncan reminded everyone watching that his athleticism is still pretty darn impressive. With a little more than 7:00 remaining in the first quarter, Marco Belinelli missed a short shot after sliding through some defenders. Duncan was there to clean up the miss with a very impressive follow dunk:
If this highlight isn't enough, please note that it made Duncan 13-of-15 from the field to start the series. These emphatic finishes might not be commonplace for Duncan these days — if they ever were — but it indicates just how great he can be in his 17th season.
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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter!