Game number 18 found the Spurs squaring off with the Pelicans in a city where it seems like the silver and black always struggle. Despite firing out of the gates early (the Spurs jumped out to a 10 point lead after the first quarter), turnovers and cold shooting from the perimeter found the good guys in an 8 point hole at the half.
The second half wasn’t much better, as Spurs backcourt struggled mightily to score the ball. This proved problematic as the frontcourt of LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol played very well but could not stay on the floor due to foul trouble. That was a recipe for disaster as the game got ugly rather quickly in the second half. The offense looked lost and the defense didn’t seem to matter with the Pelicans hitting everything after the whistle to start the second half blew.
These games happen over the course of a season, however there’s never a way to feel good after seeing your team get abused on the hardwood. Here’s a few takeaways from a brutal night in the Big Easy.
- Dejounte Murray looked as timid as I’ve ever seen him in a Spurs jersey. The second year point guard is having a time adjusting from a scorer to a pass-first point guard. That is a tough transition for a young player, and indecisiveness has significantly hampered his productivity on the floor.
- Is there anybody out there that’s not on the post-extension LaMarcus Aldridge bandwagon anymore? The All-NBA power forward has played at a superstar level this season. His confidence when presented with an isolation post up has made him look like he is still wearing a Portland Trail Blazers jersey. Aldridge deserves lots of credit for his performance this season, and it should also be noted how versatile the Spurs have been when feeding him the ball. Whether it’s been in high-lows, or post ups from switches off of back screens and ball screens, there has not been any shortage of opportunities presented for the former Longhorn. If only he could've found a way to stay out of foul trouble Wednesday night (a trend that we’ll hopefully see an end to soon), the Spurs might have found a way to stop the bleeding as Anthony Davis blew the game open.
- After a hot start in the first quarter, Pau Gasol found himself battling foul trouble as well. In spite of his issues with the whistle, the two time champion was fantastic in the first half as he put on a clinic against the Pelican’s all-star frontcourt. For as much heat as PATFO got for his contract this summer, at the moment it looks like money well spent.
- To see this Spurs team get punched in the mouth without a response was disappointing. It’s times like these when it would be great for Rudy Gay to carry some of the burden offensively. Gay had some opportunities but just didn’t look very comfortable on the floor (until he feasted on the NOLA reserves during garbage time). Fortunately, I think he’s a guy whose game will significantly benefit from Tony Parker’s impending return to the lineup.
- Honestly, the rest of the team didn’t accomplish much. Kyle Anderson was productive in spurts, but if he is your number one option offensively, you know from the jump it could be a tough night. Couple that with the fact that Manu Ginobili did not log a single minute in the second half after a rough 12 minutes in the first, and that Patty Mills and Danny Green combined to go 1-12 from the field, and this game could have been even worse.