The Spurs rested LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Gay as the New Orleans Pelicans and top overall pick Zion Williamson came to town, and they actually held their own for the first half with a 66-56 lead thanks to a dominant 27-16 first quarter. However, the Pelicans dominated the third quarter 35-16 and won the game 123-114, pushing the preseason Spurs to a 0-3 record.
- Gregg Popovich was asked before the game if the starting line-up he has used when everyone is available (Dejounte Murray, Bryn Forbes, DeMar DeRozan, Aldridge, and Jakob Poeltl) will be the starting line-up on opening night, and he surprisingly gave an answer: he’s leaning towards it, but it’s not set in stone. It’s not a bad line-up from a defensive standpoint, but with both of the only true bigs on the roster starting (sans two-way player Drew Eubanks), it’s not hard to imagine Poeltl will typically be the first one to sub out and stagger minutes with Aldridge.
- Forbes remains the man of the preseason for the Spurs, scoring a team-high 18 points in 22 minutes on 7-13 from the field and 3-6 from three. With Pop all but guaranteeing he is starting shooting guard and Murray being back, it will he easier for him to hide his defensive shortcomings, enough so that what he brings to the offense will outweigh the other end. On a side note, when this is how your game starts, you’re destined for a good night.
- DeRozan had his best game of the preseason so far, scoring 16 points by doing what he does best: drive to the rim and get to the line (including on a three-point attempt!). He shot 4-6 from the field and 8-10 from the line.
- DeMarre Carroll was the player the Spurs are hoping he’ll be off the bench tonight, with 13 points on 3-4 from three and four rebounds. While he won’t shoot that well from three every night (because no one does), if he can remain a solid outside threat while bringing his typical toughness and defense to the second unit (or anywhere), Davis Bertans will be missed a little less. (But only a little because we’ll always love the Latvian Laser.)
- Through three preseason games, Murray and Derrick White still have yet to play together. Even if the plan is for White to be the Spurs’ sixth man, it’s likely nothing to worry about in terms of if they will ever see the floor at the same time. It’s important to remember that both are on their own version of load management with Murray coming back from injury and White coming off a busy offseason. Their time together will come.
- Williamson looked as good as advertised, bullying his way to a 22-point, 10-rebound double-double. There isn’t much else to take away in terms of how the Spurs will handle him in in the future considering his most likely defender (Aldridge) sat out this game, and unfortunately it will be quite a while before we find out more about the match-up considering the Spurs don’t play in NOLA until January and March, and both of the Pelicans’ visits to San Antonio are in April.
For the Pelicans fans’ perspective, please visit The Bird Writes.
The Spurs are now headed to Houston to take on the Rockets on Wednesday. Tip-off will be at 7:00 PM, and once again it appears it will not be televised, so enjoy stream hunting!