For the fifth time in 2019, 48 minutes weren’t enough for the San Antonio Spurs to get a decision as the Golden State Warriors led throughout and forced overtime with some tough, hard-nosed (and lucky) play. But Dejounte Murray came up huge and the Spurs closed the door on the visitors in a high-scoring extra period, 117-113.
The Dubs were led by Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III with 28 and 25 points respectively, and San Antonio rode DeMar DeRozan (24-5-4-3 on 18 shots), Patty Mills (18-4-4-1) and LaMarcus Aldridge (17-12-4) to a win on New Year’s Eve to solidify their hold on the Western Conference’s 8th playoff spot.
- Murray was aggressive early, and in the first quarter I typed, “his elbow jumper is approaching automatic” and one of his big plays in OT was a much needed basket he canned from the right elbow after dancing away from his defender — not too dissimilar from the way Tony Parker used to it. Now, Parker loved to pull up after making a lightning fast move to his left, but DJ seems to be content to make a series of moves before going whichever direction his man leans away from. Regardless, it’s great to see the team’s starting PG comfortably draining jumpers in clutch situations — especially after coming to the league with such a suspect shooting motion. (Thanks again, Chip Engelland.)
Now, it wasn’t all good stuff from Dejounte; he’s still fouling too often when he’s challenging jump shots, and his finishing at the rim remains suspect. But Tuesday night was far more good than bad.
- It sure is weird to see Golden State play in unis that have no yellow on them whatsoever. Aside from a bit of blue trim, their “Town” jerseys are nothing from black, white and gray — which provided a look that was quite close to an intra-squad scrimmage.
- All of the Spurs first 16 points of the game came from the paint, before Rudy Gay, Derrick White and Lonnie Walker IV combined to hit 3 three-pointers over the final 94 seconds of the first quarter, which helped them from going into the second quarter down double-digits to the worst team in the West.
- Walker entered the game with a couple of minutes left in the first quarter, which is early for Pop to call on him, and quickly made a couple of plays no one else on the team makes. As the team played zone, he closed on Jacob Evans III shooting a corner three and blocked it when it looked like he had no chance to even challenge when Evans began his shot. Then he had the ball on the left wing and faked right before driving left and elevating for one of his spectacular layups. He moves so quickly and jumps so high that he can leave the floor a good deal farther from the hoop than is normal for a guy who’s not shooting a floater. He had another drive of the same type in the second half from the right baseline that ended with a pretty little finger roll. (FYI: I am pretty partial to a nice finger roll.)
- Jakob Poeltl’s box score (4 points on 3 shots with 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 block in 15 minutes) doesn’t come close to describing how much of an impact he had on the game. I mentioned it on Superfluous Poppycock earlier this month, but his effect on defense is often comparable to Rudy Gobert’s. He changes the way the opposition’s offense runs, and it’s so much fun to watch. One thing I’d like to see more often is Mills and JP in the pick-and-roll with Patty looking to set him up. They had one nice little action that resulted in a Poeltl Jam in the first quarter, and they never went back to it again.