Let’s start at the end and go backwards.
135-133. Spurs win. The Spurs pulled off a double-overtime victory over the Houston Rockets to comeback from a twenty-two point deficit in the second half.
Head coach Gregg Popovich started both overtime periods with DeMar DeRozan, Patty Mills, Bryn Forbes, Jakob Poeltl . . . and Lonnie Walker IV. After two games showcasing Walker IV’s explosive energy, the pride of Reading, PA saw significant time on the court, played a major role in the victory, and was trusted to cover one of the toughest players in the league - James Harden.
The overtime line-up makes one thing clear- Pop is capable of trusting his young talent to close out games.
We must realize, just a few weeks have passed since the jersey ceremony in which San Antonio finally laid to rest the Big 3 era. There was a passing of the torch, and Spurs’ youth movement cracks a ray of sunshine on the future of the Silver & Black.
Bryn Forbes hit five-of-six threes fouling out with twenty-five points. Jakob Poeltl blocked a career-high five shots with five assists and fifteen rebounds. Lonnie Walker IV scored nineteen points in the fourth quarter, including the long-distance three that sent the game into overtime.
Other than DeMar DeRozan, the elders saw much less action. LaMarcus was out due to a sore hip, Marco Belinelli saw no action, DeMarre Carroll played eight minutes. Even Rudy Gay sat out the overtime and played significantly less than his younger teammates.
For weeks, some fans have been toeing the line of “In Pop We Trust,” repeating the errors of seasons past when pundits damned the Spurs and declared that the season had finally come when the wheels would come off.
The rest of us have been waiting for that moment when the clouds part and the path becomes clear. Tonight surely felt like that. Only time will tell, but even Pop said, “We just got to play like this consistently, and we haven’t really done that, so hopefully we are starting to figure that out.”
Maybe the headline is debatable and there’s a Spurs game from the past that was better than this. But I say the Spurs have never in the Pop’s tenure been as low as they’ve been this season, so Tuesday’s win feels like bigger turnaround than any win that’s come before.
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