In the final game of their three-game road trip, the Spurs had an up-and-down night against a Charlotte Hornets team that is still fighting for their playoff lives. The streaky game saw both teams come back from multiple deficits, and it ultimately came down to who went on the final run. In this case it was the Hornets, who outscored the Spurs 19-10 in overtime for the 125-116 win and sweep of the season series.
DeMar DeRozan had 30 points and 8 rebounds for the Spurs, and it was one of those rare nights where the Spurs lost despite getting 20 points from LaMarcus Aldridge. Kemba Walker led the Hornets with 38 points (most of which came in the second half and overtime), and Dwayne Bacon scored a career-high 24 points.
- I was going to ask which scenario is weirder: seeing Tony Parker in the opponent’s uniform at the AT&T Center, or seeing him in the home uniform on another team’s court — but the chance to find out never came as Parker, despite being listed as active, was not even on the Hornets bench. I guess for now, the answer is the former.
- Speaking of uniforms, what is with the Hornets only having stripes on one side? It kinda bugged the OCD in me that prefers things to be symmetrical.
- Bryn Forbes scored the Spurs’ first 8 points and only three field goals in the first 7+ minutes of the game until back-to-back Marco Belinelli threes. In an odd first quarter stat, the Spurs went 5-9 from three but only 3-16 from two to go along with an apathetic defensive effort. It felt somewhat fortunate that they were only down 23-29.
- The bench got the offense going in the second quarter with some Beautiful Basketball that could be worthy of its own highlight reel. As an example of the kind of passing grove they were in, at one point Derrick White was looking to set up Aldridge in the post (who, it must be added, was defended well for most of the night), but he told him to keep moving the ball.
- White is only the second Spurs guard in the last 25 years to have 60+ steals and 40+ blocks in a single season. Danny Green did it six times. Anyone else seeing a recurring theme here? He had 2 blocks and 2 steals tonight but shot 0-10 from the field.
- Of course, once White sat, Walker — also known as Mr. Fourth Quarter — led the Hornets on a 16-2 run in the third to help them regain the lead. The Spurs were so sloppy with the ball during that stretch that it was somewhat surprising Pop never called a timeout. The Hornets ended the third quarter up 2 after the Spurs had led by as many as 10.
- The Spurs have really struggled against zone defenses lately, likely in part because the defense is typically stationed in their preferred spots in the mid-range. They’ll need figure it out because odds are they’ll see plenty of it in the playoffs via scouting reports.
- In a costly little five-point swing early in the fourth, an Aldridge basket was erased by a phantom offensive foul on Patty Mills away from the the play, and on the other end Mills got clobbered by a Willy Hernangomez moving screen (no call), and Frank Kaminsky hit a three to give them a six-point lead.
- After a slow start, DeRozan scored 12 points in fourth quarter to lead the Spurs back from 8 down and take it to overtime. Unfortunately, Charlotte’s Mr. Fourth Quarter was alive and well in OT while the Spurs completely fell apart, and that was the end of their perfect record in OT this season.
For the Hornets fans’ perspective, visit At the Hive.
The Spurs are headed back home for Manu Ginobili’s Jersey Retirement ceremony on Thursday, although sources are telling me there’s also a game before that against the Cleveland Cavilers at 7:30 PM CT.