There was practically nothing fun about the Spurs blowout loss to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday. It was a loss with seeding implications on the line, nothing more to be said, right? Not so fast. If you decided to be a trooper and suffer through garbage time, your dedication was rewarded: you got a to see Lonnie Walker IV play his first extended minutes for San Antonio.
He did not disappoint, posting 16 points (tying LaMarcus Aldridge for the game-high) in 16 minutes on 6-11 from the field, including 3-5 from three. And if you need a reminder, it wasn’t all against fellow third-stringers. Mike Malone kept several of his starters, including Nikola Jokic, in until about the 6-minute mark of the fourth quarter.
The coast-to-coast lay-up with the third-quarter winding down was a nice display of the speed and maneuverability he possesses. The nifty lay-up was a thing of beauty, and most importantly he showed no hesitance in pulling up from three: something that was considered the biggest weakness in his offensive game coming out of college.
However, the best moment was one of the few times he didn’t score: on a long, high-flying dunk attempt that came up short but drew a foul. That was an eye-opener, a reminder to everyone claiming the Spurs need to get more athletic that they are in fact working on it, and a comical moment thanks to the reaction from the Nuggets’ bench. If only it had gone in...
Walker may get a chance for even more meaningful playing time tonight against the Wizards due to Marco Belinelli being ruled out with a sore hip. The Spurs have a lot on the line with each of their remaining three games, so would you trust giving Beli’s minutes to Walker? Is he ready to take on big responsibilities in a big game in non-garbage time? Maybe this will be a chance to find out.