The age-old adage “Look good. Feel good. Play good,” rang true for the Spurs on Tuesday night as they debuted their long-awaited Fiesta City Edition jerseys and cruised to a 131-119 victory over the Grizzlies in their 2020-2021 regular-season debut.
Not only did San Antonio score the second-most points in a season opener in franchise history, but they did so behind a dazzling all-around team effort that saw each starter tally at least 16 points while shooting 50% or better from the field.
It was a profoundly promising performance accentuated by the young core and seasoned vets seamlessly meshing together into new-look, small-ball lineups that saw the Silver and Black push the pace, share the ball and get to the line at every opportunity.
DeMar DeRozan picked up where he left off a season ago, dropping an uber-efficient 28 points while somehow managing to quietly come within a rebound and an assist of beginning the year with a triple-double. And his 14-of-15 showing from the charity stripe wasn’t half bad either.
LaMarcus Aldridge was far from flawless on the defensive end. However, the former All-Star racked up 20 points, three rebounds, one block, and a three-pointer while flashing the ability to act as the lone big within the system San Antonio implemented during the NBA Restart.
Rudy Gay and Patty Mills combined for 27 points off the pine and showed Spurs fans that pair of grey-bearded scoring specialists could keep up with the stylistic shift towards a run-and-gun brand of basketball. They even added three assists and three blocks to boot.
First-round rookie Devin Vassell didn’t match his preseason production in his NBA debut, but that didn’t stop him from notching his first professional points on a sweet-looking stroke from beyond the arc. And while he didn’t scorch the stat sheet, Vassell still managed to post the second-highest +/- on the team.
Second-year wing Keldon Johnson built upon the hype from his bubble breakout with a phenomenal output despite missing training camp and preseason. The bruising slasher scored the Spurs’ first basket of the season and recorded 16 points to go along with a trifecta of steals and assists.
K3LDON gets us started tonight! pic.twitter.com/aipb3MDQDv— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 24, 2020
Human-highlight-reel Lonnie Walker IV put forth an awe-inspiring opening act ruthlessly attacking the rim with emphatic slams on his way to 16 points, six boards, and two dimes. The fan-favorite played with collected confidence, and his ballhandling and vision appeared much-improved.
Lonnie Walker IV showing flashes as a half-court facilitator: pic.twitter.com/zqIk363Z7S— Noah Magaro-George (@N_Magaro) December 24, 2020
LONNIE WITH THE STEAL AND STUFF: pic.twitter.com/BQRc86YGOG— Noah Magaro-George (@N_Magaro) December 24, 2020
LONNIE DROPS THE HAMMER: pic.twitter.com/JI0CJjs9FP— Noah Magaro-George (@N_Magaro) December 24, 2020
And how could the Spurs have pulled off this spectacular presentation without the contributions of one Dejounte Murray? The fourth-year point guard was genuinely fantastic in almost every way, registering a near-triple double with 21 points, six rebounds, and nine assists.
DJ out here gettin fancy with it pic.twitter.com/F8XzHU7H3N— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 24, 2020
Ja Morant won Rookie of the Year last season, and he appears to be on pace to put his name in the MVP discussion after dominating the Silver and Black to the tune of 44 points. It was a jaw-dropping display, so here are the full game highlights for your viewing pleasure.