After a promising start for the Spurs in Orlando, San Antonio has dropped two consecutive games against the 76ers and Nuggets. The team now faces an uphill battle to participate in a play-in tournament, as they are a game behind the Trail Blazers for the ninth seed in the Western Conference.
Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker IV and Jakob Poeltl struggled for most of the afternoon, combining for only 15 points. However, Derrick White continued to be a model of consistency by finishing with 23 points and making big plays on both ends of the court.
San Antonio looked unprepared to start the game, falling behind Denver by double digits early in the first quarter, but the good guys regained their composure and finished the opening frame down by only four points, as Patty Mills provided his usual spark off the bench.
Rudy Gay continued his strong play too by tying his season high of 24 points for the second consecutive match. He kept the Spurs in the game by leading the team with 15 points at the half.
Demar DeRozan tried to take over in the fourth quarter but the Spurs’ defence failed to keep the score close. However, he still managed to score an efficient 18 points and show off his impressive offensive repertoire.
Derrick White was the only starter who played a strong game from start to finish, as he managed to score more than 20 points for the third time in Orlando. The guard has been one of San Antonio’s most consistent players on both ends of the court; he drew charges on defence while continuing to hit timely shots during key moments.
Keldon Johnson’s impressive growth was also on display, as he shot without hesitation and competed on every play. The rookie finished with 20 points, which is the second straight game in which he has set a new career high in that category. More importantly, he refused to give up even during the final seconds by continuing to drive fearlessly to the rim and finishing through contact.
It’s an unfortunate loss for the Spurs since the team’s schedule doesn’t get any easier from here. However, the good guys still have a chance to trigger a play-in tournament if some of the starters bounce back and the bench continues to produce at a high level.