Despite a second loss in as many nights, the good guys provided a lot of optimism for the still very young season. Doug McDermott led the Spurs with 25 points while Keldon Johnson poured in 20 of his own. Lonnie Walker IV came off the bench to contribute 17 points. Jakob Poeltl (10 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists) and Dejounte Murray (10 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists) once again flirted with a triple-double as the two filled the box score playing heavy minutes for the team.
Even though the team is in the midst of a difficult early season schedule, Coach Popovich seemingly has his preferred lineup set with Walker and Devin Vassell as his primary players off the bench. Expect more tinkering down the road, but it looks like 7 to 8 of the same Spurs will soak up most of the minutes.
When you have a roster without an established alpha star, there will be a different player getting career highs any given night. Tonight, Doug McDermott drained a career-high 7 threes on 11 attempts:
San Antonio brought McBuckets (my computer auto-corrects this to “McLovin,” and I’m not complaining about it at all!) during the off season to stretch opposing defenses, and so far in three games he’s doing a great job.
The Spurs will need more of these easy transition points off of turnovers. Here, Derrick White calmly directs traffic off of a turnover to find Dejounte Murray cutting towards the basket:
Derrick dime ➡️ DJ dunk— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) October 24, 2021
YA LOVE TO SEE IT! pic.twitter.com/dCnOIJshzA
Sean Elliott perfectly described Keldon Johnson’s game as controlled chaos. While Johnson is always aggressive in the paint, his improved offensive game this season includes polished footwork such as this beautiful euro-step that he inherited from a certain Argentinean guard that should have been included in the NBA’s 75th anniversary team:
Spurs fans and Pop have clamored for years for Aggressive Lonnie. From the early go, it looks like they are getting steady doses of Aggressive Lonnie. Whether from beyond the arc or attacking the basket, Walker’s engaged offensive game is a nice boost for the Spurs’ second unit (he’s averaging 12 attempts per game so far this season).
RSVP for two for the block party: Derrick White and Jakob Poeltl. That’s “Derrick” with two Rs and “Poeltl” with two Ls. Here, Derrick White finishes an incredible sequence that started with his chase-down block of Jrue Holiday and punctuated by Poeltl’s block of the reigning Finals MVP:
Blockab Poeltl had 2 blocks tonight along with only 2 fouls. He held up well against the Bucks’ frontline and continues to be the anchor to the Spurs’ defense.
The Spurs’ team defense should be an improving strength this season. Facing two different, but potent offenses back-to-back (Denver and Milwaukee), is a good reminder that there will be plenty of room for improvement, but the energy and effort is there.
The Dougie Dimes to Mountain Drew connection is new, but the juice is fresh. Let’s try that again. The Dougie Dimes to Mountain Drew connection is new, but the juice is loose. No, OK—we’ll come back to that one the next time McDermott assists Eubanks on a basket (hopefully sooner than later!).
Jakob Poeltl is a consummate teammate, always looking for ways to help his team. Adding to his offensive game is one way to improve. Here, he’s stretching the defense as best he can by taking a gorgeous one-handed flicker from beyond three feet from the basket:
Things we learned tonight: the Coyote is 7 feet tall if you measure from the top of the ears.
Things everyone already knows: The Admiral is one of the best basketball players of all time and an even better person.
If you missed last night’s contest, check out the full-game highlights:
Next up, the no drama, all love Spurs take a few well-deserved days off before hosting the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, October 26, 2021 at the AT&T Center.