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Keldon Johnson shines in the Spurs loss to the Thunder

A sizable first half lead disappeared though KJ did I he could to pull out the win.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

The good guys almost got their first taste of back-to-back winning this season season but could not close out the Thunder after a 3rd quarter drought in which the Spurs only scored 14 to the Thunder’s 34. Keldon Johnson led all players with 22 points and had 6 rebounds to go with 2 steals and 1 block. Lonnie Walker IV led the bench with 15 points while Drew Eubanks, starting for Jakob Poeltl, had a double-double with 14 points and 11 boards.

On any given night, there will always be 1 or 2 players leading the team in scoring (tonight it was Keldon Johnson and Lonnie Walker), but the way the Spurs are currently constructed, they need 2 other players to help carry the scoring load. Derrick White and Devin Vassell both had an off night offensively, and even just a brief scoring streak from either one could have been the difference between a win and a loss. The defensive effort is certainly there, but hopefully for the Spurs the offense will become more consistent.

Drew Eubanks with some patience to draw the defense in and then deftly anticipated Doug McDermott getting to the basket with a backdoor cut.

Mountain Drew politely asked any Thunder to meet him at the basket, and he rudely rejected their attempts with this timely block. Although the Spurs miss Jakob Poeltl anchoring the defense, Drew Eubanks filled in nicely for the night with 3 blocks and leading the team in rebounds.

The Spurs brought Doug McDermott in to stretch the floor as a three-point specialist, but it’s nice seeing him doing some hard work in the paint. For the season, McDermott is shooting 40% from three on 4.6 attempts per game, making almost 2 per game. So while his long range accuracy is consistent, mixing it up in the paint will certainly keep defenses honest.

Some nifty ball movement from Thaddeus Young to a cutting Devin Vassell. After a slow start to the season, Young is starting to get more comfortable as his minutes have increased in the last 3 games. His veteran presence provides a steady dose of points, rebounds, and assists.

If at first McDermott doesn’t succeed, Eubanks tries, tries again. Here Eubanks flushes home the alley-oop from Derrick White who got the offensive board off a McDermott three-point attempt:

There’s certainly no shortage of youth and energy on this team so the offense needs more of these easy transition points. The Derrick White connection to a charging Keldon Johnson in the open court is one way to pile up some points.

This exciting sequence right before the half expanded the Spurs’ early lead over the Thunder. Dejounte Murray had 3 steals for the game, and this swipe he took to the other end for a smooth alley-oop to a high-flying Devin Vassell to complete the flush.

And last but never least, the full-game highlights:

Next up, the Spurs head on back home to take on the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday, November 10, 2021.