The San Antonio Spurs beat down the Detroit Pistons in a four quarter rout, one day after Christmas. It was to be expected that the Spurs would win the contest considering that the Pistons are the worst team in the league, sitting with just five wins. But to make matters worse for Detroit they were also without 12 players due to Health and Safety protocols. The Spurs took full advantage of the situation in their 144-109 drubbing at the AT&T Center.
The home team were getting to the paint early and often against their inferior competition. Jakob Poeltl was the one feasting without a rim protector on the court for the Pistons, racking up a quick six points. The Spurs bench came in and pushed the pace a bit more than the starters did, and this created more open looks from the outside as their lead grew to 10. Detroit did remain competitive in the first quarter by playing hard and working as a team to create good looks. But, San Antonio still ended the quarter with a comfortable eight point lead; 38-30.
To start the second, the Silver & Black were getting easy baskets in transition, thanks to good lead out passes and steals on the other end. They really started to find their groove in the second quarter — scoring at will, inside and out of the three-point line. The Pistons were falling short on their defensive communications and that led to a number of open looks for the Spurs. Doug McDermott took advantage of this with an 8-0 run, which included two wide open threes and an uncontested dunk. The one danger that Detroit possessed was that of Saddiq Bey. He was getting to the line constantly and putting pressure on the Spurs rim protection. Even with Bey’s eight second quarter free throws, San Antonio still went into the half-time break up; 78-54.
Both teams started the next half on fire, with no defense on show. Keldon Johnson was the main guy for the Spurs during this stretch, hitting multiple threes and bullying the Pistons defenders inside. Jock Landale must’ve seen Keldon’s work on the inside and wanted to replicate it, as he started to overpower any Piston defender that tried to stop him. Pop slowly but surely started to empty his bench, starting with Josh Primo towards the end of the 3rd. The rookie scored his first bucket of the game to end the 3rd quarter and San Antonio went into the final frame with a commanding lead of 39; 119-80.
The Pistons never stopped fighting and they had a little bit of success to open up the final quarter, with a 10-2 run which caused Coach Pop to use a timeout. The Spurs then would go on to empty the rest of their bench, which included their two-way players, Joe Wieskamp and Devonte Cacok. The game ended with a bunch of fouls and free throws as it seemed the refs wanted to stay in the Alamo City a bit longer. In the end the Pistons actually won the final period of play, but it was the Spurs who came out with the victory, winning 144-109.
- No Murray, No Problem? Well, not quite yet. This game was never going to be an indicator of if the Spurs can survive without their star point guard. Dejounte was put into health and safety protocols prior to the game and will most likely be on there for 10 days. That means he will miss the next five or six games. The Spurs do play some strong competition during that stretch. Derrick White, Keldon Johnson and co will have to step up in the absence of DJ to have any shot of extending their current win streak, and that starts tomorrow night when the Jazz come to town.
- Team Scoring. Every player who stepped on the court against the Pistons scored at least one field goal. The only player who was available and didn’t play. was Thad Young, as the Spurs continue to shop the veteran forward. San Antonio shared the ball beautifully, and had a season high 39 assists. They also had a season high in field goal percentage, points in the paint and total points.
- Three Game Winning Streak. Surprisingly this is only the second winning streak San Antonio have had all year, the previous one ended at four. This is another chance for the Silver & Black to get on a roll and get back closer to 0.500, and a top eight seed in the west. With so many teams depleted at the moment, this is a great time for the Spurs to strike.
Play of the Game
Devin is really giving Lonnie a run for his money this season as the best dunker on the squad.
Spurs Valuable Player (SVP)
3rd place (1 point): Derrick White | 16 mins, 7 points, 10 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 steal
Derrick took charge of running the offense against Detroit in the absence of DJ, and he had a career high 10 assists in just 16 minutes. He only shot the ball three times but he was the primary playmaker and made the right decision every time. Don’t be surprised if we see more high assists games from White while his backcourt counterpart is out.
2nd place (2 points): Jock Landale | 17 mins, 18 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block
The backup big role is filled. I think that’s quite obvious now, and if it wasn’t before Sunday night, it sure is after. Jock was phenomenal in his minutes, scoring the ball inside the paint and stretching out to the 3pt arc when needed as well. He rebounded strongly and played tough defense, even when he got beat a few times. The more he plays, the more confident he will continue to get. And that’s great news for San Antonio.
1st place (3 points): Keldon Johnson | 23 mins, 27 points, 5 rebounds, 10/12 fg’s, 4/4 3’s
Keldon was a bully against the Pistons and they had no answer for him all night. He was pure from 3pt land as he went 4/4. This moved him up to second in the NBA in percentage from the outside at just over 47 percent. That number is staggering considering the first few weeks of the season Keldon had.
1st - Dejounte Murray - 49pts
2nd - Derrick White - 31pts
3rd - Keldon Johnson - 23pts
4th - Devin Vassell - 21pts
5th - Jakob Poeltl - 19pts
6th - Lonnie Walker IV - 13pts
7th - Thaddeus Young & Bryn Forbes - 9pts
8th - Doug McDermott - 7pts
9th - Keita Bates-Diop - 4pts
10th - Jock Landale - 3pts
11th - Drew Eubanks - 2pts
12th - Josh Primo & Tre Jones - 1pt
Next Game: Vs Utah on Monday
The Spurs have no time to rest as they play on a second night of a back to back against the Utah Jazz. The Spurs beat the Jazz to start their road trip last week, and you can be sure Utah will be out for revenge. But once again, San Antonio has some fortune because their opponents will be without their star play of Donovan Mitchell, as he is OUT with a back injury.