They say all good things must come to an end, and that rings true for the Spurs 4-game winning streak. After getting out to an 11-point lead, the now 20-4 Phoenix Suns, did what they do to most teams. The Spurs could only muster 15 points in the second quarter, and after a valiant comeback from down 16, Chris Paul and Co. proved to be too much. Putting the game away for good once a 91-91 tie was broken — ending the Spurs winning streak 108-104.
Once again, Dejounte Murray led the way with 17 points, while adding 14 assists, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals. Bryn Forbes and Joshua Primo came up big off the bench. Bryn was second on the team in scoring with 15 and Primo had 4 blocks and 3 steals in a mere 18 minutes. For the Suns, Chris Paul went for 21 points and 10 assists on 9-18 shooting, with Jae Crowder not too far behind with 19 points on 7-14 shooting.
- That Chris Paul guy is good. There’s a reason why his nickname is Point God because when things got tight, he put the game on ice. Controlling every aspect of the game, he showed everybody why, at 36 years old, he’s still able to lead his team to victory. Down the stretch, he called pick-and-roll after pick-and-roll to get himself the matchup he wanted, whether it be Jakob Poeltl or Doug McDermott. Then, he made perhaps the biggest play of the game, poking the ball away from Dejounte Murray on a fastbreak that would’ve made it a 1-point game. The Suns then came down and hit a three, taking their lead to 6.
- That Dejounte Murray guy is (also) good. Speaking of point guards, the Spurs have one that’s not too shabby himself. He put up a very Chris Paul-esque performance, going for 17 points, 14 assists, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals. Murray was also very efficient, shooting 7-12 from the floor and 2-2 from three. It wasn’t enough at the end of the day, but to see Murray play this well when guarded by one of the premier defenders in the league just continues to prove how good he’s become.
- Bryn Forbes caught a body. That’s right. The one-and-only Bryn Forbes crossed Ish Wainwright so badly, Wainwright crumbled to the floor. And after looking back at him, Bryn calmly knocked down a runner to finish the highlight play.
- “Just when I thought he was out, they pulled him back in.” That’s what came to mind when thinking about Derrick White. He looked so good against the Warriors and Blazers, so good that people were talking about him finally breaking out of his funk. Tonight, however, Derrick had another poor shooting performance. Before tonight, he had got his three-point percentage up to 30%, only to go 1-8 in this one. Hopefully, this was just a blip on the radar and he really is back to himself.
- This was just another game in which the need for a better backup center was on full display. Jakob Poeltl did his typical good job fighting on the boards and playing defense, but when Thaddeus Young entered the game, the size advantage was overwhelming for the Suns. Poeltl was the only Spur with more than 6 rebounds, and the Spurs allowed 15 offensive rebounds, which led to 17 Suns points. There will be games when Young and Eubanks will be enough, but an upgrade in this spot will go a long way.
- The Athletic’s Zach Harper wrote about Doug McDermott when discussing the Spurs in his weekly power rankings column. He states, “It’s just a shame the Spurs don’t try to utilize his jumper and the shooting of other guys on the team a lot more.” In a game when the offense went ice cold, trying to dial up more shots for McDermott might’ve been a good call. He ended the game with 14 points on 5-9 shooting (3-5 from three), but 6 of those 9 attempts came in the fourth quarter. Part of this comes to how the Suns were playing defense, of course, but going forward, trying to get him a few more shots should help prevent the offense from getting stuck in the mud.
- Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this game was Josh Primo’s play. Playing a season-high 18 minutes, he made the most out of his opportunity. He didn’t light up the scoreboard scoring-wise, but the 18-year-old guard showed out on defense. He became the second player in NBA history to record 4 blocks and 3 steals in a game at the age of 18 (Dwight Howard being the other). We’ve all heard about what he could potentially bring to a game offensively, but this kind of defense is a great sign.
- It seemed like the Spurs watched Home Alone on their off night, because they were the Sticky Bandits out there tonight. They ended the night with a total of 12 steals, which is a new season high. Josh Primo as noted above had 3, but the leader in the clubhouse was Tre Jones with 4. The cookie monster himself, Dejounte Murray, had 2, while Keldon, Thaddeus Young, and Lonnie Walker all had 1. They only had 11 points off turnovers, so they didn’t convert these all too well, including the backbreaking play at the end when Paul swiped the ball off Dejounte – turning into a 3 the other way and giving the Suns a 6-point lead.
- Spurs should hold their head up high. They’ve played a lot of close games this season, and have been competitive in some of the ones they ended up losing by double digits (we don’t speak of the Minnesota and Indiana games). The fact that this team has lost both their games to the team tied for the best record in the league by four points and made them sweat is impressive. The outcome isn’t always the one we hope for, but it’s an absolute joy watching them play.