Even though the Spurs’ four-game winning streak came to an end with a 108-104 loss at the home of the Phoenix Suns, the team showed off a level of fight and resiliency that was lacking earlier in the season but has become common over the last couple of weeks. After another good first quarter performance, which they ended up 33-26, the Spurs suffered through two bad middle quarters, and with the team not only on the first game of a back-to-back but also beginning a FIGASENI, Gregg Popovich appeared ready to pull the plug and save his main rotation for tonight, but his backups had other ideas.
After getting down by as much as 16 late in the third quarter, an unusual lineup of Bryn Forbes (who as been finding his niche as a situational scorer for the Spurs lately), Tre Jones, Josh Primo, Lonnie Walker and Drew Eubanks kicked off the comeback attempt, beginning with this nifty ankle-breaking crossover on Ish Wainright from Forbes. That floater when he gets run off the three-point line has become a nifty new weapon in his arsenal.
Primo, who got a career-high 18 minutes of playing time, didn’t do a whole lot on offense outside of a three in the first half and layup off the steal during the comeback attempt, but he showed off his defensive potential by becoming just the second 18-year-old in NBA history to record 4 blocks and 3 steals in a game, along with Dwight Howard (!!!).
Primo’s layup and Walker’s three right before that got Suns’ lead down to just six with nine minutes left, so Pop reined in his white flag and trotted the starters back out, and then it was McBuckets time. Doug McDermott eventually hit the game-tying three, followed by another to answer an answer from Jae Crowder.
Overall he had 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter to keep the comeback attempt alive, although this time it wasn’t quite enough as a series of small mistakes kept the Spurs from completing the process.
Before the exciting fourth quarter, Jakob Poeltl had it going on offense, posting an efficient 14-11 double-double. His touch in the paint, especially the pop-a-shot, has improved so much this season that he can legitimately be considered an offensive threat to go along with his All-Defense resume, and his chemistry with Dejounte Murray in the pick-and-roll is undeniable.
This was just one of five games this week, and there’s no rest for the weary as the Spurs will be back in the AT&T Center tonight to take on the New York Knicks as part of a five-game homestand, which mostly features teams that are better on paper but down at the moment. Go Spurs Go!