After losing back-to-back games against the Memphis Grizzlies, where in all frankness they got outplayed for 8 straight quarters, one would be forgiven for thinking the San Antonio Spurs would come out the blocks quickly and try to make a statement against the worst team in the West, but they did not. It wasn’t looking good for a while, but after another three-and-a-half quarters of horrific play, they came back from 16 down in the fourth quarter to save themselves the embarrassment of falling to the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves pulling off the 111-108 the win.
DeMar DeRozan stepped up and was the hero the Spurs needed with 16 points in the fourth quarter and 30 overall. The rotation was a bit funky as both Drew Eubanks and Trey Lyles got some playing time due to the duo of LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Gay being out, but they both did a good job when called upon — especially Lyles with a big three and clutch rebound during the comeback — and Jakob Poetl looked excellent in a starting role.
The win moved the Spurs back to two games above .500 as they currently sit at 12-10 for the season and in the 8th seed of the Wild Wild West. They can create a little cushioning in their next match-up against the 10-10 Rockets on Saturday.
- DeMar DeRozan is CLUTCH. Over his illustrious career DeRozan has had a stigma hanging above his head that in the big moments he doesn’t show up. The numbers don’t support this hypothesis, but one may think the reason for this theory is the playoff performances he had when he was in Toronto, especially when he went head to head with LeBron James. Tonight he was not up against Bron, and he took full advantage with his big fourth quarter complete with timely shots and getting to the the line over and over again in clutch. There was one particular instance when he had the #1 overall pick Anthony Edwards on him, and DeRozan put him in the blender, showed two pump fakes and got himself to the line. DeMar’s awareness for the situation and personnel is incredible and such an advantage in the depths of a game.
- Jakob Poetl is ready to start. With LaMarcus Aldridge out, the Austrian big man got the nod, and did he ever take full advantage of it. Poetl played the second most minutes on the team with 33, and in that time on the floor he had 19 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks with the most incredible stat being only 1 foul! One of the previous issues with giving Jakob more minutes was his foul rate, which was noticeable in the bubble when he was the started due to Aldridge being out with shoulder surgery. While Aldridge will likely always start as long as he’s here and healthy enough to play, if Poeltl can keep having games like this where he can stay on the floor, play heavy minutes and contribute to the offense, his minutes should keep rising, and he can make his case for starting Spurs center of the future.
- During the Spurs run in the middle to the end of the fourth quarter, the Spurs backcourt consisted of Dejounte Murray and Derrick White. So is it any coincidence that they played better defensively when they were playing together? I don’t think so. Also both of them had good individual games, Dejounte had a double-double with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and dished out 6 assists. Derrick had a near double-double of 10 points and 8 assists, although he still looking for his shooting stroke, hitting just 4-11 of his shots. The more the Spurs can get these two on the floor together, the more success they are going to have, especially on the defensive end.