The San Antonio Spurs were able to finally dress out enough players to take the court this week after calling up Tre Jones and Luka Samanic from the G-League Austin Spurs. While several players are still out due to COVID protocols (Rudy Gay, Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell, Derrick White, and Quinndary Weatherspoon) and DeMar DeRozan still dealing with the loss of his father (Rest in Peace Frank DeRozan), the Spurs hit the hardwood for two games this week against two Western Conference foes.
Week 10: The first game of the week was postponed due to COVID protocols, so the Spurs came into the other games this week with 10 days rest (or rust, depending how you look at it). The game versus the Thunder was an unknown with so many players out and new players joining the mix. But the Silver and Black played their hearts out. The heartbreaking loss did show everyone that the Spurs were deep and were passionate about playing the best basketball they could. Only ten players were dressed to play and all ten contributed to keeping the Spurs in this one. If it wasn’t for a Thunder buzzer beater, the Spurs could have won.
In the second game of this shortened week, the Silver and Black, still missing vital pieces, met up with the Pelicans. DeMar DeRozan returned and led the Spurs with 32 points and 11 steals. LaMarcus Aldridge came off the bench and helped keep the momentum going and Dejounte Murray and Lonnie Walker IV contributed some strong defense to offense action. Hopefully some of the guys still in COVID protocols will be able to come out and play this week.
Last week: (1 postponed game; 1-1 played games) (17-12) - @ Pacers - PPD; 102-99 vs Thunder (loss); 117-114 vs Pelicans
This week: 3/1 vs Brooklyn Nets; 3/2 vs New York Knicks; 3/4 vs Oklahoma City Thunder
Andrew Lopez, ESPN - 8 (Last Week: 10)
DeMar DeRozan’s playmaking has been on full display this season. On Saturday night in a win over the Pelicans, DeRozan had 32 points and 11 assists. It was his fourth game this season with at least 20 points and 10 assists, after he had five such performances in his career prior to this campaign. It also was his second 30-point, 10-assist game of the season. The last Spur to have multiple such games in a season was Tony Parker in 2012-13.
Colin Ward-Henninger, CBS Sports - 15 (Last Week: 10)
Following nine days off and four postponed games, the Spurs returned to the court this week, still without several key players. They lost a close game to the Thunder, then held on to beat the Pelicans behind Dejounte Murray, who averaged 22.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game on 40 percent 3-point shooting. DeMar DeRozan was dominant in Saturday’s win over New Orleans, putting up 32 points and 11 assists in his first game back since the death of his father.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com - 10 (Last Week: 10)
The Spurs’ first game back from a nine-day hiatus was their first loss in a game they led by double-digits. They have the highest assist-turnover ratio in NBA history (2.25), but it was Patty Mills’ unusual double-dribble violation that opened the door for Luguentz Dort’s game-winner on Wednesday. The Spurs almost lost a 10-point fourth quarter lead to New Orleans on Saturday, but took care of the ball down the stretch and got an easy pick-and-roll bucket from DeMar DeRozan (who missed the Wednesday game) and Jakob Poeltl to keep the Pelicans at bay.
Poeltl has remained in the starting lineup, with LaMarcus Aldridge coming off the bench in his first two games back from a six-game absence (in which the Spurs went 5-1). Poeltl has now played more minutes with Dejounte Murray (419) than he has with Mills (384) and those minutes have been almost as good (+10.8 points per 100 possessions vs. +14.1). With the Spurs really shorthanded on Wednesday, Aldridge and Poeltl played 13 minutes together (having not played together all season prior to that) and were both on the floor down the stretch. But with DeRozan back on Saturday, they mostly subbed in and out for each other.
The Spurs are the only team without a win (they’re 0-4) in the second game of a back-to-back, and they host the Nets and Knicks on Monday and Tuesday. They’re also the only team that hasn’t had a rest-advantage game this season. Their only one of the first-half schedule is set for Thursday, with the Thunder playing in Dallas the night before.
Mo Dahkil, Bleacher Report - 8 (Last Week: 7)
After several postponed games, the Spurs returned to action last week with some of their players still in COVID-19 protocols. In their two games back, they were still without Keldon Johnson, Rudy Gay, Derrick White, Devin Vassell and Quinndary Weatherspoon.
San Antonio dropped a tough one to the Thunder at the buzzer and then survived a fourth-quarter onslaught from the Pelicans to go 1-1 for the week.
The most interesting thing about the Spurs in the two games back was the change to the rotation. LaMarcus Aldridge returned from his hip injury but came off the bench. It could be a shift in his role and something that could benefit the Spurs. Prior to his injury, the Spurs had a negative net rating with him on the court, but in the two games back (small sample size alert), he flipped the net rating to become a positive player for the Spurs.
That is something to keep an eye on as the season progresses.
Kevin O’Conner, TheRinger.com - ?? (Last Week: NA)
Not published yet. (writer’s note: This site’s rankings seem to be hit or miss, so don’t hold your breath.)
How does your opinion of how the Spurs did this week match up with the opinions of the analysts? Let us know in the comments, Pounders.