The Spurs pulled off an improbable 23-point comeback, knocking off the Chicago Bulls by a score of 106-99. While a pedestrian offense put them behind early, San Antonio’s suffocating second-half defense pushed them past the finish line.
Jakob Poeltl paced the Silver and Black with a career-high 20 points and 16 rebounds on 9-of-11 shooting. Zach LaVine led the Bulls with 29 points, six rebounds, and six assists, though his standout performance wasn’t enough to give Chicago the edge.
- Despite trailing by as many as 23 points in the first half, San Antonio used a 15-0 run to close the gap to a single point in the final frame. While Chicago threatened to pull away a few times throughout the early parts of the fourth quarter, the Spurs sealed the deal behind some stingy defense and clutch scoring that resulted in a late 20-1 run.
- Former Florida State teammates and fellow 2020 Draft Lottery selections Devin Vassell and Patrick Williams shared the floor for the first time since their days playing under head coach Leonard Hamilton. Both rookies shone, though on opposite ends of the court. Although Vassell logged fewer minutes than Pat-Will, both rookies showcased impressive defensive versatility and a variety of offensive skills. These pair of burgeoning Seminoles should have bright careers ahead of them.
- The Silver and Black started the game with an embarrassing backcourt violation on their first possession, and that was a sign of things to come. San Antonio’s first quarter was a train wreck that saw them shoot 7-of-25 from the field, knock down a single jumper, and lose Keldon for the remainder of the period to a rolled ankle. Getting outscored 17-31 put them behind by a sizable deficit that they miraculously overcame.
- Spurs turned to a zone defense with eight minutes left in the second quarter that momentarily discombobulated the Bulls. But the confusion didn’t last long as Chicago deciphered that look within a few trips down the floor, and San Antonio reverted to a man-to-man scheme. It didn’t appear to matter what Popovich and crew threw at their opponent, and Chicago ended the first half with 58 points on 49% shooting.
- Jakob Poeltl scored San Antonio’s first seven points of the game, which would have been great if not for the sorry fact the Spurs had notched only seven points halfway through the first quarter. The Austrian ultimately finished with nine of the Spurs’ 17 first-quarter points and probably kept them from putting up the lowest-scoring quarter in the NBA this season.
- Lonnie Walker IV seemingly turned a new leaf as a finisher at the beginning of the season but cooled off in a hurry and regressed to a near league-low percentage around the rim. His vast drop-off was concerning, though he has shown encouraging growth, converting at an impressive 73.3% clip over his last six outings. The third-year swingman has seen a decrease in minutes recently, but his offensive production hasn’t wavered.
- The backcourt tandem of Dejounte Murray and Derrick White continues to impress me on both ends of the floor. While neither was particularly efficient from the field in Chicago, their defensive prowess is impossible to ignore. Their lockdown defense on Zach LaVine down the stretch was one of the primary reasons San Antonio found success stopping the Chicago attack. And both guards knocked down multiple clutch buckets late in the fourth quarter. This combination will only grow more dangerous once they build more chemistry. Adding a consistent long-range jumper wouldn’t hurt them either.
- Fans continued to get a glimpse of life without DeMar DeRozan, and the Spurs have been wildly inconsistent without their best player. While it is entirely too early to say this is anything remotely close to a lottery team, a trip to the 2021 Draft Lottery wouldn’t be the worst thing for PATFO. This class has a handful of guys who would instantly brighten San Antonio’s already promising future. If the Silver and Black could add Evan Mobley, Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga, or Scottie Barnes to their talented young core, there’s no doubt in my mind they’d have the firepower to compete for titles for years to come.
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