In their penultimate game of the regular season, the already play-in clinched Spurs rested most of their stars and key rotation players before getting humbled by the Phoenix Suns 140-103. The eventual outcome was unsurprising and expected, but before the game it was revealed Coach Pop would not be coaching the game as he had decided to go to Tim Duncan’s Hall of Fame ceremony and this left the Spurs with a new head coach for the game. The choice was to go with assistant Mitch Johnson as he was the one who had been assigned to scout their opponents, similarly to why Becky Hammon was picked to coach earlier in the year when Pop got ejected.
As mentioned the Spurs rested a lot of their players due to having clinched the 10th seed and final play-in spot. They are too far behind to catch up to Memphis and Golden State so this left them locked into their seed. This gave the Spurs an excused reason to rest their guys especially since they haven’t had more than 1 rest day between games since the All-Star break. Missing tonight for context was, DeMar DeRozan, Dejounte Murray, Jakob Poeltl and Rudy Gay. Patty Mills came into the starting lineup for the first time this season along with Drew Eubanks (3rd start) and Devin Vassell (7th Start).
At this point I would go quarter by quarter analyzing different plays, runs and momentum shifts of the game but this game really didn’t have much of that. San Antonio got beat from the get go. Their young and inexperienced group failed to score at any consistency and getting stops was more of a hope than an expectation. They were down 34-17 at the end of 1. The brightest time of the game was when they went on a unexpected 11-0 run in the second quarter fueled by transition buckets which helped cut the lead to 10. But soon after it was back to the butt kicking it had been. The third quarter was a disaster defensively as the Suns poured on 41 points to give their starters an early stoppage. San Antonio actually won the 4th quarter as they were playing against the bench guys of Phoenix, they did play with effort all night which was a positive thing to see. In the end, Devin Booker scored 27, CP3 had 16 & 10 and the Suns completely out classed our guys on their way to a resounding 37-point win.
- Interesting to see if the other guys who are usually part of the normal rotation will get a rest tomorrow. These guys including Keldon Johnson, Lonnie Walker IV, Patty Mills, Devin Vassell and Drew Eubanks. With nothing at stake San Antonio might as well keep their guys fresh for the play-in game on Wednesday.
- Talking about that play-in game, the Spurs will have a national televised game! This will be their first scheduled one this year with the only other game that was televised nationally was a change in schedule where they had the Spurs and Rockets because another game had been cancelled due to COVID protocols.
- Who will the Spurs play though? Well we will find out that answer tomorrow night when the Grizzlies face the Warriors. It’s sort of worked out perfectly in which there is a play-in to the play-in with the winner getting that 8th seed and having two chances to make it to the normal playoffs. For the Spurs they lost both season series to these two teams, two games to one respectively.
- Shortly after the game the Spurs announced they had signed DaQuan Jeffries. So there’s that…?
- Tonight’s SVP (Spurs Valuable Player) goes to Quinndary Weatherspoon. Yes. Q has found himself at the end of the bench the whole season, sometimes not even getting minutes in garbage time but tonight he shined brightest out of the lot. He had 13 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal and a team best -6. He played with good energy and pace and even had two good AND-1’s at the rim. Congrats Q, you would think he’ll get some more burn tomorrow with other guys sitting out so hopefully he can continue his efforts from tonight.
Next game: Vs the Suns on Sunday
Another meaningless game for the Spurs but actually a pretty important one for the Suns because a win here and a Jazz loss and they will have captured the 1 seed in the Western Conference.