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Doug McDermott and Lonnie Walker shine in Spurs’ loss to the Suns

The Spurs came out swinging but could not hold on.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Phoenix Suns Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The good guys, without their three best players, almost pulled off an upset against the team with the best record in the NBA, but the Spurs came up short. Doug McDermott led the team with 24 points on a tremendous 6-9 shooting from downtown while Lonnie Walker IV came off the bench and poured in 22 points of his own.

Doug McDermott was dialed in all night from deep. While he’s shooting 41.9% from three this season, he is shooting 46.5% whenever he takes at least 5 attempts from three-point land. That is to say when McDermott lets it fly, and the Spurs set him up from deep, good things happen.

Josh Primo’s game may not be polished, but the rookie’s poise is as smooth as buttah. Primo’s calm, collected stepback three convinced me that his shot would be the one to keep them ahead with 3 plus minutes left. For the rest of the game, the basketball gods convinced me otherwise, but it’s encouraging to see how no moment is too big for the budding young Spur.

Lonnie Walker getting high as he’s flying by. Walker defied gravity yet again with this mid-air adjustment to bank in this lay-in with an And-1 for good measure. Walker has gone through his usual yips in consistency on the floor, but he’s steadied the ship somewhat the last 3 games including Sunday night’s 22 points on 10-21 shooting. He certainly stepped up by stepping in for the Spurs who were missing Dejounte Murray and Derrick White.

Mountain Drew Eubanks to Dougie McBuckets is a connection everyone wants to see except for maybe Chris Paul, given his reaction after the play. Regardless, McDermott’s decisive move to the basket showed off some layers to his game other than sniping from deep.

I don’t know why Mountain Drew wears green shoes, but I like to think it’s because of the green-colored cans for Mountain Dew, or because when you drink Mountain Dew it makes you hear the color green and see smells. Here, Tre Jones and Drew Eubanks played a brief game of two-man hot potato with Eubanks being the “loser” because he was the last one caught with the ball thanks to a timely alley-oop from Jones.

Tre Jones turned up the jets for this one as he blew by his defender for a quick two. Jones filled in point guard duties on Sunday evening and did not disappoint. He contributed 15 points, but his 9 assists were key in keeping the Spurs offense moving.

New Spurs Juancho Hernangomez out here hustling and finding tough but rewarding points from a jump ball. Hernangomez hasn’t been with the team long, but he had his most meaningful game as a Spurs on Sunday with 2 points from this jump ball and 5 rebounds in 15 minutes of playing time.

Every time I see Lonnie Walker glide “slowly” down the court only to turn up the jet (and suddenly he’s at the basket) and make an acrobatic shot (where he cut to the right side of the basket for a drive to the hoop, only to switch to his left hand at the very last second to avoid the block), I keep thinking I’m seeing small shades of Michael Jordan early in his career. It’s blasphemy to compare anyone to Jordan, but if you watch tape of the G.O.A.T as a young player long before his patented fadeaway jumper, Jordan’s natural athleticism provided for these acrobatic moves at the basket on a nightly basis. Walker has small glimpses of the same gravity-defying moves, but alas he teases Spurs fans with small samples of them.

Whereas Jordan played in a time of rabbit antennas and fuzzy TV reception, Walker is performing these feats in all the glory of clear, high definition television. I just wish he would do it a lot more often.

If you missed Sunday night’s contest because the L.A. Rams became the second team ever to make the Super Bowl that will be played in their home stadium, here are the full-game highlights:

Next up, the Spurs take on the Warriors on Tuesday, February 2, 2022.