Following a blowout loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday, the San Antonio Spurs landed in Brooklyn looking for their second win of their seven-game road trip. San Antonio unfortunately dropped the match 121-119 in overtime, but they played one of the most exciting matches of the season and the resilience they showed should be commended.
The Nets’ defense flummoxed the good guys to start the game, as the home team switched their scheme and sprinkled in some zone that confused San Antonio. The Spurs looked out of sorts on the attack, with a few miscommunications that led to turnovers and long twos with plenty of time left on the shot clock. Fortunately, Lonnie Walker IV caught fire and scored the first dozen points for San Antonio and singlehandedly kept his club in the game. Both teams settled in after that, trading buckets for the remainder of the opening quarter.
With Kevin Durant on the bench, the Spurs went on a brief run to take the lead. However, James Harden was able to keep the Nets in the game by playmaking and even taking a few surprising mid-rangers. The good guys then began showing cracks on both ends of the court, as their offense became stagnant that led to turnovers and inefficient shots. In their own end, San Antonio allowed easy runways to the basket and constantly fouled both Durant and Harden, resulting in Brooklyn going on a 21-6 run to end the half and lead 60-51.
The good guys managed to regain their footing in the third quarter, as they ran a handful of horns sets to create some open looks. Bryn Forbes was the primary beneficiary of those plays by hitting a few threes, one of which included a four-point play. For the second straight game, Josh Primo ran point for an extended stretch and impressed once again; the rookie created a number of good shots for Jock Landale, who hit back-to-back triples and helped the Good Guys go into the fourth only down by two.
The final quarter saw some of the most exciting basketball that the Spurs have played all season, but it didn’t start out that way. Harden found his stroke early on by hitting a pair of threes, and the Nets built a double-digit lead before long. However, the Silver & Black refused to go away and locked in on defense, with both Jakob Poeltl and Dejounte Murray making huge stops down the stretch. In fact, the Nets failed to score a single point in the last four minutes of the game, allowing San Antonio to mount a comeback that was capped off by a huge three from Primo. Following a Durant miss from distance, the Spurs had the last shot with the game tied and less than a second remaining on the clock, but a missed alley-oop from Keita Bates-Diop forced both teams to play extra time.
The start of overtime was similar to the fourth quarter, as Brooklyn struck first and built up a small lead. But “quit” just isn’t in the Spurs’ vocabulary, and the team managed to tie the game again with less than a minute left in the extra frame. Unsurprisingly, the Nets chose Durant to take the final shot, but he was double-teamed and decided to pass to rookie Cam Thomas, who hit a running floater that put Brooklyn up by a pair. Unfortunately, the Spurs failed to get a shot off with just 1.4 seconds remaining, resulting in a 121-119 loss. Regardless, the fight that San Antonio showed against an uber-talented Brooklyn team was extremely admirable, and the Spurs should be proud of the fight they showed in the game.
- Primo got his second straight start and played better as the game went on. The rookie had a bit of a rough start with a few turnovers in the first quarter, but the encouraging part is that he didn’t let those mistakes rattle him. Primo came up big later in the game when he was tasked with running point and created a number of great looks for his teammates, and he was also the one who hit the game-tying three in the fourth. This kid isn’t afraid of big moments and it really shows.
- Even though Primo played well, I think he’ll still benefit the most by getting big minutes in the G-league once the Spurs get healthy again. The rookie still makes plenty of mistakes, and Pop might not give him as long a leash if it weren’t for all of San Antonio’s absences, and the most important thing for him right now is to play as much as he can.
- Jock Landale, the other rookie, also had an impressive stretch at the end of the third quarter when he hit back-to-back triples and scored eight quick points to end the frame. The big Aussie was also decent on defense, although he needs to be more mindful of his competition. For example, there were times when Landale guarded Blake Griffin extremely tightly, which isn’t necessary considering the latter has struggled mightily with his shot this season.
Play of the game
Is it too soon to call him “Big Shot Josh”?
3rd place (1 point) - Dejounte Murray | 19 points, 9 rebounds, 12 assists, 2 steals
DJ didn’t have his most efficient night (7/22 from the field) but still provided his usual dose of playmaking and steady all-around play. The 25-year-old was also huge defensively in the clutch, as he made a number of steals and deflections in the fourth quarter that helped the Good Guys force overtime.
2nd place (2 points) - Jakob Poeltl | 11 points, 12 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks
Poeltl finished the game with a solid double-double and was instrumental defensively just like Murray. The big man did a great job of protecting the paint and was one of the main reasons why Brooklyn failed to score in the last four minutes of the final quarter. However, he still needs to be more consistent from the line, as Poeltl only made one of his three free throws.
1st place (3 points) - Lonnie Walker IV | 25 points, 9/20 from the field, 3/8 from deep
Lonnie dropped a season-high 25 points and was the only player who kept San Antonio in the game in the first quarter. He scored the team’s first dozen points and came up huge in the fourth quarter as well, hitting a three and using his athleticism to get to the rim. However, he didn’t do much during the rest of the match, so Lonnie still needs to work on his consistency too.
1st - Dejounte Murray - 56pts
2nd - Derrick White - 40pts
3rd - Jakob Poeltl - 29pts
4th - Devin Vassell - 27pts
5th - Keldon Johnson - 23pts
6th - Lonnie Walker IV - 16pts
7th - Bryn Forbes - 11pts
8th - Thaddeus Young & Doug McDermott - 9pts
9th - Keita Bates-Diop - 5pts
10th - Jock Landale & Josh Primo - 3pts
11th - Drew Eubanks - 2pts
12th - Tre Jones - 1pt
Next game: at Knicks on Monday
The Spurs are right back at it on Monday night as they take on the Knicks in New York. Hopefully they can get back in the win column!