The Silver and Black showed both the good and bad of being a really young squad tonight. For much of the game they looked like they knew how to play competitive basketball, but they had stretches where they couldn’t hold onto the ball or score points, and it was the bad stretches that decided the game, mostly in the final few minutes of quarters as the more experienced Hornets run away in crunch time. After three quarters, the Hornets led by 26, mostly due to a 12-0 run at the end of the first quarter and a 13-0 run at the end of the third. The fourth quarter wasn’t any kinder to the Spurs, as Charlotte put it on the home team for a 129-102 blowout win.
The Hornets surged out to an early 10-4 lead by forcing Spurs turnovers and turning them into easy points on the other end. The Spurs started taking care of the ball better as the quarter went on, but the Charlotte offense was up to the task. When both benches came into the game, the Silver and Black were able to cut into the lead on Doug McDermott’s hot shooting, cutting the lead to 4 before the Hornets finished the quarter on a on a 12-0 run to lead 38-22 after one quarter.
The second quarter started on a similarly shambolic note, but after going down by 20+, the young Spurs looked to finally be catching up to the pace of the game, but the Hornets easily solved the Silver and Black defense and led 68-47 at the half.
The Silver and Black energy started to pick up in the third quarter, perhaps inspired by Manu Ginobili’s Hall of Fame jersey presentation at halftime, and with Keldon Johnson heating up from beyond the arc, they slowly ate into the Charlotte lead, cutting it in half at the midway point of the third quarter. Unfortunately, once again the Spurs mucked up the end of the quarter, allowing a 13-0 finishing kick for Charlotte that had them leading 98-75 at the end of the third.
The final quarter was a chance for some of the end of the bench players on the Spurs to get some run, and Romeo Langford and Isaiah Roby showed that they deserved more time on the court. The Spurs offense looked better in the final quarter, but they couldn’t slow down the Hornets at all as the blowout continued and Charlotte won 129-102.
- I’m really excited to be writing one of these again. It seems like this offseason was about 20 times longer than usual. But the last couple of years have been extremely strange, it’s really nice to get back to Spurs basketball.
- If quarters were 10 minutes instead of 12, the Spurs would likely win a lot more games. They have been terrible at finishing out frames lately, and today’s game was an extreme example of that.
- Coming into this game, the Spurs had won 13 consecutive season openers, the longest current streak in the league. The streak was broken by tonight’s game is a rather emphatic fashion.
- Shooting is going to be a problem for this team. Keldon and Devin are the only really good shooters in the starting lineup, and Vassell wasn’t shooting well tonight. Everyone else has a limited offensive game, Jakob with the pop-a-shot, Tre Jones with drives to the basket, and Sochan just doesn’t have an offensive game yet. It’s going to be hard to score points this year.
- Gordon Hayward really looks smooth out there. I didn’t think he’d ever come back all the way from his horrible leg injury of a few years ago, but he looks all the way back, and could be a nice building block for the Hornets going forward. But his haircut is not good.
- Josh Primo looks to be the backup point guard, he came into the game replacing Tre Jones halfway through the first quarter. He has trouble handling pressure, and will have to get better at holding onto the ball when defenders get up on him.
- Jaden McDaniels looks like he’s going to be really good for the Hornets. There’s just a lot of young talent on this team, and along with veterans like Rozier and Hayward, this team might be surprisingly good this year.
- It was really special to watch Manu Ginobili at halftime, and to remember the greatness of his time with the team. As we enter a new era, it’s great to remember how we got here.
Manu Ginobili’s jersey in the rafters gets updated with his Hall of Fame credentials. pic.twitter.com/OfR9xu7vtb— Tom Petrini (@RealTomPetrini) October 20, 2022
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The Spurs are currently 0-1 and tied for last in the league.