The San Antonio Spurs looked discombobulated in their season opener at the AT&T Center, coming up miserably short of the understaffed Charlotte Hornets in an end-to-end bludgeoning. Despite trailing by 35 points in the second half, the good guys rallied to cut the deficit to ten before cracking and relinquishing a massive run down the stretch.
Keldon Johnson paced the Silver and Black with 20 points, 11 boards, and four assists, embracing his newfound role as the de facto primary scoring option with Dejounte Murray moving on to greener pastures. Jakob Poeltl and Tre Jones notched 14 points apiece, while Doug McDermott provided a much-needed spark with 12 points off the bench.
Tre Jones was rock-solid in his debut as the opening night starter, getting the Spurs on the scoreboard with a feathery floater after manipulating the defense with his slippery pick-and-roll ball handling.
The Big Body shed 21 pounds this summer, and he demonstrated marked improvements to his first step and lateral mobility as he burst past Gordon Hayward off the dribble for a two-handed rim rocker.
Though Doug McDermott is still adjusting to coming off the bench for the Spurs, the ninth-year sharpshooter injected energy into the offense with a corner three to keep things close in the first quarter.
Jakob Poeltl is no stranger to criticism for not dunking the ball enough to satisfy fans. But the Austrian center attacked the rack with conviction and stuffed home an authoritative tomahawk slam.
"OH MAMA!"— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) October 20, 2022
We got our first Poeltl Jam of the season pic.twitter.com/uzg8g8TtTc
Jeremy Sochan ousted Tim Duncan as the youngest opening night starter in team history, leaving a lasting impression on the AT&T Center audience with an and-one dunk over Nick Richards.
Keldon didn’t find a good rhythm in the first half, but he flipped the script with 11 points in the third frame, blowing by a former Kentucky teammate to finish with a smooth finger-roll off the glass.
KJ with a game-high 17 and counting pic.twitter.com/MngPmxpDpi— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) October 20, 2022
And as always, here are the full game highlights.