The first quarter was undisputedly the Spurs worse 12 minutes of the NBA season — scoring just 10-points, turning the ball over six times and allowing 35-points on the defensive end. The Pelicans lead was already into double-digits just four minutes into the contest. The two-man game between CJ McCollum and Jonas Valanciunas were destroying the Silver & Black who had no answer for it. To make matters worse when New Orleans did miss, Jaxson Hayes was there to grab the offensive board and put the ball back up for second chance points. On offense, San Antonio were killing themselves with unforced turnovers which invited transition opportunities for the visitors, who promptly took advantage. Then when the Spurs weren’t turning the ball over, they were being forced into jumpers with the Pelicans defense being stout not allowing the home team into the paint.
San Antonio did score at a better rate in the second period, adding on 23-points to their 10 first quarter total. Not surprisingly, their defense did not improve. This didn’t allow the Spurs to go on a sustained run to cut the lead with CJ McCollum going off with mid-range jumper after mid-range jumper. The Silver & Black’s Devin Vassell was the only player to show up to this point with the second year swingman being aggressive when looking for his shot — scoring a team high 12 points with three triples in the first-half. The Pelicans though, were just cruising through the quarter, getting buckets whenever they wanted with no resistance from the home side. This allowed the visitors a 29-point half-time lead.
If you thought the team talk at the interval would change the game, you would have thought wrong. The Spurs came back out even more uninspired and lackadaisical which the Pelicans used to push their lead to 40 halfway through the frame. San Antonio did hit a few shots late, especially Dejounte Murray & Devin Vassell to cut the deficit, but the margin was 38 heading into the final quarter.
The fourth was just an extension on garbage time with both teams just going through the motions. Pelicans ran out winners; 124-91.
- Lonnie Walker IV Injury. With 2:25 to go in the first period, Lonnie Walker IV went down with an apparent injury after he got kneed in the side of the body. He was eventually ruled out for the game with back spasms. This left the Spurs with only 9 available players after Josh Richardson, Romeo Langford, Keita Bates-Diop, Doug McDermott & Devontae Cacok were ruled out before the game. If Lonnie is to miss time with the injury the Silver & Black will need some of the other players to get back from their aliments ASAP, or their bench could really struggle to score like it did against New Orleans.
- Coach Pop Ejected. Two minutes into the second quarter, Coach Pop, was ejected from the game after back to back technicals for berating the refs. It was the first time this season Pop has been ejected. He did give a wink as he left the court, possibly hinting that he was trying to fire up his team who were down big at that moment. It looked like Becky Hammon took control of the team from that point on.
- Play-In Update. San Antonio are 2.5 games out of the 10th seed with 11 games to play.
Play of the Game
And-1 from the rookie.
Spurs Valuable Player (SVP)
3rd place (1 point): Joe Wieskamp | 20mins, 11 points, 2 assists, 1 block, 3 triples
I guess there isn’t a better time to give Wieskamp his first SVP point of the season. No one played “well” so Joe gets the point by default.
2nd place (2 points): Dejounte Murray | 34mins, 17 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 triples
DJ put up numbers, and in a game like this that is all it takes to get on the SVP rankings. Hopefully Dejounte can bounce back and help lead the team to a winning road trip.
1st place (3 points): Devin Vassell | 31mins, 18 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 3 triples
Devin was good in the first-half, and was constantly looking for his shot. And that’s all it takes to get first place for this game.
1st - Dejounte Murray - 109pts
2nd - Jakob Poeltl - 61pts
3rd - Keldon Johnson - 52pts
4th - Derrick White - 51pts
5th - Devin Vassell- 47pts
6th - Lonnie Walker IV - 37pts
7th - Doug McDermott - 16pts
8th - Bryn Forbes - 12pts
9th - Thaddeus Young - 11pts
10th - Tre Jones & Jock Landale - 7pts
11th - Keita Bates-Diop - 6pts
12th - Josh Primo - 3pts
13th - Drew Eubanks & Josh Richardson - 2pts
14th - Devontae Cacok, Zach Collins & Joe Wieskamp - 1pt
Next Game: @ Warriors on Sunday
The Spurs now begin a four game road trip starting with the Golden State Warriors on Sunday. San Antonio should count themselves lucky because Steph Curry is currently out with a foot injury which increases the Silver & Black’s odds to pull off the upset.