An abysmal start doomed the Spurs in their bout against the Pelicans. San Antonio simply could not buy a bucket in the first quarter or defend their opponent competently and trailed by 25 after the first 12 minutes. There was no reaction, no possible comeback, as the absences the Spurs had seemed to affect their cohesiveness more than not having Brandon Ingram available hurt New Orleans. At one point the deficit reached 40 points, as the visitors completely controlled the game from start to finish.
It was not only an embarrassing defeat to end a seven-game homestand, but also a missed opportunity to gain some ground on the Spurs’ biggest competitor for the last play-in spot. The Silver and Black will have a chance to avenge the loss when they face the Pelicans again on Saturday, March 26 and will need a win, if they hope to keep their chances of making the postseason alive.
- Just to paint a picture of how bad that first quarter was, the Spurs shot 19 percent from the floor, 11 percent from three and 33 percent from the line. The Pelicans shot 45.5 percent from the floor, 45 percent from three and made their two free throws. They also had just one turnover to San Antonio’s six. It was as lopsided a performance as you can conceive of in the NBA.
- Gregg Popovich got himself ejected early in the second quarter after cursing at an official for not blowing his whistle in a play that ended with a shot clock violation by the Pelicans. He was completely over the top with his reaction, which suggested he was purposefully trying to get kicked out, and then winked at someone when he was walking off, which seems to confirm that suspicion. His attempt to get the team going didn’t work, but no one can blame him for trying.
- Lonnie Walker IV left the court early in the second quarter, after a collision with Willy Hernangomez. His back had been visibly bothering him before that, and the reason the Spurs provided for his absence for the rest of the game was back spasms, which is a little scary. An unfortunate setback for a player that was arguably having the best stretch of his career and is going to enter free agency in the offseason. Hopefully he doesn’t miss much time.
- Josh Primo got the start in place of Josh Richardson, who was unavailable, and played over 32 minutes. Even if the Spurs miss the play-in, the rookie and most of the other young players have been getting the opportunity to suit up and get playing time in the last couple of months, which should only help them going forward.
- The turnovers were not only plentiful but a lot of them were also completely unforced. The Spurs made lazy, sloppy passes and dribbled straight into several defenders who were ready to poke the ball away. Dejounte Murray, who is normally elite when it comes to protecting the ball, had five turnovers of his own. It was just one of those nights when nothing works as expected.
- Plenty of games have made it clear throughout the season, but the mathchup with the Pelicans provided another reminder that the Spurs need more quality size. Guarding stretch bigs is likely always going to be an issue for Poeltl, but when Jaxson Hayes, a fine but limited young player, looks like a star, it’s clear that getting a forward with size is a must in the offseason. Granted, McDermott and Keita Bates-Diop were out for this one, but neither has looked like the long term solution at the power forward spot this season.
For the opponent’s perspective, visit The Bird Writes.
The Spurs will visit the Golden State Warriors in their first away game in almost two weeks. Tip-off will be at 7:30 p.m. CST on Bally Sports SW.