On the first game of a four-game road trip, the San Antonio Spurs won a hard fought game, 110-108, against the third-best team in the Western Conference. They did it behind three-point shooting and a clutch offensive rebound. Overall, the team ended 15-40 from behind the arc, which gave them a 12-point advantage over the Golden State Warriors.
Josh Richardson was the catalyst for that three-point shooting, going 3-5. He ended the game with a team-high 25 points. Dejounte Murray followed him with 19 points, however, it was on 8-24 shooting. This really ended up being a true team victory, given six Spurs scored in double figures.
For the Warriors, they just kept fighting every time it seemed like the Spurs would run away with it, especially after Draymond Green was ejected. That was mainly due to Jordan Poole and Klay Thompson’s shooting. They were a combined 20-43 from the field, 10-21 from three — ending with 28 and 24 points, respectively.
The Spurs head on to Portland to hopefully start a winning streak down the homestretch of games.
- Jakob Poeltl was in foul trouble most of the night, but his energy when he was on the court was huge. He started the game with a dunk, a few rebounds, and a block – and he ended with a free throw to tie the game at 108. His size and activity was needed in this one, just like every single one of his 14 rebounds. He didn’t get credit for the last one because he was fouled, but he came up big for the Spurs tonight.
- It’s no secret that Dejounte’s biggest offensive weakness has been his three-point shooting. But he’s not a terrible shooter. I’ve been quietly pleading for him to take more threes from my couch (maybe it goes as far as shouting at my TV). With this season being heavily focused on development, I’d love to see Dejounte take as many threes as he wants. I’m confident it’ll help him become a better shooter in the long term.
- Early on, Joshua Primo was guarding Andrew Wiggins. It may have something to do with the matchup, but even so, seeing Primo out there guarding the opposing small forward is promising. It’s still too early to tell exactly what Primo will become, but one thing’s for sure, he’ll be able to take the court in any lineup Pop (and whoever takes the reins after he retires) wants to play.
- It’s almost gotten to the point that it feels like Devin Vassell has been on the team a while, but he’s only 125 games into his career. His rookie season, he played pretty limited minutes – and this year, he was playing 25.4 minutes per game before the Derrick White trade. Now as a starter, he’s seeing the court more, which means he’s seeing things he hasn’t gotten used to yet. Against the Warriors, he was tasked with trailing Klay Thompson, who is known for his ability to move without the basketball. Getting used to running around screens defensively is a tall task for anybody, but having to do it against one of the best in the game should help Vassell become an overall better defender going forward, especially with another game against the Warriors, and hopefully, Klay will be playing that game.
- Josh Richardson was a tremendous acquisition for the Spurs. He didn’t play a lot right away, but now when he’s healthy, he has seemingly grown into a role carved out by the loss of Derrick White. His status as a 3-and-D player has come in handy, including tonight. When the Spurs were struggling on offense, he came in and knocked a few shots down. This wasn’t the first game his play has helped lead to a Spurs victory, and hopefully, it won’t be the last.
- Having a number of ballhandlers you trust is a pretty important aspect of basketball. Trading away Derrick didn’t help, but it was something that does make sense in the long run. At full strength, the Spurs should be able to get by with Dejounte, Devin Vassell, Joshua Primo, Lonnie Walker, and Tre Jones. But once one of those players misses a game, it highlights the lack of depth at point guard. Tre has been called upon to be the backup to Dejounte, but his lack of size and shooting can be a liability. If he can shoot like he did tonight, he’ll be serviceable. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on how he plays these remaining 10 games.