Gregg Popovich wanted to see his young team show a little more fight after a blowout road loss to the Clippers on Sunday. The San Antonio Spurs appeared to take that message to heart as they put together a second-half comeback to defeat the Phoenix Suns 115-114.
The comeback was led by Keldon Johnson who had the game winning steal and layup in the final seconds of the game. He had an impressive stat line of 27 points, 4 assists and 2 steals. 18 of his points came in the second half. Victor Wembanyama came alive late in the game once again, finishing with 18 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks. Kevin Durant led the Suns with 26 points, 7 assists and 2 steals.
The Spurs will face the Suns again on Thursday night in Phoenix.
- Tre Jones subbed into the game early in the fourth and the offense opened up. Jones had a bench-high 10 points, and added in 3 assists as well as a steal. He was a team high +13 in his 24 minutes. That’s not to say that Jeremy Sochan played poorly. He was strong defensively down the stretch. He made some clutch passes in the fourth to get Zach Collins and Devin Vassell easy baskets as the Spurs attempted their comeback. Sochan finished with 8 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
- The Spurs still have some strides to make with their man-to-man defense. They allowed the Suns to shoot 50.6% from the field and 46.2% from three. Popovich went with a 3-2 zone that caused some real issues for Phoenix. The zone featured Wembanyama and Sochan at the point of attack. Their length created havoc, and Jones and Vassell capitalized with some key steals in the second half. The Spurs forced the Suns to turn it over 19 times, while San Antonio only turned it over on 12 occasions.
- The Suns are known for their big three of Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal. It was the Spurs big three made up of Johnson, Wembanyama and Vassell, who sealed the game. Vassell in particular made some tough step back threes that kept San Antonio surging in the fourth. Wembanyama made big plays on the defensive end, blocking threes and finding ways to finish inside on the other end. Johnson relentlessly attacked the Suns in the second half, giving the Spurs the rim pressure they’ve desperately needed in their first four games.