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Spurs fall just short following multiple comeback attempts vs the Warriors

San Antonio’s losing streak has now hit 11 games, but fans should be encourage by their resilient play.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

A battle between two struggling teams, the Spurs went into Friday night’s match on a 10-game losing streak while the Warriors had lost seven of their past eight as well. Although San Antonio didn’t manage to get back into the win column, they still showed great fight by staging multiple comeback efforts before falling just short at the end.

The game started strangely for both teams. Golden State looked sharp right from the tip-off by running their patented motion offense and generating numerous good looks, but Steph Curry (of all people) missed a few open threes that are usually layups for him. On the other hand, San Antonio had a couple of messy possessions and looked somewhat disjointed, and yet the Spurs still managed to go on an early 11-0 run to take a quick lead. Wemby, in particular, was feeling it early and hit a three that contributed to the Warriors calling a timeout.

Golden State’s struggles didn’t last long, though. Steph found his stroke after making a long three and Chris Paul’s methodical playmaking led to some easy Warriors baskets for their second unit. The Spurs managed to keep up largely due to Devin Vassell’s shotmaking, as the 23-year-old finished the first half with 14 points and scored 10 in the second quarter alone. Even so, the momentum shifted in favor of Golden State after Klay Thompson made a few triples following abhorrent defense played by the Spurs, as they gave an all-time great shooter open looks from deep.

The second half was when the fun really began. Both teams traded baskets before San Antonio went cold, resulting in a 16-0 run by the home squad. CP manipulated the Spurs’ defense constantly to help set up multiple threes from Dario Saric, and it looked like Golden State would run away after going up by 14. Surprisingly, San Antonio went on a 9-0 run of their own to keep things within reach, and that was just the beginning of a cat-and-mouse game between the two teams.

After the Warriors ended the third quarter on an 8-0 run, the Spurs responded with an identical stretch to begin the fourth. San Antonio managed to thwart Golden State on a few possessions by playing a 1-2-2 zone, but the Warriors soon broke through, leading to a three from Steph with less than three minutes left in the game that felt like the final dagger. However, San Antonio went on another quick 9-0 run to cut the lead to three before the fouling game ensued, and the Splash Brothers iced a few free throws to finally bury the Spurs for good.

Game Notes

  • Although Wemby only went 1-6 from deep, he still made a number of tough shots, including a couple of long twos.

I’m not sure if those types of shots are the best looks for San Antonio’s offense, but given that this year has been labeled as an experimental season, fans just need to be more patient since Pop and company are giving players a longer leash than usual.

  • Speaking of patience, many fans are becoming increasingly frustrated with the Point Sochan experience, and it certainly doesn't help that every broadcast crew and media member has been referencing the ridiculous plus-minus difference between Jones and Sochan when both share the floor with Wemby. It seems like Pop is determined to keep Sochan playing the one, but if he wants to stick there long-term, the 20-year-old will need to do a better job of finding his teammates in situations like the one below.
  • Still coming off the bench, Vassell kept San Antonio in the game during a number of key stretches. He finished with 24 points on 10-19 shooting and 4-10 from three, and Vassell’s creation ability seems to improve every game.
  • Zach Collins finished the game 0-7 from three and 2-12 overall, which begs the question as to why he’s taking so many triples in the first place. Even though he’s more than capable of making those shots, it would be much more helpful — both in the short and long term — if some of Collins’ shots went to Wemby, Vassell, and other Spurs youngsters. With that said, the big man still made plenty of hustle plays defensively and flashed his underrated playmaking ability in the fourth when he found an open Wemby from the top of the key.

Play of the game

Wemby's emphatic blocks and tough shotmaking usually dominate the highlights, but his incredible length also allows him to make crazy plays like this:

Next game: @ Nuggets on Sunday

Unfortunately for San Antonio, their schedule doesn’t get any easier as they’re set to take on the defending champs in Denver on Sunday.