Basketball is a game of momentum. Runs define the sport, as teams go on hot streaks, and cold one. The San Antonio Spurs seem to be in the midst of a slump after blowing a 20-point lead to the Toronto Raptors. On the second game of a back-to-back, they ran into a red hot Indiana Pacer squad who couldn’t miss from deep. The result was another 40+ point loss, 152-111.
Not to beat a dead horse, but this is a young team that is going to take it’s lumps! There will be highs. There will be lows. As Sean Elliott said on the broadcast, they must continue to pound the rock, learn from their mistakes, and get better. There are still fun aspects of the game, even in a blowout loss. This is a practice in finding the silver linings.
Gregg Popovich told reporters he thought only two of his players played somewhat well.
“Maybe Keldon (Johnson) and Zach (Collins) showed consistent, decent play, and competitiveness,” Popovich said.
Johnson led the team in scoring once again. He had 16 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists in his 23 minutes. Johnson was a walking paint touch in the first half. This is two straight games where he’s been able to get to the paint at will. That’s huge for a team that has struggled to get downhill to start the season. Johnson’s motor was on full display on this and-1 finish after gathering his own miss.
Collins put together another solid game after a slow start to the season. He finished with 14 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists in 20 minutes. The center made some good passes out of the post, even if they didn’t lead to assists. He knocked down half of his three-point attempts against Indiana. Collins has started the season shooting 22% from three. It seems he’s finding his stroke as the year progresses.
Speaking of three-point shooting, Doug McDermott has caught fire over the last three games. He had 14 points off the bench on Monday, shooting 3-5 from deep. McDermott’s movement shooting is needed off the bench. It’s encouraging to see him continue to shoot the ball well. The veteran is hitting 54.5% of his threes early in the season.
It was an uneven game for Victor Wembanyama, who didn’t have the impact he’s had in the last few contests. He had 13 points, 10 rebounds, a steal and 2 blocks in 21 minutes. He struggled to find his shot, going 3 of 12 from the field. He did have one major block on Obi Toppin, coming over from the weak side to pin it to the glass. His instincts as a helper have been good to start the year.
He’s taking a lot of threes to start the season (over 5 a game,) but is shooting just 31.3%. He hit two impressive ones against Indiana that show why his deep game potential is so high. This three was well behind the line. He probably can afford to step in, as there is no way anyone can get a hand high enough to contest, but the deep shot will make the highlight reel.
dialed in from looong distance pic.twitter.com/lH3APMXl76— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) November 7, 2023
The movement three off the hand-off from Collins was so smooth. Doing this at 7-foot-4 is pretty crazy. He seems so comfortable getting this look. This is a shot the Spurs could try to find more often.
Speaking of smart plays, Malaki Branham has been solid filling in for Devin Vassell. He had just 8 points against Indiana, but they all came within the flow of the offense. This 45 cut for the left-handed slams was one of the best plays of the game for San Antonio.
The Spurs have a chance to bounce back on national television against the New York Knicks on Wednesday.
Find the full game highlights below.