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Same old story in the Spurs loss to the Pelicans

Another game, another loss

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at New Orleans Pelicans Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The San Antonio Spurs have lost 14 straight games. Yes, 14 straight. By the time they have a chance to break the losing streak next, it would have been more than a month since their last win, the Wemby 38-point explosion in Phoenix.

Speaking of Vic, he missed his first-ever NBA game in the Spurs 121-106 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. Wemby should be fine as it sounds like this absence was due to the Spurs training staff being extra cautious on the second night of a back-to-back.

The game started much more promising than it ended, with the Spurs knocking down three triples in the first few minutes to get the scoring started. The Pelicans were taking a different approach to scoring however, getting the ball to their big-man, Jonas Valanciunas, who was dominating down low in the paint for easy points. It was a high pace first quarter with both teams getting up and down the court looking to push the tempo for transition baskets. This style of ball was suiting the Spurs bench unit and in particular, Cedi Osman, who was using his craftiness and energy to score the ball and find his teammates. San Antonio were competing hard without their franchise star and against a much more talented team and found themselves only down one after the first twelve minutes, 32-31.

After being kept scoreless and without a field goal attempt in the first quarter, the Pelicans franchise star, Zion Williamson, started to take the game over. He was using his size and athleticism to score in the paint and get himself to the free-throw line. So, it was a sigh of relief for the Spurs when Zion went to the bench. This fuelled a San Antonio ran where they eventually took the lead. Malaki Branham was then starting to be more aggressive with his shot after seeing a three go down, and it was his scoring that was keeping the Spurs in front. That was until Jonas started to get busy in the paint on both sides of the court, which led to the Pelicans taking the lead back heading into the half, 63-61.

It was a game of two styles with the Spurs relying on the three-ball the majoity of the game while the Pelicans were content to pound the ball inside and trade threes for twos. The game was in range for the Spurs to take until turnovers started to pile up and the Pelicans raced away to a double-digit lead. Fortunately, Charles Bassey was playing like a man possessed for the visitors, as his energy, rebounding and hustle plays were keeping the game in arms reach with San Antonio only finding themselves down eight heading into the fourth, 89-81.

The Spurs tried to make a run at the home side but every time they got to within five the Pelicans would hit back as their three-ball started to heat up just as the Spurs started to cool down from beyond the arc. After the game got back out to double-figures the Spurs emptied their bench as they suffered their fourteenth consecutive loss in this 121-106 defeat to New Orleans.

Game Notes

  • Third Quarter Woes. Even without Wemby, this game had the same script. The Spurs would keep it close in the first-half before mistakes would compound them in the third and they would go into the final twelve minutes with too much to do. I think once Devin returns to the starting lineup that should help the Spurs start second-halves stronger, but it has been an ongoing issue and something they need to straighten out if they want to break this losing run.
  • Charles Bassey Impact? The second-year Spur and backup big was the best player on the court for the Silver & Black against the Pels. As Zach Collins struggled against Jonas and Zion, Bassey was able to make an impact with his energy on the glass and rim protection in the paint. It has been an up-and-down season so far for Charles who has got limited run in some games, but this was his best performance of the season by far and one that can hopefully lead to Charles having a more consistent role in future games.
  • Tre & Sochan, together! The talk all summer, pre-season and to start the regular season was about who is a better PG for this team between Tre & Jeremy. While that question continues to be debated, one thing is for sure, Jones and Sochan should be sharing the court with each other as much as possible. They both play off each other well and they both benefit from having each other out there. The debate should move on from Tre OR Sochan to Tre, Sochan, Wemby, Vassell AND who?

Player of the Game:

3rd: Cedi Osman - 11 points (4/9, 2/5, 1/2), 5 assists, 1 block in 27 minutes

2nd: Tre Jones - 10 points (4/9, 2/4), 9 rebounds, 3 assists in 23 minutes

1st: Charles Bassey - 8 points (4/4), 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks in 19 minutes

Play Of The Game

The player of the game finishes off the play of the game:

Next Game: @ T’Wolves on Wednesday

The Spurs will look to break their losing rut and not let the streak reach 15 when they go to Minnesota to take on the Western Conference contending Timberwolves.