The San Antonio Spurs are now on their longest losing streak of the season (12) after a turnover-prone second half led to the Atlanta Hawks running away with the contest in Dejounte Murray’s first game against his former team.
The Spurs who were on a road-to-road back-to-back and went to Double-OT just under 24 hours ago were happy to get some reinforcements with the return of Keldon Johnson, Tre Jones and Jeremy Sochan. With the latter two having missed the last four games.
But you wouldn’t have guessed it by the way Sochan opened the game. In the first four minutes he had a dunk, an assist, one triple, a block, and a running floater. On the other side of the court was Dejounte who seemed desperate to make a statement against his ex-team but he couldn’t find anything to fall in the first quarter, going 0-5 in his opening stint. The Hawks frontcourt, which had the first 20 points for the home side, was giving San Antonio trouble. Coming off the bench once again and making his second appearance for the Silver & Black was Devonte’ Graham who had 31 on debut a night ago - a San Antonio debut record. And after shooting 16 threes against Detriot, Graham once again was not shy about letting it fly and hit his first two threes. After a phenomenal opening quarter by the rookie Sochan, he made sure to end it with a statement when he went coast to coast for a flying dunk with time about the expire. Hawks did lead 32-31 after 12.
Jeremy Sochan was all over the court in the first quarter - after missing the last 4 games.— Zachary Colwell (@zachcolwellPtR) February 12, 2023
5/6 from the field
1/1 from three
Becoming an absolute monster.
Murrary finally hit his first shot of the game with his sixth attempt to start the second with a high-arching floater. Sochan continued his great first quarter with five quick points to start the frame. The Spurs were getting the better of the Hawks midway through the second due to some Atlanta turnovers and offensive rebounds which led to second-chance points. Keldon who missed just one game was back and looking as aggressive as ever getting to the rim and finishing with some touch. The Hawks weren’t going away and it was Clint Capela who was dragging them back into the game by controlling the glass and finishing his put-back attempts. With Dejounte struggling in the first half, Trae Young was doing a great job of managing when to take over and score and when to find a teammate, this not only allowed the Hawks to take a 61-60 lead into the half but gave Trae a first-half double-double (12 points & 10 assists).
It was then a strong open to the third by the home team with John Collins and DeAndre Hunter hitting some tough shots on some sturdy San Antonio defense. A 12-0 run followed for Atlanta and gave themselves a double-digit lead six minutes into the second half. The story of the quarter for the Spurs was turnovers and missed shots, with just 5 made field goals to seven turnovers in the frame. Hawks were comfortably up 16 heading into the fourth; 93-77.
Dejounte was able to find some rhythm for the first time on the night early on in the final period scoring seven points on 3/4 shooting. Then after a John Collins three in the corner gave the Hawks a 20-point lead for the first time in the contest, Pop waved the white flag and emptied his bench. Atlanta trumped the shorthanded and fatigued Spurs 125-106.
- Sochan the Destroyer. Jeremy was back and he made sure to destroy everything in his path. In only 21 minutes the rookie had 18 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal and 1 block on 7/15 shooting while hitting two triples. He made an impact on both ends of the floor and was super impressive in his low minutes returning from the minor back injury. 25 games and 1 rising stars challenge to go in his first season and I implore all Spurs fans to keep watching just to watch that young man play basketball.
- Turnovers after Turnovers after Turnovers. 19 turnovers, 42% from the floor and 29% from three. That is a recipe for disaster. The Spurs will never give themselves a chance late to win games if they turn the ball over like they did tonight, and like they have done for the majority of the season. A lot of these turnovers can be avoided, with a lot of them coming from indecisiveness and careless handling of the ball. Still, they are a really young team that is growing, and hopefully we will see more development in this area of the game in the final 25 matchups.
- Dejounte Murray. Dejounte was pretty quiet for most of the night in his first game against the team that drafted him and turned him into an All-Star. DJM did get going a bit in the fourth when the game was out of reach, but for the majority of the game he couldn’t find his shot or flow. He had 18 points on 8/18 shooting, 6 rebounds and 3 assists in 33 minutes. Murray will return to San Antonio for the first time as an opposing player when Atlanta comes to town in March.
Play of the night
So, so much fun to watch!
Next game: at Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday
The Spurs continue on the rodeo road trip with a visit to Cleveland where they will look to finally break their losing streak.