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Malaki Branham continued his offensive breakout in Spurs loss to the Hornets

The Spurs valiant efforts fall short.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Charlotte Hornets Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

One silver lining in the Spurs long losing streak includes the team getting long looks at their young players. Rookie Malaki Branham continues to impress as he led the team with 23 points and 6 rebounds on Wednesday night. Keldon Johnson chipped in with 21 points and 8 rebounds while Zach Collins notched a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Several plays stood out among the many of the Spurs’ best efforts to keep up with Hornets.

Hesi, stop, hesi, stop, pop. Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Select Start. Branham doesn’t need unlimited lives to take his time weaving between the Hornets defense for this teeny teardrop.

Branham found multiple ways to score, including going 3 for 6 from deep while shooting an uber-efficient 10 for 14. The young forward continues to show off his offensive game to the benefit of Spurs long-term plans.

Case in point, Branham displayed his ability to be a spot-up three-point shooter when called upon. If the Spurs can see a light at the end of this very long tunnel, he is one of the bright spots at the end.

Blake Wesley making this wild pass at the last second as multiple defenders collapsed on him is like that time I made several wild guesses on my organic chemistry test because I waited until last second to study so that a mountain of anxiety would collapse on me. I’m OK now though because I never became an organic chemist, but Wesley will be OK too.

Jeremy Sochan wanted a piece of this shot attempt and got the whole pie with an emphatic block at the rim. He continues to round back into form after his time off due to injury. the rookie sensation struggled offensively but rounded out his defensive game with a steal and a pair of blocks including this one.

Give unto others as you would have them give you an on-point bounce pass like Charles Bassey kindly did for Doug McDermott. Bassey had 11 rebounds in roughly 14 minutes, but the big man added 3 assists in his brief, but effective, time off the bench for the Spurs.

Three things: (1) You don’t feed a gremlin after midnight, (B) toilet paper goes flap “over” not “under,” (iii) all oranges are orange but not all oranges are orange, and (four) you just don’t leave Sochan open on the open court to wreak havoc on the rims.

If at first you don’t succeed, Sochan tried tried again, The Spurs newest rising star followed through his own wild shot and promptly returned to sender. He was not particularly efficient on Thursday night, but he’ll have the All-Star break to relax a bit while soaking in the success of his rookie season.

Here, the young Spurs played hot potato with the basketball, capped off by a nifty touch pass from Johnson to Branham for the corner swoosh.

Let’s finish the column with a fond look at the beautiful opening bucket brought to you by Zach Collins’s threading of the needle to find a cutting Branham for the reverse layup. Times were simpler then when the Spurs were up 2-0 and full of hope and joy.

As the Spurs head into the All-Star break, they’ll be looking to break the current streak and start a new streak in the Ws—but not too many Ws (wink wink).

And last but never least, the full-game highlights:

Next up, the Spurs head into the All-Star break for some much needed rest. Then after 7 days off, the good guys will head up to Dallas to take on the Mavericks on February 23, 2023.