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San Antonio at Atlanta, Final Score: Spurs almost overcome bad start, lose to Hawks 99-109

Trae Young dissects the Spurs in the first half, but Blake Wesley provides a spark to make it close late as Wembanyama comes alive

San Antonio Spurs v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Mercedes Oliver/NBAE via Getty Images

The Spurs came out flat today in Atlanta and look lifeless as the Hawks ran out to a 35 point halftime lead. Victor Wembanyama was invisible in the first half with zero points and no impact as Trae Young dominated the moribund Silver and Black with 29 points. The plot twist is that the Spurs didn’t give up in the second half, as they made the game competitive with Blake Wesley providing a spark as he brought the Silver and Black within striking distance as the Spurs turned up the defense and made it a competitive game, cutting the deficit to single digits late.

The Spurs couldn’t overcome their terrible start, but the finish was impressive as the Silver and Black once again showed their competitive nature and made it a game even after almost falling apart early. This was another chapter in the book of impressive improvements of the young Spurs squad, and it’s only a matter of time before these close calls become wins for the good guys.

Observations

  • The pregame show was mostly dedicated to the legacy of Martin Luther King, which brought attention to things that were much more important than basketball.
  • It was weird to see the home team in black uniforms and the Spurs wearing white for a road game. I will never get used to that.
  • The Spurs looked a little discombobulated to start the game as the Hawks moved out to a 11-0 lead before Sochan scored the first Spurs basket.
  • Clint Capela is one of the tougher matchups for Victor in the league. He’s long and quick, and strong as hell.
  • Okongwu was killing the Spurs early as he got loose in the paint as the Spurs threw several defenders at Young.
  • The Spurs trailed 35-16 after one quarter, looking pretty listless to start the game.
  • When Trae Young goes incendiary, the opponent gets burned. Badly.
  • The Hawks led 69-34 at the half and that is not a typo.
  • Blake Wesley started the third quarter and immediately made a difference in the defense, causing an 8 second violation and scoring a bucket, propelling the Spurs to a 10-0 beginning to the third quarter.
  • Wembanyama sat out the beginning of the second half after a poor first half, and Pop finally put him halfway through the third and he completely turned it around with an impressive second half performance.
  • If the NBA had relegation, the Spurs would be in the G-League next year after the first half of today’s game.
  • The Spurs used both challenges successfully today. I can’t remember the last time that happened.
  • As badly as the Spurs played in the first half, they almost completely reversed it in the second half. Blake Wesley and Keldon Johnson deserve a lot of credit for the turnaround, even though Wembanyama will get most of the attention.

The Spurs are headed to Boston to face the Celtics on Wednesday night at 6:30 PM. The Celtics are on top of the Eastern Conference this year with a 30-9 record, but don’t always play up to their abilities, so it could be an interesting contest for the Spurs heading into their weekend back-to-back against the Hornets and Wizards.