Friday the San Antonio Spurs wrapped up their preseason schedule with a 28 point blowout of the Houston Rockets.
After the game, Dejounte Murray and Doug McDermott spoke with the media. I was able to ask Murray about being more aggressive in preseason taking 3-point attempts, and McDermott about the team’s defense in the paint.
Murray Launching More Threes
In the game against the Rockets, Murray finished with 20 points, with 9 of those points coming from beyond the arc. When he’s open, he’s taking his spot-up 3-pointers quicker in the preseason, and he’s even starting to take some pull-up 3-pointers when defenses go under on screens.
I asked him about being prepared to launch more pull-up 3-pointers when defenses go under on screens.
“Oh yeah, for me I just want to get better every single year,” said Murray. “That’s a part where I know that I’ve got to improve to really be really really successful as an individual, but for my team too. Keep the defense honest, so I’m definitely going to take a lot of those. I worked on it a lot, so the confidence is there.”
Not only did Murray take more 3-pointers on this night, the team did as well. 41% of the Spurs’ shots came from outside, with the team outscoring Houston 45-18 from the 3-point line.
Paint Defense And Improving on Rebounds
In the win over Houston, the Spurs held the Rockets to just 44% shooting in the paint, an inefficient number. When watching the possessions in the paint, it seems like San Antonio defenders are swarming to make sure paint attempts are as difficult they can be for the opponent.
I asked McDermott about the Spurs’ defense in the paint, and he brought up while it continues to improve, there is cause for concern on the boards to end possessions.
“I think so, it’s just going to take time, but Pop really emphasizes showing your body,” said McDermott of the Spurs’ activity in the paint. “Helping out, helping all your teammates on both ends of the floor. I think if we can all become great team defenders, we’ll be really good. I think one thing we need to do a better job of is rebounding. Because we had so many good defensive possessions, but we’ve got to be in the paint – we’re going to be small at times, so we’ve got to get rebounds.”
While the Rockets shot just 34% from the floor, Houston collected 16 offensive rebounds to get their chance at more possessions and trips to the free throw line.