The San Antonio Spurs returned home from a long-winded 5 game road trip against the Pelicans. The team ended the trip 0-5 competing better in some arenas than others. Slowly fans have witnessed a decline in zeal and aggression from the young Spurs squad.
Tonight some players believed they learned the error of their ways after taking a 92-123 loss to the Lakers on Sunday. Sadly, their engine against the New Orleans Pelicans took some time they couldn’t afford to warm up. The Spurs ultimately fell to the Pelicans 110-129.
San Antonio struggled to get some points on the board while the Pelicans had a hot start. Prior to Devin Vassell’s ⅔ attempted foul shots New Orleans maintained 9 points while the spurs sat at zero for about 4 minutes of playing time. By the five-minute mark, the Pelicans had acquired a double-digit lead they would sustain through the entire match-up.
Doug McDermott Provides a Spark
McDermott’s contribution of 21 points throughout his 23 minutes of playtime is a key factor in what kept the team afloat. Coach Pop told the media after the game how McDermotts’ readiness to make an impact for the team.
“I think that he gives them a little bit of confidence for sure. You know when you’re running back transition defense constantly that gets old but making a basket here and there gives you the ability to set up your defense a little bit, and it fires your team up. So yea, that’s what he does coming off the bench and he did a good job of it tonight”
Number 24, Devin Vassell caught wind of McDermott’s fire towards the latter end of the second quarter. The shooting guard raised his two points to 14 by the half time after scoring 12 in 9 minutes. He shot 58% from the field putting up 26 points on his stat line, along with 4 rebounds and a career-high of 8 assists.
Vassell and McDermott led the momentum. It didn’t take long for the rest of the team to align with the standard of pace and defensive aggression. They aligned so well it was in fact, that it was Coach Pop’s favorite part of the competition.
Coach Pop On The Defense
“In the third quarter and the fourth quarter, we played pretty good defense. In that period of time, we got outscored by six, so the physicality of both offense and defense played with purpose. Not just walking around. We were down 19 at the half. It took all that time to get them to play and compete the way they needed to. So, I was glad to see that in the third and fourth quarters. It was the best part of the game for me.”
The “pick me up” is always great to have. However, if a team allows themselves to be taken advantage of in the first half of the game, then the hard work goes unnoticed when you lose by 20 points. The Spurs can compete, but they cannot afford to lack effort once the buzzer rings. After Thanksgiving San Antonio is set to face the Los Angeles Lakers for a back-to-back rematch Friday and Saturday night at the AT&T Center. The goal for the tea… shoot for the moon so that they can at least land amongst the stars.
What are your thoughts on the Spurs-Pelicans matchup?