The San Antonio Spurs met at their home court to face off with a Los Angeles Clippers team lacking Kawhi Leonard. The Clippers are the Los Angeles team that sports enthusiasts deem as championship contenders, but the Spurs provided some competition for them after returning from a 19-point deficit in the first quarter. Many fans considered the theory that a win was not as far-fetched as some would think with Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell back on the floor. However, a more experienced Clippers team took the 113-106 win home to Los Angeles.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) November 5, 2022
A Determined Spurs Team Fights To Contend
The Spurs began the first half struggling on the offensive end. With about 4 minutes left in the first quarter, there were only 8 points scored by the Spurs split between Johnson and point guard Tre Jones. This led the Spurs to have a 17-point deficit until Devin Vassell knocked down a 3-point shot after an assist from Johnson. After this 3-pointer San Antonio seemed to gain their footing. Upping the aggression on defense they changed the narrative for the young Spurs squad and this put them in a place to fight for the lead.
The second and third quarters were probably the most thrilling to observe with minimal stress from the audience. The rhythm developed on both ends of the floor and they were able to keep the turnovers to a minimum. It also helped that the Clipper’s field goal percentage decreased from 57% to 40% by the second quarter due to a more combative Spurs team.
As the second quarter dwindled San Antonio continued to flirt with closing the lead to single digits. With 34 seconds before advancing into the second half another Vassell 26-foot jump shot pushed the team into their first lead of the night. They were able to maintain the lead at the start of the second half and most of the 4th quarter. Closing against a mature Clippers team would be their demise. Bad passes and missed jump shots would give Los Angeles the ammunition to recover the lead and momentum to secure a win.
The Spurs fall to the Clippers by 7.
The Spurs are now…
…2-3 at home
…2-2 against the West pic.twitter.com/o718X794aH
— Paul Garcia (@PaulGarciaNBA) November 5, 2022
Devin Vassell: Standing Out off the Bench
It may have been a collective win for the Clippers but the star of the night in silver and black was number 24, Devin Vassell. Vassell was out for four games managing knee soreness, yet returned with the eager spirit to aid his teammates to a win. He assisted in an unorthodox role of coming off the bench but was able to achieve starter-level statistics. He ended the night with a career-high of 29 points, 2 assists, and 2 rebounds.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) November 5, 2022
A Mature Clippers Team
On the opposing end, Clippers forward Paul George was their leading scorer with 32 points under his belt. Possibly their most lethal force is center Ivica Zubac. He was the sturdy 7-foot tower that provided a problem for the Spurs’ defense in the paint. He ended the 4th with 17 points and 15 rebounds and 4 clean blocks that returned the possession to his teammates. The Los Angeles team is looking forward to a bright and successful season due to their fully loaded roster. The big question mark surrounding them is whether they can make it happen with a frequently absent Kawhi Leonard.
Taking It One Game At a Time
There aren’t many question marks in the mind of the Spurs-tenured players. There is more assurance in the trust they have in one another and the belief that hard work will pay off in the development of the newer gentleman. They have adopted a “you win some, you lose some” mentality that keeps them level-headed through the rough patches.
When I consulted Tre Jones about what it takes to gain the drive to come back in a game when it seems all odds are against them, this is a piece of what he had to say.
“We know it’s a long game. forty-eight minutes is a long time to be playing the game of basketball. We’ve had leads like that, and we gave them up. We’ve been down like that and clawed back in one game, so we know those leads like that can come and go quickly. It’s a long game, so in those moments we try not to pay attention to the score, really, just try to take it one possession at a time”
Next Up, Wheels Up
Next up San Antonio is gearing up for a daunting week against more developed teams. They face another tough competitor in the west, the Denver Nuggets. It’s set to take place Saturday, November 5th at the Ball Arena in Denver Colorado. Many are assured this will be another learning experience for the young core. To witness the learning curve you can watch on the Bally Sports App or listen in on WOAI radio starting at 8 pm.