Posting their third largest victory margin in team history, the Spurs routed the Suns 129-81, in the first game of the 2018 Rodeo Road Trip in Phoenix, Arizona Wednesday night. LaMarcus Aldridge had a team high 23 points and 13 rebounds. Patty Mills followed Aldridge with 18 points of his own. Dejounte Murray had a great performance posting 14 points and 3 assists in only 13 minutes before exiting the game early with a sprained ankle. He’s questionable to play in Monday’s game at Utah.
Despite a two-day break, and the blowout against Phoenix, the Spurs were unable to match the fire power of the Golden State Warriors though they led most of the first and second half Saturday night in Oakland. San Antonio was shorthanded Saturday without Murray, backup guard and veteran Tony Parker, Rudy Gay, and star Kawhi Leonard. Both Aldridge and Kyle Anderson ended the game with 20 points and 4 assists. Anderson posted 6 boards, and Aldridge followed right behind with 5. The next highest scorer for the silver and black was 40-year-old Manu Ginobili who scored 13 on 5 of 13 shooting and assisted 6 times in 19 minutes.
Week in Review
As unpredictable as this season has inevitably been for the Spurs, the drastic shift from Wednesday’s destruction to Saturday’s defeat could not be more different. The Spurs’ win against the Suns makes sense, considering Phoenix currently sits in the second to last spot in the Western Conference with a record of 18 wins and 39 losses. Similarly, the loss against the league’s #1 seed, Warriors, and their 43-13 record also isn’t beyond the realm of possible outcomes for the current, injury-ridden, third-seed-in-the-West Spurs and their 35-22 season record.
Despite the possibilities and outcomes, the Spurs went from having four players scoring above 15 points in one game, to only two in the next. Furthermore is that, aside from Aldridge, it never seems that the same players can perform well in more than one performance in a row. Of course, the Spurs did have the help of Parker’s 13 points and Murray’s 14 against Phoenix, while both players did not play against the Warriors. Still, Anderson was the only player who did not score against the Suns, but against the Warriors tied for the team’s highest score.
The Spurs are undoubtedly suffering due to their injuries. If all components of this current Spurs team were healthy and able to play, the Spurs could have a better shot against the league-best Warriors. That isn’t the case, however, and the reality is they’re still trying to hold the third seed as long as they can in the West until Leonard and Gay eventually make their return.
Going forward, the Spurs need to figure out a way to support Aldridge who is currently carrying the team. The younger and healthier members of the silver and black need to step into more trusted positions because even though Ginobili and Parker are still putting up pretty good numbers on a regular basis, they are not, and should not be, the go-to support system for Aldridge during this time without Leonard.
The Spurs will continue the Rodeo Road Trip as they head into the All-Star break following a back-to-back Monday and Tuesday against the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets respectively.