It became really sunny in San Antonio today as the Phoenix Suns joined the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T center. Many are waiting for the Spurs to have a game that breaks them out of their losing streak. Tonight was not that night, instead San Antonio fell to Phoenix 133-95. This puts them at 11 straight games lost with a record of 6-18.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 4, 2022
The Defining Moment
It seems like the Spurs cannot obtain the best of both worlds when they are down so many key contributors. For the last 3 games, they have adhered to the note of making a big impact at the start of the game. However, in the third and fourth quarters, they fall behind and end up getting stuck in a hole they cannot dig themselves out of.
Against the New Orleans Pelicans, it was the five turnovers in the third quarter that caused them to fall behind and allow a 10-point deficit. Tonight against the Suns, it is hard to pinpoint where things went wrong. Coach Brown and veteran Keldon Johnson believe it was somewhere in the second quarter that the guys lost their footing.
What Went Wrong For the Spurs Against the Suns?
The Spurs began the first quarter strong. Devin Vassell came out stacking his stat sheet early. He shot 50% from the field and the three with an early contribution of seven points. The Suns, at this moment, had only outscored the Spurs by five points. According to Coach Brown, who is sitting in as Head Coach for Popovich, the issues began somewhere around the 8-minute mark of the 2nd half.
“In that period in general, we had a hard time getting stops. Mostly, their ability to get inside the paint. We rotate, and they get drop-off pass, after drop-off pass, after drop-off pass to their big guys. But, when you go backward and look at what happened. When you get beat on our first line of our defense, we had to rotate, and we didn’t have the second piece of the puzzle of one more rotation.”
Coach Brown elaborates to the media where the team fell short. This is where the potential of a 40-point lead began for the Suns. From the perspective of Johnson on the court, this is where he believes the momentum of the team shifted.
“I think in the second quarter, we went through a dry stretch… We started off good though. Then we went through a little stretch where they made some runs, and we couldn’t really recover and got out of hand.”
Looking at the numbers the Suns shot 23.1% better from the field. While the Arizona team managed to make six of their nine three-pointers, the Spurs didn’t make any of their eight attempts. The Suns scored over three times as many points as San Antonio. Accompany that with seven turnovers by the home squad and you’ve got a recipe for an advantage.
“No One Is Going To Feel Sorry for Us”
The attitude of the teams after losses like this is obviously not happy-go-lucky. They do, however, realize this isn’t an easy job. There is no room for mistakes in a team with so many gaps in its development. Teammate Keldon Johnson explained to the media why the team isn’t expecting pats on the back from anyone in the stands.
“We just have to keep fighting. No one is going to feel sorry for us, hold our hand, or baby us. This is the NBA. We got to go out there and compete to win. We’ve got to go out there and make the proper adjustments, try to get the win on Thursday, and come back a better team.”
Try Try Again
Thursday the Spurs play the Houston Rockets. The Rockets just beat the Suns 122-121 on December 2nd. Was that just an off night for the Suns and can we expect a win from San Antonio in three days’ time? Hopefully, the return of those injured will help the guys get stacked to perform at a higher capacity. Only time will tell… 72 hours to be exact.