The San Antonio Spurs noticed their 2020-21 season come to an finish in the identical place it started as they fell 100-96 to the Memphis Grizzlies on the FedEx Discussion board within the first Western Convention play-in recreation on Wednesday evening.
The loss places an finish to a different robust season for the Spurs, who will face main questions going into an offseason after failing to make the postseason and have a shedding file for the second straight season.
San Antonio struggled to open the sport, taking pictures simply 30 % within the first quarter and trailed by as many as 21 factors. The Spurs outscored Memphis 30-18 within the second quarter, together with happening a 22-3 run to open the center body.
“I don’t suppose I’ve ever been extra pleased with a workforce that doesn’t stop,” Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich stated of his workforce’s combat. “It doesn’t matter what the stakes are, what the circumstances are, they actually combat and that’s a very good base.”
The Spurs struggled to comprise Dillon Brooks and Jonas Valanciunas, who torched the Silver and Black early and sometimes. Brooks scored eight of her 24 factors within the fourth quarter, whereas Valanciunas posted a season-high 23 rebounds and 23 factors for Memphis.
San Antonio was led by each DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Homosexual, who each had 20 factors on the evening. Keldon Johnson added 11 whereas Jakob Poeltl posted 10 factors and 10 rebounds within the loss.
Ja Morant added 20 factors and 6 assists and Jaren Jackson Jr. had 10 factors in his first recreation in opposition to the Spurs this season.
Listed here are three foremost takeaways from the Spurs’ loss on Wednesday:
DeMar’s potential final recreation doesn’t do that period justice
If Wednesday evening was DeMar DeRozan’s final recreation in a Spurs jersey, it didn’t do his time in San Antonio justice. DeRozan struggled to search out his shot in opposition to the robust protection of Brooks, taking pictures simply 5-for-21 to attain 20 factors.
DeRozan’s stinker didn’t do what might be his last recreation within the Alamo Metropolis justice. Numerous instances he has carried the Spurs to win video games they’d no enterprise profitable and his common of 21.6 factors per recreation lead the workforce for 2 seasons operating.
He performed very nicely with the Spurs’ younger core and appeared to gel shortly with Dejounte Murray and Derrick White on and off the court docket. If DeRozan does stroll and go to a different workforce, his loss will likely be felt.
Photographs photographs photographs
The Spurs will look again at Wednesday’s recreation and wish to burn it. The membership shot simply 1-for-10 to start out the sport and 8-for-26 general within the opening 12 minutes. San Antonio hit simply one in all their first seven threes within the interval.
Whereas they performed higher within the different three quarters, that first quarter would come again to be their downfall.
“I’m actually pleased with the best way they carried out themselves, or play to win despite the fact that we obtained manhandled in that first quarter,” Popovich stated.
That might all come all the way down to fatigue from the grueling second half of the season or simply inexperience from the workforce as a few of the younger core had by no means seen an NBA Playoff-type recreation earlier than.
Both means, this will likely be a studying expertise for the group going past this season.
Rising pains = progress
Stepping into the play-in recreation might not seem to be an enormous accomplishment however for this 12 months’s Spurs workforce, it was main for his or her confidence and a constructing block for larger and higher issues to come back.
Guys like Johnson, Lonnie Walker IV, Murray, and others will profit from video games like this and Popovich sees huge potential shifting ahead for the group.
“They like one another,” he stated. “They get pleasure from one another off the court docket, they root for one another. That’s been an enormous plus for the group as they develop. That can assist them immensely as a workforce.”