The San Antonio Spurs returned to the courtroom to tip off the shortened 72-game 2020-21 season on Wednesday evening with a new-look squad and model new fiyah fiesta-themed jerseys.
Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich tapped Lonnie Walker IV and second-year guard Keldon Johnson into the beginning lineup subsequent to LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan, and Dejounte Murray.
The end result? A quick-paced group that took an early 12-point deficit into an 18-point lead and a win to open the model new season as seven Spurs completed in double figures.
Memphis did their finest to hold in with the Spurs. Ja Morant poured in a career-high 44 factors on 18-27 capturing whereas Dillon Brooks chipped in 16 for the hometown Grizzlies.
San Antonio received a stable evening off the bench from Patty Mills and Rudy Homosexual, who mixed for 23 factors from the second unit.
Three Standout Gamers
The second-year guard received his first begin exterior the bubble and he didn’t disappoint. He put the Spurs on the scoreboard as he nailed a triple for his or her first factors of the brand new season. That appeared to set the tone for Johnson on the evening as he remained aggressive all night lengthy.
Johnson completed with 16 factors, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and three steals on the evening. His choice making was on full show as he saved attacking the rim and proved why his nickname is “massive physique”, displaying no concern going up in opposition to Memphis’ bigs.
“He did nicely, he drove the ball nicely,” Popovich stated of Johnson. “After watching him in Orlando, what we noticed tonight is absolutely his sport.”
Johnson is clearly an enormous a part of the Spurs’ future and if the Silver and Black are going to get again into the postseason, he can be a giant motive why.
The Spurs level guard proved simply how far he has come since recovering from his torn ACL and the way excessive of a stage he can carry out when every part checks out. Murray was stable from the opening tip-off, being aggressive, attacking, and sharing the basketball.
Murray completed with 21 factors, 9 assists, six rebounds, and two steals on the evening. His quick tempo led the way in which for the Spurs to get out on the run and he discovered Walker IV and Patty Mills for simple buckets on the rim and made life a lot simpler for DeMar DeRozan on the offensive finish.
“It’s enjoyable, everyone battled,” Murray stated. “All of us wished to win. All of us wished to do no matter it takes to win.”
The Spurs had been led by the man who led them in scoring final season, DeMar DeRozan. He had a a lot simpler evening on the offensive finish because of Johnson, Walker IV, and Murray’s play. Nonetheless, he poured within the factors and helped the Spurs seize win quantity one of many younger season.
DeRozan completed with 28 factors on 50 % capturing from the ground. He added 9 rebounds, 9 assists, and a steal to his stat line as he discovered guys for key buckets and knew when to name his personal quantity, attending to the foul line 15 occasions on the evening.
It could be one sport however the Spurs confirmed on Wednesday evening what kind of workforce they are often this season and in the event that they keep wholesome, they could shock some individuals each domestically and on a nationwide stage.
The Spurs will return house to face the Toronto Raptors at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday evening on the AT&T Middle.