The San Antonio Spurs dropped the second game of a back-to-back by a score of 126-140 against the New Orleans Pelicans.
It was more of the same for the Black and Silver, and not in a good way. LaMarcus Aldridge struggled, the defense broke down, and the rest of the squad failed to pick up the slack.
Just one day after dominating the defending champs at home, the Spurs put on a pitiful display at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Despite bursting out of the gates to a scorching start, San Antonio was unable to keep up the three-point party and quickly fell behind.
Dante Cunningham led the charge with his lights out shooting in the first half and seemed destined to break his career-high of 23 points against his former team. The combo forward was a perfect 7-of-7 from the field through two quarters, but he couldn’t build upon his stellar performance and was held without a single shot attempt for the remainder of the contest.
Dante Cunningham up to 19 points on 7-of-7 shooting. He’s just 4 points shy of his career high and we’re not even at half yet. You have to feel like he’s setting a new personal record tonight. #GoSpursGo pic.twitter.com/deWimjDYCT
— Noah Magaro-George (@N_Magaro) November 20, 2018
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While the Pelicans stopped Cunningham from finding his sweet spots in the final frames, they did allow LA, DeMar DeRozan, and Rudy Gay to take plenty of shots. Luckily for New Orleans, the trio buried the Spurs with their lackluster 15-of-48 shooting. DeRozan was far from perfect but contributed by getting to the foul line and finding the open man.
Unfortunately for San Antonio, the same could not be said for Aldridge.
When the power forward wasn’t sulking on the bench, he was busy getting out-rebounded and out-hustled by every other player on the court. Though LaMarcus wasn’t the only reason the Spurs lost, I’m sure his poor body language and defensive effort did little to inspire his teammates to rise to the occasion.
One teammate who needed little motivation to get going was Bryn Forbes. The undersized guard missed only one shot on his way to 20 points, and perhaps didn’t shoot the ball near enough. Regardless, the sharpshooter showed heart and has clearly earned a spot within Coach Popovich’s rotation.
Speaking of rotation, it appears Pop has decided to shake up the frontcourt a bit. Along with more minutes for Jakob Poeltl, first-year big men Chimezie Metu and Drew Eubanks were given an opportunity to show their worth.
Marco dime ➡️ Jakob slam pic.twitter.com/kSUePNxh5J
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) November 20, 2018
It wasn’t the prettiest of outings for the youngsters, but the bushy-tailed duo made the most of their minutes. Metu finished with 8 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists while Eubanks chipped in 4 points in six minutes of action.
As much as I love watching the young guys run the floor, let’s hope we don’t see much more of the towering rooks any time soon. An increase in court time for young players can only mean one of three things in San Antonio: an injury, a blowout, or a losing season. And for the sake of the Alamo City faithful, I’m praying we avoid every part of that Bermuda Triangle of anguish.
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Last night was a hot mess and the Spurs’ schedule doesn’t get any easier from here. With that said, now is not the time to panic. The season is still young and help is on the way once Pau Gasol returns from injury.
The Spurs will face the Memphis Grizzlies and a familiar friend at the AT&T Center Wednesday night. Although San Antonio has a lot to figure out on both ends of the ball, heading home always helps the boys hit their stride.