San Antonio Spurs News

San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets: A night to forget

SAN ANTONIO, TX - NOVEMBER 30: Gregg Popovich head coach of the San Antonio Spurs talks with players LaMarcus Aldridge #12, and DeMar DeRozan #10 on the bench (Photo by Edward A. Ornelas/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - NOVEMBER 30: Gregg Popovich head coach of the San Antonio Spurs talks with players LaMarcus Aldridge #12, and DeMar DeRozan #10 on the bench (Photo by Edward A. Ornelas/Getty Images) /

The San Antonio Spurs finished on the wrong end of a 136-105 blowout with the Houston Rockets on Friday evening’s nationally televised game.

Coming off of one of their worst losses in recent memory, many wondered how the Spurs would respond as they returned to the AT&T Center. Just 20 days ago, San Antonio commandingly defeated Houston in front of a thunderous home crowd. Since winning in their first meeting, the Spurs have lost seven of their last 10 games and have dropped out of the playoff picture.

The starting five came out of the gates flat, finishing the first quarter hanging on to a 16-point deficit. From the jump, the duo of DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge had trouble finding a rhythm. All around, it was an off night for DeRozan, who only hit 5-of-13 shots for 18 points. He was uncharacteristically called for both a technical and flagrant one foul in the contest.

What. A. Move.@DeMar_DeRozan | #GoSpursGo

— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 1, 2018

Playing out of position at the center, Aldridge was outdueled by big man Clint Capela who’s taking leaps in his development this season. One silver living to Aldridge’s poor output has been his increased tenacity on the boards, but the 33-year-old finished with just six rebounds tonight. Even so, LA managed to score 20 points and block two shots in 30 minutes.

General manager R.C. Buford watched on from the stands as his team allowed 22 three-pointers on 40.7 percent shooting from behind the arc. For the first time since 2009, the Spurs are two games below .500 and have lost their last two games by a combined 70 points.

We’ve entered unprecedented territory for the San Antonio Spurs in the 21st century.

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There are a lot of routes that the organization can take from this point. Father Time has finally caught up to the Spurs, what comes next from Buford and head coach Gregg Popovich will dictate their team’s future. Regaining competitiveness will require a level of effort and dedication that could be out of reach, but there’s plenty of time to reignite the flame of the storied franchise.

Although it may be hard to find it, there’s a bright side to this dreadful loss — the future is still bright in the Alamo City. Sophomore Derrick White has solidified minutes at the top of the rotation and made an early entrance. Once Pop ruled that the game was finally out of reach, he reentered for garbage time and put together a nice stat line.

White finished with 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting along with a team-high nine assists and five boards. There’s still some polishing to be done in his game, but White can bring a lot to the table for San Antonio.

Rookie Chimezie Metu dominated the last five minutes of the game with six points, three rebounds and two assists. It’s a small consolation for a difficult night, but it’s nice to see that the rookie is making the most of his minutes. As time goes on, hopefully Metu will have the opportunity carve out a role for himself in the rotation.

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Things won’t get much easier on Sunday when the Spurs host Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers. Hopefully Aldridge will show up with a chip on his shoulder against his former team.