The starting lineup was different but the end result was the same as the San Antonio Spurs lost their seventh game in a row.
Gregg Popovich finally changed up the starting lineup before the San Antonio Spurs took the floor to try to snap their cold streak against the Washington Wizards last night. Pop inserted Patty Mills and Jakob Poeltl as starters over Trey Lyles and Dejounte Murray to try to provide a spark to Spurs team that has frequently started games slowly.
Pop’s changed was effective, San Antonio put up 69 points in the first half, a new season-high for the team for points in a half. Unfortunately when your starting guards are Mills and Bryn Forbes you’re going to get burned on defense. It was a predictable consequence but clearly one the coaching staff felt they had to take on.
It wasn’t surprising to see Bradley Beal torch the Spurs for 33 points but it still hurt to see. Even more painful to watch was Davis Bertans‘s 21 points off the bench, including four made three-pointers. I’m very thankful that this is the last time we have to see Bertans this season. You’ve got to be happy for him and the success he’s having with his new team but it stinks to see him in a different uniform, especially given the circumstances that led to him being traded away from San Antonio.
Seeing Popovich change things up amongst the starting lineup was an encouraging sign, even if the changes weren’t the ones we thought should’ve been made. DeMarre Carroll still isn’t getting the playing time that he should be. He’s shown he can be an above-average defender throughout his career. On a team that’s currently ranked 23rd in opponent points per game a guy like that should be getting more than ten minutes a night.
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There’s no clear answer as to how the Spurs turn this season around. They’re getting run off the floor and playing the worst defense the franchise has ever seen. Their defensive rating of 114 is the worst in franchise history up to this point. For a team that has made its name on playing strong defense that’s particularly difficult to stomach.
Big mid-season trades aren’t a typical Spurs move but calls need to start being made to gauge the trade value of DeMar DeRozan. 538 has him ranked as the second-worst defender on the team behind only Marco Belinelli. Orlando is reportedly interested if an attractive offer is made the Spurs should capitalize on it.
It’s time to panic and throw this season away quite yet. We’re not even of a quarter of the way through. San Antonio still has plenty of time to turn things around. But changes need to be made, and soon.
San Antonio will have another shot to snap their losing streak agasint the Philadelphia 76ers tomorrow night. Not to be overly pessimistic but the chances of them winning that one seems pretty low right now. This cold spell will likely extend to Saturday when the Spurs face the New York Knicks.