Spurs have inconsistency issues exposed in home loss to Hawks

Dejounte Murray #5 of the San Antonio Spurs attempts an acrobatic layup contested by John Collins #20 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
Dejounte Murray #5 of the San Antonio Spurs attempts an acrobatic layup contested by John Collins #20 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
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The San Antonio Spurs suffered one of their worst losses of the season, losing at home to the bottom-feeding Atlanta Hawks.

Inconsistency issues plagued the San Antonio Spurs in the early parts of the season. They regularly struggled to string together a solid 48 minutes of basketball. This sent them spiraling down towards the bottom of the Western Conference and resulted in the longest losing streak in Gregg Popovich’s tenure as head coach.

Over the past few weeks, the Spurs have been playing their best basketball of the season. LaMarcus Aldridge‘s emergence as a premier three-point threat has opened up the lane for DeMar DeRozan to go on a historic run of high-efficiency games.  Even as they sat outside of the playoff picture it looked like the Spurs would be able to salvage their season and sneak into the playoffs. All of that came crashing back to earth last night against the Atlanta Hawks.

San Antonio had been playing well as of late. But last night they displayed many of the sloppy tendencies that cost them numerous games early on the in-season. Turnovers and blown defensive assignments resulted in far too many easy Hawks baskets. Too often a player would leave their feet looking to pass, then realize their first read wasn’t open, and make a hasty throw that resulted in Atlanta heading the other way for a wide-open layup.

Defensively, the Spurs pick and roll coverage was less than stellar. Trae Young is one of the best passers in the league and his ability to find his high flying teammates was on full display last night. John Collins and Damian Jones were able to drive home several spectacular finishes off of well-placed lobs from Young.

DeMar on how Spurs can lose to the worst team in the East after beating 3 of its best: "That’s on us (players). Strictly on us. We can’t be mad at nobody else…Anybody can be beat anybody on any night in this league, if you look pass them in any way. We gave one away tonight."

— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) January 18, 2020

Maybe this was an instance of overlooking an opponent and looking ahead to Sunday’s rematch with the Miami Heat. After a tough loss in Miami just nights ago its understandable that the Heat would be fresh in the Spurs mind. Even still, as DeMar said, it’s critical that San Antonio takes the season a game at a time. It’s the only way they’ll be able to stay locked in and playing at the high level that we have all seen they’re capable of.

There were a few bright spots in the Spurs’ loss. DeMar, LaMarcus, and Dejounte Murray all played very well. DeRozan continued his stellar play with a 25 point outing on 50 percent shooting from the field. Aldridge was the leading scorer for San Antonio tonight, scoring 30 points on a variety of high percentage looks.

Murray was a force tonight. He’s one of the few guards in the league who can be his team’s leading rebounder any given night and you’re not surprised. He was skying over Atlanta’s bigs on both ends of the floor, snatching defensive rebounds or giving the Spurs second chance opportunities.

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The San Antonio Spurs have another tough game coming up as the Miami Heat come to town on Sunday. Hopefully, they’ll do a better job of defending home court and avenge the loss the suffered in Miami on Wednesday.

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