After an impressive road win in Utah on Friday, the San Antonio Spurs came crashing back to earth in a blowout loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
As the San Antonio Spurs have struggled there’s been a noticeable increase in calls for the team to blow it up, focus on the young guys, and begin a full rebuild. Spurs fans got a glimpse of what that could look like as the Oklahoma City Thunder delivered a gut punch to San Antonio’s playoff hopes on Sunday.
San Antonio returned to action on Friday with a solid, all-around victory over the Utah Jazz. The impressive defense and balanced scoring could’ve convinced you that the Spurs had turned a corner over the break. Then the Thunder dismantled them, repeatedly slicing through the Spurs defense on the way to a 131-103 Oklahoma City victory. The silver lining: plenty of garbage time minutes for the young Spurs.
Spurs fans can have a glimpse of the future, as a treat. Even as the Silver and Black were down by 20-plus, we finally got the lineup changes that we have been clamoring for. Chimezie Metu and Keldon Johnson bot made appearances. At one point it was just Marco Belinelli and a bunch of young guys sharing the floor. It wasn’t always effective or pretty but it was fun to see.
Johnson has been tearing up the G-League with his endless energy and passion for attacking the rim. He still has a ways to go as a player but he brought an injection of hustle to the Spurs defense from the moment he stepped on the floor. San Antonio was getting dragged by double digits and he was still diving on the floor for loose balls. It didn’t impact the end result but you love to see that drive from a player who’s hardly seen any NBA action so far.
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Metu showed off what he can do as well. The second-year forward knocked down his first four shots and showed a nice touch from the mid-range. He’s got great potential and should definitely see the court more if the Spurs slide further away from playoff contention.
We still haven’t seen Luka Samanic make his NBA debut. Out of all of the first-round picks from the 2019 Draft, Tall Luka is the rare one who remains locked away in the G-League. If blowouts like this become more common down the stretch there’s a good chance we see the rookie make an appearance.
The Rodeo Road Trip was not kind to the team. Their playoff aspirations took a beating as they went 2-6 over the course of their journey around the Western Conference. They’ve got serious work to do over this upcoming homestand.
It was an ugly loss for the San Antonio Spurs but it did come with the silver lining of playing time for the up and comers. It’s a tough pill to swallow but losses like this could be the new norm if San Antonio fully commits to a rebuild as some fans have called for.