Dejounte Murray surges San Antonio Spurs past Charlotte Hornets
By Dylan Carter
Despite trailing as much at 17 points in the first half, the San Antonio Spurs rallied for a one-point victory to begin their road trip in Charlotte.
One day removed from a devastating loss at home to the Indiana Pacers, the San Antonio Spurs were dejected. Tired of losing and flurried with injuries, matters became worse when it was announced that head coach Gregg Popovich would miss tonight’s game due to personal matters. In spite of the odds being stacked against them, San Antonio pulled out a 105-104 victory backed by their fearless starting point guard, Dejounte Murray.
The 23-year-old finished with a game-high 21 points on 69.2 percent from the field and three-of-five from deep. He stuffed the stat sheet with six dimes, five boards and two steals in addition to some of his patented smothering defense. Murray looked like a bonafide leader in this one, prodding the team into action with keen decision-making and unselfish passing. Murray played a major part in closing the nine-point gap entering the second half and scored 14 of his points after halftime.
Stepping up in place of Popovich was Spurs legend Tim Duncan, who made the executive decision to insert rookie Keldon Johnson into the game. Johnson scored seven points on three attempts and blocked a shot in that seven-minute span, earning him a bit of run into the second half as well.
It’s evident that the rook already has sold chemistry with Murray and sophomore Lonnie Walker IV, and if things continue to trend the way they have been, we may see more of him in meaningful minutes moving forward.
Dejounte is a NIGHTMARE for ball-handlers ??
?️: @spurs pic.twitter.com/LzqMSupxMG
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) March 4, 2020
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Walker didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, but he instilled energy in the team and stuffed the stat sheet with six boards, two assists, two steals and a block. He has the highest plus/minus in the game at +13, which really shows the two-way influence Lonnie has on this team. Even on the nights in which he can’t be a big-time scorer, he’s still going to do everything in his power to secure a victory.
The same can be said for combo guard Derrick White, who finished with 12 points, two steals and two blocks. Few players put in the constant effort that Derrick does, and it paid off for the Spurs tonight.
San Antonio was thoroughly outmatched on the boards without any of their big men playing a major role. They lost the category 33-47 and gave up a horrid 15 offensive rebounds, but it made sense considering wing Rudy Gay logged a ton of their minutes at the five. They made up for it with a defensive effort that resulted in 12 steals and five blocks.
It wasn’t the prettiest game, but a win is a win. Now the Spurs will keep their fingers crossed as they await LaMarcus Aldridge‘s return; hopefully before Friday night’s game in Brooklyn.