March 3rd, 2020 will be a date that will go down in San Antonio Spurs history. Coach Timothy Theodore Duncan wins his first NBA game as a head coach.
At the end of the first quarter on Tuesday night, the San Antonio Spurs found themselves down 19-36 to the Charlotte Hornets. In Tim Duncan’s coaching debut, filling in for Coach Pop, this would not be good enough and Coach Duncan was not going to throw the towel in early.
The San Antonio Spurs willed a way to win based just off of grit. After what looked like a game-winning layup from Rozier, the basketball gods forced him to throw an ill-advised pass that was stolen by the Spurs. The leading scorer was our franchise point guard Dejounte Murray with 21 points on 9-for-14 shooting. He continues to impress in his third full healthy season for the Spurs.
A bright spot in Coach Duncan’s debut was him doing something out of the ordinary: substituting rookie guard Keldon Johnson. Johnson finished with seven points, one assist, and went 1-for-2 from 3-point land. Johnson finished with a +5 on the plus/minus scale.
Spurs fans have been clamoring for Johnson to see the court more as of late. He’s been tearing up the G-Leauge throughout his rookie season and deserves to play more in the final stretch of the season. His outside shooting will continue to be a concern but right now it looks like the Spurs have pulled off another late-round steal with the young man from Kentucky.
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If you’ve been watching Spurs basketball of late, or are knowledgeable about the franchise, you know that the San Antonio Spurs rarely play their rookies. This was truly a sight to see for Spurs fans. Hopefully, this is something we will see more over the final few weeks of the season.
“We got Becky & Will & Mitch, Mitch prepped the game for us, Becky & Will were making all the calls & I was the only one just standing there screaming at people, nonsensical stuff. We did it coach by committee and it could have been any one of us out there.”
Coach Duncan sure did look good out there at the helm. He may be doing all of this assistant coaching business as a reason to, “just get out of the house”, as some of us might say after we retire, but he sure looked like he was having fun out there.
In the end, the San Antonio Spurs were able to grind out a win where LaMarcus Aldridge, Jakob Poeltl, Belinelli, and even Coach Pop. Coach Tim Duncan is currently 1-0 and has the highest win percentage of any coach in the NBA. Let’s soak it in, Spurs fans.