Stop blaming Dejounte Murray for every bad San Antonio Spurs loss

Jan 3, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray (5) dribbles the ball in the second half against the Utah Jazz at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 3, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray (5) dribbles the ball in the second half against the Utah Jazz at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports /

The San Antonio Spurs got whooped by the Utah Jazz on Sunday night

The urge to put off Monday’s work for a few more hours drove San Antonio Spurs fans to their couches on Sunday night to take in a matchup between the Spurs and Utah Jazz. It was between that and a mildly interesting NFC East matchup. In hindsight, maybe I should’ve watched that.

Slow starts have plagued the Spurs in most of their games this year, this was no different. The Jazz opened up this game on an 11-4 run and forced Gregg Popovich into an early timeout. The Spurs usually find a way to cut back into these early deficits they fall into but they just couldn’t claw back into this one.

Utah went 21-41 from behind the arc, shot 55 percent from the field, and thoroughly dominated the Spurs from start to finish. Pop cleared the bench with almost nine minutes left in the fourth and just let the young guys play it out.

Despite the scoreboard, the Spurs played with energy throughout the entire game. Things devolved a bit in garbage time but until Pop pulled the plug the starters were giving it their all.

Down by twenty or down by two, guys like Dejounte Murray and Keldon Johnson just don’t know how to quit. But that didn’t stop Murray’s critics from teeing off on the San Antonio Spurs’ young point guard after the game.

Stop blaming Dejounte Murray for every San Antonio Spurs loss

Almost more than any other player, Dejounte Murray divides the San Antonio Spurs fanbase. He’s been on the team long enough that fans feel like they know the ins and outs of his game, what he’s capable of and what he’s not, and that this gives them a free pass to nail every Spurs loss to him when he plays badly.

Frankly, that’s bull. Yes, Dejounte had a bad game against Utah. I’m not going to try to convince you that a 1-13 shooting performance by your starting point guard is a winning outing, it’s not. But to act like the loss is solely Dejounte’s fault is preposterous.

Go back and watch all of DJ’s shot attempts from the loss to the Jazz. For the most part, they’re not bad attempts. He started the game off by getting to his spots and getting off shots he’s been consistent with in the past. They just weren’t falling.

And when he wasn’t getting his shot to fall at least he was getting his team involved. He led the team in assists (5) as he has on several other occasions this season.

He started to force things a little bit in the second half. A questionable drive into traffic and an ill-advised three attempt in Rudy Gobert‘s grill were fuel for Murray’s detractors but the team was down by 20 with just a quarter left.

What did you want him to do? Morph into Stephen Curry, light the Jazz up from deep, and pull the Spurs from the jaws of victory all on his own? If you think that was going to happen I’ve got some magic beans to sell you.

The strangest thing about the anti-Murray cabal is that when he has good games they’re silent. I’m talking absolute nothingness. Crickets.

DJ posts his first career triple-double? Didn’t hear a peep from this crowd. He puts up a new career-high in points and still gets criticized for not leading his team to a win. He just can’t win this subset of fans over.

He’s averaging 15 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 5.8 assists this year while also picking opponents’ pockets 1.5 times per game. Want to know who else is averaging stats like that this season? Giannis Antetokounmpo. It’s Murray and the two-time MVP. That’s it. Still, you won’t hear a word of that from the anti-DJ conglomerate.

I could understand it if the criticism was grounded in solid points and good intentions but so often it seems like it’s just bad faith critics who just want to rip this young man to shreds no matter what the outcome is.

At just 24 years of age, Dejounte Murray has already seen more in his brief career than most NBA players will ever see. He’s watched one dynasty fall, tore his ACL, missed an entire season, and now gets to help build a dynasty back to its former heights.

There are going to be stumbling blocks along the way. Forgive him if he trips once in a while. He’s growing and that means making mistakes.

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Could Dejounte Murray have played better in this one regular-season game? Yes. Is he still the point guard of the future for the San Antonio Spurs and one of the better two-way guards in the league? Also yes. If you can’t wrap your mind around those two things being true at the same time I’ve got nothing left for you.