Keldon Johnson’s career night not enough for San Antonio Spurs

SAN ANTONIO, TX - JANUARY 14: Keldon Johnson #3 of the San Antonio Spurs #3 drives past David Nwaba #2 of the Houston Rockets at AT&T Center on January 14, 2021 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that , by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JANUARY 14: Keldon Johnson #3 of the San Antonio Spurs #3 drives past David Nwaba #2 of the Houston Rockets at AT&T Center on January 14, 2021 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that , by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
facebooktwitterreddit

Keldon Johnson has a breakout game for San Antonio Spurs on national TV

Leading up to tonight’s nationally televised game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Houston Rockets, most of the conversation was focused on the Rockets’ recent moves. As you may have heard, the Rockets changed the landscape of the NBA when they recently traded James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets.

With Harden on his way to New York City and the incoming players not yet with the team, the Rockets were coming into tonight’s game shorthanded. With key players such as Eric Gordon and John Wall also sitting out, Spurs fans were feeling confident.

That didn’t last long. The Rockets got out to an early 14-6 lead and forced Gregg Popovich to take an early timeout to try to stop the bleeding. It didn’t get much easier from there. This was a drawn-out, hard-fought battle that would eventually end with the Rockets escaping victorious.

The Spurs didn’t get the win but we can take some satisfaction from seeing Keldon Johnson have a breakout game on national television. The impressive young forward showed up and dropped a career-high 29 points on 12 of 16 shooting from the floor.

Johnson’s career-high still not enough to lead Spurs to victory

As he has for much of the season, Johnson lived at the rim tonight. He was relentless in his attack and, more often than not, he was able to get the look that he wanted. The Rockets defenders didn’t make it easy for him, he had to resort to some creative flip shots one a few possessions. But there were a few opportunities for him to get loose and throw something down.

Pack it on ‘em Big Body ? pic.twitter.com/E9W2jL1mLL

— Air Alamo (@AirAlamo) January 15, 2021

Johnson was great but it’s a team game and the Spurs as a whole were not able to come together to get a win. They did get a standout performance from Dejounte Murray though. He finished with 10 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, and 5 steals.

The Spurs’ undoing came from their inability to make shots early on and the incredibly poor defense that Christian Wood faced all night.

Wood put on a show. He dominated LaMarcus Aldridge when they two faced each other in the preseason and tonight was part two. Wood led the Rockets with 27 points and 15 rebounds and also recorded 3 blocks. He’s making a stronger and stronger case to be named Most Improved Player with every game he plays.

Frankly, the Spurs just looked flat out of the gate. That’s been a reoccurring theme in seemingly every other game this season. They just start out lacking intensity and find themselves in a hole early on.

In his postgame comments, Gregg Popovich seemed frustrated and touched on the Spurs’ slow start to the game. You can bet that he’s going to make this a point of focus for the rematch between these two teams on Saturday.

All 5 Spurs' Finals MVPs, Ranked. Next

It didn’t end the way we wanted but this was an exciting game to watch. There are a lot of things the San Antonio Spurs can improve on before Saturday but they’re going to have a chip on their shoulders this weekend. This rematch should be a good one.

facebooktwitterreddit