Remember a few games ago when we noted that optimism would be "the name of the game" this season? Well, it's worth going into this post-game review remembering that mantra extra hard this time around. Put plainly, the Toronto Raptors wiped the floor with the San Antonio Spurs last night in what was likely a humbling game for the young squad.
If it wasn't abundantly clear already how impactful Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell are for this Spurs team, then last night's loss should make that impact much more evident. The Spurs went long stretches without being able to effectively score the ball, and Toronto's stifling defense only exacerbated that issue. The Spurs ultimately racked up a grand total of 23 turnovers, leading to 31 points off turnovers for the Raptors. This was what turned the loss into a total blowout.
Like in the Spurs' other losses, though, there were still some reasons to be happy in the end, even if the team is slowly trending back toward .500. These were the studs and dud of the game.
The dud: Jakob Poeltl
Get ready for a sentence you'll rarely or never hear again this season: this wasn't Jakob Poeltl's night. In just under 21 minutes of action, Poeltl ended his night with 6 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and a team-high 5 turnovers. He didn't take care of the ball particularly well, he was out-rebounded by Tre Jones, and he wasn't asserting himself as much as I would have liked on offense. To be fair to him, his teammates didn't exactly set him up for success either, but this was the first time this season I was left underwhelmed by Poeltl's individual performance.
Off nights are bound to happen for even the most consistent players, so consider me not worried a bit. Poeltl was up against one of the taller teams in the league last night and they collectively just happened to also play a great game on both ends of the floor.
The studs: Tre Jones & Charles Bassey
I have been a long-time Charles Bassey fan dating back nearly a year and a half ago, and his game last night reminded me exactly why. In only 12 minutes on the floor, he recorded 9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 0 turnovers. He even managed to hit a shot from three-point land, which clearly brought joy to Sean Elliott on the game broadcast. To be fair, the numbers he put up came in garbage time, but regardless, he undoubtedly took a step toward carving out a role for himself in the Spurs' rotation.
While Tre Jones didn't score the ball particularly well, not many of the Spurs did do that well last night. Jones made the list as one of the game's studs because of how else he affected the game. Perhaps most notably, he managed to outwork all of the trees dressed in red jerseys and snag a team-high 8 rebounds on the night, tying with seven-footer Zach Collins. But Jones also managed to rack up 7 assists and 1 steal, hit 1 of his 2 three-point shots, and only had 2 turnovers on the night.
Jones simply knows how to affect the game in a variety of ways and is well deserving of the "floor general" title he's received from many. If he can continue to do the little things like grabbing rebounds and taking care of the ball, he'll be a mainstay in the NBA for a long time.
Up next, the Spurs will be facing the Los Angeles Clippers at home this coming Friday at 7:00 PM CST.