The San Antonio Spurs were brought back down to Earth last night in a tough-fought loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves two days after their impressive win in Minneapolis. With a final score of 134-122, the Spurs performed well on both ends of the floor, particularly considering they played without one of their leading scorers in Devin Vassell along with their backup point guard, Josh Primo.
The Timberwolves shot nearly 63% from the three-point line and 64% from the field, led by 28 points from Anthony Edwards, 23 from Jaylen Nowell, and 21 from Karl-Anthony Towns. Jaden McDaniels also had a highly efficient 18 points shooting 100% (7/7) from the field.
While the Spurs weren't able to take home the win, a couple of players stood out in the loss. Here's who did well and who left a bit to be desired.
The dud: Tre Jones
Moving up to the starting point guard spot so suddenly will almost certainly lead to some growing pains (and resulting inconsistency), and that's what we saw tonight from Tre Jones. He was far from being reckless with the ball in his hands, only recording 1 turnover on the night, but Jones greatly struggled to score, shooting only 20% from the field. He also only recorded 3 assists, tying Keldon Johnson and Doug McDermott for fourth-most on the team.
Jones' willingness to shoot a few more threes per game continues to be a welcome sight, and on this occasion, he made 1 of 2, but defenders still aren't closing out on him with much urgency, making drives to the bucket more difficult for him despite his speed and craftiness. I'm fully confident he'll have another good night soon, but he needs to continue shooting for that to happen.
The studs: Jeremy Sochan and Josh Richardson
I said it after his coming-out party last game, and I'll say it again today: Jeremy Sochan is quickly growing more comfortable with every game he plays. He had another outstanding two-way performance tonight, giving some of the best Timberwolves players havoc in isolation situations on defense, switching with ease and fighting through screens effectively. And if the block on Joel Embiid a couple of games ago wasn't convincing enough for you, last night he got another one on Rudy Gobert.
Perhaps best of all, though, he managed to break his dry spell from beyond the arc and hit a couple of threes. The mechanics on his jumper continue to look good despite being a bit slow and stiff, but he's far from being afraid to let it fly from three, making 2 of his 6 attempts last night. His motor on both ends is relentless, he's continuing to make good decisions with the ball, and his ballhandling may even be a bit better than advertised. Count me as impressed and very excited moving forward.
Josh Richardson was also fantastic last night, shooting 60% from three on 5 attempts, recording a couple of steals, and 1 block. Most surprisingly, however, he led the team with 9 assists on the night. He's been an incredibly steady veteran presence for the Spurs since arriving at last year's trade deadline and he's debatably been playing even better this season. If the Spurs plan on trading him for draft compensation in the near future, it looks increasingly like they won't have a difficult time at all.
The Spurs will be returning home to face DeMar DeRozan and the Chicago Bulls this Friday at 7:30 PM CST.