The San Antonio Spurs are keeping things rolling and managed to add another W to the win column this past Sunday, defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves for the second time this season. The Spurs were in control for the majority of the game, finishing with a final score of 107-98. The Spurs also managed to record 27 assists on the night, keeping up with their historic run to start the season.
The young team showed an impressive amount of resilience in their latest win, rather handily beating the Timberwolves despite being down to only nine healthy players by the end of the game. Devin Vassell sat out the game with lingering knee soreness and Josh Richardson sat out with lower back tightness. Meanwhile, Jeremy Sochan and Isaiah Roby sat out with flu-like symptoms, although neither tested positive for COVID-19. Blake Wesley saw just over 8 minutes of action before being sidelined with what appears to be a minor left knee injury.
To put it simply, this may have been the team's most impressive win so far. These were the guys who made it happen down the stretch.
The dud: Keita Bates-Diop
Keita Bates-Diop had a... strange game for the Spurs. On one hand, he had 18 points and 6 rebounds, and was clearly a solid contributor to the Spurs' win on offense despite being pretty inefficient on the night. His baskets came on some great cuts away from the ball, which looks to be his biggest strength on offense.
On the other hand, he also had some pretty puzzling plays. He racked up the second-most turnovers on the team (4) despite not handling the ball that much, only had 1 assist, and racked up 4 fouls. He also only shot 40% from the field and only hit one of his five three-point shots. He was either making really good or really bad plays without much in between. I wouldn't quite call his night a terrible one, but moving forward, I'd like to see him be a bit smarter and more decisive with the ball in his hands.
The studs: Keldon Johnson & Doug McDermott
Another day, another outstanding performance from Keldon Johnson. He ended his night with 25 points, 6 rebounds, and a career-high 8 assists while having played some great defense. He managed to nab a steal at the top of the key that lead to two easy points along with a nasty block on 7'1" Rudy Gobert at the rim. He's making passing reads that he never has before, is scoring at will on all three levels, and is playing much peskier defense now that he's trimmed down. The step he's taking compared to last year is palpable and looks to be sustainable.
I've also been waiting patiently for a stud-worthy Doug McDermott performance, and I think Sunday night's performance was the best he's had yet this season. He ended his night with 23 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block, having shot 7/14 from three-point land. Regardless of whether or not the Spurs intend to trade McDermott any time soon, he did exactly what he was supposed to do on both ends of the floor. On a night on which Richardson was forced to sit out, McDermott stepped up in a huge way.
The Spurs have the next two days off at home before facing the Toronto Raptors in San Antonio this coming Wednesday at 7:00 PM CST.