The San Antonio Spurs got blown out at home in a game I thought they'd win and losing by 16 points was almost too merciful. The Charlotte Hornets were unstoppable all game, shooting 18/34 from deep, which is just otherworldly. The Spurs, on the other hand, could not get it going from deep, with Bryn Forbes being the only Spur to shoot over 50% from downtown.
The Spurs had no answer for Gordon Hayward, who dropped a whopping 41 points on excellent shooting. Cody Martin and Miles Bridges both also had excellent games all around. Aside from a 21 point, 56% shooting night from Keldon Johnson, the Spurs had nothing to be proud of.
It’s been a while since I’ve watched a Spurs game and had virtually no positives to take away from the game, but Wednesday's 131-115 loss (at home!) did that to me. Instead of looking at what we learned or who played well, there are three big things that stand out as harsh lessons the Spurs must learn to try to limit such embarrassing losses.
The Spurs Simply Need to Play With Aggression
I’ve gotten spoiled and almost expect Dejounte Murray to put up a triple-double on a nightly basis, which is just asking for too much. He had six boards and a steal, which is not that impressive but is solid numbers regardless. The Spurs, as a team, need to step it up.
Jakob Poeltl only had four rebounds, and the team amassed only 38 boards total (the league average is 45 a game), compared to the Hornets' 48. Granted, Charlotte did not miss a lot of shots, so there weren’t as many chances as usual, but the rebounding battle is only the tip of the iceberg.
The Spurs only had five steals and three blocks, which is nearly half of their per-game averages as a team. They only forced 11 turnovers compared to the 13 the Hornets usually give up.
The Hornets jumped out to an early lead because they kept hitting shots. Hitting shots is a lot easier when no one is in your face, and most of the Hornets' shots from deep were so wide open that everyone in the AT&T Center knew it was going in before they even shot the ball.
If you’re going to be a winning team, you have to hustle. Usually, the Spurs are good about this, but they played lazy basketball all around, and it gave them one of their biggest losses of the season.