The San Antonio Spurs lost a nailbiter at home to the red-hot Memphis Grizzlies 118-110 on Wednesday night. With seven minutes to go in the first quarter, the Spurs lost the lead and never got it back, although the game was pretty close for the whole second half.
Memphis led by as many as 15 points in the second quarter, but the Spurs rallied to close out the half and kept it close for the rest of the game. Dejounte Murray had a triple-double (which goes without saying at this point) and Ja Morant had a quiet and efficient 41-point game.
The Spurs lost the game, but it was a mostly positive performance for the rebuilding franchise. Foundational pieces played very well. For those fans seeking a high draft pick, they did lose while also giving Devin Vassell, Lonnie Walker, Tre Jones, and Jock Landale real minutes off the bench to further their development.
Despite losing always being a tough pill to swallow for Spurs fans, there were five major takeaways that were all positive and should help the Spurs improve over the season and the next few years.
1. The Spurs Put Their Head Down and Want to Win
Ja Morant and company are one of the most fun teams to watch. Their acrobatic plays and high-flying dunks are worth showing on highlight films, but I’m not convinced their playstyle is conducive to long-term success. Yes, they are the third seed in the Western Conference but when they run into a more disciplined Jazz, Warriors, Suns, or even Nuggets team in the playoffs, will they be able to hang in a seven-game series?
The Grizzlies are the second-youngest team in the NBA, so on one hand, I think it’s great they're having fun and also winning. On the other hand, should you really be going for ally-oop dunks in the open court when you’re barely holding onto a lead? The Grizzlies got their lead on consistent, mature play but almost lost it by playing like an overly athletic high school team.
The Spurs have been labeled “boring” since the late 1990s. I’ll take boring and successful over fun and lousy every single day. The core of Jakob, Murray, White, Johnson, and Vassell do not care about getting a Tweet by ESPN showcasing their skills. They want to win.
Unfortunately, the team is not quite there yet, but it’s great seeing Dejounte Murray’s leadership and playstyle getting passed down to everyone on the team. Drew Eubanks and Tre Jones just want to win games. The team is not quite ready to compete, but when they are, wins will be all that matters, and that’s an attitude I can get behind.