As a team, the Spurs aren't having much success when they need to come up clutch in a close game so far, but that's to be expected. After all, their previous crunch-time star is now doing his thing in Chicago, leaving someone from the next generation to take the mantle.
Friday's big home win over the Boston Celtics was further proof that Dejounte Murray has what it takes to make those big-time plays when the Spurs need them most.
Dejounte Murray makes clutch plays beyond just scoring
With the Spurs on the verge of blowing yet another huge lead against the Boston Celtics, Murray made sure that wouldn't be the case. In the guts of the game, he tallied six points on 3-of-4 shooting, coming up with a key rebound and steal along the way.
While this was the most visibly impressive clutch performance of his season, Dejounte has been making such plays often that aren't being noticed due to the Spurs coming up short. Still, the fact that he's already playing so well under pressure bodes well for San Antonio.
Through Monday's games, here's how Dejounte's clutch time stats compare to the Spurs' reliable closer for the last few years, DeMar DeRozan. For reference, clutch stats are counted when a given score is within five points with five minutes or less remaining.
Murray: 10/22 FG, 3/6 FT, 7 rebs, 7 asts, 4 stls, 1 blks, 0 TOs
DeRozan: 8/15 FG, 12/12 FT, 9 rebs, 6 asts, 1 TO
What stands out most for Murray are the four steals and block in crunch time, which show how much he's impacting the game on both sides of the ball. Meanwhile, DeRozan continues to thrive at the free throw line in pressure situations.
The Development of Murray as clutch is massive for the Spurs
As the Spurs continue their journey without DeMar, seeing this rapid development from Murray is huge. His usage in clutch situations is already up there with the likes of Stephen Curry and above others like Jimmy Butler and LeBron James.
Dejounte is being thrown into pressure situations at a daunting pace, and he's doing well in those situations even if it isn't quite translating to close wins yet.
With how imperfect the current team is, we'll likely see several more crunch time situations as the season goes on, and Dejounte would like nothing more than to improve San Antonio's 2-8 record in those instances. Friday's win was a big step in giving him the confidence to do so.