Devonte' Graham detonates for 31 points in historic Spurs debut
Have yourself a debut Devonte'
Heading into Friday night against the Pistons, the Spurs were extremely shorthanded, down seven players, including starters Tre Jones, Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson, and Jeremy Sochan. With a roster scarce on healthy bodies, everyone expected other players to step up.
Rookie guards Malaki Branham and Blake Wesley got the start in Detroit as the freshly traded Graham came off the bench. Graham joined the Spurs on Thursday after New Orleans traded the fifth-year guard for Josh Richardson and four second-round picks.
After checking into the contest with 4:31 left in the first quarter, it took Graham less than a minute to score his first bucket as a Spur, draining a deep stepback three that hit nothing but net.
While the first triple was flashy, Graham didn't show much else in the first half, finishing with seven points and two assists on 3-of-9 shooting. However, he shined in the second half, catching fire for 19 points while going 5-of-9 from the field and 4-of-7 from deep.
Graham showed off his shooting capabilities in the third and fourth quarters, taking advantage of every catch-and-shoot opportunity and hitting multiple pull-ups off screens, including a clutch three in crunch time, rising and draining a three over near-seven-footer Jalen Duren.
But it wasn't just his scoring that made a difference down the stretch. Graham played some great defense in the fourth to give San Antonio a chance to win. With the much taller Isaiah Livers posting him up, the undersized guard made life difficult and forced Livers into a contested fadeaway that rolled off the rim.
While San Antonio couldn't put the Pistons away in regulation, and the game went into overtime. Graham continued what he started, scoring five more points, including another clutch three off a pump fake that sent his defender flying, giving the Spurs a four-point lead with 18.4 seconds to go.
Although the Pistons found a way to force a second overtime, Graham never scored another bucket, going cold in the additional extra period. The Spurs ultimately fell short of the win, but Graham made a statement in his first game donning the teal fiesta jersey.