Grading the Spurs starters in improbable upset over championship contender

The San Antonio Spurs came roaring back steal the game from the Phoenix Suns. Here's how the starting five performed in their first road win.
Keldon Johnson drives on Grayson Allen
Keldon Johnson drives on Grayson Allen / Mike Christy/GettyImages
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The San Antonio Spurs took Halloween too seriously with their fright-night performance in the first half against the shorthanded Phoenix Suns. The offense was downright scary, while the defensive lapses were on the verge of causing fans to wake up in a sweat-filled panic with images of Grayson Allen seared into their minds. From unforced turnovers to abysmal shooting, everything went haywire, but it is a good thing NBA games last 48 minutes.

As it turns out, this matchup was not a horror movie but an inspired film of triumph and overcoming. The second half was full of poise, heroic play, and teamwork. San Antonio settled into their defensive coverages, mixing zone concepts into their man-to-man assignments. The ball movement was crisp, the spacing improved, and shots started falling, leading to the feel-good conclusion you expect from a family flick.

Jeremy Sochan

We will grade Sochan on a curve for the majority of the season. Learning a new position on the fly in the National Basketball Association is difficult for anyone. It is even more so when the player is a 20-year-old learning a new position. He had a poor shooting night, but it was encouraging to see him refrain from forcing many shots. The former lottery pick must clean up his defensive discipline as he ended the game on the verge of fouling out.

A point guard has numerous jobs, but the most fundamental part of the position is taking care of the ball. The Polish Prince finished the night with five assists and zero turnovers, a marked improvement after coughing up the rock four times against the Clippers. He also worked diligently on the defensive end of the floor, covering Kevin Durant to the best of his ability.

While still imperfect, it was a commendable effort with satisfactory results. Sochan will need to continue making quick reads and delivering the ball with accuracy to cutters and divers. That will come with time, but he has already made positive steps. The Baylor product has even shown an understanding of how to probe the defense for weakness and retreat safely if an advantage does not present itself. That is an advanced skill. We see you, Jeremy.

Grade: B-