The lone bright spot on a night of mostly underwhelming Spurs performances, Devin Vassell posted a career-high 23 points on 7-of-13 shooting from 3-point range. Playing with poise all night long, he stepped up in a huge way on the big stage.
Coming into Wednesday's game, Vassell had not made more than five threes in a game in his pro career. After hitting his first two from outside less than two full minutes into the game, he had all the confidence he needed to keep shooting and be a difference-maker.
When the Pelicans tried to pull away late in the fourth quarter, he hit threes to cut the deficit to single digits on two separate occasions in the final three minutes. This shooting display could be what we look back on as the starting point of a major leap in Vassell's development. Either way, it was a wonderful way for Devin to end his season on an individual level.
We discussed Jakob Poeltl's matchup with Jonas Valanciunas as one of the most important factors leading up to the game. After Valanciunas had his way against the Spurs in the play-in last year, I think Jakob played a much better overall game while matched up with the Lithuanian big man this time around.
While Poeltl didn't defend entirely without fouling in this game, there were definitely a few questionable calls made against him, and I thought he held his own against some tough matchups in Valanciunas and Jaxson Hayes.
Shooting 70% from the field and finishing as the only Spurs starter with a positive plus-minus, Jakob played his role well and gave San Antonio good enough post play to have a chance of winning.