San Antonio Spurs: 5 Positives From Loss to the Miami Heat

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San Antonio Spurs
Keldon Johnson / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages

2. Keldon Johnson is a Beast

Luka Samanic had a poor start to the game, but it was nothing compared to Keldon Johnson’s. He was one of the main reasons the Spurs were losing by 19 points. He only scored five points in the first half and looked like someone who did not understand how to play the game of basketball.

He then proceeded to score nine of the first 11 points in the second half for San Antonio, put up 21 points in the second half, and was just generally unstoppable.

So what do the Spurs learn from this? Let Big Body play. Apparently, getting cold means nothing to him. Maybe Pop spent halftime yelling at him or lovingly explaining how to score, but whatever happened in the locker room worked. Johnson went on an absolute tear.

I was watching the game on Bally Sports Sun, home of Miami sports, and John Crotty remarked that Johnson appeared to be the best player on the court at that moment. He wasn’t wrong.

Keldon Johnson is a wrecking ball. It took him a while to get started, but once he did, Miami really had no answer. He could easily be the best player on the Spurs this season, and that wouldn’t be a bad thing. 

3. Dejounte Murray Should Guard the Best Player Every Night

Dejounte Murray only had three steals in the loss. You know he’s good because I said “only.” Despite the forgettable stat line, he was all over whoever had the ball as soon as they crossed halfcourt. He was a pest and the Heat were scared of him all game. Tyler Herro ran point for the Heat, and he scored 26 points. Almost all of them came in the interior because he was simply scared to take Murray one-on-one. Every time he had the ball behind the line he would pass it away or get a switch.

The Heat’s offense ran away from Murray in a very literal sense. At certain points, whenever Murray was in the corner, the Heat would make sure to keep the ball away from him at all costs, resulting in at least two poor passes into the post that resulted in turnovers. 

Murray is well known as a premier defender in the league, and his speed and wingspan allow him to guard taller players. No matter who it is, the Spurs should task Murray with defending the best player. The position doesn’t matter (unless it’s Joel Embiid or Giannis) because Murray is blisteringly quick and long. Let Murray challenge himself. He’s up for it.