Spurs' Embarrassing Effort Must Serve as Wake-up Call

San Antonio Spurs Keldon Johnson, Tre Jones
San Antonio Spurs Keldon Johnson, Tre Jones / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

The Detroit Pistons limped into their home arena with a 5-28 record and 13 inactive players on Saturday. By the end of the night, they showed the San Antonio Spurs how effort and energy can overcome seemingly impossible odds.

The Spurs were further hit by health and safety protocols before the matchup, losing Lonnie Walker and Doug McDermott in addition to Dejounte Murray, who hasn't played since December 23rd. (Murray cleared protocols recently, however, so is expected to be available as early as Tuesday.) Still, the Pistons' utter roster decimation should've made them an easy victory -- but I guess that's why they play the game.

After squandering a 17-point lead, the Spurs suffered their most humiliating defeat of the season, losing 117-116 on a Saddiq Bey miracle prayer shot that was answered in overtime. The loss left many, myself included, scratching their heads.

"We made a lot of mistakes on the defensive end," said Bryn Forbes after the game, who scored a team-high 27 points off the bench. "We went up by 17, we kind of took our foot off the pedal."

The Same issues keep coming back to haunt the Spurs

Not respecting their opponent enough to show 48 minutes of effort has been one of the biggest problems with this young Spurs team. They faced a similarly decimated Sacramento Kings roster in their recent west coast road trip and gave up 121 points in a loss.

While cold shooting nights will happen (and it did), the effort level can't be as low as it was against Detroit again. The Spurs are inconsistent as it is -- giving up a 63-48 advantage on the glass is simply inexcusable. There were several instances of the Pistons simply outhustling the Spurs when it mattered most, including frustrating moments like this one.

I was expecting another patented use of the word "soft" from Coach Gregg Popovich after the game, but from what I could tell, that didn't happen. That might've been a missed opportunity.

There will come a point where simply saying "we got complacent with a lead" or "we got too comfortable" will start to sound like empty words when they keep happening over and over.

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The Spurs will have two days to watch film, correct their miscues, and hopefully get some guys back for a Tuesday evening showdown with the Toronto Raptors. If they show even a remotely similar effort again, they should prepare for several more frustrating losses in the near future.