The shorthanded San Antonio Spurs lost to the Miami Heat at the AT&T Center on Thursday night, 112-95. The Spurs were without Dejounte Murray, Jakob Poeltl, Jock Landale, Zach Collins, and Keita Bates-Diop while the Heat came into town with an intact roster.
It would be easy to blame the injuries for the loss, or the fact that the Heat are second in the Eastern Conference and are expected to compete for a title, while the Spurs are simply not that good, even when healthy. However, the Spurs shot only 37.5% from the floor and 24% from behind the arc.
It was the Spurs’ worst shooting game since their February 9th, 2021 loss last season to the Warriors, when they shot 37.2%. In that game, they did manage to make a third of their threes, which saved a scrap of dignity at least.
None of the Spurs’ usual suspects could hit a shot against the Heat. Keldon Johnson was 3/12, Devin Vassell was a dismal 2/9, Joshua Primo was only 1/13 and missed all six 3-point attempts, and Lonnie Walker was 2/10, which is really bad, even given his already poor play this season.
Some players did have unexpectedly solid performances. Derrick White shot 4/7 from deep to finish with 22 points and Tre Jones racked up 16 points on 50% shooting and went 6/8 from the free-throw line, although both of his misses came on technical shots. Thaddeus Young also shot well on limited attempts and grabbed eight boards, which might be the boost his trade value needs.
The Miami Heat had a better-than-average shooting night, which certainly helped their winning effort. However, the Spurs' defense held them to 83 shots instead of their 86 average. Keeping that in mind, if the Spurs shot their season average, they would have scored 111 points.
111 would not be quite enough to win, but a close loss to a very good team while shorthanded would keep fans who want success this season happy and would keep the tankers excited for the NBA Draft Lottery.
The Spurs were not expected to or supposed to win this game, but when they could have kept it much closer than they did even without their two best players, fans have a reason to be upset. It’s easy for me to say “just make shots” while I watch the game from my couch, but at the end of the day, basketball is a game where putting the ball in the basket is the most important thing you can do.
If you’re relying on Derrick White and Tre Jones (the only two Spurs in double figures) to put up points for you, you need to reevaluate the talent level on the team.