For the first time all season, the San Antonio Spurs won a game in which they never trailed. Building a lead as big as 25, they scored the second-most points an NBA team has scored in a regulation game this season in their 136-117 win over the Sacramento Kings.
This was easily the best performance from the center position since Jakob Poeltl was sidelined, as Drew Eubanks contributed 18 points and six rebounds while Thaddeus Young pitched in 17 points, eight assists, and five boards in the contest.
Dejounte Murray continued his hot streak, scoring 26 while also tallying seven assists, six rebounds, and two steals. Meanwhile, Keldon Johnson was all over the place defensively, getting three steals and pulling sown 12 rebounds to go with his eight points.
All in all, it was an encouraging performance from San Antonio, but we can't expect them to make anywhere near 18 shots from beyond the arc per game. Still, we did learn a couple of important things that may be more sustainable for this team going forward.
1. The San Antonio Spurs are capable of playing well for 48 minutes
Wednesday's win was the first time all season the Spurs didn't have a prolonged rut offensively. As a result, they won or tied each of the four quarters. Of course, this can be expected when you're actually hitting your outside shots -- something San Antonio hasn't been doing for most of the season.
Defensively, the Spurs were mostly solid besides when they started to allow De'Aaron Fox into the lane for layup after layup. That's going to happen more often when Poeltl isn't protecting the rim though.
Still, going into halftime with a 17-point lead and keeping that margin after the third quarter was a great sign. The Spurs have had some painfully bad third quarters in recent memory, so not coming out sluggish should be something they can build on going forward.
2. The San Antonio Spurs can win if at least two 'DE's' play well
Between Dejounte, Derrick, and Devin, two guys are going to have to play well for the Spurs to have a chance at winning games. So far, Murray has been the only one of the three showing consistent excellence.
Unfortunately, Derrick White's offensive struggles continued through Wednesday's game, as he shot 1-for-6 for two points and has now missed 18 of his last 19 shots. He still played his usual stellar defense, but he'll need to pick things up on the other end of the court soon or things will start to get very difficult for the Spurs.
Fortunately, Devin Vassell stepped up in White's absence offensively, scoring 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc. It was the kind of ultra-efficient performance that can make up for some missing components, whether it be Poeltl's presence or White's jump shot.
Most importantly, the Spurs proved they can come out victorious when one of their leaders in Murray and White don't have things going. That should prove vital in the future as both guys look to maintain consistency in bids to be the next cornerstones of the franchise.