Grades: San Antonio Spurs vs. New Orleans Pelicans – Game #25

Welp, one game after snapping their 18-game losing streak, the San Antonio Spurs are back in the loss column. On Sunday afternoon, the New Orleans Pelicans dominated on their way to an emphatic 146-110 victory.

The Spurs were able to keep things close for about half of the first quarter. After that, San Antonio’s offense dried up and New Orleans’ outside shooting caught fire. On their way to blowing the Spurs out, the Pelicans hit a franchise record 22 three-pointers.

All in all, it was a disappointing follow-up to the win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night. The Spurs were terrible on defense and stagnant and unwise offensively. The effort and focus were also lacking. 

Stats: Spurs vs. Pelicans

spurs pelicans grades

Spurs vs. Pelicans – Final Grades

Victor Wembanyama

Despite the Spurs getting annihilated, Wembanyama actually played really well. He forced a couple three-pointers and had a couple sloppy turnovers but otherwise this blowout wasn’t the rookie’s fault. In fact, he could have had a huge game if his teammates didn’t routinely miss him when he was wide open. As it was, Wembanyama was dominant on the boards, guarded the rim well, ran the court hard and was attentive on both ends. Let’s hope his teammates can do a better job of finding him as the season progresses.

Grade: A-

Devin Vassell

Coming off of a career-high 36 points, Vassell couldn’t come close to duplicating that effort. Offensively, he took a lot of difficult shots and ended up with an inefficient 13 points. Vassell rarely penetrated into the lane, which is part of the reason why scoring was difficult for him. I also wasn’t too impressed with his play on the defensive end. He was a step slow and too timid.

Grade: C-

Keldon Johnson

Johnson was in a hurry and never settled in. It was the most hectically spastic we’ve seen in a while. His three-point stroke was sped up and he missed a handful of bunnies at the rim. To make matters worse, he turned the ball over five times and didn’t do much defending on the other end. This loss wasn’t Johnson’s fault but he sure did play a leading role in San Antonio’s downfall.

Grade: D

Jeremy Sochan

Yikes, Sochan was pretty darn bad. Offensively, he was a liability from the opening minutes. He wasn’t confident in his jumper and then lost confidence in just about every facet of the sport. He kept his mistakes to a minimum but that wasn’t necessarily a positive because he wasn’t doing much of anything on either end. If Sochan isn’t going to play with passion and enthusiasm, it’s difficult having him on the court.

Grade: D

Malaki Branham

Eh, Branham’s final stats look okay but it was mostly a listless effort from the team’s current starting point guard. Defensively, he didn’t apply enough pressure to ever make a Pelican second-guess. Offensively, he had a couple good moves but his passiveness mostly allowed New Orleans to ignore his existence. Branham has to play a more aggressive brand of basketball to be a positive force for the Spurs.

Grade: C-

Cedi Osman

This is the fourth straight game that Osman was a bright spot for the good guys. He’s providing a spark whenever he steps foot off the bench. Osman is doing a great job of mixing hard-headed drives to the cup and long-range snipes when he has an open look from deep. He was also one of the better defenders for the Spurs this afternoon — but that wasn’t exactly a high bar, to be frank.

Grade: A-

Zach Collins

Collins did a poor job of holding down the fort when Wembanyama was on the bench. He wasn’t active enough offensively. While his rebounding was okay, his help-defense was a step slow and he wasn’t stout enough in one-on-one matchups. Collins has the wherewithal to be one of the best backup centers in the NBA but that level of play wasn’t seen on Sunday.

Grade: C-

Tre Jones

The good: After missing San Antonio’s win due to an illness, Jones was back in the lineup and he was flying around the court like usual. He was without question the best passer on his team. The bad: Jones missed two more three-pointers and the long and talented Pelicans were able to take advantage of Jones’ lack of size on defense from time to time.

Grade: C+

Doug McDermott

McDermott tried to get the Spurs going but instead added to the problems by forcing shots. Then, on the other end, he had a difficult time keeping up with New Orleans. I liked McDermott’s effort but the results were poor on both sides of the court.

Grade: C-

Julian Champagnie

On paper, it appears as if Champagnie had a very good game. He scored 15 points in only 14 minutes and was 5-for-6 from three-point range. However, the truth is that all five of Champagnie’s three-pointers came in garbage time in the fourth quarter. The game was long over by the time he nailed his first triple. So, yeah, take his numbers with a grain of salt.

Grade: B

Sandro Mamukelashvili

Mamukelashvili was given a few real minutes — and it didn’t go too well. Specifically, his defense was poor and he didn’t positively impact the game on the offensive end. For the game, he missed all three of his three-point attempts and his defense remained iffy even in garbage time.

Grade: C-

Devonte’ Graham

Graham is in the NBA because he’s a volume three-point shooter. With that in mind, it’s pretty crazy that it took until game No. 25 for him to hit his first threes of the season — especially because the Spurs have been so desperate for adequate point guard play.

Grade: Inc.


I’m not going to simply chalk this game up to the Pelicans hitting shots. Pop never really adjusted to New Orleans’ offensive gameplan or San Antonio’s sluggish scoring. The rotation could have been more imaginative and the playcalling could have forcefed Wembanyama more. 

Grade: D