Grades: San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors – Game #16

Despite a few stretches of strong play, the San Antonio Spurs dropped their 11th straight game. The Golden State Warriors hit 19-of-41 three-pointers to hold off the Spurs by a final score of 118-112. The Warriors also got to the free throw line twice as much as the Spurs while handing out 35 assists.

The Spurs got out to an early double-digit lead before quickly blowing the advantage, as South Texas’ team is wont to do. By halftime, the Warriors were up four points, 59-55.

In the third quarter, a Victor Wembanyama jumper gave the Spurs the lead. Unfortunately, the Warriors responded with a 16-0 to grab control of the game. To San Antonio’s credit, they were able to end the third period on a 14-4 run to make it 86-82 heading into the fourth.

In the final stanza, it appeared as if the Warriors would be able to waltz to victory. With 2:49 remaining, Golden State was up 15 points, 110-95. But that’s when Devin Vassell and Wembanyama jumpstarted an 11-0 run that took less than 90 seconds. Unfortunately, the Spurs missed a three-pointer that could have made it a one-point game and then the Warriors sealed their win by hitting their free throws in the closing seconds.

All in all, it was a solid effort. The Spurs looked really good for minutes at a time but couldn’t string together enough quality play to put an end to their losing streak. 

Stats: Spurs at Warriors

spurs warriors grades

Spurs at Warriors –  Final Grades

Victor Wembanyama

Wembanyama was far from perfect (six turnovers, 1-for-6 on three-pointers, a handful of defensive lapses) but there were a lot of positive signs. He fought for position and I was mostly pleased with his shot-selection. While he made a handful of mistakes on the defensive end (poor closeouts, getting caught standing and watching in the paint), his rim protection and perimeter defense got better as the game progressed. Wembanyama also had a few only-Wemby-could-do-that rebounds. Unfortunately, his sloppiness and carelessness on offense overshadowed a lot of the good he did on both ends.

Grade: B

Keldon Johnson

Given the circumstances, Johnson did just about as much as could have reasonably been expected. With the rest of the starting five hitting only 2-of-20 three-pointers, Johnson didn’t have much room to operate. However, his physical drives to the lane paid dividends, his passing was good, he attacked the offensive glass and he was able to knock down 3-of-7 three-pointers. Defensively, there were mistakes guarding three-point shooters but he competed with vigor, crashed the boards and relentlessly went after loose balls. It’s not always aesthetically-pleasing but Johnson is playing some of the best all-around basketball of his career.

Grade: A

Jeremy Sochan

It was another rocky ride on the Jeremy Sochan Point Guard Experiment. His lack of ball-handling ability was definitely a hindrance. His court vision was cloudy, to put it kindly. That said, I thought Sochan’s overall impact was either neutral or slightly positive. His defense was really good, especially compared to his teammates. On offense, while he wasn’t doing much playmaking, he also was more willing than usual to give up the ball and his quicker decision-making allowed his teammates to thrive. If Sochan can push the pace and not over-dribble, those are steps in the right direction.

Grade: B

Zach Collins

While I’m an advocate of Collins shooting a lot of three-pointers, his launching from deep wasn’t a pretty sight on Friday night. His threes were flat and not many of his misses were even close. He finished 0-for-7 from deep against Golden State. To make matters worse, he wasn’t doing a whole lot better from two-point range, either. Collins’ physicality in the paint wasn’t the best and he authored a few costly mistakes on both ends. He was able to retain a fair bit of value by passing the ball really well and doing adequate work on the glass.

Grade: C-

Malaki Branham

Branham isn’t an NBA player if he can’t shoot three-pointers. His 0-for-5 showing on threes versus the Warriors dropped his three-point shooting on the season to 25%. Not good. Against the Warriors, Branham’s defense was okay-ish and he was able to make his last two field goals after a 1-for-7 start. But, yeah, all in all, it was another disappointing night at the office for Branham.

Grade: D

Devin Vassell

Coming off the bench due to a minutes restriction in his second game back from injury, Vassell did well. He poured in a team-high 24 points despite only playing 27 minutes. His three-point shooting stroke was smooth, his step-back jumpers were sit-up-straight-your-chair impressive, his ability to create space was special and his drives to the hoop were burly. That said, Vassell’s overall cohesion with the bench unit was iffy and his defensive impact was inconsistent.

Grade: B+

Doug McDermott

McDermott did his job well. He shot when he was open, he moved well without the rock and made wise passing decisions. Defensively, his rotations were much faster than usual, which aided him in gathering a team-high three steals. McDermott didn’t do anything flashy but games like this are what the Spurs had in mind when they signed him.

Grade: A-

Cedi Osman

The good: Osman was excellent in transition. He ran hard and finished well at the rim. His decision-making offensively was mostly good. The bad: Osman’s three-point shooting is regressing to the mean, unfortunately. And though his defensive effort was there, his success on that end was spotty. The overall: Osman played with fire but his impact was muted by his missed threes and defensive miscues.

Grade: B-

Tre Jones

Defensively, Jones had some issues. The Spurs were switching a lot on defense, which made their backup point guard a liability more often than not. Then again, Jones salvaged some value on that end by playing the passing lanes. Offensively, he scored well and took care of the ball but his playmaking wasn’t up to his normal standards. 

Grade: C+

Charles Bassey

After an extremely messy affair in his previous outing, Bassey had a reaffirming performance in San Francisco. He displayed a sizable basketball IQ while making the right passes on offense and the right rotations on defense.

Grade: B

Pop

Pop took some time off of yelling at the crowd to coach a basketball game on Friday night. I continue to dislike the idea of not starting Vassell. Even if he’s on a minutes restriction, he should start. That decision has been made worse by how bad Branham has been when replacing Vassell. The rest of the rotation was okay, though. The playcalling wasn’t revolutionary or anything but it was good enough for the Spurs to win.

Grade: C+