The San Antonio Spurs completed a miraculous comeback in regulation but, unfortunately, they ended up losing to the Atlanta Hawks in double overtime, 134-129. The Spurs are now 24-22 on the season, while the Hawks improved to 24-24.
After leading almost the entire game, the Hawks had the ball up by four points with 18 seconds to go in the fourth quarter. That’s when Derrick White got a steal to spark the first comeback. The Spurs trailed by five points with 90 seconds remaining in the first overtime but again authored a second comeback to force a second overtime session. In double overtime, Trae Young scored or assisted on all 15 Hawks points and the Spurs had no more comebacks left in them.
All in all, it was another disappointing loss on this disappointing nine-game homestand. Tonight, the Spurs struggled to string together positive possessions. They were constantly suffering breakdowns and, ultimately, that was too much to overcome.
The Spurs were within one point in the second overtime with 33 seconds to go. The Spurs played decent defense on the ensuing possession but Danilo Gallinari hit a three-pointer with 11.8 seconds to put the Hawks up four points and end the game.
Sure, the Hawks hitting 13-of-24 three-pointers is impressive. But even more impressive is the fact that Clint Capela was 10-for-10 at the free throw line. For his career, he’s a 52.8% free throw shooting. This season, he was hitting 55.0% of his free throws coming into this game. 10-for-10? Ouch.
Spurs vs. Hawks: Final Grades
The good: For the most part, DeRozan was an offensive dynamo tonight. He finished with 36 points and nine assists while hitting more than half of his attempts and turning the ball over once. That’s awesome, applause-worthy work. The bad: DeRozan was just 1-for-6 from the field in the overtime sessions. Defensively, he was really bad throughout. The Hawks picked on him repeatedly and had a lot of success. His help-defense was painfully slow or completely nonexistent.
The good: White was firing away from three-point territory all night long — and he ended up hitting 7-of-13 from deep. His career-high seven threes propelled White to a regular season career-high of 29 points. Defensively, he was trying hard and had big plays here and there. The bad: White got cooked by Bogdan Bogdanovic on defenses for stretches at a time. Bogdanovic had 28 points on 7-for-12 shooting, with most of that coming against White. On offense, White’s playmaking and dribble-drive game weren’t anywhere near as prolific as his three-point shooting.
Add Poeltl to the list of players whose final statistics look better than their actual impact on the game. It’s great that he stayed out of foul trouble and remained a threat on offense. But on defense, the Hawks put him in pick-and-rolls and had a whole lot of success. To make matters worse, Poeltl was weak on the defensive glass. Combine those two issues with the fact that Clint Capela finished with 28 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks and you can start to see why Poeltl’s numbers weren’t all they’re cracked up to be.
The good: Murray shot well from two-point range. He took care of the ball. On defense, he held Trae Young in check for the vast majority of the night. Murray’s rebounding was also legitimately helpful. The bad: His playmaking and passing weren’t as sharp as usual. He wasn’t hitting teammates when and where they needed the ball. Defensively, he had a couple of mental blunders that hurt the team.
The good: Johnson can hurt the spacing when he’s not shooting wide open three-pointers. Tonight, that wasn’t an issue, as he shot five three-pointers in 27 minutes of play. On the defensive end, he was an asset on the glass. The bad: Johnson shot poorly and his perimeter defense was also sub par. That’s an unfortunate combination that kept him on the sidelines.
Oof. Mills was scrapping on defense most of the night but his 1-for-10 shooting really hurt the team. The bench unit struggled to hang on to momentum, specifically due to his inability to hit shots. Mills wasn’t helping matters by launching needless shots when he lacked a clear look. Passing was another weakness for him for most of the game. He had some okay passes late but, unfortunately, his shot never came around.
Gay was pretty darn bad for a lot of the evening. Through three quarters, he might have been the worst player on the court. Thankfully, he got it going in the money periods. In the fourth, Gay had nine points, four rebounds and three assists to lead the Spurs in each of those categories in the quarter. In the overtime sessions, Gay hit a pair of three-pointers and was the only Spur who made more than one field goal in the overtimes. Obviously, Gay’s strong closing push was appreciated but maybe San Antonio wouldn’t have been in such of a desperate predicament if he had played better earlier.
On offense, Vassell seemed to try to turn up the volume a little bit — with iffy results. That said, it’s good to see him trying to spread his wings. Defensively, he had a couple of mistakes but negated those mistakes with a couple of heady plays.
Eubanks was throwing his body around and was able to hold his own. His lack of basketball IQ was obviously an issue at times but he avoided being a liability by playing really hard.
The good: Pop didn’t lean as much on Mills as he usually does, which was particularly good in this game. Net-net, I thought his playcalling was a positive. The Spurs had quality looks at key moments. The bad: Going with a short rotation on the second night of a back-to-back ended up being a bad idea with how the game played out. The Hawks were packing the paint on defense and running middle pick-and-rolls on offense — a gameplan most teams are now using against the Spurs. There have been some attempts to counter but Pop and the coaching staff are still trying to figure out a workable plan that is effective night in and night out.
The Spurs are 2-5 on this homestand. San Antonio needs to finish it off with two wins to stop it from being an utter disaster. The first of those two games is Saturday against the Indiana Pacers.