The San Antonio Spurs are now 0-2 in preseason action after falling to the Houston Rockets by a final score of 112-98. The Spurs led by six points after the first quarter but got outscored 87-67 the rest of the way. San Antonio will play Houston again on Thursday to complete their abbreviated preseason schedule.
The good: Aldridge launched four more three-pointers, was active in the paint and seemed to be mentally engaged. He was also playing hard — on a preseason scale, at least. The bad: The 35-year-old looked immobile at times and passed up a few shots that he should have let fly.
The good: DeRozan’s passing was on point, he was creating open looks for himself and hustled more than usual on defense. The bad: Despite the hustle, his work on the defensive end was rarely helpful. DeRozan also could have completed more plays on offense.
Gay looks solid, especially compared to the sluggish way he began last season. He’s moving freely, elevating well and his shot looks as natural as ever. Gay also exhibited some life on defense and did good work on the boards. He played more at power forward this game, which helped in terms of hiding his quickness, or lack thereof.
Once again, Murray was a hurricane of activity. The good: His court vision was better than usual and he was more patient than usual when the ball was in his hands. He picked his spots much better than he did in the preseason opener. His defense was also improved. The ball: He was careless with the ball. His ball-handling ability was missing in action, as he was coughing it up left and right. Murray sometimes broke off plays to call his own number, even though it resulted in him forcing the issue.
Lonnie Walker IV
Walker wasn’t quite as good as his numbers suggest. Yes, he led the Spurs in scoring with 17 points and was 6-for-11 from the court. But outside of knocking down open threes, he was inconsistent on offense. He made a handful of questionable decisions with the ball and could have dialed up his aggression level a few notches. Defensively, it was hit or miss — but mostly miss. He got beat off the dribble too easily and his rotations weren’t smooth.
It wasn’t a great game for the rookie but Vassell continues to look like a promising prospect. Defensively, his help instincts are superb, which led to a team-high four steals. However, he’s obviously still adjusting to NBA athletes, and that has made his man-to-man defense uneven. Offensively, I liked his aggressiveness and didn’t have an issue with his decisions. Attacking the rim with more vigor would be helpful, though.
Yikes. Lyles was terrible in the game’s first three quarters. When he wasn’t missing shots, he was flubbing plays or getting in the way. He hit three shots in late in the fourth to avoid a complete and utter disaster but he was still bad. On defense, he was a step slow and wasn’t communicating well. The only bright spot was his rebounding and his ability to help push the pace right after grabbing a carom.
Mills was still in FIBA Patty mode but he didn’t have as much success this time around. He was looser with the ball than usual and Houston’s athletes flustered him on both ends of the court. Passing-wise, he missed a few opportunities.
Back on the bench, Poeltl had an active night — but it wasn’t all positive activity. He was trying to be more forceful on offense, particularly when the Rockets defended him with a small. His success in those situations wasn’t consistent. Defensively, he was good in the paint but was slow to switch off onto the perimeter at times.
Jones played the entire fourth quarter and looked pretty good. His true point guard ability was a breath of fresh air at times. He understands angles and makes smart passes, two traits that can be a rarity on this team. Defensively, he stuck his nose into the middle of the action and never backed down. It’ll be interesting to see if he will be able to score well enough to have an NBA career — because other than that aspect, he looks legit already.
I didn’t see much that made me think Reynolds could be an NBA player. He wasn’t terrible but his athleticism doesn’t jump off the screen and his size isn’t especially notable. It’s obvious he knows how to play, which at the very least makes him a useful piece on a G League team.
Eubanks was the center of the action during the contest’s final eight minutes. He was posting up repeatedly like it was 1995 all over again. He didn’t really move the needle — but, then again, the needle probably wasn’t even watching this preseason game that late into garbage time.
Pop replaced Poeltl in the starting lineup with Walker, which is a step in the right direction. That gigantic starting lineup he went with in the preseason opener would be suicide in the regular season. Running plays for Walker and allowing Vassell to play a team-high 32 minutes? I can’t complain.