The San Antonio Spurs dropped their second consecutive preseason game. This time, the 109-105 defeat was at the hands of an undermanned Miami Heat squad that was sitting most of their rotation players, including their three best players. The Spurs were without Jakob Poeltl (rest) but it’s not an encouraging sign that they struggled so much against a shell of a team. San Antonio wasn’t going all out to win the game but they tried hard enough that it’s discouraging that they didn’t play better.
Spurs vs. Heat: Final Grades
Murray’s stats across the board are impressive but he didn’t play as well as his numbers suggest. Defensively, he was trying hard but he was also gambling a lot, which limited his effectiveness. Offensively, he missed a lot of easy reads he has to make as the team’s starting point guard.
This was the second straight game in which Johnson rebounded nicely after a poor, hesitation-filled first half. In the final two quarters, Johnson poured in 18 points in 14 minutes and looked comfortable both inside and outside. Now the trick is stacking two strong halves on top of each other.
Eh, White was okay-ish. On defense, he was sporadically impactful but never really sustained any momentum. On offense, it was more of the same story. White looked ready to get rolling — only for him to get down on himself after a play or two didn’t go his way.
The Good: Eubanks authored a few thunderous dunks, rebounded with ferocity and continues to show more awareness passing-wise. The Bad: He didn’t always know where to be offensively and oftentimes ended up getting in the way. His help-defense and rim protection were again a step or two late.
Samanic got the start at power forward. While his statistics look fine, he didn’t actually play well enough to improve his standing with the team. If anything, he probably hurt his standing a little bit. Defensively, he had his moments where he used his length and athleticism well … but there were also moments where he was flailing around. Offensively, his scoring was okay but his decision-making was slow and his execution of plays was sloppy.
Lonnie Walker IV
Walker led the bench in minutes played but he didn’t take advantage of the playing time. Offensively, he struggled in just about every facet. His playmaking wasn’t special, his creation was lacking and his aggression level wasn’t high enough. Defensively, he was worse. Both individually and help-wise, Walker was too passive and too accommodating.
Forbes’ shooting, particularly from deep, was again a weapon of good for the bench unit. His decision-making was iffy at times but he hit enough shots to make up for it. Defensively, yeah, no, not good. The Heat attacked him and Forbes wasn’t anything more than a speed bump.
Solid play from McDermott. He came off the bench this game but Douglas played like an upstanding adult whose mature, classy, veteran demeanor had a calming effect on the kids around him. He exhibited good effort on defense and a team-first approach on offense.
This was a strange outing for Young. It seemed like every time he was about to do something great, he’d bobble the ball, airmail a pass or otherwise fail to put the finishing touches on a positive possession. The outlines were there of a player who could have been really helpful but he was just a tad bit off.
Mostly positives out of Vassell tonight. He was arguably the best defender on the team. Even when he was surrounded by sieves, he was able to make plays on that end. Offensively, he shot it straight. That said, I would have liked him to have seen him spread his wings even more on offense. There were multiple possessions where he didn’t even look at the rim.
More intriguing stuff from Landale. He’s obviously not going to be an all-world defender but he tries hard on that end and he’s physical. Offensively, he’s not shy about letting in fly, possesses innate passing instincts and operates well in pick-and-rolls. Hopefully he’s healthy after he was forced to leave the game in the fourth quarter after taking a shot to the noggin.
Primo played the last eight minutes of the tight affair. He didn’t do great but he also didn’t look overwhelmed, which is a good sign for an 18-year-old. Primo had a couple nice passes and he competed on defense.
I liked that Pop started Samanic, even though doing so caused the starting lineup to really struggle due to a lack of spacing. Samanic needs to play, especially in preseason, so that was a wise move. Going with Primo down the stretch was also a positive decision with the big picture in mind. More minutes for Vassell would have been appreciated, though. Overall, Pop can’t be thrilled with how his guys played against the Heat’s junior varsity team and he has to take some of the blame for the lackluster performance.