The San Antonio Spurs dropped to 4-8 on the season after falling to the Dallas Mavericks by a final score of 123-109. This game wasn’t even as close as the final score would indicate. The Mavs grabbed an early lead, dominated both ends of the court and coasted to an easy W. The Spurs showed some life in the fourth quarter but it was far too little, far too late.
Murray just wasn’t active enough on either end. His playmaking was limited and he wasn’t creating often enough for himself or others. His defense was subdued in all phases. Overall, he was too inefficient and too decaffeinated for the Spurs to rally behind.
The good: Johnson entered the game with four made three-pointers on the season. Against Dallas, he was 3-for-6 from downtown. That was great to see because he’s not going to become a valuable starter if he can’t hit threes consistently. His rebounding was also stout. The bad: Defensively, he was ineffective on the inside and outside. Offensively, he was only 2-for-8 on two-pointers and forced the action repeatedly.
I liked how McDermott played. His one-on-one defense was solid, even when switched onto Dallas’ most lethal weapons. On offense, McDermott was moving well, hit difficult three-pointers and also reliably made the right pass.
Friday night was a struggle for Eubanks. The Mavs were forcing him to switch a lot and he usually looked like a fish out of water. Eventually, he ended up fouling out. Production-wise, Eubanks was fine but those numbers don’t tell the story of how out of sorts he looked in most areas of the game.
White was a little bit better after having two terrible outings but he is still clearly in a funk. He was too muted and too bashful on the offensive end. He’s just not pulling his weight on that end of the court right now. Defensively, he wasn’t a whole lot better. He’s typically really strong on D after switches but that wasn’t the case against the Mavericks, as he wasn’t putting up much of a fight when the cards were stacked against him.
Vassell led the team in scoring with 20 points. While some of his production came in garbage time, it’s still fair to say he was the best thing the Spurs had going on the offensive end. His jumper looks pure and he flashed the ability to create on the move. Defensively, he kept his head up and was actively making plays whenever he had an opportunity to do so.
Yeah, this was easily Young’s worst game of the season. Defensively, he got toasted on the perimeter countless times. To make matters worse, he did nothing to protect the rim and was invisible on the glass. He fared better offensively but his defense was so bad that any positives from the other end were negated.
Lonnie Walker IV
Walker’s final stats don’t look especially pretty but I didn’t have an issue with how he played. He took the right shots, he remained aggressive and he played with force. Even his defense was a little bit better than usual. Specifically, he skied for contested rebounds much more often than usual.
Forbes wasn’t good — at all. Defensively, he played the role of a speed bump most of the evening. The Mavs easily scored when they got the mismatch they wanted against him. Offensively, he really struggled to get open. He compounded that issue by being extremely sloppy and also missing wide open teammates.
Jones had a few opportunities to shine but I wasn’t pleased by his performance. The Mavericks were daring him to do anything on offense and Jones couldn’t make them pay. If Jones isn’t going to shoot when his defender goes 15 feet under a screen, he’s not going to make it. His hustle on defense was commendable, though.
A single adjustment here or there would have been nice. Dallas entered the contest with the game plan to force switches and then either isolate San Antonio’s smalls in the post or isolate San Antonio’s bigs on the perimeter. The Mavs had success over and over and over and over again and Pop did nothing to counter it. Using bigger lineups may have helped. Trapping might have done something. Avoiding switches was worth a look. But, instead, we witnessed the same defensive breakdowns the entire night.
The Spurs now head out on a three-game road trip. It begins in Los Angeles against the Lakers on Sunday. The Spurs need at least one win on this trip to stop what could otherwise turn into an extended tailspin.