The San Antonio Spurs finished preseason play with a 126-98 victory over the Houston Rockets. The Spurs had control of the game throughout and cruised to victory. The Rockets were relying on an exceptionally young group of players, so it’s not too surprising that they struggled. That said, the Spurs should be pleased with their overall level of play.
Spurs vs. Rockets: Final Grades
Murray was silky smooth in all facets of the game. He ran the offense efficiently while expertly switching between creating for himself and creating for others. He kept the pace fast, which helped open up three-point avenues for his compadres. Defensively, he pressured the ball and played passing lanes relentlessly.
Though it wasn’t for a lack of effort, Johnson simply wasn’t that good. He spent most of his time on offense out of control. He made a few good passes but missed a handful of additional passing lanes. Defensively, his focus came and went.
This had to be White’s best preseason game. He seemed much more under control and much more confident. He was locked in and had a sufficient amount of aggressiveness on offense. His playmaking was also above average. On defense, White was a lot more active than we saw him in previous preseason action.
The Rockets played a lot of small lineups and Poeltl did a good job of taking advantage. He routinely got himself in advantageous positions and made Houston pay when switching a small onto him. Defensively, Poeltl was excellent out on the perimeter and also defended the rim well.
On offense, McDermott took a step forward in terms of learning how to play with his new teammates. He ran the court, found open space beyond the three-point line and pulled the trigger the instant the ball touched his fingertips. I also thought his passing was really good. Defensively and when he tried to dribble, things didn’t go as swimmingly, though.
Vassell led the bench in minutes and did well despite missing all four of his long balls. Defensively, he was clearly the best perimeter defender on the team. His transition defense was especially positive and he rebounded with force on both ends. Offensively, it was rarely pretty but Vassell found ways to contribute.
I didn’t like much of what Forbes did tonight. His defense was bad, he wasn’t fond of passing the ball and he didn’t shoot it especially straight.
Bates-Diop got a spot in the rotation and did okay. There were some intermittent miscues and he was obviously pressing as his spot on the roster is still up in the air … but he performed adequately. He played strong defense, was useful in transition and wasn’t a wallflower on offense.
You can do nothing but applaud Eubanks for his all-around level of production in only 14 minutes of playing time. He was burly in the middle and showed more deft out on the perimeter than usual. Eubanks was relentlessly physical and it paid off.
Lonnie Walker IV
Walker had some highlights on offense and some lowlights on defense. All in all, Walker needs to do more if he’s going to take the text step forward in his career. As it stands, there are too many rookie-like mistakes from Walker.
Primo played the final seven minutes of the game and he successfully entertained the home fans. Both of his baskets were of the highlight-reel variety. He also had a couple passes that were wise beyond his years. Defensively, he used his size well and flashed quick feet. Outside of a few moments where his ball-handling was shaky, the rookie once again shined.
Wieskamp is starting to look more comfortable playing against NBA competition. Instead of looking like he’s in awe of his surroundings, he’s beginning to scrap and play with a devil-may-care attitude.
I agree with the starting lineup, especially since it looks like the other four players are starting to learn how to unlock McDermott as a three-point threat. I liked Vassell playing a leading role off the bench. I liked giving Bates-Diop another extended look. I liked Forbes not playing until the second quarter. I didn’t like Forbes playing 22 of the final 36 minutes. Not giving Young any minutes when he’s so obviously out of sync with his teammates was questionable — unless there’s a trade lined up, that is.