Grades: Spurs @ Knicks – Game #61

DeMar DeRozan C+
Offensively, there’s not much to complain about. DeRozan was efficient (32 points on 22 shots) and didn’t turn the ball over. He only had four assists but that was due to the Knicks not sending much help his way. New York was daring DeRozan to beat them and his offensive production was there. Defense was another story. DeRozan was terrible on that end. Energy, focus and physicality were all lacking. 

LaMarcus Aldridge C
Aldridge’s evening was derailed by foul trouble. A few of the fouls were of the dumb variety, so he deserves an ample amount of blame for the fouls that saddled him. Offensively, Aldridge was solid during his time on the court. He could have been more aggressive but still was efficient despite an overreliance on fadeaways. Defensively, Aldridge was disinterested for much of the game. He tried to turn up the intensity late but it wasn’t enough. 

Rudy Gay C
On defense, Gay looked slow — both in terms of navigating around screens to close out to shooters and staying in front of his man. Offensively, he never found much of a rhythm. Gay should have done more on offense considering the Knicks weren’t doubling anybody but he never really had the opportunity. His teammates are to blame for some of that but Gay also wasn’t forceful enough. 

Bryn Forbes D-
Forbes had some trash points late to inflate his anemic offensive stats. His jumper looks flat coming out of the All-Star break and his confidence is shaky. Forbes also seems to have regressed in terms of providing ball-handling help. Defensively, he was atrocious against the Knicks. He couldn’t stay with Dennis Smith Jr. and his contesting of three-point shots was pitiful. Forbes started the game but didn’t start the second half after a disastrous first half showing. 

Davis Bertans C-
It’s becoming safe to say Davis Bertans shouldn’t be a starter. At least not with this roster. On offense, he wasn’t involved. The Knicks weren’t doubling so Bertans was basically worthless on that end of the court. Defensively, I thought he made a lot of good decisions and was one of the few Spurs players in the right spot more often than not … but the Knicks were still able to score over and around him more often than not. 

Patty Mills D-
Ouch. Mills finished the game 2-for-14 from the court, including 0-for-7 on two-pointers. His shot-selection around the rim was soft; petrified of getting his shot blocked, Mills oftentimes just flipped the ball up prematurely. Instead of being a stabilizing veteran presence, he too often played too reckless and without enough foresight on offense. Defensively, Mills had a couple positive plays in his early stints but became more and more sieve-like as the game progressed. 

Marco Belinelli C-
San Antonio desperately needed a spark from Belinelli but that spark never arrived. His off the ball movement wasn’t as good as usual. He wasn’t making plays. Add in a lot of sub par defense and it was a bad night at the office for Belinelli. 

Jakob Poeltl B
Of the regular rotation players, Poeltl was the sole bright spot. On offense, he took advantage of smaller defenders, beasted on the offensive boards and passed the ball well. Defensively, he wasn’t quite as good. His awareness in the paint was lacking and too often gave up easy shots without a contest. That said, his mobility was one of the few assets the Spurs had on their side. 

Dante Cunningham B-
Eh, Cunningham played an average Cunningham game. He gave effort and energy on both ends but didn’t mix in enough talent to move the needle much. 

Quincy Pondexter B
Pondexter was the only player who brought palpable grit to the court. He was hustling on defense and had a couple impressive drives on offense. In hindsight, he should have played more. 

Pau Gasol D
Gasol looked like a slab of meat that wasn’t quite yet done defrosting before he was sent into the game. He was the opposite of limber and couldn’t move well enough to be of much use. He rebounded well and was unselfish but he couldn’t provide what the Spurs needed on this night. 

Pop D-
Embarrassing loss by Pop and the Spurs. There’s no other way to say it. The Knicks had lost 18 games in a row at home. Unacceptable loss for a team with the goal of making the playoffs. As for Pop’s coaching, there was a whole lot I didn’t like: Poeltl should have played Gasol’s minutes, Mills played way too much, Forbes played too much, sticking with Pondexter would have been smart, and Belinelli and/or Gay could have sopped up a few more minutes. In Pop’s defense, he had a whole lot of guys playing poorly and was without Derrick White (injury management) so it wasn’t the simplest of games to coach.

LJ Ellis