Grades: San Antonio Spurs at Portland Trail Blazers – Game #47

The San Antonio Spurs scored easily against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night. Unfortunately, San Antonio’s defense was so bad that they didn’t stand a chance in Portland. The Blazers ran away with a 147-127 victory to improve to 22-25. The loss dropped the Spurs to 14-33.

The game was competitive until the Blazers went on a 13-0 run late in the third quarter to grab a 19-point lead. The Spurs were never able to get back into it.

The good guys gave up 147 points and, truthfully, it would have been worse if the Blazers didn’t go easy on the Spurs in the fourth quarter. Portland had 138 points with 6:44 remaining in the game. If the Blazers wouldn’t have called off the dogs, they were on their way to 160 points. Needless to say, winning games is difficult when you trot out five turnstiles. 

Spurs at Blazers – Final Grades

spurs blazers grades

Keldon Johnson

Johnson was one of the many poor defenders dressed in silver and black. Offensively, he was pretty good. I would have liked to see more consistent effort on both ends from Johnson but he was efficient on the offensive end, which in itself is a win. His shot-selection made sense, he finished well, he hit threes and he kept his mistakes to a minimum.

Grade: B-

Jakob Poetl

The good: Poeltl poured in 14 points in 16 minutes. When he caught the ball, he looked to inflict maximum damage. He was also strong on the boards and passed the ball well. The bad: Poeltl took himself out of the game by fouling five times in 16 minutes. When he wasn’t fouling, he could be found playing sub par defense. Poeltl couldn’t be bothered to swim in the deep waters out on the perimeter and was slow to react against penetration.

Grade: C+

Tre Jones

Jones efforted here and there on defense. That doesn’t sound like much but it stood out on this night. Offensively, he passed it well and had some slick finishes on the move. His stand-still jumper doesn’t look fluid right now — but at least he continues to let them fly. 

Grade: B-

Jeremy Sochan

Offensively, Sochan continues to show flashes of craft and skill. Sometimes he was out of control against the Blazers on offense but I loved a lot of what I saw. He uses his athleticism well when looking to score over the top of defenders. His passing on the move is precise and he sees the court well. And, hey, he’s now 6-for-7 from three-point range in his last three games. Defensively, Sochan was flying all over the place. Truth be told, despite the activity, his defense was mostly sound and fury, signifying nothing. But the rookie is learning and remains a fantastic defensive prospect.

Grade: A-

Romeo Langford

This was a second consecutive impressive showing by Langford. When he plays with confidence, he moves smoother than butter and he has little problem getting to his spots. He also has good touch when he’s not second-guessing himself. He finished with 12 points and only missed one shot all night long. On the other end, Langford’s defense wasn’t impactful on this night, mostly due to picking up needless fouls. 

Grade: B+

Malaki Branham

Branham did pretty well. I liked all of his shots and it appears as if he’s getting more comfortable with the NBA’s three-point line. Branham has made real strides in terms of believing in himself and not becoming passive when things aren’t going his way. Against the Blazers, I also liked his passing. That said, I thought he was too quick to give up on his ball-handling duties a few times. Branham should continue to work on dribbling against pressure whenever he gets the chance.

Grade: B-

Zach Collins

The good: Collins was aggressive on offense. He doesn’t hesitate to look to score when he thinks he has an advantage. His jumper also looks better than ever right now. Passing-wise, he’s letting go of the ball before his teammates even realize they’re open — which is a sign of a really good passer. The bad: Collins got sloppy on offense at times. Defensively, he struggled to hold his ground and his rotations were slow. That’s a difficult combination to overcome as a center. 

Grade: C+

Josh Richardson

Richardson can usually be counted on to bring defensive intensity to the table. Unfortunately, the table was bare this evening. Richardson wasn’t doing much on the defensive end other than watching the Blazers score the ball. Offensively, he was fine. He shot it well, passed it well and moved to the right spots.

Grade: C+

Doug McDermott

After a two-game stretch in which McDermott wasn’t moving like his normal self and was only 3-of-13 from the floor, he was back to looking like himself in Portland. He hit all three of his three-point attempts on his way to 13 points in 17 minutes. McDermott was cutting with speed and masterfully used screens. Defensively, he didn’t do much — but, then again, that’s status quo for him.

Grade: B

Stanley Johnson

The good: Johnson passed it well and set mean screens. In fact, a lot of the times he was passing and screening at the same time. He ran the court with purpose and was constantly plotting how to get his teammates open. The bad: Defensively, Johnson was uncharacteristically quiet. He never really applied much pressure to the Blazers. On offense, his decision-making wasn’t as crisp as usual and he was holding the ball too long too often. He also dribbled into traffic more than his share of times.

Grade: C 

Pop

It’s understandable that the Spurs lost to the Blazers in Portland … but the defense was so bad it was difficult to watch. To create a strong learning environment for young players, there has to be at least some accountability on the defensive end. That begins with Pop. I don’t mind the Spurs being the worst defensive team in the league but tonight was a step too far. 

Grade: C-