Grades: San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Clippers – Game #17

In arguably the most disappointing game of the season so far for the Silver and Black, the San Antonio Spurs (6-11) fell to the Los Angeles Clippers (10-7) by a final score of 119-97. This game was basically over in the first quarter. The Clippers won the opening period 40-22 and the Spurs never really made it interesting from then on.

Why was this game so disappointing? The Spurs lacked fire, didn’t hustle and, most alarmingly, didn’t compete. San Antonio hasn’t done a lot of winning lately but they’ve almost always played hard. Tonight … that didn’t happen. Instead, they played nonchalant defense from the opening tip and didn’t seem to have much of a plan on the offensive end.

Spurs at Clippers – Final Grades

spurs clippers grades

Keldon Johnson

This was a very forgettable game for Johnson. He didn’t have it going from the outside so he had to subsist on physical drives to the hoop. While he scored a few times in the paint, he wasn’t doing much playmaking or even looking for teammates. Defensively, he was mostly just going through the motions.

Grade: C-

Jakob Poeltl

Poeltl scored a team-high 20 points but he could have had even more if he didn’t miss a handful of easy shots right at the rim. I loved his aggression on that end but he’s usually much more efficient. But, hey, he hit all four of his free throws and didn’t have a turnover. Defensively, his effort was decent but his impact was minimal.

Grade: B

Tre Jones

Jones once again weaponized his speed and his passing was stout. After struggling with turnovers early in the season, that’s becoming less and less of an issue. What’s holding Jones back now is his touch in the lane. He’s creating open looks for himself but his floaters just aren’t going in as often as they went in last season. Jones also missed both of his threes — including one he airballed by a couple feet.

Grade: C+

Jeremy Sochan

Ouch. This was clearly Sochan’s worst game of his career. Call it a hangover after his memorable dunk last game but the rookie was simply bad against the Clippers. Defensively, he wasn’t impactful on the ball or off the ball. Offensively, his evening is encapsulated by the fact that he had seven of San Antonio’s 15 turnovers. Sochan was also passing up open shots and instead camped out in the lane, which clogged the paint for everyone else.

Grade: D-

Keita Bates-Diop

There were moments where Bates-Diop played well. On defense, he started off really strong but his energy level on that end waned as the game progressed. Offensively, he did well in transition and when there was a path to slither his way through the lane. That said, he missed a couple open teammates and he wasn’t always running the court hard.

Grade: B

Charles Bassey

Bassey was really bad last game but he bounced back with a better performance tonight. He still wasn’t nearly as good as he was in his first few games with the Spurs — but it was definitely an improvement. His rebounding was strong and his overall movement was better. That said, he needs to finish stronger around the basket, roll off of screens with more purpose and pass with more understanding of what’s going on. Defensively, he had chances to block shots but he came up empty.

Grade: C+

Isaiah Roby

Roby hit all three of his three-pointers last game and then hit his first three-point attempt this game. Unfortunately, that’s when his accuracy disappeared. He kept firing but he missed his final four shots from downtown. The rest of his night was nondescript. He had a few notable moments here and there where he used his athleticism to his advantage — but he didn’t really move the needle in either direction.

Grade: C+

Josh Richardson

Richardson missed all three of his three-point attempts but was otherwise solid. He was 3-for-4 inside of the arc, made a handful of quality passes and did a better job than usual of playmaking within the offensive sets. Richardson was also one of the few players who efforted to an acceptable level on the defensive end.

Grade: B

Doug McDermott

McDermott was San Antonio’s best offensive weapon. He came out firing and ended up going 3-for-4 from downtown and 2-for-2 on two-pointers. His movements and cuts on offense were sharp and purposeful. Take McDermott out of the equation and the rest of the team shot 18.1% on three-pointers and 38.3% overall. 

Grade: A-

Malaki Branham

Branham hit his first field goal attempt — a catch-and-shoot three-pointer. He didn’t do much else tonight, though. Well, he did draw Pop’s ire by playing poor defense on a number of occasions — particularly in transition. 

Grade: C

Jordan Hall

Hall flashed ball-handling ability and more passing ability. He didn’t hit a shot from the field but his form looks good enough. Hall isn’t much of an athlete but his advanced feel and the fact that the undrafted rookie is a 6-foot-7 guard gives him a chance to stick. 

Grade: C+

Dominick Barlow

There were moments of intrigue from Barlow. His running of the court and the way he moves laterally is shockingly fluid for a center. He also had a slick fadeaway jumper during garbage time. Barlow is still very, very raw but he has some tools to work with.

Grade: B

Pop

I didn’t like the starting lineup Pop trotted out there. Four reluctant shooters and Johnson versus a long, active defense was a recipe for disaster. All they had to do was keep a hand up on Johnson and then the rest of San Antonio’s offensive attack was irreparably clogged. With the Spurs struggling to score, I thought playing either Branham or Hall would have helped. The Spurs needed players with legitimate guard skills on the court — but Branham and Hall sat until garbage time.

Grade: D