Grades: San Antonio Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies – Game #12

Another valiant fight, another loss for the San Antonio Spurs. This time, the Spurs fell to the Memphis Grizzlies in overtime, 124-122. The Spurs have now lost five straight games and are 5-7 on the season.

In the first three quarters, the two teams traded runs. The Spurs found themselves in double-digit holes at two different points of the game but fought back both times. San Antonio started playing really good basketball at the end of the third quarter and entered the final stanza with a five-point lead.

With the Spurs down four points with four and a half minutes left in regulation, Keldon Johnson hit a three-pointer to spark another run by the Spurs. With the game tied and 6.6 seconds remaining, Johnson had an eight-footer roll out at the buzzer that would have given the good guys the win.

In overtime, things went south for the Spurs in a hurry. With less than two minutes remaining, San Antonio was down by nine points. But that’s when they went on another run — this time an 8-0 run that was capped by a fast break layup by Sochan and then a thunderous dunk by Sochan after he stole the inbounds pass.  

Down two points with five seconds remaining, Devin Vassell got a clean look at a three-pointer but, like Johnson’s shot at the end of the fourth quarter, the potential game-winner bounced off the rim.

Overall, I thought this was another really, really good game by the young Spurs. They went up against a team with a lot of experience and a lot of talent and nearly got a win even though no player on the Spurs was in an especially good groove offensively. The grit and camaraderie this team is showing are traits that should pay off in the long run. 

Spurs vs. Grizzlies – Final Grades

spurs grizzlies grades

Keldon Johnson

Johnson had an uncharacteristically ragged night at the office. His shot wasn’t falling from any distance (2-for-7 on twos, 2-for-8 on threes and 6-for-10 at the line) and he was having trouble getting open with the Grizzlies keying on him. To Johnson’s credit, he kept battling and was able to positively impact the game in multiple facets. He hit a couple big shots, ripped down important boards and passed it decently well. I also thought his defense was better than usual. This was one of Johnson’s worst games of the season but it’s a positive sign that he was still able to find ways to contribute.

Grade: C

Devin Vassell

Vassell was clearly San Antonio’s best offensive weapon on this night. His jumper continues to look phenomenal and his ability to create his own looks is seemingly growing by the day. Another area Vassell is showing great growth is passing. Suddenly, he’s now able to find teammates when on the move — something he had never done too much of previously. Defensively against the Grizzlies, he authored four or five highlights on that end throughout the game.

Grade: B+

Jakob Poeltl

After having a quiet stretch of games offensively, Poeltl rediscovered his scoring touch on Wednesday night. He was rolling with purpose, catching everything and was aggressive calling his own number. His work on the offensive glass was also helpful. Defensively, Poeltl was mostly good — particularly in pick-and-roll coverage. That said, he struggled on the defensive glass. Pulling down three defensive rebounds wasn’t nearly good enough, especially since Steven Adams grabbed ten offensive rebounds. 

Grade: B

Tre Jones

The good: Jones finished with a career-high 11 assists. He exhibited impressive court vision throughout. His help-defense was also timely. The bad: Jones struggled to put the ball in the basket. He missed a lot of shots he usually makes. I also thought his decision-making was uneven at times and his man-to-man defense was a liability in practically every matchup this game.

Grade: C+

Jeremy Sochan

Offensively, Sochan was much better than usual. He wasn’t shying away from the three-point line, which helped open up the spacing. His athleticism in the open court and around the rim was game-changing. Defensively, Sochan spent a lot of time against Ja Morant and Desmond Bane, which is almost inconceivable for a power forward. He wasn’t amazing on defense but the rookie is quickly learning and is quickly becoming a defensive powerhouse. A couple areas of improvement: Sochan needs to rebound better and he can’t be bashful about taking open shots.

Grade: B+

Doug McDermott

McDermott was having a hard time getting open beyond the three-point arc but he was still able to produce due to his timely cuts to the hoop — with and without the ball. Against a smaller Grizzlies squad, McDermott played a lot more power forward than usual. It’ll be interesting to see if this was simply due to the Memphis matchup or if it’s a look Pop will go to more often going forward. 

Grade: B-

Josh Richardson

Richardson shot well from three-point territory but everything else was a struggle. When he’s running the team as the backup point guard, San Antonio’s offensive attack is so chaotic and unkempt. Richardson had more unsightly turnovers, forced up a few unwise shots and generally was way too wild for a veteran who is supposed to bring a steadying hand to the mix.

Grade: C-

Romeo Langford

Langford was decent. Defensively, there was more good than bad but he wasn’t nearly as impactful on that end as we’ve seen this season. Offensively, Langford was mostly passive but there were a few moments here and there where he remembered that he’s actually a talented offensive player. Overall, he continues to show intriguing flashes but Langford will need to do more to win a permanent spot in the rotation.

Grade: B-

Charles Bassey

With Zach Collins out about a month with a non-displaced fracture in his leg, Bassey is now the team’s new backup center. Once again, the 22-year-old looked really promising. His maturity on the court is far beyond his years. I love the patience he plays with offensively and how he utilizes footwork and craft around the rim. He’s also a smart screener and a better passer than advertised. Defensively, he has quick hands and can get off the ground to block shots. Bassey isn’t the biggest center and he’s not the most athletic but it looks like he knows how to play and it looks like he has a nose for the ball.

Grade: A-

Pop

This was another well coached game by Pop. I love how much he’s leaning on Sochan and how he’s throwing him into the fire on the defensive end. I really like how Pop is rolling with Bassey instead of the safer play of going with Gorgui Dieng. Making time for Langford was another worthwhile move in my opinion. In terms of play-calling, Johnson and Vassell had great game-winning opportunities. All in all, I don’t see anything Pop did that I disagreed with. 

Grade: A