Grades: San Antonio Spurs at New Orleans Pelicans – Game #72

The San Antonio Spurs were the heavy underdogs on Tuesday night against the New Orleans Pelicans. While the Spurs were able to hang around for the beginning stages of the first quarter, the Pelicans grabbed control of the game by the end of the first period and cruised to a 119-84 victory.

The bottom line is the Spurs simply didn’t have enough offensive talent to compete. San Antonio was playing without four starters: Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell, Jeremy Sochan and Zach Collins. Add in a poor shooting night that saw the good guys shoot worse than 35% from the floor and the Spurs had no chance of competing.

Spurs at Pelicans – Final Grades

spurs pelicans grades

Tre Jones

Considering the circumstances, Jones played pretty well. His finishing in the lane was fine, he took open three-pointers, he was spotting open players with pinpoint passes and he took care of the ball. Defensively, he tried hard on the perimeter and even battled in the paint when necessary.

Grade: B+

Sandro Mamukelashvili

For much of the evening, Mamukelashvili was the best player on the court for the Spurs. Offensively, he came out like a man on a mission, while most of his teammates came out like they were stuck in mud. He shot three-pointers with confidence, he took the ball to the basket with strength and he authored plenty of smart passes. Defensively, while he could have rebounded better, he hustled maniacally from the opening tip until the final horn. Mamukelashvili played really good transition defense and was constantly searching out ways to make an impact on that end.

Grade: A-

Malaki Branham

Branham came out flat and never recovered. He wasn’t getting much elevation on his shot and he had trouble blazing trails to the rim. The rookie’s playmaking was non-existent. Defensively, he looked tired and wasn’t moving a whole lot. Rookie wall? Yeah, that’s what it looks like to me.

Grade: D+

Romeo Langford

On one hand, Langford deserves some praise for being the best perimeter defender on the team on this night. He really battled and was able to make a handful of really strong defensive plays. On the other hand, he was terrible offensively. Langford seemingly had no clue what to do when the ball found its way into his hands. He was caught flat-footed most of the time and the form on his perimeter jumper was wonky.

Grade: D+

Keita Bates-Diop

Bates-Diop produced quite a bit in his 18 minutes. He scored 12 points on only three shot attempts. He was able to do that by nailing both of his three-pointers and getting to the line six times. Defensively, I thought Bates-Dip was better than usual and his length was helpful on the glass.

Grade: B+

Devonte’ Graham

Playing against his former team, Graham had an evening to forget. While he had one hot stretch in the second quarter, it wasn’t close to enough to make the Pelicans regret trading him. On the whole, Graham was inefficient offensively. He shot poorly and missed a few wide open teammates. Defensively, New Orleans attacked him and had a lot of success.

Grade: C-

Doug McDermott

McDermott could never get on track in New Orleans. The Pelicans were keying in on him and McDermott wasn’t moving as well without the ball as usual. Instead, he did a lot of waiting around and watching. Defensively, McDermott was terrible. He’s one of the worst defenders in the NBA but this showing was even bad even for him.

Grade: D

Blake Wesley

The good: Wesley tried hard on defense and finished with three of the team’s eight steals. On the other end, he had a few heady passes. The bad: Wesley hit only one of his seven shots from the floor. To make matters worse, he had three turnovers in 19 minutes and his decision-making was poor. Sometimes he shot when he should have passed, sometimes he was oblivious to wide open lanes to the hoop.

Grade: D+

Dominick Barlow

I like that Barlow was trying to expand his offensive impact. Unfortunately, the results were unsightly against the Pelicans. Barlow missed all five of his shots from the floor and both of his free throws to end up scoreless in 19 minutes. The good news is that he was a lot better on the defensive end of the court. He had a pair of impressive blocks, he rebounded well and his rotations were really crisp for a 19-year-old big man. 

Grade: C-

Julian Champagnie

Champagnie missed his first three three-pointers before hitting a pair of threes in garbage time. I liked his lack of hesitancy on the offensive end. If he was open, he was firing. Defensively, he was okay-ish. His fundamentals are fine and he gave effort rebounding-wise. Champagnie isn’t much of an athlete so he’s going to have to become a tactician on defense if he’s going to stick.

Grade: B-

Gorgui Dieng

Dieng had a hard flagrant foul after getting annoyed by a lack of friendly whistles. He also had a driving dunk after a fake handoff. 

Grade: Inc. 


Not much Pop could do on this night. He didn’t have enough talent and the talent he did have at his disposal wasn’t shooting it straight.

Grade: B-