The Spurs trailed for most of the game and couldn’t keep up with a Nets team that outplayed them in most areas.
The losses keep piling up for the Spurs, who dropped their seventh straight after falling to the Nets, 123-103. Cam Thomas scored 25 but it was a great team performance from Brooklyn, which had six players in double digits. In contrast, only three players scored 10 points or more for San Antonio, which remains winless in the Rodeo Road Trip.
The Spurs really struggled on offense in the first half, relying on jumpers for points as the Nets did a good job of keeping Wembanyama away from the paint. Threes were falling for the home team as well, which allowed them to carve out a double-digit lead, but their inability to guard without fouling gave San Antonio enough trips to the line to stay within striking distance.
The Nets took control of the game in the third quarter despite facing a red-hot Wembanyama. San Antonio’s defense was not good enough on Saturday, which doomed them as their opponent did a good job of preventing easy buckets in transition and inside. The Spurs kept it close for as long as they could, but in the end, it was an easy win for the home team, which at one point led by 28 points.
- Devin Vassell and Victor Wembanyama are slowly developing a good two-man game in the half-court, but Vassell needs to figure out how to pass him the ball in transition. In the last two games he has underthrown passes when Victor had a smaller player on him in the paint fronting him, resulting in turnovers.
- Opponents are learning that they can move Wembanyama when they go directly at his chest. In the past two games, Victor has been dunked on by Mo Wagner and Nic Claxton, as the two centers have just gone directly at him and pushed him under the rim.
- It’s always interesting to see what happens when Wembanyama rests. The bench struggled and allowed the opponent to open up a sizable lead in the first quarter but they bounced right back with Keldon Johnson and Cedi Osman leading the way on offense. The second time Wemby rested, the Nets gained some separation again, as the Spurs struggled to score until Vassell and Johnson took over. In the third stint, the bench was -6 mostly due to some defensive mistakes. The second unit did reasonably well this time and it wasn’t the reason for the rout.
- The Spurs oscillate between missing Wembanyama when he’s open or has a mismatch and trying to force the ball to him when he’s not in position or the angle for the entry pass is bad. They clearly want to get him involved but some guys don’t have the vision or touch to make tough passes and the ones who do then try to make up for it at the wrong times. As a result, the offense often doesn’t flow when Wemby is on the floor, which shouldn’t be a thing.
- Speaking of Wemby, he looked lethargic and a step slower at times on defense but came alive in the third by hitting outside shots. His barrage kept the Spurs in it for a while but it’s always best when Wemby doesn’t have to rely on his jumper.
- Zach Collins needs to be careful with the reputation he seems to be building with officials. If he’s seen as a dirty or overly physical player, which seems to be the case right now, he won’t ever get the benefit of the doubt. He got in foul trouble in the first half and Pop picked Dominick Barlow as the first big off the bench in the second half. Collins needs to find his rhythm and he won’t be able to do it if he can’t stay on the floor.
- It might be time to revise the Spurs’ policy of “whoever gets the board pushes the pace.” Some guys, including Wemby, are just not good enough ball handlers to navigate traffic. There were a few possessions that ended in turnovers or wasted transition opportunities because the wrong players were trying to lead the break.
- Former Spur Lonnie Walker IV got a few minutes but didn’t have any impact on the game.
For the Nets fans’ perspective, visit Nets Daily.
The Spurs will visit Toronto on Monday. If they beat the Raptors, it’s a good win. If they lose, their chances of getting an extra lottery pick increase. Tipoff will be at 6:30 PM CT on Bally Sports SW.