The Spurs find themselves into a huge hole once again right from the start of the game. The Hornets are firing from everywhere and they’re beaten badly, giving more offensive rebounds in which the Hornets take advantage of their strength. The Charlotte take a 36-19 lead for the first 12 minutes.
The good thing is the Spurs just limit them to 40 points in the next 24 minutes. Right before the end of the first quarter Tim Duncan adjusted his rotation by putting Lonnie Walker IV and Keldon Johnson. They slowly chipped the lead in the next quarter that started by Walker aggressively finding open teammates. The Spurs improve on defense with Johnson as he played really well. Johnson made a good block, a steal and excellent defense in the post. Offensively there’s no hesitation to his shot. The rookie had 7 points with an open three, a cutting layup and in transition. It was a good spark for the team.
The Spurs continue to hit shots as Derrick White and Patty Mills contribute to their own. While Dejounte Murray continues to strike in the third quarter. He’s taking over offensively with mid-range and hitting threes as he’s back into being a pest in defense. Spurs’ hands are everywhere as they shut down the passing lane as they had a total of 12 including a final one to seal the game. While Derrick White was there to take charges. The Spurs also manage to get five blocks without a legit center which Trey Lyles and Rudy Gay played most minutes.
Even the Spurs didn’t make a bucket in the final 2 minutes they exactly did what is right to waste some clock as they even get an extra possession with an offensive rebound. In final possession, the Spurs closed the rim and passing lane for Terry Rozier which lead to a turnover.
The good balance on minutes and rotation gives the Spurs a must-win game. The defense really improves as they force 17 turnovers. The combination of Murray, White, Walker, and Johnson had 7 steals and four blocks.