Wow. That was not the game I expected.
The San Antonio Spurs came out red hot, took a 20-point lead before anyone knew what hit them, and held on for the win the way the Phoenix Suns should have on Tuesday — by scoring enough in the fourth to make the comeback not actually matter.
Spurs beat the Suns, 132-121 on 18 thees and 38 from the french rookie.
Vogel was disappointed in the effort of the defense, letting the opponent just shoot threes over their direct defender. Not enough in their body like other games.
Rookie Victor Wembanyama had his career high in 38 points in highly impactful minutes on both ends of the court. I know this is a Suns recap but dayum.
For the Suns, Devin Booker had his own great game as the new point guard. He had a slightly off-kilter start from a week off with an ankle injury (0-3 from field), but then rose like the sun and finished with 31 points, 13 assists and 9 rebounds in 34 minutes.
The Suns shot the ball well overall (53/50/73 splits), but took 18 fewer shots than the Spurs — EIGHTEEN — and just couldn’t solve for the Spurs overall size and their incredible shooting. The Spurs made 18 threes in this one to support the inside game, a tough combo to beat.
Kevin Durant had 28 points (10-15 shooting) and 6 rebounds. Keita Bates-Diop got dusted off because of his height, and scored 13 in the game while guarding Wemby better than anyone else did.
With Book back in the starting lineup, everything weirdly looked jumbled. They kept trying to feed into the post, and Nurkic wasn’t on his game tonight. Booker started 0-3 from the floor, which matches how his shot looked in pregame shooting. He’s jacked up energy, but shot angle is off. And now it seems everything is off. Booker is back, but the game is rusty for sure.
Suns got down 13-0 as the Spurs continued their Tuesday second-half confidence surge while the Suns continued their Tuesday fourth-quarter confidence dump. Lots of shock again. Oh and also, there’s that Victor Wembanyama guy, who blocked Book at the rim and than forced a Nurkic turnover when Nurk knew he was about to do it to him. Dayum.
First quarter, Spurs lead 39-20!!
Spurs made 8-13 on threes (61.5%), 60% of their shots overall, led the Suns in rebounds 13-5, assists 12-7. Like, wut. Before the Suns series this week, the Spurs were 36% on threes, 40% shots overall. Good week for them.
Devin Booker made his first shot, a three, early in the second quarter. But the Suns still can’t seem to stop the Spurs from scoring on their end. By the 8:29 mark in the second, the Spurs already had points.
The Suns had the league’s 4th ranked D coming into these Spurs games, but have now given up 123 points in the last 4+ quarters. That’s a 154 point pace for a full game. Noggonna win much that way boys.
Book got his second short stint in the second quarter and made much more of it, at least offensively. He scored 8 points on 3-4 shooting, 2-3 on threes. And the Spurs “stopped” a nice and-opne for Book by fouling the screener first, out on the floor.
The Spurs are huge in the lineup Jeremy Sochan with as their point guard, so the Suns looked really small. And Nurkic isn’t quick enough to keep up with them. He’s got more fouls than anything else. So Keita Bates-Diop gets his first real action of the year.
Spurs lead the Suns, 75-55 at halftime. Victor Wembanyama is having his best game as an NBA pro: in 16 minutes, he’s got 20 points on 8-14 shooting, 5 rebounds, 2 assists a steal and a block, and deterred about five billion shots. Dammmmm. The Spurs as a team are shooting 54% overall, including 57% on threes, making 12 of them. And they have 23 assists AT HALFTIME (which is an average team’s full game number), which means the Suns are playing crappy defense.
For the Suns, they made 55% of their shots, 50% of their own threes, and Booker and Durant have combined for 23 of the 55 points.
Let’s see if the Suns can flip the script from Tuesday’s game?
Well the second half didn’t start as well as the Suns would have hoped, but late in the third the Suns finally got the lead down to the 15-range, 99-84 with 1:50 left in the quarter, which actually is similar to Tuesday’s in the other direction.
The real problem for the Suns, as there’s nothing they can do about it, is the major size issue against the Spurs. And it’s not just Wemby but he’s... wow.
At the end of three, the Suns had cut the deficit to 14, at 103-89 with another three from Book. This is his get-right game, and he’s getting right. Since the 0-3 shooting start, he’s 7-9 from the field for 21 points. He also has 9 assists and only 3 turnovers. Kevin Durant has 22 and 5 rebounds. Grayson Allen has 16 points (6-10 from field, 4-5 on threes), but no one else is in double figures.
Devin Booker is willing this team back into the game, starting the fourth quarter and getting the Spurs lead down to 8 with 8:40 left. He’s now got 29 points and 10 assists in this one. Timeout Spurs.
TIE GAME WITH 4:42 LEFT, 116-116, on a Keita Bates-Diop three from the corner. Diop has had a great game tonight, taking over guarding Vic and scoring 13 of his own.
But then the Spurs went back to Vic and size ball, and went on a 10-0 run spurred mostly by Victor Wembanyama on both ends. Every single offensive possession went into the post and suddenly the Suns comeback was goneback, 128-116 Spurs with two minutes left.
After the Suns tied it 116-116, here’s how the rest went.
Victor Wembanyama improved on his stellar fourth quarter numbers this season.— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) November 3, 2023
He's now shooting 15-of-19 from the floor in the 4Q this season. pic.twitter.com/wMa2RdRtqW
The Spurs overall, outscored the Suns 16-5 after the 116-116 tie.