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'That's what we got to do to win' | Spurs' assists are up and Keldon Johnson approves

Spurs are the best in the league at sharing the ball.

SAN ANTONIO — In a rebuilding and learning season for the San Antonio Spurs, every positive growth is vital for this team.

Whether it be individual growth such as Dejounte Murray and Devin Vassell to team development, this is the season where incremental positive strides mean so much of the future.

Such as the team currently averaging their highest assists per game this season.

In the month of December, San Antonio is currently averaging 29.4 assists per game. Their second highest was 27.8 in October.

And Spurs' Keldon Johnson sees this as a key to competing and winning games.

"That's what we got to do to win and compete in games," Johnson said. "We got to share the ball and make each other better."

Ahead of their matchup versus the Clippers, the Spurs out-assisted their opponents in two-straight games and made it three-straight games in their win over Los Angeles.

In addition, the Spurs are currently first in the league in assists at 28.1 per game with Murray in the top-5 guards in assists at 8.6 per game ahead of players such as Russell Westbrook, Kyle Lowry, and Luka Doncic.

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According to Cleaning The Glass, the Spurs boast several players among the league's best facilitators: Thaddeus Young ranks in the 96th percentile at his position in assists. Lonnie Walker IV ranks in the 85th percentile at his position in assists while Tre Jones ranks in the 83rd percentile at his position in assists.

Credit: AP
San Antonio Spurs' Tre Jones (33) drives against Washington Wizards' Deni Avdija during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 116-99. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

So why the spike in sharing the ball?

Johnson points to the players finally developing chemistry with the season underway.

"We're a young team. Getting chemistry. Just keep building and getting better each and every game," Johnson said.

The Spurs' attention to assists shined bright in their recent 116-92 road win over the Clippers.

San Antonio would finish with a whopping 37 assists on the night.

"That's what we want to be," Popovich said. "I think we rank fairly high in assists. We can't be an iso-team. We got to do it together. We got to play with each other. Be responsible to each other."

The Spurs also excel in other assist categories this season. The team is fourth in the league in screen assists at 11.1 per game and 5th in screen assists points at 24.5.

"They bought into that really well with assists they been getting for sure," Popovich said.

As for Johnson, he is averaging a career-high 1.8 assists per game this season and sees sharing the ball as crucial for the team moving forward.

"That's who we are as a team," Johnson said.

Twitter: @KENS5, @JeffGSpursKENS5


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