HOUSTON — The San Antonio Spurs started this rebuilding year with a 134-96 preseason loss to the Rockets in Houston.
San Antonio shot just 35% from the floor and 11-42 from deep in the disjointed blowout, but there were a few flashes of potential in the loss. Gregg Popovich unwrapped a sandwich postgame, and spoke a bit about what he saw.
"We got to see some good things from some individuals, some poor things from other individuals, a little bit of everything, but in general, the shooting was pretty poor, and if you're going back in transition defense all the time all kinds of bad things are gonna happen," he said. "The second thing was physicality. We let them go where they wanted to go, they were much more physical in that sense, and that's got to be the biggest improvement."
The exhibition turned into a blowout pretty early with San Antonio struggling to hit shots and come together as a unit. Still, there were a couple of bright spots for the Silver & Black.
Jakob Poeltl stuffed the stat sheet playing in only the first half, tallying 9 points, 10 boards, 2 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. He even stepped out and hit a mid-range jumper, something that hasn't ever been a big part of his game. Devin Vassell also only played the first half, and he led the team with 13 points and some highlight plays despite a poor shooting night.
"If we're not hitting shots, we've got to still be competitive, we've still got to play on the defensive end, we've got to hang our hats on the defensive end," he said. "We don't have KD talent, you feel what I'm saying? So we can't sit here and rely on the offensive end. But we'll be fine, like I said, our first preseason game, we're young, and we weren't making shots, so we'll be fine."
The Spurs also got double-digit scoring efforts from Isaiah Roby and Zach Collins, who each hit a pair of threes off the bench. The rookies all got some burn as well. Blake Wesley led the team in assists with four, Jeremy Sochan had some impressive blocks and nailed a triple, and Malaki Branham knocked down a couple of threes and finished with 10 points after playing only in the second half.
Pop will go over the film with the young guys, and their next chance to improve will be Thursday when they host the Orlando Magic.