Spurs struggle in fourth quarter, once again

Dalton Hartmann, Staff Writer

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The San Antonio Spurs are currently sitting at the ninth seed in the Western Conference as they approach the middle of the season. The Spurs are a game and a half behind the Memphis Grizzlies for a playoff spot and 15.5 games behind the Lakers, who are sitting at the first seed. This week, the Spurs played the Phoenix Suns in two games, splitting the wins between them. The Spurs won against the New Orleans Pelicans and lost to the Toronto Raptors in a close game. To start the week off, the Spurs took on the Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix. Going into half time, the Spurs managed to acquire a 15-point lead, which looked to be enough going in the fourth, but when Devin Booker is on the other team, there is always a chance for a Suns comeback. During the fourth quarter, the Spurs stayed consistent, managing to turn a game that should have been a blowout into a one-possession game. During the fourth quarter, the Suns outscored the Spurs 35-24 and managed to take the lead late in the fourth. Even though the Spurs threw away most of their lead, they managed to hold on and weather the storm of Booker and Ayton putting up a combined 62 points. Derrick White led the Spurs in scoring with 25 points and Bryn Forbes made eight threes.

Spurs win 120-118

The Spurs headed to New Orleans for the last game of their road trip to take on the Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center. A game that would normally be on a secondary channel made it onto national television as the overall number one draft pick, Zion Williamson, made his season debut after three months of rest because of an arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. The Spurs, for the most part, managed to spoil Zion’s night — until the fourth quarter. During the fourth quarter, Zion scored 17 of his total 22 points, bringing his team back into the game. As “M-V-P” chants echoed around the arena, Zion, who is known for his insane athleticism, managed to shoot four threes and connect on all of them, making him seem unguardable. Even though the Pelicans outscored the Spurs 35-27 in the fourth, the Spurs managed to hold on. Spurs win 121-117 With the first game back home in two games, the Spurs saw the Suns for the second time during the week. The game played out similarly to their first meeting of the week, but this time, the Suns were leading. During the second quarter, the Suns played amazingly on both sides of the court, holding the Spurs to 16 and scoring 34. The Spurs had a good comeback attempt, with DeMar DeRozan scoring 30 points, but unfortunately, not many other players stepped up. Once again, Devin Booker had a stellar night, dropping 35 points, which was too much for the Spurs, resulting in a loss.

Spurs lose 103-99

Hours before tipoff against the Raptors, NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in a tragic helicopter crash. After tipoff, both teams allowed for a 24-second shot clock violation in honor of Kobe’s second jersey number. The Spurs played well during the game, but the overwhelming scoring by Pascal Siakam at 35 points was too much, resulting in a loss. After the game, DeRozan spoke about the influence Kobe had on him. When asked what Kobe meant to him, DeRozan said, “Everything. Everything. Everything I learned came from Kobe. Everything,” he said. “Take Kobe away, and I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t have love [for basketball]. I wouldn’t have passion and the drive. Everything. Everything came from him.”

Spurs lose 110-106

The game of basketball was molded by Kobe, and the influence he had on players that are now coming into the league is tremendous. Kobe will not be soon forgotten, and he will live on through the basketball community. Rest easy, Kobe and Gianna Bryant.