Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Spurs’ poor shooting night results in loss to Grizzlies

Wemby’s 7th 30-plus performance falls flat against Memphis
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Victor Wembanyama’s seventh 30-plus game wasn’t enough for the Spurs to overcome yet another blown lead, falling 99-97 to the injury-riddled Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night at the Frost Bank Center.

Wembanyama was along for the ride as the Spurs (15-55) blew a 17-point second-quarter lead and for the Grizzlies (24-47) go-ahead basket with 1.2 seconds remaining in the game. Despite finishing with 31 points and 16 boards, the rookie sensation blamed himself for yet another San Antonio loss.

“I remember having a thought in the first half, like when we were up by a lot, I didn’t put the nail in the coffin,” he said.

Devin Vassell’s 11 first-quarter points helped the Spurs separate themselves from the Grizzlies by double-digits heading into the second frame. The commanding lead was quickly cut down by Memphis, who shot 6 for 12 from beyond the arc in the quarter while San Antonio shot an abysmal 1 for 10. The Spurs went into the locker room ahead 44-43 at the break.

“It happens in the NBA all the time,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of his squad’s second-quarter blunder. “It’s not a matter of did they lose their energy or whatever. It’s a matter of maybe you turned it over, maybe you went dry and you couldn’t make a shot. The other team made some shots.”

The Grizzlies tied their largest lead of the game after a driving layup from Jaren Jackson Jr. to put the score at 93-85 with 1:53 remaining in the fourth. Wembanyama made 1-of-2 free throws before Tre Jones stripped Memphis’ Scotty Pippen Jr. and made a layup to trail by five. Jake LaRavia made a pair of free throws for the Grizzlies while Keldon Johnson countered with three of his own to cut the deficit to 95-91.

After empty possessions from both teams, Pippen Jr. connected with Jackson Jr. for an alley-oop dunk with 33 seconds left. Wembanyama pulled up for a 3 and missed, though the Spurs grabbed an offensive rebound where Jones found Vassell in the right corner, drilling a 3-pointer to trail by three. 

Pippen Jr. turned over the ensuing inbounds pass to Jeremy Sochan at halfcourt. Sochan came down the floor and kicked the ball out to Jones in the left corner who buried a 3 of his own to tie the game at 97 with 18.1 seconds in the game. Out of a timeout, Jackson Jr. held the ball and took Sochan into the paint before pulling up for a jump shot to take the lead with one second on the clock. Wembanyama air-balled the desperation shot, sealing another gut-wrenching loss.

“I think it was a weird game,” Wembanyama said, “but we didn’t take advantage of it.” 

Despite having fewer turnovers than Memphis and holding their opponent under 100 points, the Spurs’ cataclysmic 18.4% from 3 and 20 points off turnovers was the story of the night.

“If you hold a team to 99, you should win a lot of games,” Popovich said. “But if you give up 20 points on turnovers and shoot 18%, it’s going to make it tough on you. End of story. It’s got nothing to do with a play here or a play there. It’s about the whole thing together.”

The Spurs will have a quick turnaround as they will face the Phoenix Suns at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Frost.

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About the Contributor
Luke Lawhorn
Luke Lawhorn, Sports Editor
Luke (he/him) is an English major at UTSA and is set to graduate in the Spring of 2024. This is his fifth semester at The Paisano and his fourth as the Sports Editor. Along with covering UTSA sports and events, Luke also covers high school sports and local events for the San Antonio Express-News and covers the San Antonio Spurs for The Paisano. He has a huge passion for covering sports and giving his opinion on them. Outside of writing and talking about sports, Luke's hobbies include playing basketball, watching movies and all things outdoors.

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