Game Notes: Spurs vs. Bucks

The Spurs were in action in a scrimmage for the first time since arriving at "The Bubble" in Orlando. The Spurs lost to the Milwaukee Bucks 113-92.

Here's what the coaches and players had to say before and after the game:

Spurs Assistant Coach Becky Hammon:

(On the Spurs starting Derrick White, Dejounte Murray and Lonnie Walker IV…)

“We’re hoping to get some defense, some pace offensively. It’s just about experimenting a little bit right now and trying to figure out what groupings we like together. The big thing is seeing Derrick and DJ play together and giving them a little bit of chemistry instead of strictly one running one group and the other running the other group. I think it will help us play faster, you couldn’t tell today in the scrimmage. We like a lot of aggressiveness on all areas on the floor. We’re just trying to figure out a defensive lineup that can give us a really great chance to start off the game well.” 

(On what these coaching moments are like for you…)

“I mean obviously, they’re growth opportunities but right now it’s about our guys. It’s about their growth, not mine essentially. Like I said, I think there’s a lot of energy, a lot of excitement coming into today, but we just did have a lot of carry-over from what we’ve been doing the past few days at practice onto the court and that can’t happen. What we’ve been working on, all of a sudden, we get no movement, we’re getting no cutting, the ball is staying on one side of the floor, getting into a lot of pick-and-rolls, pound ball and that’s not something we’ve talked about. That wasn’t us. Again, this is a learning thing for us. I think overall the guys are happy to be back together, happy to be on the court and getting back to some normalcy. It’s proabably the longest any of us have gone without touching a basketball.”

(On how the coaching staff has approached getting the guys back to game speed...)

“Well it’s a process. We have a whole medical team. We have a whole strength and conditioning team. It’s something we have been working on ever since we were allowed to get back in the gym. Obviously, their safety is of our upmost importance. Probably above everything, we want to get everybody out of here healthy and hopefully improve. Maybe make a little run and surprise some people. It’s a whole group effort trying to keep everybody healthy and safe and we’re monitoring minutes. The guys are getting worked on daily by medical staff.”

Spurs Guard Lonnie Walker IV:

(On feeling a sense of excitement being back on the court…)

“I would say absolutely. We have been playing against each other so much you kind of get a little bit of comfortability with each other. It felt great to finally play against, not only an NBA team, but a great NBA team at that with the Bucks. It felt good to finally play and get a rhythm. We’re still finding our way, finding ourselves, seeing what we can and cannot do as a team. It’s all a work in progress.”

(On what it means to play on a court that says Black Lives Matter…)

“It means a lot. It means the world. At the end of the day basketball is only a tool to send our messages. We have a generation; we have millions and millions of people that watch our games. With this gift god has given us we have to continue to spread our message the right way and understand that people are going to follow that direction. So, having that Black Lives Matter on the court, it’s not only a bigger picture for myself and a lot of other black athletes on the team but it’s a bigger picture for the world and all.”

(On playing with Derrick White and Dejounte Murray…)

“It’s fun. This is something that we’ve been waiting on for a long time. Us three together, the difference maker about us is we love to play defense. We’re ready to get up and under people and play the right way. It felt good to just get our feet wet as a team together and do the right thing and play the right way. It’s all a work in progress. We’re still building up that rhythm as teammates and as players and it’s only a matter of time until that key starts clicking.”

Spurs Guard Dejounte Murray:

(On playing in the Spurs first game since March…)

“I mean just to go up and down versus somebody else. We have been playing against each other, competing against each other, but you know it’s the first game. We could have been more aggressive. We could have done a lot of things better but at the end of the day, it was our first game.”

(On how the team can improve defensively…)

“I mean right now just get better at communicating with one another. Get better at wanting to stop somebody individually on defense, because you know on offense you’re going to make and miss shots. At the end of the day we have a long way to go to get better, but it starts now because time is ticking.”

(On developing chemistry with the Spurs young core…)

“It was fun. Obviously, I don’t control the minutes, who starts or who doesn’t. But it was fun to get out, just run, go up and down, but it takes time. Lineups can change, they can stay the same and you build chemistry with experience. It was fun though.”

Spurs Pregame Quotes

Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich:

(On how the league has come together during a traumatic year and facing a pandemic…)

“The league has done a great job of preparing us here in Orlando, that’s for sure. Probably the safest place in the world I would imagine. Everybody’s bought in. Everybody’s being very diligent about all the rules. Just trying to take care of each other so we can all pull this off.”

On how the league has shown fortitude this year…)

“In that sense it was a difficult year. There were a lot of events that were very sad. Everybody buckled down and continued to do their job even though there was a lot of sadness, angst. It’s part of what we all go through in our lives. I think the NBA showed great fortitude in dealing with whatever came up and moved on as all would want us to.”

(On how the delay might impact Team USA basketball and the Olympics…)

“Sure. I thought about it a lot, but it’s not something that I can control or even worry about at this point. We’re all concentrating on Orlando and want to get through this well. Do what each of us can do for finishing this season and preparing for the next. Worrying about next summer is a waste of time and energy at this point. I think if there is anything we’ve learned from this Covid situation, dealing with the moment at hand is pretty important.”

(On what he looks for in young player to gain a bigger role on the court…)

“Obviously, just the ability to learn is huge. If a young player is picking up what you’re trying to teach and carrying it over to game situations that tells a lot because being valuable in that sense and growing is a huge factor in your development. Next thing probably is work ethic. Who is willing to spend the time? Who really loves the game? Who wants to really be good? Who stays after practice, who comes in early? Who works on skills? It tells a lot. And also, how players relate to teammates. Does this young person have the potential to be a leader later on? Is he a follower? Is he strong, is he weak, mentally in that sense? What makes him tick and how does that fit into the overall picture of your team. So, those are some of the things we look at while we’re developing young kids.”

On the message that the NBA sends the world with the restart of the league…)

“I think it’s pretty obvious, we want to get back to work. We want to do what were all used to doing. Want to do as much as we can safely to energize the country, to play the game we all love and as long as we can do that safely, it’s a big win for everybody.”

On how his experience has prepared him to coach in this environment…)

“I do it just like you do. None of us have an answer to why. Things go on in our lives all the time that are unexpected and have to be dealt with, this is another one of those. Obviously, a bit more dramatic. A little bit more dangerous and very disruptive, but there is only one choice. That’s to deal with it, to handle it, to be wise about it and try to make the best of it and move on.”

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