Spurs Fall To Mavs In Season Opener

Dallas Mavericks v San Antonio Spurs

Victor Wembanyama #1 of the San Antonio Spurs celebrates with Cedi Osman #16 after a slam dunk against the Dallas Mavericks during the fourth quarter of the NBA game at Frost Bank Center on October 25, 2023 in San Antonio, Texas. Photo: Christian Petersen / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

The Spurs opened up the season with a loss. Dallas defeated the San Antonio 126-119 at the Frost Bank Center. The Spurs had 7 players in double-figures. Devin Vassell led the Spurs with 23 points. Keldon Johnson added 17, Tre Jones scored 16, Victor Wembanyama had 15, Zach Collins 14, Jeremy Sochan 13 and Cedi Osman had 12.

Luka Doncic led the Mavericks with a triple-double, totaling 33 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.


Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich 

(On Luka Doncic’s Performance…)

“That was average. What the hell, that was a hall of fame performance like he gives almost every night. Kyrie [Irving] wasn’t bad either. The two future hall of famers got us. They took over the game, but that doesn’t really bother me that much. The 12 turnovers in the second half where we lost composure offensively, unforced turnovers, quick decisions, quick shots where we didn’t really make them guard. That is a tough combination. When they are scoring at the other end, we are going to have to score. Those turnovers and those kinds of dry possessions, I call them, really hurt us. But we hung in there the whole night. We were really there. I was really proud of their effort. They are going to make mistakes that hopefully as the year goes along, they take care of. You could see Dallas’s execution and experience in the last five minutes.”

(On execution…)

“They know what play we are running, but execution needs to be better. We cut it short lots of times, quick shots, just not moving the basketball. We are not going to have a Kyrie or a Luka who’s just going to give them the ball [and] they are going to do what they do. We are not that team, so we got to do it as a group and move the ball, take advantage of some things and for the most part they did a real great job of it. Just not down the stretch.”

(On how Victor Wembanyama responded to being in foul trouble…)

“I think it is one of the toughest things for a player to get in foul trouble, and you can never get a rhythm, and you're in and out of the game. I thought maturity showed even at a young age where he came back in the last seven minutes and played. We ran some stuff for him, he executed, where a lot of guys would have been totally out of it by then because as you said, he was in foul trouble and didn’t get his rhythm. So, I thought he had a wonderful outing, considering.”

Spurs Shooting Guard Devin Vassell

(On the execution down the stretch…)

“We’re a young group. We still got to learn, and we still have a lot of learning to go. It’s our first game, so we can’t overreact. We can’t panic. It’s a 48-minute game. We were up a lot of the game and credit to [the Mavericks]. They’re a good team. They weathered the storm, and we just have to execute. That’s all it is.”

(On if the energy in the Frost Bank Center was different than before…)

“For sure. Sold out. Shoutout to the fans, man. They showed out today. We need them to keep coming out and supporting us because it’s a long year. It’s a long season, and we’re just going to keep getting better.” 

(On figuring out how to put Wembanyama in good spots…)

“It’s our first game, real game together. We’re all figuring each other out, we’re all figuring out Wemby. He’s figuring us out. We just got to figure out how to play as a team and make sure that the game is easy for him, and he doesn’t have to do as much as he has to do. Getting him easy lobs and easy low steps to get him going. He demands so much attention. They’re double-teaming him. We got to be able to cut and make certain plays. There were a couple times even in transition where we missed him. He’s running the edge, we got to see him. Those are easy buckets. Those are ‘gimmes.’ We need those. It’s an adjustment. Every day you don’t have a 7’4 running down the lane being able to post up and get easy catches. We got to see him, we got to take advantage of it. First game. It is what it is. We’re going to learn, we’re going to watch the film and we’ll bounce back.” 

Spurs Forward Victor Wembanyama

(On completing his first game and thoughts…)

“It’s a long season. We got other things to take care of. We’re already focused on the next game.”

(On foul trouble frustrations…)

“It might be frustrating, but always keeping [my] head up is good for my teammates. I can’t show it on the court. We learn every day.”

(On connections on ally-oops and dunks late in the game…)

“Since I wasn’t really aggressive, I couldn’t be really into it in the first half, [but] this is how the team works. This is how we play.”

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