Spurs Take Down Suns With Last-Second Basket

San Antonio Spurs v Phoenix Suns

Keldon Johnson #3 of the San Antonio Spurs puts up the game-winning points over Josh Okogie #2 of the Phoenix Suns with seconds remaining during the fourth quarter of an NBA game at Footprint Center on October 31, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo: Mike Christy / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

The Spurs snatched a win away from the Suns in Phoenix on Tuesday night. Keldon Johnson recorded a steal and quick basket with two seconds remaining to lift San Antonio over Phoenix 115-114 at the Footprint Center. Johnson's last-second basket gave the Spurs their only lead in the game. Spurs rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama finished the night with 18 points, eight rebounds, and four blocks to help San Antonio improve to 2-and-2. The series continues Thursday night at 9 p.m.



(On how they responded after their 40-point loss against the LA Clippers…)

“It’s just one game later. To respond after one game, they responded great. After a 40-point loss, I couldn’t be prouder of them and as we always talked about, pounded the rock. They just kept playing through it no matter what. We made a gazillion mistakes, but it’s a game of mistakes and so does every team. But we kept playing and that’s the best thing about the group and I was really proud of them.”

(On if he saw anything different tonight when they handled mistakes …)

“They probably made the same mistakes.”

(On Spurs guard Tre Jones causing problems for Kevin Durant…)

“Tre, you can see why he’s the ultimate competitor. He almost had a couple other steals that were big time. But he’s a winner. He does everything that he can. He double-teamed tonight, went after the ball. Kept the pace. He was fantastic.”

(On the final six seconds of the game and if he’s happy about how the team handled the situation…)

“I didn’t draw that up. But the best part was that they knew the position they were in. They knew that we’re going to have to foul. We spent time talking about double-teaming first just to see if we could get a steal; you don’t have to just go over and whack somebody. There’s time enough to do that and they were patient in the double-team and that’s when Keldon (Johnson) was able to make the steal.”


(On the putback dunk by Victor Wembanyama and the steal…)

“It’s a big-time win. That’s the first thing I can say. Big time win. We’re young, I think down the stretch we took some OK shots. But a big time follow up by Vic (Victor Wembanyama). He stayed poised, he had a big-time midrange and then followed it up with a put-back so that’s big time. Then KJ (Keldon Johnson) coming out with that steal and really sealing the game. It’s big time. It kind of shows how much we fought the whole game. It wasn’t pretty obviously; we were down twenty-some points. We’re a young group and we’re fighting. And I think it goes to show, compared to last game, I don’t want to say gave up, but we just didn’t keep fighting. And, to turn back around and to have a game like this and still come back and end up pulling out shows where we’re at mentally. I thought we were playing 60-65% of where we could be at. I mean we’re messing up on little stuff, we’re turning the ball over, not executing plays, not getting back on defense. All these little things and we still come out with the win. So, I’m very interested to see halfway through the season, 20-games. 40-games, 30-games from now where we’re at.”

(On the biggest difference compared to the game against the LA Clippers …)

“Well big shot by Keldon (Johnson). We weren’t going and he just got us going. I don’t know how many (points) straight, but he brought the energy we needed. KJ sometimes I feel like he gets kind of lost. People don’t talk about him. Keldon Johnson is a beast and he really got us going in that second half. When he came out of the game, I think that’s when I came in and got going, Victor (Wembanyama) got going, Tre (Jones) pushed the pace. I talk about my teammates all the time; everybody gets going but I got to give a big shoutout to KJ because he really kind of got us going and got us into that flow.”

(On knowing what situation to play before the game-winning basket …)

“I mean we only had some many options. We were only down one with limited time. So, they knew what to do. I was screaming out trying to be like the middleman in case if they were going to throw a long bomb but big-time steal, big time finish and way to seal the game.”


(On staying mentally tough after being down 20 points and if he thought about what happened in Los Angeles…

“Not really. We were down 20 (points) and we just had to keep fighting. Same thing we said in L.A., just keep fighting. We kept pounding the rock and that’s what matters. We keep going, keep fighting, we stay together regardless of what’s going on. We went down 20 and found a way to come back and make some plays toward the end. We got the win. Not really, in L.A., I mean, it happens. Everybody loses games, everybody gets blown out. We took that and learned from it. Tried to correct our mistakes and we came out slow again. And we just kept fighting, stayed together as a team and the rest, you saw what happened.”

(On wrestling the ball away from Kevin Durant while Tre Jones is on the other side of the double-team…)

“I went for the steal. I didn’t get it and I saw that Tre (Jones) had him in the corner. So, I was like shoot let’s just make a play. The worst thing they can do it call a foul and shoot free throws, but we had to make something happen since time was running out, so my mindset was making plays on the ball and after that was try to finish the play.”

(On what changed between the LA Clippers loss to tonight…)

“Our energy, it felt like we had better energy tonight. Still not where we want to be but we had better energy for sure. We didn’t play our brand of basketball when we played the (LA) Clippers. No excuses like they’re a great team, but we really laid an egg. Tonight, we stayed together as a group. That’s what I’m most proud of is that we stayed together, didn’t turn our back on each other, didn’t point any fingers, we took our loss like a man, and we came back here and kept fighting tonight. The ball went our way tonight.”


(On how he saw the final play…)

There was a double or triple team. Keldon (Johnson) just came from behind, simple as that. He grabbed the ball and he scored. Tough finish. From my point of view, a lot of time went by. When he got the ball I wasn’t sure there was enough time for him to finish.”

(On being able to finish strong after having a slow start…)

The goal is to be good in all four quarters. Like I say, it is better to be bad in the first and finish strong than the opposite.”

(On his competitive matchup with Kevin Durant…)

It is special. He is really a problem and I can see that. His teammates really look for him. They make him a problem too. The way they set up the plays and they try to look for him. I definitely think he is the hardest player to guard. I just played against him once and I know I haven’t seen everything from him but I think he is up there.”


(On evaluating losing the game after having a 20-point lead during the game…)

“It’s disappointing. You lose a game after playing a brilliant basketball game, I mean the offensive sharing and trust was really good throughout, our defensive disposition was really good throughout, but then our foot fell off the gas a little bit in the third quarter. They made seven threes, but it’s an early season lesson for us. Teams are never going to stop playing, especially in the modern-day NBA where threes can get you back into a game. We have to guard that better and we have to close out the fourth better, but I liked how we played overall and it’s a good early season lesson for us.”

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