Spurs Notes: Popovich, Murray, Johnson, Defense

It’s been a rough go of things early for the Spurs, but even forever-intense coach Gregg Popovich is seeing the bright side of things.Dejounte Murray Gregg Popovich

“They are growing, doing little things better all the time,” Popovich said after the Spurs’ 106-92 loss to the Clippers on Tuesday night. “Frustrating to lose, but when a team is working that hard and willing to learn, it’s enjoyable as hell, even in a loss.

“I’m proud of the way they are competing. Now we just have to make fewer mistakes and have a couple of guys play better.”

The Spurs (4-10) are near the bottom of the Western Conference and missing starting center Jakob Poeltl — who was off to a nice start before entering the league’s health and safety protocols. He will miss his eighth straight game Thursday vs. the Timberwolves as he works his way back.

But again, Popovich likes what he’s seeing from the likes of guards Dejounte Murray and Derrick White, forwards Keldon Johnson, Drew Eubanks and Doug McDermott, and the rest.

“I want them to have a good start in developing their games,” Popovich said. “Not just individually, but trying to remember what real mental toughness is, what wins games, how you lose games, what are the most important factors, what you owe to your teammates, and how to be responsible to each other, in both competitiveness and execution.”

More from San Antonio

  • Murray’s leadership has been on full display this season, Poppovich and his teammates will tell you — and Murray himself says he takes great pride in that area. “It’s just natural from where I come from,” he told reporters. “I was forced to grow up at a young age. Around 11 or 12 years old, I had a bunch of responsibilities I shouldn’t have had. I was forced to live an adult life.”
  • In case you missed it, Johnson recently signed with power agent Rich Paul and Klutch Sports Agency, as relayed by Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. “It was long and thought out, but at the end of the day, I am up-and-coming, and I just wanted the best representation,” Johnson told reporters.
  • Defensively, the Spurs haven’t been doing any one thing great, but they have been plenty well, wrote Charlie Thaddeus of SB Nation. San Antonio currently ranks 12th in the NBA in defensive efficiency.

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