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Tag: Spurs

Derek White mining for hometown win at Nuggets.

SAN ANTONIO — By now, Derrick White’s status as one of the NBA’s best kept secrets is already in danger.

The rest of the nation is beginning to understand what Spurs fans have realized for much of the 2018-19 season — that the second-year pro from the University of Colorado isn’t just a vital role player for San Antonio. In fact, he may be on the short list for most valuable performers on the entire roster.

However, just four years ago, White’s rise to prominence in the NBA playoffs would’ve seemed too far-fetched for anyone to imagine. 

Born in Parker, Colorado — a suburb of Denver — White signed with the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs (UCCS) out of high school as a 6-foot combo guard. Everything changed when he shot up five inches by the time he reached the NCAA Division II school, and he set new program records for most points and assists in a career during his three seasons with UCCS.

White then transferred to the main campus in Boulder and enjoyed a stellar 2016-17 campaign with the Pac 12’s Buffaloes that included first team all-conference honors.

The Spurs, as they’ve done numerous times over the years, identified White’s potential and targeted him with the 29th overall selection of the 2017 NBA Draft. He immediately went to the G League, where he played for the Austin Spurs and quickly earned a reputation as a cool customer and a near-automatic scorer.

White saw some time with San Antonio during his rookie year, but was used sparingly as he made the transition to the NBA game. He was expected to be utilized in a reserve role in his sophomore season, but once again an unforeseen circumstance thrust him into the spotlight from relative obscurity.

This time, White’s big break came in the form of a season-ending injury to another fledging star — Dejounte Murray. When the point guard tore his ACL in the preseason, many Spurs fans wondered aloud who would be able to replace his defensive prowess in addition to running the offense smoothly from the point guard spot.

White was tabbed as the replacement, but his own foot injury sidelined him until early November against the Miami Heat. Once he entered the lineup, San Antonio’s perimeter defense was noticeably better, while its offense ran more efficiently than before.

White suffered an injury to his other foot in February, and some pundits openly wondered if it would derail the Spurs’ playoff hopes. Thankfully, he was back in plenty of time to round into form for San Antonio’s first-round matchup with his hometown Denver Nuggets.

And if Denver fans hadn’t heard of White prior to the series, you can bet they have now.

White scored 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting in San Antonio’s Game 1 win over the Nuggets, but that was nothing compared to his 36-point explosion in Game 3 Thursday at the AT&T Center. That’s right, White set a new career high in a pivotal playoff game, and did so while converting 15 of his 21 total field goals.

“He was obviously spectacular,” Popovich said after Game 3. “I don’t know what else to say.”

His dominance was startling to most, as he did the majority of his damage near the rim and with his mid-range game. White has proven he can shoot the 3 as well, but his versatility is what separates him from other young players at similar stages of development.

Denver has vowed to make it their mission to stop White in Game 4, which is likely the first time the youngster has been a focal point of an NBA opponent’s game plan. It will definitely be interesting to watch White react following his best game as a pro, especially in what amounts to a must-win scenario for the Nuggets.

Spurs Beat Blazers 108-103

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) is blocked as he tries to score against San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl (25) and guard Derrick White, center, during the second half of an NBA basketball game in San Antonio, Saturday, March 16, 2019. San Antonio won 108-103.

The Spurs eighth straight victory and 10th straight win at home came Saturday. They have not lost at the AT&T Center since losing to the Los Angeles Clippers on Jan. 20th.

DeMar DeRozan led the Spurs with 21 points.

Spurs on Playoff Bubble

For the first time in 22 years, the San Antonio Spurs appear to be a fringe playoff contender in the loaded Western Conference.

The last time the Spurs failed to qualify for the postseason was the 1996-97 season, which saw San Antonio plunge to a 20-62 overall record as David Robinson and Sean Elliott missed most of the year due to injuries. The team’s leading scorer during that forgettable campaign was none other than Dominique Wilkins, but not even “The Human Highlight Film” could elevate those Spurs into something more than a doormat.

However, that season was the beginning of one of the most successful stretches in the history of professional sports.

Gregg Popovich, then the general manger, fired Bob Hill and supplanted him as coach. San Antonio then struck gold when it landed the No. 1 overall pick that led to Tim Duncan, who was regarded as a can’t-miss prospect out of Wake Forest and one of the most NBA-ready big men the league has ever welcomed.

Since then, the Spurs’ playoff spot has been all but guaranteed — until this year. San Antonio fell to seventh place in the West after losing to Toronto in its first game back from the All-Star break and must fend off LeBron James and the Lakers, and perhaps the hungry Sacramento Kings, if it hopes to extend its postseason streak to an NBA-best 22 consecutive seasons.

Of course, signs of the Spurs’ current struggles were easy to spot.

With Duncan long gone, Manu Ginobili retired, Tony Parker in Charlotte and the tandem of Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard shipped to Toronto for DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl, San Antonio’s 2018-19 roster must feel unrecognizable to the casual fan. A questionable situation got even dicier when promising point guard Dejounte Murray suffered a torn ACL in the preseason and first-round draft pick Lonnie Walker IV was forced to miss a large chunk of games with a meniscus tear.

The Spurs had some trouble out of the gate, but eventually DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Gay began to find a rhythm with one another on the court. Meanwhile, Popovich moved away from veterans Quincy Pondexter and Dante Cunningham and gave more minutes to youngsters like Derrick White, Bryn Forbes and Davis Bertans.

White, a University of Colorado product, has been a revelation in an expanded role, as he’s shown the confidence to take and make big shots as well as the size to defend multiple positions. 

Forbes and Bertans are both sharpshooters from the outside, and Bertans even leads the league in 3-point field goal percentage at .481. With Patty Mills and Marco Belinelli also on the roster, perimeter shooting certainly isn’t a weakness.

More problems arose when White suffered through a heel injury in October, and he was again forced to miss several games on the Spurs’ annual rodeo road trip with problems in his other heel. He was able to play against the Raptors, but with a strict minutes limit attached.

Pau Gasol has also missed multiple weeks after sustaining a stress fracture in his foot.

As San Antonio heads down the stretch, there are still plenty of lingering question marks with regard to health and team chemistry. 

When White has missed time, the team’s defense has been absolutely shredded by opposing guards. There are also instances where Aldridge or DeRozan go missing in key situations offensively.

And which one will be the go-to scorer in crunch time?

Then again, the Spurs have been written off multiple times before — even when Duncan, Ginobili and Parker still had plenty of tread left on the tires. Under Popovich, a late-season surge certainly isn’t out of the question, although it seems improbable at this point.

The most likely scenario is a low playoff seed and a possible first-round exit against one of the top teams in the West. The other option is the team’s first trip to the lottery since Timmy D came to town.

Those two choices are enough to make the San Antonio faithful wonder what in the name of David Robinson is going on at the AT&T Center.


Fans Are Asked to Bring a Canned Food Item to Exchange for a Free Ticket

AUSTIN (Nov. 12, 2018) – The Austin Spurs, presented by SWBC, will host their first ‘Friendsgiving’ game on Sunday, Nov. 18. Tipoff vs. the Oklahoma City Blue at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park is set for 4 p.m.

Fans are encouraged to bring a non-perishable canned food item that can be exchanged for one ticket for that night’s game. Fans can redeem one ticket each. All food items will be donated to the Central Texas Food Bank.

To purchase tickets or find more information regarding the Friendsgiving game, call the Austin Spurs office at (512) 236-8333 or go to


About Central Texas Food Bank:
Central Texas Food Bank works with food donors across the country, financial supporters and volunteers to fill unmet needs in Central Texas. This commitment from private, government and charitable partners has allowed them to bring 45 million meals to their community last year and into the hands of families and local nonprofits that turn to them for help. There are three key ways they do this:

  1. They share free food and knowledge on low-cost, healthy eating with families in need.
    2. They assist families who qualify for federal assistance programs.
    3. They make food affordable for charitable and government partners. The quality food and food resources they provide means that they can spend their limited resources to enhance their programs.

They are a registered 501(c)(3), which means that they are not a religious, political or advocacy organization. A leader in the fight against hunger for nearly 35 years, their mission is to nourish hungry people and lead the community in the fight against hunger.