Southwest Notes: Spurs, Ingram, Rockets, Gabriel

The Spurs have started the season with a 2-3 record, but the franchise believes the best is still yet to come, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News writes.

Although San Antonio finished with just a 32-39 record last season, the club is recognized as a world-class organization with a proven track record. Before the 2019/20 campaign, the Spurs had reached the playoffs 23 straight seasons.

“It’s about learning now and not later,” DeMar DeRozan said. “As long as you get the heartaches and the learning curve out of the way the first 10 games of the season, it can take a big turn in the next 60 games. We are leaning toward that.”

The Spurs competed with the defending champion Lakers on Friday, ultimately losing 109-103. The team has a healthy mix of veterans and young players that could propel it to the play-in tournament or possibly beyond, with four of those veterans (DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge, Patty Mills and Rudy Gay) set to reach free agency next summer.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division tonight:

  • Pelicans star Brandon Ingram continued to build on his impressive campaign last game, ESPN’s Andrew Lopez writes. Ingram has been the team’s leading scorer in four of six games so far, and had a season-best 31 points on Saturday. “Brandon has been playing great overall,” teammate Zion Williamson said of Ingram, who recently was named the Western Conference Player of the Week. “He always steps up for us. When we need him, he’s there for us.”
  • The Rockets are still searching for answers when it comes to their rotation, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. Houston has a talented roster led by former Most Valuable Player James Harden, but health issues and COVID-19 protocols have prevented Houston from establishing a consistent rotation so far.
  • Pelicans big man Wenyen Gabriel (right knee/quadriceps tendinosis) recently participated in some three-on-three work and hopes to play in Monday’s game against Indiana, according to Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link). The team is currently listing his status as questionable.
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