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Spurs newsletter: Lonnie Walker breaks out; Kawhi responds to boos; 3 charts explain team’s struggles

SAN ANTONIO – The Spurs had their best win of the season, upending Kawhi Leonard and LA Clippers over Thanksgiving weekend, then promptly had one of their worst performances of the year against Detroit. Welcome to the 2019 season and the KSAT.com Spurs newsletter.

So what’s going on with this group? KSAT’s Fares Sabawi and I broke down some of the glaring issues and it comes down to defense, turnovers and point differential from 3-point range.

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For example, Houston, the team that will be in town Tuesday night, had made 298 3-pointers as of Monday. The Spurs had made 188. That is an 894 to 564 point differential!

And they have not made up the gap on defense. The Spurs have the fourth-worst rating in the league. READ THE FULL BREAKDOWN HERE.

It led to a 4-12 record in November, but it is a new month and they are still — somehow — in playoff contention.

If you have questions or comments about the newsletter, hit me up at rmarquez@ksat.com.

POP SOUND OF WEEK: The Spurs head coach discussed Lonnie Walker staying ready and 3-point shooting being ‘the name of the game’ after bad loss to Minnesota. WATCH HERE.

Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich talks to media after Minnesota game.

By the numbers: These 3 charts explain why Spurs are struggling

Kawhi on Spurs fans booing: ‘Felt like normal away game;’ Paul George doesn’t ‘understand’ reception

LeBron James and fellow Lakers party at San Antonio bar after win

ROUND BALL ROUNDTABLE: Will the Spurs make the playoffs?

We will have a much better idea later this month, but I will stick by my original projection and say yes. But no higher than sixth at the end of the regular season. We will see what they do in December.

Yes, they can make the playoffs and I still believe they will. Despite their struggles, the Spurs are only three games out of the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot. With 61 regular season games left, there’s no time to panic, but the Spurs need to get it in gear ASAP.

The Spurs are only three games out of eighth in the West. Phoenix currently occupies that position, but they have a losing record. Despite the Spurs record, don’t be surprised to see some kind of move to improve the team. Lonnie Walker IV has shown he deserves some more playing time. That means the Spurs will really be stacked at the guard spot. We are just about a quarter of the way through the season and there is still a lot of time left to move up the conference standings ladders.

I’ll say yes, but I think we’ll get a clear answer this month. They have seven games at home, three on the road and the Mexico City game against Phoenix in December. It’s a very manageable schedule that will get more difficult, so it’s time to get to work.

Follow us on Twitter or tweet us your Spurs questions to: Greg at @GregSimmonsKSAT, Larry at @LRam2, David at @DAVIDKSAT or RJ at @KSATRJ

PLAYER SOUND OF WEEK: Has “The Fourth" awaken? Yes, that’s a bad Star Wars joke, but Lonnie Walker IV is giving Spurs fans hope. He recently discussed getting playing time after criticism from coach Popovich early in the season. WATCH HERE.

Lonnie Walker IV talks to media after Spurs-Timberwolves game on Nov. 27.

OFF COURT STORY OF WEEK: We’re sticking with Lonnie! He personally delivered Thanksgiving meals to families in need on the West Side. MORE HERE.

Lonnie Walker hands out turkeys for Thanksgiving to SA families.

POWER RANKINGS PULSE (The fall continues):

ESPN.com: 20th in NBA, dropped one spot and points to DeRozan’s bad defensive rating

SI.com: 21st in NBA, makes the case of DeRozan and Aldridge leading to many defensive issues

NBA.com: 23rd in NBA, dropped again and makes case that DeRozan, Aldridge and Forbes have been bad defensively!

SPURS SCHEDULE LOOK AHEAD:

Dec. 3: vs Houston Rockets

Dec. 6: vs Sacramento Kings

Dec. 12: vs Cleveland Cavaliers

Dec. 14: vs Phoenix Suns (In Mexico City)

KEY GAME/MATCHUP OF WEEK:

A weird scheduling quirk gives the Spurs five days off, three straight home games and a trip to Mexico City. If they can’t turn things around during this stretch, then it might be time to think about the future and possibly make a trade. I don’t expect San Antonio to slow down James Harden, but they almost need to get the next three after the Houston game.

The most interesting Spur in the world, or former Spurs player, is Manu Ginobili, with Boris Diaw a close second. What has Manu been up to? I have no clue where Manu has been! No recent tweets, no photos, nothing! But I’m sure Ginobili is enjoying life. This week, in honor of James Harden coming to town, we take a trip down memory lane to that time Manu blocked Harden’s 3-point attempt to seal a Spurs win in overtime of Game 5 of the 2017 Western Conference semifinals. It added to his playoff lore and the city went crazy. MANU. FOREVER.

Courtesy: AP

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