Jeremy Sochan and Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs
Photo credit: ESPN

Jeremy Sochan's outstanding performance leads Spurs to victory vs Suns

Published March 26, 2024 at 7:43 PM

The San Antonio Spurs are pumped up following their 104-102 victory against the Phoenix Suns on Monday night at the Frost Bank Center. This win follows a 25-point defeat to the Suns on Saturday, during which Victor Wembanyama was part of the lineup. However, with Wembanyama sidelined for Monday's game, Jeremy Sochan took charge, scoring 26 points and grabbing 18 rebounds to lead the team.

Following the game, Coach Pop expressed admiration for Sochan's defensive prowess.

''[Kevin Durant] is such a difficult matchup for everybody,'' coach Gregg Popovich said postgame. ''He's one of the greatest ever, and Jeremy [Sochan] never stopped working his butt off. He's very physical and did everything he could to guard a great player. He deserves a lot of credit. He also hit the boards for us. ... He was very special.''

Anticipated to be less focused due to Wembanyama's absence, the Phoenix Suns appeared unprepared in the early stages. They exhibited lackluster offense, settling for poor shots, and displayed weak defensive rotations. Conversely, the Spurs, initially somewhat disorganized, showcased intensity on both ends of the court, with Sochan leading the charge. Vassell provided timely scoring in half-court situations, while transition opportunities abounded for San Antonio, capitalizing on turnovers and missed shots. Despite an uptick in effort from the Suns' bench players, they failed to match the Spurs' energy. By the end of the first quarter, the Spurs held a deserved seven-point lead.

At a critical juncture, the Suns appeared poised to rally. Coach Frank Vogel's lineup adjustments aimed to counter Durant's impact, yet the Spurs managed to respond effectively. As the game progressed, the absence of Sochan and Vassell posed challenges for the Spurs on both ends. Phoenix surged ahead with a 15-0 run, threatening to pull away. However, with the return of Vassell and Sochan, the Spurs intensified their defense, exploiting opportunities in transition and inside. Despite the Suns' resurgence in the second quarter, they only held a slim three-point lead at halftime.

Traditionally, games between a strong team and a depleted opponent see the former eventually assert dominance. While Durant excelled, the Spurs refused to relent, relying on inside scoring and timely shots from Vassell to stay competitive. With Durant resting, Phoenix struggled offensively, allowing the Spurs, led by Keldon Johnson, to close the gap.

Must read on BasketballPatrol
Entering the fourth quarter, the Suns remained disoriented, allowing the Spurs to seize a nine-point lead. Devin Booker's heroics kept the Suns in contention, but their lack of urgency hindered their efforts. Despite the potential for stars like Durant and Booker to take over, the Suns' defensive lapses and fatigue became evident.

In a closely contested finish, Sochan, despite previous struggles from beyond the arc, drained a crucial three-pointer to put the Spurs ahead. With stout defense in the final possession, the Spurs secured victory, avenging their previous defeat to the Suns.

The victory in this game ensured the Spurs clinched the season series win after splitting the two-game series played in San Antonio. Previously, in late October and early November, the Spurs secured two wins against the same opponent in Phoenix.

"It's just good to have a win," Sochan said postgame. "Good to have a win [with] the season we have had. So, against a team like that, we ended with three wins and one loss against them. So, I think that shows a lot and just feels good to get a good team win and have good energy around the locker room."

Defeating a playoff-bound team like the Suns three times in four meetings this season indicates positive momentum in San Antonio. While the team may not have fully assembled all components yet, progress is evident, suggesting potential growth and development ahead.

Next, the Spurs will face the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City tomorrow night. The game is set to tip off at 8 p.m. CT.

Source Sports Illustrated : Spurs' Gregg Popovich Praises Jeremy Sochan's Defense on Kevin Durant
Source Pounding The Rock : Jeremy Sochan's career night propels Wemby-less Spurs past Suns
March 26   |   5 answers
Jeremy Sochan's outstanding performance leads Spurs to victory vs Suns

Do you think Jeremy Sochan of the Spurs will be traded next season?

Yes360 %
No240 %
Latest 10 stories