SAN ANTONIO — Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell had 29 points each, and the San Antonio Spurs rallied from a 24-point deficit to beat the Atlanta Hawks 126-118 on Sunday, spoiling Dejounte Murray‘s homecoming.
Murray had 22 points, eight assists and six rebounds in his first game in San Antonio since being traded to Atlanta in the offseason.
“I’m not surprised. I’m not shocked,” Murray said. “(Devin) and Keldon put in a lot of work. Those are two young guys who really want to get better and be better. For me, trying to stay a competitor when we are playing and not more of a fan. … And like they said, they are thankful for me showing them the way, always being there for them, whether I was there or where I am at today.”
The victory was the largest second-half comeback for San Antonio under Gregg Popovich and tied the second-largest comeback in his 27 seasons as coach.
“A tale of two cities this week,” Popovich said. “The competitiveness and physicality was great. I think they scored 35 (in the second half). When you play that competitive and physically, good things usually happen.”
The Spurs reversed their woes after blowing double-digit leads in consecutive overtimes losses at home, including a 29-point lead in the third quarter Friday before falling 126-120 to the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies’ comeback Friday was the largest of the season, while the Spurs’ on Sunday tied for the fourth-largest. San Antonio is the fifth team in the past 25 seasons to lose after leading by 20 or more points and win after trailing by 20-plus in consecutive games — and the first in 25 seasons when those point differentials are 24-plus, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
“There’s been times this year where we keep fighting and keep fighting and keep fighting,” Johnson said. “It kind of felt good to get down big and come back and fight and get a win.”
Zach Collins added 19 points for the Spurs, who snapped a two-game skid.
Onyeka Okongwu had 17 points and Clint Capela had 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Hawks.
After trailing the Hawks by 24 points in the third quarter, Blake Wesley‘s layup gave the Spurs a 115-114 lead with 3:47 remaining in the game.
The rookie point guard finished with six points, with five coming in the final four minutes.
Johnson sparked a 14-4 run with back-to-back 3-pointers that cut the Hawks’ lead to 95-93 with 3:38 remaining in third quarter.
San Antonio was 8-for-12 on 3-pointers in the third quarter to cut Atlanta’s lead to 103-101 entering the fourth. The Spurs held the Hawks to 20 points in the third while outscoring them by 19 in the quarter.
“Everybody played big today,” Vassell said. “We just kept the faith that we were going to come back and we did.”
San Antonio shot 58% from the field in the second half while outscoring Atlanta 65-35.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.