After two preseason losses, Spurs know there's much room for improvement

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich argues a call during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets in Charlotte, N.C., Tuesday, March 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

The San Antonio Spurs are off to an 0-2 start to their 2019 preseason slate after losing to the Heat, 107-89.

The marks the second-straight game the Spurs were beaten by double-figures, leaving the team knowing one thing - they are no where near ready for the start of the regular-season.

“We have a lot of work to do," guard DeMar DeRozan said to reporters following the loss to Miami. "We have to clean up some stuff as well as get better at a few things and take advantage of these preseason games before the real thing starts.”

It may be the preseason but there are certain things the Spurs can and must cleanup ahead of the regular-season.

For the second-straight game the Spurs coughed the ball up too many times. San Antonio fumbled the ball 16 times leading to 25 Miami points.

Add in the team shooting 39-percent for the game and getting thumped in the paint 52-28, and you have a Spurs team already with a sense of urgency.

“We need to keep building. It’s early," LaMarcus Aldridge said. "We need to work on things and keep trying to build.”

Said Dejounte Murray: "We have a long way to go. We should take preseason seriously, everyone from 1 to 15, whatever their role is."

Against Miami, the Spurs came apart in the third period, losing that quarter 28-18. During the game, Miami built a 23 point lead and outrebounded the Spurs, 49-37.

Careless turnovers, poor defense, and execution have been an issue in two preseason games for San Antonio but for head coach Gregg Popovich, it is simply about having that competitive spirit.

“My assessment after two games so far is that our competitive nature is lacking. Some would interpret that as ‘soft’ and that’s how we are playing," Popovich said. "I don’t see the competitiveness necessary to compete in the NBA."

"I’m okay with turnovers to a point, missed shots and all that, so that doesn’t matter. But, the competitiveness and aggressiveness shows," said Popovich. "The ‘give a [expletive]’ factor shows in transition defense when standing in front of somebody on defense or rebounding is not there."

The good news is the Spurs have a few more preseason games, practices and a team-scrimmage to shape up before the regular-season starts later this month against the Knicks in San Antonio.

"We understand the preseason feeling. But, it’s a matter of preparing everyone else, especially the young guys to get ready for the season," DeRozan said.

Should the Spurs fix what ails them when wins and losses matter, then these preseason losses will be forgotten come the start of the season.

If not, as Popovich stated following the loss, then the team could be in for a rough season.

"That needs to change or it will be a long [expletive] year. Quote me on that," Popovich said.