SAN ANTONIO - San Antonio Spurs' Lonnie Walker IV stepped up for the team at the right moment with a pair of impressive outings to close out the team's recent 5-game road trip.
With DeMar DeRozan out of the lineup due to personal issues, Walker added a much-needed scoring punch in the team's final two road games against Minnesota and Oklahoma City.
Walker scored 25 points for the Spurs against the Timberwolves and followed that up against the Thunder with a 24-point outburst to lead the team to the 112-102 win.
But it was a bad performance in the Spurs’ 96-88 loss to the Timberwolves in Minneapolis that is fueling his recent play.
"I was a little bit disappointed on my style of play the past few games," Walker said to media following the Spurs' win over the Thunder. "I would have a good game, then have a bad game. The inconsistency was getting the best of me."
Said Walker: "I would say that Timberwolves game where I had about seven points, kind of ate me up a lot. I couldn't go to sleep that same night knowing we had a back-to-back. I wasn't happy how I played offensively and defensively. My effort wasn't there."
It was a night to forget for the Spurs guard. Along with his seven points, he recorded zero assists, two rebounds and shot 2-8 from the field in 27 minutes. In addition, over the last seven games, he only scored in double-figures four times.
What is also fueling him was the fact he worked hard in the offseason. He trained with Bucks' Jrue Holiday, stayed in peak shape and was set to prove he belonged in the NBA.
He was not about to let a bad game stain all he worked for.
"I know that wasn't me. All that work I put into the offseason, I got to let it be known," he said.
And letting it be know he has.
In his last two games he is posting 24.5 points per game, 47.1% shooting, 42.9% shooting from the 3-point line, 3.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.0 blocks in 33.0 minutes per game.
He also has connected on six three-point shots made total in the last two games, started the season with 4-consecutive games of double-figure scoring, and is providing a spark on the floor.
It is still an open question as to when DeRozan will be in uniform. Coach Gregg Popovich speculated that DeRozan could be with the team sooner than later but with the NBA ramping up stricter COVID measures, that timetable could change.
But if DeRozan is out of the lineup longer, Walker could get his opportunity to build on the last two games.
"I got to play with that confidence and not second guess myself," Walker said.