The Spurs have had an interesting week. After coming back against Atlanta, and seeing a version of the system they run, they turned around and let Houston win another Regular Season title, for which I’m sure there’ll be a ticker tape parade in H-Town. They then followed that up by falling short against a young, talented Pelican1 squad.
So what is the deal? Well, outside of everyone not being ‘right’, there was the standard benching of starters against Houston. Still, the bench is usually good enough to work through these lower tier NBA squads right? Right. But this is not the usual bench. Belinelli was out against New Orleans and Splitter is still out with a bad back.
I saw someone tweet that Austin Daye and Aron Baynes are not Marco and Tiago. That kind of sums it up. Still the Spurs are who they are and battled back against a young, inexperienced Pelican squad. Diaw worked over Anthony Davis but that wasn’t enough for kill his will. Davis still scooped in the eventual game-winning points.
Even the reigning Finals MVP isn’t in mid season form. He pulled up for the game-winning three too early, let Holiday block his shot, got the rebound and nearly won the game at the buzzer. Most of that possession is talent but if he pump fakes and then fires he has a more makable shot. I mean, when the three left his hand there was 3 seconds left in the game.
He has got to be aware of the time there.
Aside from injury, there is a general lack of crispness overall. No doubt you are thinking2 that there is a post-title hangover. There is, but it is natural. Pop has never coached a team back to the Finals after winning one, and he has most definitely hasn’t coached a team to three straight Finals appearances.
But he hadn’t coached a team to back-to-back Finals appearances before last year either. Things don’t happen until they do.
I had a mini-argument about Pop’s proclivity toward benching starters in back-to-backs. It wasn’t good argument from the other side, but it is one I’ve seen before.
- The Spurs are hurting the NBA
Nope. The NBA is hurting the NBA with 82 game seasons packed into a relatively short amount of time. There is enough data that shows the chief criticisms of the league could be addressed by shortening the schedule, or spending the games out.
- Players don’t play hard in regular season – They are marathoning and not sprinting, as they do in the post-season. Duh
- There are too many games – Yep
- No fundamentals/ etc – This is a waning criticism, but one that still remains. We’d likely see more stars playing more if they had legs to play more often at a higher level.
- The Spurs are being unfair to fans
Nope. See above. They are using some game theory here. Saving their better players for the end of the year where more people watch anyway.
- What about Houston’s fans?
Such is the peril of buying an early season game. It is why playoff games are priced a bit higher.
Spurs take on LA Clippers in Los Angeles and then the 5-0 (as of this writing) Warriors with the league’s second-leading scorer in Steph Curry. Things won’t get much easier from here on out. Splitter will be seeing a back specialties in LA, though. Interesting.
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1. So weird. I don’t know how long it will take me to get over calling them the Hornets, despite there existing another team named ‘Hornets.’ [↩](#fnref:p102217157162-1)
2. As I am [↩](#fnref:p102217157162-3)