Go For It

The great thing about the Spurs has been the longevity of competitiveness. For the fan, the great vicarious joys have come through championships and acuumulated goals. Timmy Duncan grabbed his 1000th win revelry, for example. These kinds of things are commendable and great and I take great pleasure in lording these accomplishments of our teams over those of other fans’ teams.  

The thing we don’t have — as fans — is an all-time great squad. Whereas the 96 Bulls are rightfully hailed as the greatest team assembled, and last year’s W’s as a good entry into that conversation, and (much to my chagrin) the 2001 Lakers as another one to consider, the Spurs have … this year?

And even this year is a bit tainted by the Warriors. Sure Pop and company don’t really care about that — but you and I aren’t there fighting through the season, focussed on the title. We don’t need to prepare mentally for the Playoffs because we aren’t playing. We are just fans and our sole joy comes from lording over other fans. I mean we are out here living vicariously. Unlike world soccer, we don’t get multiple trophies to brag over, we just have the one thing. Southwest division titles are meaningless, and Best Records are, too. All Time Best Records, however? Well those are a little more valuable. 

Even if the reward only merits a mention on a chryon as the next All Time Great team skips past it, it is something to memorialize our favorite squad in the annals of NBA History. 

The Spurs have two milestones that are within reach that would put this team in the All Time Greatest conversation: 70 wins, and a perfect home record. While the necessity of winning a title to immortalize this squad is mitigated by there being another 70 win team. So they might not even need  to win the title to be considered an All Time Great. I mean, the Bulls merely had 64-win Seattle Squad to compete with.*

So I hope they go for it. Try to make this already-all-time Spurs season an all-time NBA season . . . even more.  

 *wink

 

Game 4: Paul’d

We all know it is a little strange being a San Antonio Spurs fan. They haven’t won titles the conventional way. No back-to-backs, no media darlings, no pretty basketball (for the first three titles).

The Spurs have been counted out a few times in the course of the Duncan reign. Hell, they were done after getting dumped by the Mavericks in the first round in 2009, and swept by the suns in 2010. They were too old to hang with teams like the Grizz in 2011. Then not ready for the new breed OKC in 2012. Then missed their window in game 6 in 2013.

The Spurs have won one title in the last seven years. So has Boston. The two franchises are in vastly different spots. The Heat won two titles, same with the Lakers. Where are they now? Garbage squads.

The above is a long way around of saying that I still believe the Spurs have enough to oust the Clippers. Their athleticism was always going to give the Spurs trouble, because it is in the right spots. The Heat had athleticism, but it was on the outside where we could mitigate that. One reason SA struggled so much with OKC the last three years was Serge Ibaka dominating inside. The Spurs offense creates shots at the rim and from three. But when teams have a guy like Deandre Jordan and Blake Griffin that can recover from mistakes with such ferocity, that creates a problem.

On the other end, Chris Paul is playing like he did in 2009 when he destroyed the Spurs in three games. Yeah, he’s been on bad teams for his nine years, but he’s still very good.

It would be nice if Tony Parker was keeping pace with him but instead he was missing clutch free throws in game 4. The hope was that the game three blowout would have given Tony and Manu (and Tim, to a lesser extent) the rest they needed to essentially close this thing out in Game 4.

Instead, Tony was still laboring to score1, and Manu was giving away the ball and three-point plays. 2 While I don’t see that changing dramatically in the next few games I don’t see Austin Rivers balling out nor Danny Green continuing to struggle.

Manu called Austin Rivers’ big game a “surprise” but owned up to the mistakes. I still believe. Doc Rivers said he loves the ebb and flow of a playoff series. I don’t. I hate it. It really does feel like your team will never win again after a playoff loss. And losing two games in a row is the difference between a 3-2 advantage going home and a 2-3 deficit must-win.

The biggest concern wasn’t necessarily the defense allowing 34 points from Chris Paul. Nor was it the surprise from Austin Rivers, as he got some good looks against Patty Mills, who despite his contributions, isn’t going to win that 1v1 battle.

No, the biggest concern was the 24% from three. Danny Green 0-fered. He wasn’t really doing much defensively, either. With Kawhi shouldering the scoring, the Spurs will need Danny to defend better, and be the guy that tore up the Finals two years ago. Else, what is he doing that Marco can’t?

Speaking of Kawhi Leonard, he is awesome. He was torched tonight by the combination of Chris Paul and JJ Redick but he was also 10-19 for 26 points. Again, he can’t be expected to pick up the offensive slack while still locking down the other team’s perimeter guys. Danny Green and company need to hit shots.

If we want KL to be LBJ, he can’t be guarding the best player the entire night. Simple as that.

See you again on Tues night.

* * *

1. Sure, he had 18. He was better but still not where the Spurs need him to be. [↩](#fnref:p117475548557-1)

2. We are getting all the bad Manu with nearly none of the good. [↩](#fnref:p117475548557-2)

(Untitled)

I’ve been watching a lot of soccer in the last five years so I have had some appreciation of mid-table drama. Were the NBA so inclined to go single-table, 58-game season this would be a battle for mediocre-ness. It isn’t, so we won’t fuss over that. Nonetheless it is good to climb above another mid-table dweller. The Spurs could have put some extra space between themselves and the Mavericks of Dallas tonight. The quick 29-point explosion of the first quarter comprised of Thiago finger rolls and Kahwi all-around dominance helped guide the festivities. Then the hot shooting ceased and the turnovers commenced.

That was an ugly loss. Ugly turnovers and the Spurs got Monta’d. Last year’s playoffs he was ridiculous against our guys and god knows I thought Damian Lillard was going to continue the streak of scoring point guards going bananas.

It didn’t happen. I was glad.

This year we’ve seen Kyrie Irving scorch the Spurs for 57 and tonight saw Monta Ellis rack up 38.

I’d still chalk this one up to randomness. The shooting was uncharacteristically poor (8 percentage points below average) and there were turnovers. Beating the league-leading Hawks on Sunday was nice, but that was more awful play by Atlanta than anything else.

Now we get to see Russ Westbrook, he of the Triple Double, on Wednesday.

Go Spurs.

Random

  • Chandler Parsons, by virtue of having played for both Houston and Dallas, is forever among the Disliked
  • I wouldn’t want Monta on my team but I hate when he goes against the Spurs.
  • At one point the Mavs rolled out Dirk, Amar’e, Richard Jefferson, and Devin Harris in their lineup. It was a formidable lineup … for 2006. The Mavericks are so very QPR sometimes, you guys.
  • Remember Devin Harris: Spurs Killer?
  • How long until Kawhi loses the braids?

Opening Night: Spurs 101 Mavericks 100

The Spurs are 1-0. Tonight was about the rings and getting into the swing of things. If you’ve watched any preseason Spurs basketball (I haven’t, because I’m not crazy) you’ve likely seen a team that is mostly concerned with recovering from old man-edness, from an enjoyable summer, and in Kawhi’s and Patty’s cases, actual injuries.

Popovich is sporting a sweet new beard that makes him look like Sean Connery in League of Extraordinary Gentleman.

his summer national team hiatus, but I don’t mind it if he does.

The rings look awesome. Apparently they were handing out commemorative rings, y’all. So jealous right now.

The Game

The cook at the local burger joint said to his fellow employee: “This is Spurs basketball. It’s supposed to get your heart racing.”1 It was near closing time and I was finishing up my beer as the Spurs were pulling away in the fourth quarter. Little did I know that by the time I made it back for the final minutes it was indeed a close one.

It was enough to remind me that in May, these Mavericks2 were one game away from ending the Spurs season way too early. Such is life. Dallas looks good. New face Chandler Parsons maybe looked a little out of shape, after all. He finished with just five points on 2-10 shooting, including clanging the potential game-winner off the front of the rim. Should he have passed it to Spurs-killer Monta Ellis? Likely. I’m sure Monta thinks so. I’m sure I don’t care. I’m sure that I’m glad he didn’t.

How about Belinelli scoring again? Now that the Finals are over he’s back to the guy we saw last season. He’s draining threes and moving well. He finished with a team-high +13. Tony Parker predictably led the team in scoring with 23 and Ginobili shook off his poor preseason slump.

These guys have been doing this for ages and know how to plan for the NBA marathon. I wasn’t surprised nor outraged by the poor preseason play as that didn’t matter as much as tonight’s game did.

There is plenty to work out – the turnover at the end had Pop angry, not to mention the fact that the guys blew a seven-point lead with 3 minutes left. That the Spurs were able to pull out a solidly played game without a couple of starters (not to mention an important sixth man) is unsurprising and comforting. They are the same old Spurs, it seems.

Praeterea

  • Hey how about Tony cashing 4/4 three pointers?3
  • Peter Holt looks like he is near a heart attack at all times.
  • Chandler Parsons has only been a Maverick for one game and I already hate his face.
  • Kyle Anderson’s hair is crooked.
  • It is funny that they dramatically revealed the 2014 NBA title banner … when it looks exactly like the 2007 one right next to it.
  • Kawhi got fresh braids. #FinalsMVPLyfe

Altri Pensieri

Sitting in the cafeteria on campus this evening trying to catch up on school work, I overheard a brief conversation between a man and a woman working at the food outlet. He asked her if she liked the Spurs and whether she was excited about tonight’s game. She chimed in excitedly, half interrupting his question, confirming she was a fan and that she knew she’d be missing “their first big game” on account of work.

Although I also consider myself a fan, I wasn’t aware until that moment of the game tonight. I proceeded to google their schedule and saw that they’d be facing the Mavericks and we’re just nearing tip off. After indulging that mild curiosity I returned to work. That’s sort of how my fandom works.

My husband brought me back to the game, suggesting we find a place to eat after school where we could watch the remaining half. The Spurs won 101-100.

I think we played well, but not well enough considering the close margin by which we won. Ginobili was hitting a lot of 3s, which always makes the game more exciting to watch, but the rough spill he took later in the game that took him a minute to walk off reminded me that he doesn’t have as many games left in him as we might like. Plus he’s super bald. 😉

Also, I like Pop’s beard. It’s very… winterly. #GoSpursGo

* * *

1. Maybe. I can’t quite remember. [↩](#fnref:p101232167662-4)

2. Well not _these_ Mavericks. But enough of them. You know what I mean. [↩](#fnref:p101232167662-1)

3. One of which was the game-winner. [↩](#fnref:p101232167662-2)