Knicks and Lakers are Two Different Kinds of Tests

The Spurs ended their 8-game losing streak thanks to the Knicks, but then tonight, got a taste of the real quality of the NBA against the Lakers, winners of seven-straight coming into tonight.

That the Spurs played well both times they faced the Lake show says something about them, and their ability to show up for the big ones. It means they can play at that level, but cannot always muster the desire to do so every time.

Tonight, LaMarcus was on, hitting nearly everything from midrange and DeMar DeRozan did a decent impression of Kawhi for a bit until LeBron decided to turn things up.

There were still too many silly mistakes — letting LAL get up the floor too quickly and allow the role players easy looks from three — and that is a symptom of the poor defense the team has shown all season.

Staying close through three was fool’s gold as the difference in talent was always going to be the difference in game like this. Bron has mastered the art of saving the good stuff for when it is needed and he controlled the game in the fourth as the Spurs sort of fell apart.

For whatever reason, it seems like the Spurs are always down 10 in the fourth quarter. The offense, as good as it is, cannot come up with the shots it needs and the defense cannot get a stop. This is the Spurs team of 2019/2020. We should accept them for who they are.

Murray Is Going To Be A Star When He Can Go 40 Minutes

Remember when I wrote that progress was the goal? Yes, well this was also one of those times where everyone wanted to measure this Spurs team against the latest incarnation of a LeBron SuperTeam.

The Spurs came in with a great offensive rating and the Lakers, thanks to their length — and really Danny Green and Anthony Davis — came into tonight allowing sometime around 92.3 on defense. The Spurs hit that number tonight, sort of confirming the importance of a quality defense.

There were a fair number of missed shots that usually go in — that is to say, no one was unusually bottled up beyond LMA getting bullied and bumped and probably fouled a number of times. Bryn Forbes was ungodly bad from deep and that was basically the difference.

There is an argument to be made that this was just an off night shooting the ball and that is all the difference between the 5-1 Lakers and the 4-2 Spurs.

On the other hand, it is troubling that Aldridge and DeRozan combined for only 22 on 24 shots between them. DeRozan was off from everywhere and the aggression came from your star Dejounte Murray.

This, like that Cleveland game three years ago, will be another milestone in his progression. He got easy buckets because of steals and also crossed over Caldwell-Pope before getting a sweet lefty scoop shot+1 over Bron.

His minutes are still restricted and so then are the Spurs in that regard. Nate Jones tweeted this:

That is quality analyzing . LMA, and all big men, have some trouble with length. Javale and Anthony Davis do not make it easy to get the normal buckets he does. Poeltl was even more flustered, and slow to get the roll moves on the screens.

The length bothered San Antonio all game and it would improve in a playoff series as the team got used to it. On a Sunday night in early November? Well it led to easy buckets.

Murray led a furious little comeback himself before Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit two ridiculous buckets to put the Lakers permanently ahead. The Spurs are still searching for someone not named Forbes to get hot from deep — which makes that Bertans deal hurt more — and even Bryn was cold tonight. He shot 1/8 from deep on looks he has been happy to get all season.

In the progress meter, we can call this one a success. The Lakers are more talented but the Spurs were right there, and should play better in better circumstances.

The Lakers however, are ridiculously talented and Bryn is happy to play Robin to AD’s Batman. The real threat? Well it was Spurs-nemisis Dwight Howard getting huge buckets all game long. He finished with 14 and 13, including 4 big offensive rebounds.

My Spurs Fandom: A Love to Hate Story

Greetings Spurs Fans,

This will be my first post.  Here goes nothing.  So I was born and raised a Spurs fan.  I’m fairly certain I bleed Black and Silver.  I’ve been through all the highs and lows of the Robinson and Duncan Eras.  Sometimes, it’s fun to reminisce about those times and think about where you were, hold old you were, how you felt, how loud you screamed, etc.  

There’s a lot being said right now about two pillars of the NBA nearing the end of their respective careers.  One being Old Man Riverwalk himself, the one we affectionately call “Timmy” here in SA,  the other being the Black Mamba, Kobe.  These two have always been the Yin and Yang of my life as a Spurs fan.  As Adam mentioned in his post,  they were Batman and Joker.  Only this Joker had a Superman at his side for a time, in Shaq.  

When I think about the Spurs/Lakers rivalry through the years, it makes me think about how much hate Kobe and Shaq got from fans in the river city.  We’re talking big heat.  Nuclear heat.  If you were in the arena when they were announcing the visiting starting five during those playoff games,  the chorus of boos rumbled the very foundation of the Alamodome/SBC/ATT Center.  It was great.  Every great good guy needs a foil and for the Spurs, it was the Lakers.  When I think about said hate, it makes me think back on certain rivals that had similar heat among the Spurs brethren.  Some of these are obvious choices, while others you may have forgotten about.  I, for one, did not forget.  Here is a list of some hated players in my Spurs fandom, ordered by my level of hatred for them:

Tyronn Lue  – This is more of a personal one but I distinctly remember this bench warmer on the Lakers around 2001.  Kobe was in the Alamodome unleashing one of his routine down by 20 comebacks to rip our hearts out.  I remember the Lakers bench standing up right in front of some of the floor seat fans.  The fans shouted for them to move or sit down.  They ignored.  I remember Lu looking back, smug as ever.  Villian move.  The Lakers made a 3, probably to take the lead and Lue stared at the crowd with both hands in the air, 3 fingers up.  

What makes it okay for me: I got my vengeance vicariously. 

Ray Allen – There’s always been something I just don’t like about him.  He was involved in many a scuffle with Bruce Bowen.

Robert Horry – Before he came to the Spurs, as a Rocket and a Laker, he was hated for always lighting up the Spurs from 3, or using his athleticism to go to the basket.  This was always more of a respectful kind of hate.  When he finally put on the Silver and Black it was jarring to see him in it. After winning two chips with Los Spurs, all is forgiven but…. There were times when he was on the dark side… 

** What makes it okay for me:** This and this.

Juwan Howard – I will never forgive this guy for taking out Derek Anderson in 2001.  Everytime I see him on a bench somewhere I immediately think of Derek Anderson.  He effectively took out our most consistent 3rd scoring option that year mid-way through our playoff run.  Granted, we eventually beat the Mavs and moved on to be swept by Shaq and Kobe.  But it still grinds my gears when I see this guy. 

image

What makes it okay for me:  Nothing until he retires.

Mark Cuban – There was that “The riverwalk is a dirty creek” thing and there’s all the camera attention and his complaining about refs that puts Cuban right up there in the Hate Department.  I feel like this one has died down a bit.  But in the prime of the Spurs/Mavs rivalry, it was fun to yell at Cuban to sit down and shut up.

![image](http://static1.squarespace.com/static/569d444005f8e2b24dace8c6/56b6913106dcb7a9cf168a48/56b6913106dcb7a9cf168a83/1454805420520/tumblr_inline_nfdi43lKOe1t5t2ln.jpg is what propelled Fisher to legendary hate status but before that he was apart of the Laker teams we all loved to root against.  If left open, he was deadly in the corner and many times, thanks to Kobe or Shaq, he was WIDE open.  Fisher is an accomplice to all the heartache Kobe wrought on us.  And for that…. we hate.  Oh yeah and that 0.4 thing. (Which I still think the clock was started late but meh.).  </span)

What makes it okay for me:  Fisher crying

Karl Malone – You wanna talk about nuclear heat?  Find a video of the Mailman being announced anytime during the course of a game in San Antonio.  Whether it was the starting five announcements, Malone checking in or out of the game, the hate was palpable.  Malone always had your normal Western conference rival hate, but he was known for throwing his elbows.  On one occasion, one of these elbows connected with David’s head knocking him out cold. As a rookie Tim Duncan went to check on his fallen comrade, Malone showed no signs of remorse.  My Malone hate was locked in permanently for the rest of his career.  

What makes it okay for me:  David went out on top and Malone never got a ring.

imageKobe crying. 

Shaq – Shaq has to be my number 1.  He was big.  He was a bully.  He got away with plenty on the court, including battering our beloved No.50.  A jab to the kidneys comes to mind when the refs weren’t looking.  It was quite literally the battle of David and Goliath when the Spurs played the Lakers.   But what made it worse was when he opened his mouth.  His book is a full of quotes such as this, “I’m thinking, ‘Punk-ass David Robinson got (a title) before I did?’ That made me really mad. Oh, man. David Robinson had a ring before me. I’m crushed and hurt.” and “The fact is, until the Spurs play a full season and win it all, I can’t respect their title.”

What makes it okay for me: David going through Shaq to finish his career on top and….

When asked what he thought about Shaq releasing a book, Robinson replied, “What is it? A picture book?”