I hope everyone is recovered from the turkey coma and is basking in the gloriousness of turkey sandwiches. In case you missed it, like I did, the Spurs played two games while I was on break. On Wednesday, the guys took only their 2nd loss against the Thunder and last night, they returned to their thrashing-bad-teams ways in blowing out the Magic. The road split leaves the Spurs still atop the West with a sterling 11.3 point differential. In other words, there’s no need to panic.
Now is when we will start to learn a little, very little, something about the Spurs. In the next 16 games, we see the Thunder twice, Wolves twice, Rockets twice, Pacers, Clippers, and Warriors. Much of it comes during a brutally dense stretch of December. 7 games in 10 days and 11 games in 17 days. I expect Pop will continue to keep everyone’s minutes about where they are. The record will suffer. Probably.
There is nothing about the Cavaliers game you need to know about. The Spurs machine took another bad team and ground them into tiny little pieces, one night after out-gritting and out-grinding the Grizzlies. Tony is great, Tim looked good, defense was awesome, the system is amazing, blah, blah, blah. The most important thing that happened in this game was on the bench with 9:06 left in the 4th. And FSSW cameras just happened to catch it. YouTube link after the jump.
Every now and then, we are seeing flashes of what Kawhi Leonard can be. Usually, it’s a play or two per game where you just sit and watch and admire. Wednesday night, it was the longest stretch of sustained Kawhi-ness that I have seen. And it was something to behold.
The Spurs finish up the third week of the season with another off day. They needed the break. They played a tidy 7 games in 11 days. Tomorrow night kicks off another 7 games in 11 days stretch.
So let’s enjoy the break and take a look at what I think.
It does not matter who is in the uniform or who is in the coach’s seat. It does not matter who the refs are. It does not even matter who the opponent is. When you go to SLC to play a game, you are going to get beat up, roughed up, smacked around, and generally ground down until you hurt. And for the 3 quarters, the Spurs let it get to them. But in the 4th, they flipped a switch and took over the game. Overall, an ugly but well-earned win in a tough place to play.
The Spurs are finishing up a really difficult scheduling stretch of the season — six games in nine days — that has gone magnificently. They have a long break — four days, the longest non-all-star break of the season — afterward. They are finishing it up with the worst team in the league. Smell that? That’s the smell of a tarp. A big, stinky, moldy tarp.
We didn’t learn a lot about our team in the last 4 days. Blowout wins against the Knicks, the Sixers, and the Wizards told us nothing about the Spurs so far, except that being a good team in the Eastern Conference is probably worth an additional 5-7 wins per season. And we haven’t even seen the Celtics or the Bobcats/Hornets yet. All of that said, I saw a few things I really liked recently.