Bart Herridge
@BartTBF

I think we can all agree with Pop about lots of things. He’s a super smart, interesting guy with lots of opinions. But one thing about which I think he is hell-bent to change is the NBA schedule. The man is clearly on a mission to force the NBA to deal with the schedule issue. What’s the issue? Too many games in “spurts”, like the one the Spurs are about to get into, where there are 9 games in the next 14 days. And then there are these weird 3 day off stretches for no good reason. And we all agree because Pop is right, of course: the schedule prevents us from seeing the best possible basketball. So as we reach the point where this crazy scheduled season is about 1/4 over, it’s a good opportunity to do some assessment about why they are winning a lot of games (other than, “they are really good”).

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It’s a late Monday Musings this week, but it’s Monday still, nonetheless. This has been an exciting week in Spurs land, a week that many will feel “righted the ship”. While I’m not quite that far along in my thinking yet, it was a fun week with a lot to like and a few things to dislike.
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The title of this week’s Monday Musings is for two reasons: first, because I’m late (it’s Tuesday, last I checked); and second, it reflects the sentiment after the Spurs came oh-so-close to a perfect California road trip. The 4th game, against the Kings, was partly a schedule loss (4th in 5 nights) and partly a Boogie coming out party.

But for this post, I want to spend some time looking at two guys who have seen a dramatic increase in playing time this season, because of unexpected injuries.

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Our Spurs look a bit hungover right now. Not in a just-got-off-a-3-day-bender kind of way. But there’s no question it’s been a sluggish start to the season. The defense has been really good in spots (like the Atlanta 2nd half), but really terrible in others (everything in week 1). The offense has looked very patchy as well. It’s hard to gripe at this point, since the team just had the greatest season in the history of the NBA (hyperbole alert!), but it would be nice, given the continuity of the roster, to see some better basketball at this point. But, it’s a long season and there’s a lot of basketball to be played.

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Welcome to the inaugural post of Monday Musings, where each week I’ll review the week that was and talk about where the Spurs are in the Race for Seis (which is a terrible title for the title chase, but whatever). Look for this post each Monday of the season, along with some other intermittent posts occasionally about special or significant games.

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I’ve spent the last few days getting ready for the beginning of a new season by watching how the old one ended: an intense, wire-to-wire viewing of all 5 of the Finals games, with an eye toward looking at what might be transferable to a new season. There were numerous reasons to do this, but the biggest reason was this: it was really, really fun.

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This is my first post on TBF in a long, long time. Since I’ve been away, a few major things happened: my job role changed significantly, I moved, and the Spurs won a championship. I should probably stay away longer, to get the 6th ring, but alas, I’m back to give you a few thoughts on the first pre-season game against Alba in Berlin. No, I’m not in Berlin with the team. That would be awesome, but I’m not. I’m sitting on my couch watching the game on NBA TV. Anyway, my thoughts on the game…..

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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.

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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.

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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.

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