Except for the Grizzlies game, the Spurs have not played well in a few weeks. I’ve been struggling as to why the team can turn it on-and-off and look great against Memphis, but as terrible as they did last night against Philly. Then, it dawned on me today, while listening to the TBJ podcast: Pop is trying to avoid coaching the All-Star Game. Scott Brooks can’t do it because of the two-year rule and the Clips are now only 1 1/2 games ahead of San Antonio for 2nd in the West. So, it’ll be one of those two guys. Pop is clearly vying – hard – to not pass Vinny and get stuck coaching the West. That’s the rational explanation for why SA is struggling. Makes sense, right?
In all seriousness, this feels like that part of the season where the team is going through the motions. Lineups are a bit erratic, opponents have not been the best, and the schedule is weird. It’s like the team is just trying to hang on and win a few games until the RRT kicks off.
Song of the Game: BlackMothSuperRainbow, “Born on a Day the Sun Didn’t Rise”
Doesn’t it feel like Andrew Bynum is snakebit? We’ve all seen him play in those games when he was the best player on the floor, when he could rebound like a machine, and score at will with that huge body getting position on anyone. But last night, they kept talking about how there is still no timetable for his return. His knee still hurts when he runs, months after surgery. And Philly’s team is basically held hostage until they know if he’s ever going to be healthy.
The song is my chipper-sounding gloom-and-doom song. If you like trippy electronica, this is a band that would serve you well.
Play of the Game: Kawhi, Down the Middle
I’m going from memory (because I accidentally deleted the game recording already), but I think it was the 3rd quarter, when the wheels were starting to come off, but had not yet. Kawhi took the ball on the wing, got a nudge screen to knock his man back, and turned on the jets. There was an opening down the lane and those long antelope legs closed the gap so fast, I was stunned. He finished with a nice finger roll. It was a play that showed Kawhi’s great potential. When he is committed and knows what he intends to do, his athleticism is devastating.
Trending Up: Tim
Tim was the focal point of the offense for a good chunk of the second half. It felt a little like 2007 again, when Tony ran down the floor and Pop signaled 4-Down every time. And Tim responded with one of his best statistical games of the season. 10-17, 24 points, 17 boards.
Trending Down: The Bench
There’s no other way to say this, but the bench is really struggling right now and I can’t decide if it’s because Manu is missing or not. The bench has good games since Manu has been out, but there have been more than a few clunkers as well. I’m tempted to attribute it to Pop’s “rotation by experimentation” where Patty and Nando rotate between being the 2nd PG. Where DJB goes from first big off the bench against Atlanta to DNP-CD against Philly. Again, one theory is that he wants to lose a game or two so he can have All-Star Weekend off. Perhaps he’s also trying to see who he can really count on in the playoffs. But I like the first theory.
Stat of the Game: 8 for 22
That’s what the Spurs shot in the 3rd quarter. There were some bad shots, yes, taken out of the rhythm of the offense and without solid ball movement. But there were also a lot of clangers from open shooters. Some nights, that happens.
I love me some Jrue Holiday. I’m on the record as being a closet Sixers fan and love the fact that they’ve handed the keys to a young team to him. He has a long way to go and he needs help. But there’s a great skill set there to work with.
Remember “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”? And the Infinite Improbability Drive in the Heart of Gold spaceship? How the characters felt before they hit that button is how I feel when Matt Bonner puts the ball on the floor and drives. That is all.