I normally pride myself on being a pretty objective fan of the Spurs. I try not to overreact to big wins or big losses and I try to blog what I see, telling you when the Spurs are great and when they suck. So, it is with that set of facts that I confess to you this game may have driven me over the edge of sanity. Your reply of course is “Duh”, since I’m connecting the Spurs-Clippers game with a recent sci-fi space drama. I’ll connect dots for you below.
Song of the Game: HEALTH, “Tears”
I know you’ve heard this song, because the trailer for Max Payne 3 is on every other commercial during the Spurs games. But this is an amazing song from a band I’ve listened to off-and-on for a few years. The song is not released yet, but you can enjoy it on YouTube and on ABC/ESPN/TNT every time DelNegro calls a timeout because of a Spurs 7-0 run.
Play of the Game: Not so much a play….
Lisa Salters from ABC made a big deal out of it with Tony after the game and, for once, the media narrative was dead on. “It”, of course, is the camera shot at the beginning of the 3rd quarter, showing Tony and Pop sitting on the bench sharing a laugh and the Tim-ernator 3000 sitting next to them, rebooting to inflict maximum possible destruction on acquired targets. There was no panic in this team, no “Win One for the Gipper” speeches, no salty discourses on playing better. It was a calm, collected sense of “play our game”.
I am shocked at the level of confidence this team is playing with. Honestly – and I’m trying not to give into hyperbole here -I can’t remember a team with this kind of attitude in a long, long time. Even the title-winning Spurs didn’t have this attitude. Teams could get in their heads if they worked hard enough (think Game 6 of the 2005 Finals, for example).
There is almost a transcendence to the demeanor of this group, like they are beyond the score and beyond the whole competition thing. They have totally bought into and sold out to the “play the right way” mantra Pop has been preaching for 15 years, to the extent that “playing the right way” is all that matters. And if you do it well, really well, believing it, and practicing it, then the score and the competition and the playoffs and the trophy will all take care of itself. Pop is saying “Don’t worry about that stuff. If you do what you know how to do, it’ll all work out”. This team seems like it’s not even playing an opponent anymore. They are only playing against an ideal; the ideal of what really good, almost perfect basketball looks like. And at times, like the 2nd and 3rd quarter today, after falling into a 24-point hole against one of the better teams in the West, they got close. Really close.
So, where does Battlestar Galactica fit in? Right here. Watch the whole clip. If you were not a fan of the series, the reference won’t mean much to you, but just know that the character, Sam Anders, was the premier athlete of his sport and the scene when he’s in the tub is a flashback to his playing days. Sam gets it. At some level, if you do something so well, so pure, so perfectly, nothing else matters. It all takes care of itself. And that feeling when you are in that moment is exhilarating, addictive, and somewhat indescribable.
I’m sorry to go all existential on you, but I’m so amped about this team. I’ve never seen anything like it. And I’m out of adjectives and superlatives and platitudes. What I’m left with is a sense of awe about these guys and their coach and where this is heading. And wondering, perhaps, if the Spurs are Cylons.
Trending Up: Kawhi
I could list everyone who played meaningful minutes here, for the possible exception of Matt Bonner, but I’m tired of the roll call. So, let’s go with Kawhi Leonard, who is turning into a star in front of our eyes. What can you say? He’s a big reason why the Spurs won this game.
Trending Down: Matt
Bonner is in his playoff funk. The sky is blue. Whatever. He’s still playing decent post defense and by simply being on the court, he is spacing the floor for other players, because you can’t take a chance on leaving him open in the corner.
Stat of the Game: Assists, again.
This game was way beyond stats, but if forced to list one, I’ll go with 27 assists on 35 field goals. That’s a shade over 77% of our buckets were assisted. Ridiculous.
I will be stunned – absolutely, positively stunned – if the Spurs don’t come out and take care of business tomorrow night. That is all.