Thank you Dallas Mavericks. Thank you for blowing us out so severely that Pop was compelled to use a lineup composed of James Anderson, Matt Bonner, Danny Green, Gary Neal and Tiago Splitter. The rest was history. I can't believe I'm saying this, but thank you Mark Cuban. You made this possible.
Since the infamous Dallas game, the Spurs have been playing at an elite level and I couldn't be enjoying myself any more. After impressive victories over the Memphis Grizzlies (2x), Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder and Philadelphia 76ers and a 15-7 record during LWM (he's coming back!), I'm now fully on board with the Spurs as title contenders meme. I've always believed in our untapped potential, but now? I'm fully on board. Let's do this.
Did you hear that, Timmy? LWMS believes in us!
Since then, the Spurs have posted a 103.6 offensive rating and a 93.5 defensive rating. Their differential is 10.1, which would be better than the Miami Heat.
Tony Parker has stepped up his game completely and suddenly looks like the perfect point guard we've always wanted him to be (although he has always been great, we just asked him to do much). It's been a joy to watch him run the pick-and-roll with startling proficiency whether that be knocking down the open jumper, getting to the hoop or creating havoc for the defense, freeing up DeJuan Blair, Tim Duncan and Splitter for uncontested forays to the rim.
Speaking of Timmy, did you know he can still play basketball at this level? 17.6 PTS, 10.8 TRB, 2.2 BLK, 5.2 FTA. Awesome.
Bonner, who will never be accused of playing good defense, is shooting over .425 from the three-point line. Initially struggling because of injuries and too many minutes manning the point, Neal looked pretty comfortable in pick-and-rolls and spot up three's last night.
The only player not playing at a half-decent rate is Green who is mired in an extended slump (.302 eFG%). Still he's averaging 29.8 minutes so Pop (whose basketball expertise is considerably higher than mine) must believe in him. That's good enough for me.
Looking back at the entire roster, can you believe the immense strides our bench has made? Who could have expected this level of production -- this early in the year? No Spur is averaging more than 35 minutes per game. That's a testament to Pop's brilliant minute management and the depth we have.
Without any top 20 picks in the last decade, PATFO have managed to develop another solid supporting cast for Manu, TP and Timmy. Completely internally.
That's pretty impressive.
Now ... let's go get that title.