I wish I could say that this game didn't mean more to me than others. I'm a rational person, and I'm actually okay with the Spurs losing this one. They were down three starters and lost Manu in the game. And it's still January. I'm sure in an hour or so I won't even really care about the loss, but at the moment it is bothering me.
It's not just the blown lead or the hack-a-howards that may have been a questionable decision (how easy it is in hindsight.) It's as much that as it is that I don't want to hear about trade ideas. There has never been a team that made a big trade mid-season and went on to win the whole thing. That's just not how it works. Teams need time to gel, to learn how to play with one another. This is not the time to trade Kawhi and somehow get Boogie Cousins. I like Boogie. I do. But thinking he is somehow the savior of this team isn't realistic to me.
The Spurs have enough talent and are deep enough to beat anyone when healthy. While watching recent games it's sometimes difficult to remember that the Spurs are down enough key players that any team in the league would have trouble beating bad teams, not just the good ones. Houston was down Harden tonight, but they're still a talented team and when it's a four-point game it might not be the best time to hack-a-howard. It may just be that he hit enough tonight to make me rethink the strategy, but it didn't work tonight.
The Spurs were down by four with four minutes left in the third when Popovich decided to hack Howard. It doesn't seem to be a bad idea as the guy has been pretty bad at shooting FTs over his career, and even worse lately. But by the end of the third the Spurs were down eight and had sent Howard to the line eight times for sixteen attempts in four minutes. He hit ten of them. That's 1.25 points per possession. That's not good.
Ok, sorry, this isn't the recap.
Your Spurs fall to 33-12, still good for a .733 winning percentage. It's now been long enough for me to have cooled off a little. The good guys are still in second place in the West and are currently about as hurt as they could be.
Lastly, it's January. Yeah, it's January and the boys are banged up like crazy.
- Full Coverage: San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets
- Stampler and Phil Naessens chat about... the Knicks and Timberwolves?
- Analyzing the cost and context of the Spurs' injured starting trio
- Pop's sideline interviews, punk rock, and selling out
- Power Rankings Week 13: The Spurs' song remains the same