Last year, I wrote a piece entitled "Happy Thanksgiving to Spurs Fans" to give my views as a Spurs fan living in Los Angeles. My conclusion:
"Especially in light of everything going on in the sports world, I loved to hear Rudy T's [Rudy Tomjanovich] comments about the team we all root for. He used the words ‘good people'. Among all the things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, the list includes the ability to cheer on a Spurs team that is a group of good people. Not everyone can say that, but we can. Happy Thanksgiving, Spurs nation."
This year, I am still in Los Angeles, and still thankful to be a Spurs fan. So to the Spurs nation, I offer the following:
1. Be thankful you are not a Lakers fan. Last Friday, I had the following email exchange with our leader:
From: Dresie, Lee
Two more wins and the Warriors tie the record for most wins to start the season. The following game, to break the record, will be against the Lakers. What do you think the line will be for that game? Whatever number you just thought of, I will take the over."
From: JR Wilco
I just thought of a zillion.
From: Dresie, Lee
Turns out the Warriors were favored by 16 against the Lakers in Tuesday night's game. They won by 34 (!!) - 111 - 77. The Warriors led at the end of the firstquarter 30 - 11, and it was not as close as the score indicated. Yes, Spurs nation, be very thankful you are not a Lakers fan.
2. Be thankful your aging superstar is doing so gracefully. This off-season, Spurs fans collectively prayed that Tim Duncan would return for at least one more year - and this year is showing why. TD has gracefully slid into the senior statesman role once occupied by the Admiral, continues to anchor the defense, and perhaps most importantly willingly defers to the new superstar Kawhi Leonard. He was also key in the recruitment of his replacement Lamarcus Aldridge - and is the best at the team in delivering the ball to LMA when and where he wants it. TD also remains the consummate teammate - it is fascinating to watch after the game has ended that he waits for the last Spur to clear the floor so he can walk off with that player, whoever it is. Monday night it was seldom used Jonathan Simmons, and TD was waiting for him.
Compare TD to the Lakers' aging superstar. In the thrashing the Lakers took from the Warriors, Kobe shot and shot, and then shot some more. He wound up going 1 for 14, for 4 points. Afterwards, Kobe said: "I could have scored 80 tonight, it wouldn't have made a damn difference."
Yes, Spurs nation, be very thankful that your superstar is aging gracefully.
3. Be thankful that you are not a Clippers fan. For the Spurs, PATFO brings in players that fit the system, play together well, and are not knuckleheads. LA's other team, the Clippers, had the worst bench in the league last year. This off-season, Doc Rivers signed Paul Pierce, Josh Smith and Lance Stephenson. Those three are shooting 33%, 36% and 39% from the floor, and 25%, 25%, and 33% from the 3-point line. Not coincidentally, the Clippers are 7 - 7. After their last loss, the Clippers had a shouting match in the locker-room that was so loud that the media waiting outside could hear it. Yes, Spurs nation, be very thankful that your front-office knows what it is doing, year after year, and that you are not a Clippers fan.
4. Be thankful that Manu came back. Other PTR writers have pointed out how well Manu is playing. All I can add is that Manu remains the one player who consistently makes this ex-coach smile when I watch him play. He plays so damn hard, even at 38. Yes, Spurs fans, be very thankful that Manu came back for (at least) one more year.
5. Be thankful to be part of the Spurs nation. Whenever I write a piece for this PTR site, I realize how blessed PTR writers are to be able to write about this team, with this management, and this coaching staff - winners all. Or as I said last year at this time - this group of "good people". Yes, be very thankful to be part of this Spurs nation.
Happy Thanksgiving, Spurs nation. What are your reasons to be thankful today?