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Rehash: Spurs not especially Jazzed to play basketball

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The Spurs extended their losing streak to 3 with a listless performance against an average opponent.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

I keep a pretty clean house. I religiously organize the pantry and shelves, stemming from a fear of clutter developed while sharing a college dwelling with 15 of the least-cleanly humans alive. My wife cooks and so I gladly do the dishes. I take out the trash and I walk the dog. But I'm inexplicably awful at hanging up my worn clothes. For whatever reason, it just feels like a chore to me.

We all have those things that just seem unbearable, though we probably know better; our most despised task.

The Spurs arrived in Utah on Monday and looked as if basketball is that chore for them.

The first half was not especially composed for the Spurs, which was disappointing as everyone assumed their sluggish play after the All Star break was to to playing opponents like the Clippers/Warriors. But the Jazz are not especially good (though they have a nice, young, core), and the Spurs had two days’ rest. So it was disheartening to see such a lackluster start.

After Rudy Gobert asserted himself as a loose-ball-diving, shot-blocking, fast-breaking, court-devouring force in the first quarter, the Spurs seemed to fall all over themselves in an attempt to avoid him (or chose to go inside and then chicken out like a child in a haunted house, throwing the ball away like it was mediocre candy). On top of being timid, they were sloppy to the tune of twelve turnovers in the first half.

However, they shot a solid 46% from the field (though an icy 29% from deep) to make it look respectable going into the half down by 7.

The free throw disparity (14 to 5, Jazz) was ultimately the difference, with the Spurs holding the Jazz to somewhere around 30% shooting minus the early fast breaks.

Tim Duncan looked to be the Spurs least lethargic player with 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks, though he was harried—and at times outplayed—by Gobert. I think Duncan's newest new nickname should be "Silver (& Black) Lining" as he is often the only high point in these horrid Spurs losses.

The third quarter was surprisingly tolerable for the Spurs, given recent history. They were merely outscored by 1! Unfortunately the beginning of the 4th revealed the post-locker room malaise that has become sadly commonplace, but the Jazz weren't much better. Six minutes through the quarter the Jazz were somehow only outscoring the Spurs 6-5.

The Spurs officially threw in the towel at around the four-minute mark, down 15, resigning to one of their worst losses of the year.

Quote of the Night

"He's a long drink of water"

- Popovich on Rudy Gobert (via Paul Garcia (via FSSW))


Odds and Ends

This game was mostly odd, and seemed to never end.

  • Tim Duncan, two months shy of 39, looked like the most youthful and energetic player for the Spurs besides Cory Joseph. Even Kawhi looked a little tired at times.
  • Via Dan McCarney: Tony Parker has shot 2 for 12, with 7 points, 9 assists, and 6 turnovers in 39 minutes over his past two games.
  • The Spurs Emergency Clean-up Crew again again did a good job of box-score salvaging. They have turned 25 and 15 point blowouts into falsely-respectable 11 and 9 point losses.
  • There was a point where Bill and Sean were discussing the laundry list of injuries currently plaguing NBA rosters (Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin, etc.) and it dawned that the Spurs are failing to gain ground in the West while AT FULL STRENGTH. Which is ultimately just sad.
  • It should be noted that Gordon Hayward may get the most advantageous home court "Superstar" calls in the league. Kobe at Staples in 2006 wouldn't have gotten some of Monday night's calls.

Game MVP

Gobert?

See that's the thing: no player on the Jazz was especially good. Gordon Hayward scored 10 of his 18 off of James-Harden-no-intention-to-score-just-put-me-on-the-line plays. Trey Burke was solid, but exaggerated because the Spurs (and Parker) played such horrendous defense.

Gobert was a presence all game, but did most of his statsheet work in the first quarter (1 block, 5 rebounds, and 3 points in the other 3).

Game LVP

This could be the whole article. In fact it probably should be.

Tony Parker's offense was just really sad. Sadly Kawhi was uncharacteristically careless with 4 turnovers. Boris and Manu each had a few more of the "taketh away" than "giveth" plays, though Boris did score well and had about 5 assists that were left unconverted from great looks. Jeff Ayers missed an uncontested dunk. Belinelli missed 4-of-5 threes.

Numeros

13%. Spurs not nicknamed Land Walrus shot 2-for-15 from beyond the arc.

22. The Spurs beat their previous season high of 20 turnovers!

6. Tony Parker went 6 quarters (going back to Friday's game against the Warriors) before making a field goal in the 3rd.

54. If they recorded a "QB Hurries" equivalent advanced stat (let’s call it "paint intimidations"), Rudy Gobert’s stat line would be even more impressive. My probably-not-THAT-exaggerated guess is over 50.

81. Matches a season-low point total in a year full of mediocre offensive performances.

1. Rudy Gobert very likely would've been drafted by the Spurs if the Nuggets hadn't drafted him with the 27th pick. (Livio Jean-Charles was the Spurs selection with the 28th pick).

(Puppy Intermission)

Before we get into the game tweets, here are a few golden retrievers to cheer you up.


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For more (much needed) smiles, check out our photoshopping talents in the 5th Annual Academy Awards Photoshop Extravaganza.