For a Rodeo Road Trip that showed us some season-low effort and performances by the Spurs, and seemingly took the entire month of February to do so, it sure sent us home with a pat on the butt and a wink.
It would've been easy the easy thing to do for the Spurs to limp out of a late victory against the Boogie-less Kings into a back-to-back against the Suns, who were coming off of a impressive win over the Thunder -- despite Russell Westbrook doing Russell Westbrook things -- and lay a hard-boiled egg to finish off the worst RRT ever. In fact, many of us expected it! This string of poorly played road games by San Antonio has revealed how mortal this team is. It's shown us that even a Gregg Popovich-run team can look inexperienced, disinterested, and apathetic.
But it's amazing the 180 degree focus shift that can occur from one blowout victory. The San Antonio Spurs completely silenced the Phoenix Suns on Saturday evening, and all of a sudden I no longer find myself lamenting about our woes in the previous eight games. There's actually an excitement to bring on the next six opponents at home, mainly because the competitiveness of this squad has been found for the first time in weeks.
This is the gift that the Rodeo Road Trip has sent us home with.
In Saturday's game, we saw the offense move with the urgency and swiftness of old. Tony Parker, who still had a rough night shooting the ball, moved with the ball in a manner in that threatened the defense with penetration at all times. What was a timid, slow reacting, over thinking Parker in previous games appeared to have a quick sip from the fountain of youth before taking the court in Phoenix. His box score may not scream it, but Saturday's version of Tony reassured many Spurs fans that he still wants to be on that court handling the ball.
That isn't to say that the blowout of the Suns has erased any of the issues that showed their face in the games prior. One great game won't fix the consistency and sluggishness that was exhibited on the court over the past couple weeks, but it's a clear indication that ability to find themselves still exists.
It's obvious that this team in in some state of transition. Putting the RRT in the review mirror and enjoying some San Antonio mexican food for a change could lift the spirits of this team enough to bring a competitive edge to ever game from here on.
One thing is for sure: the plane ride home to Texas will be the happiest it's been since January.
The Spurs' first-half defense
San Antonio held the Suns to the lowest first-half point total in franchise history. While some of the blame can easily be put on Phoenix's occasional poor shot selection, it really was the Spurs who put the pressure on the Jeff Hornacek offense. This defensive beat down in the first two quarters allowed San Antonio to cruise their way back to Texas without fear of a third quarter collapse.
Here's the first-half Suns shot chart displaying exactly how much the Spurs' defense had their way.
And here's an example of why points where so hard to come by for Phoenix, courtesy of Kawhi.
Last night's "Spurs won in a blowout so there was really only one ground-shaking event that occurred" tweet of the night
Pop may have just lost the locker room.
The Spurs have three days off before starting a six game home stand against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday. DeMarcus Cousins is doubtful for Sunday's match up against the Blazers, so continue to follow his status as we head into humpday.