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What We Learned from the Spurs loss to the Pistons

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After playing hard for 48 minutes against the Clippers, the Spurs returned to their pattern of haphazard and lackadaisical play against the Pistons.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday night, the Spurs seemed to have turned a corner, but it just may have been into a blind alley, as they played their worst game of the season on Sunday afternoon against the Pistons. Two nights after shutting down Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, they couldn’t slow down Luke Kennard or Christian Wood, who scored 28 points in 22 minutes off the bench. LaMarcus Aldridge was out with thigh soreness, but his absence couldn’t account for the defensive collapse that allowed Detroit to score 132 points against the Silver and Black.

It was a bad night all around for the Silver and Black, with a few small positives. I thought that Lonnie Walker IV looked good on offense when he finally got into the game in the third quarter, but the Pistons had gone nuclear by that time, and they scored 37 points in the quarter, turning the entire 4th quarter into garbage time. It was also fortunate that no one on the Spurs (except LaMarcus, of course) was injured, so that the same players that lost to the Pistons by 34 would all be available for Tuesday night’s game against the Rockets at home. LaMarcus Aldridge may return by then, but there’s little to indicate that just his return will be enough to overcome James Harden and the streaking Rockets.

Takeaways:

  • Remember when the Spurs left three point shooters wide open and their transition defense nonexistent? All of that got fixed in the Clippers game, right? Wrong! Every bad habit of the first month and half of the season was back on Sunday, bigger than ever.
  • Bryn Forbes in the starting lineup makes no sense to me. He’s definitely an improving player, but he really should be coming off the bench as a shooter, not as a starter who can’t defend or move the ball on offense.
  • Lonnie Walker IV can get up off the ground. Sure, he isn’t perfect, but maybe he should play more.
  • Christian Wood has been a pro since the 2015-2016 season, and has been on 5 different teams, having trouble sticking on a roster. He might have found a home in Detroit.
  • Drew Eubanks was no match for Drummond, but he had some good plays tonight, including this jam:
  • Andre Drummond is a truly great player, and it’s too bad that the kind of game he plays isn’t valued that much by modern fans. His rebounding gave the Pistons plenty of extra shots — with as well as they were shooting, Drummond’s boards were worth a ton of points.
  • It’s looking like the game against the Clippers was more of an aberration than a trend, but we’ll find out on Tuesday if the Spurs can come up with another strong performance, or they lay another Detroit-sized egg.

Musical Thinking

Some things in life just don’t make sense. How can a team that completely dominated one of the best teams in the west a few days ago be run over by one of the worst teams in the east a few days later? I think Joe Jackson wrote a song about something like that.