In the 1970s and 1980s, when my family lived in San Antonio, I was not allowed to watch the Spurs’ West Coast road games due to the late tipoffs interfering with the sleep necessary for elementary school kids. When I would ask my parents the next morning whether we won a west coast road game, one or both would very often say something to the equivalent of “We lost our pants!” (in Chinese). Prior to the PATFO era, the Spurs teams produced only two seasons above .500 on the road in the 80s, and the 90s versions of the team were middling away from home at best. Coming into the RRT at 10-15, there will be plenty of opportunities for the Spurs to claw back to a respectable road record.
- The Kings’ social media has upped its troll game in the last few years and played SPURAN SPURAN’s music video in its entirety during the Spurs’ introductions.
- Marco Belinelli seems to have taken over Manu Ginobili’s role - albeit on the sidelines - by running and stretching outside of the huddle during the team’s timeouts.
- Kings fans are gifted a Jumbo Jack by Jack in the Box if an opposing player misses two free throws in a row. The hope of a missed first shot was snuffed out each time by a make on the second and fans went home empty-handed and probably in better health as a result.
- After a blown defensive transition that led to a Kings lay-up, Pop laid into Rudy Gay prior to the timeout. Additionally, it looked as if Assistant Coach Ettore Messina spoke with Lonnie Walker IV throughout the break in action in order to provide guidance on defensive principles. Gay, a former King, was well-received by the fans during introductions and throughout the game.
- R.C. Buford spent most of the second half attempting to find an open seat in and around my section and obliged several Spurs fans that came over to greet him, as well as Kings fans that wanted him to leave their assigned seat.
- I squinted my eyes throughout Sacramento’s extended runs in the second and fourth quarters and imagined a backcourt of Derrick White and Dejounte Murray slowing down the Kings’ backcourt. I felt really hopeful that they could make life a little tougher on Yogi Ferrell (19 points on 7-7 shooting).
- Speaking of Ferrell, the PA announcer does a game with the crowd where he yells “YOGI!” and the fans respond with “FERRELL!” after every one of his made baskets. It doesn’t sound nearly as cool, however, as “TWO SHOTS”
- Jakob Poeltl competed well against Sacramento’s army of mobile big men (Willie Cauley-Stein, Marvin Bagley III, and Harry Giles) in his limited minutes.
- Patty Mills is a marvel to watch in-person as encapsulated in a second period sequence. Mills stopped a Kings’ possession with a full out dive to the floor to save a loose ball that ended at the end of the shot clock with his three pointer to cut into the Kings’ lead.
- Former Spur great, Brent Barry, attended the game and was also very gracious with the numerous Spurs fans that came to shake his hand or pose for selfies with him. When I told him that I nearly got tossed from the buffet restaurant I was at after the infamous non-call on Derek Fisher in the 2008 WCF Game 3 against LA, he responded with a wry, “Thank you for your show of emotions.”
It is still quite a lengthy road trip ahead and, though I had to inform my parents that we again ‘lost our pants’ (in Chinese), there are still several winnable games remaining. On to Golden State!