This year has been so crazy that it feels like there have been four NBA seasons: Pre-Rudy Gobert (a.k.a, the COVID shutdown, or Normal), The Last Dance, The Bubble, and Post Bubble Pre-Normal. During the first three parts of the year, the Spurs weren’t impressive, missing the playoffs for the first time in 23 years in the process, but despite a tough opening schedule, the Spurs have looked much better during the fourth. On a night where the Spurs expected a difficult match with the L.A. Lakers, the good guys came up short but showed a lot of flash against a tough team.
Dejounte Murray’s career night somewhat helped numb the sting of a loss, and Jakob Poeltl and company displayed the type of fight and teamwork needed to compete with the birthday boy and his friends:
Although not perfect, Murray’s 29-7-7 night, including shooting 12-19 overall and 2-3 from three night, continued to show his improvement on both ends.-
Filling in for an injured LaMarcus Aldridge, Drew Eubanks sent his regards to the Lakers, and DeMar DeRozan thunderously finished the play on the other end:
That sequence was so delicious, it’s worth seeing again from another angle:
Steal, pass, pass, pass, finish!
With Poeltl dealing with foul trouble, Eubanks was happy to play extra minutes tonight and have the chance to personally send his best to the spry, newly 36-year-old LeBron James:
Becky Hammon officially unofficially became the first woman to lead an NBA team after Gregg Popovich left the game involuntarily (or voluntarily depending on who you ask) because of two technicals. I was at the game last year in November when Popovich was ejected, and I presumed (based on coaching experience) that Hammon would be acting head coach, but it turned out that Tim Duncan took over the lead responsibilities that game. Alas, I was wrong but totally right to think that Tim Duncan is the greatest Spur (and NBA player) of all time, but he won’t hesitate to go out of his way to ruin my dreams of witnessing history.
Spurs assistant Becky Hammon filled in for an ejected Gregg Popovich.— ESPN (@espn) December 31, 2020
She's believed to be the first woman to act as head coach during an NBA regular-season game. pic.twitter.com/VyQqVNaPhc
While it’s a bittersweet moment for Coach Hammon because the Spurs lost the game (and a moment that the team will not focus on too much), it’s a huge moment that I hope will lead to a new normal, and no one will blink an eye 35 years from now when my daughter is coaching the San Antonio Spurs sponsored by BnL Corp.
Onto the next opponent, which will be the . . . well, Los Angeles Lakers in a SATEBABA (Same Team, Back-to-Back at home) on Friday, January 1, 2021. Happy New Year!
Bonus feature: At 11:59:50 PM tonight, if you watch Game 5 of the 2014 NBA Finals starting at 2:57 minutes left in the second quarter, Manu Ginobili will dunk right as the clock strikes midnight. How’s that for a way to move on from 2020?