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What We Learned from the Spurs loss to the Warriors

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A beatdown in the bay area reminds everyone that there’s still work to do

San Antonio Spurs v Golden State Warriors Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

In these crazy, mixed up times when it feels like every aspect of our daily lives has been turned upside down, there was something slightly reassuring about getting boat-raced by the Warriors out on the road. A taste of the familiar! Steph’s hitting threes, the Spurs aren’t hitting threes, I mean...it’d practically be chicken soup for the soul if it wasn’t such an unyielding bummer.

I doubt very much that anyone stayed up late enough to watch this whole thing unless they had to and, speaking as someone who had to, I feel very comfortable reassuring you that you didn’t miss much. The main thing we “learned” is that, regardless of who you’re playing, shooting 12% from three just isn’t going to cut it in today’s NBA. Frankly, it seems like if you can’t count on at least 110 points then you are pretty much guaranteed a loss and, even then, you better be an elite defensive team if 110 is all you got. I’m fond of these Spurs but they are still very much in the “scouting locations for where to build the school” part of their “building an elite defense” journey.

It’s okay. It’s all okay. Every single game we talk about the concept of measuring expectations and working towards something bigger than a regular season win here and there. Where this Spurs season falls in the standings is largely irrelevant and, you know, all that other stuff we talk about to feel better about a loss. Yadda yadda yadda. Honestly, keeping things in perspective can get a little exhausting after a while and some days I just don’t have it in me.

Part of the appeal of sports is it’s binary nature. It’s very simple. You tune into a game, you watch your team, and they win it or they lose it and then you do something else. It’s a quick endorphin hit. An easy distraction from a complicated world. We get caught up in the rest of everything else because it’s in our nature to chase the distraction. We go watch analysis shows or listen to podcasts or read...blogs...and try to assign some kind of higher meaning to this thing we just invested time into. If it’s meaningful then, even though you watched a loss, it wasn’t a waste of time. Right?

Sometimes a loss is just a loss though. It’s not some part of a master plan. It doesn’t have a greater lesson hidden inside. It’s just a loss. It has to be. The team you wanted to win didn’t, it hurts for a second, and then you move on. Hopefully next time you tune in something different will happen. The whole concept of “pounding the rock” is a wonderful ethos, but there’s nothing in the handbook for how to not get annoyed while sitting through 22 point loss. It’s not like any of us can head to the gym right now, get some shots up, and keep grinding away. The players get do something tangible. They get to work on this. The fans? Well, our choices are to either sit and stew about it or move on. The real kicker is that neither choice is going to affect anything either way. Fun!

Maybe the point of a loss like this is to reinforce the lesson of patience? No. No, I’m not going down that road. I’ve already committed to the bit of learning nothing from this. The Spurs didn’t really show up for this one so I don’t see any reason why I would need to bend over backwards squeezing water from a stone.

Hit more threes. Play better defense.

Someone get me a coaching a job. I think I have it all figured out.

Takeaways:

  • This game just had terrible vibes from the start. The Spurs were wearing their drab grey uniforms, the Warriors were wearing their extremely sick Oakland throwbacks, and it honestly felt like we were down 10 points before they even tipped the ball. We’ve got to get rid of those grey joints. They are like the equal and opposite reaction to the Fiesta jerseys. They aren’t even bad! I wish they were bad because then they would at least be interesting. All these jerseys do right now is meet the minimum requirement for being a jersey. They are sartorial gruel. They are waiting on hold with the cable company for 45 minutes trying to get an $8.00 refund. They are a meeting that could’ve been an email.
  • It’s an extremely complex situation, and I wont pretend to understand all the nuances of it (go read this great article by Michael Weinreb from a few years ago if you’re interested), but I just feel like it’s extremely weird and uncomfortable for the Warriors to be playing up Oakland all over their court and jerseys after they very publicly and very recently moved to San Francisco. They even use the phrase “Oakland Forever” for marketing it when they, you know, literally made the choice to not be in Oakland....forever? I know that geographically speaking the move isn’t that far, but...I don’t know. If I lived in Oakland I’d feel a little gas lit by this whole operation. If they moved the Spurs to Austin and then two years later pushed a marketing campaign called “San Antonio Forever” I would probably go around town setting fire to things.
  • Dejounte Murray was good! Relatively speaking. I mean, he also couldn’t make any threes but at least he was doing other stuff. I continue to be impressed with how he seems like a completely different player finishing at the rim this season. It’s obviously something he’s dedicated himself to working on it and, not to be greedy or anything, but it almost makes you want to dream a little dream about what else he could dedicate himself to working on in the offseason and become elite at.
  • This was not a great game for the “LaMarcus Aldridge is an extremely valuable part of the stew we have cooking” crowd. It’s becoming increasingly clear that certain teams are just going to be borderline unplayable matchups for him from a defensive standpoint, and if he’s going to be bleeding points on one end then he better be just this side of perfect on the other to make the math work. He was not perfect in this one. I like LaMarcus a lot and when he’s working, like he was in Portland on Monday, then the Spurs are a completely different team. Smarter people than me are going to need to solve for X here.
  • When asked about the poor shooting after the game, Coach Popovich said “It’s gonna happen, nobody’s gonna go undefeated, and hopefully we learned some things tonight and just keep at it.” I love this quote and would dearly like to apply it other aspects of life. Didn’t pay your rent this month? Look, it’s gonna happen, nobody’s gonna go undefeated.

WWL Post Game Press Conference

- Sort of a nihilistic outing from you tonight. Everything okay?

- Just couldn’t get in a groove with the flow of the universe on this one. Stayed up too late, woke up feeling sore, kind of burnt the coffee. Definitely just felt a little off.

- Are you saying your personal mood has an effect on the conclusions you draw from watching the game?

- Without a doubt. Was that...uh, was that not apparent before?

- It just seems pretty unprofessional to me.

- Well. Look. It’s gonna happen, nobody’s gonna go undefeated, and hopefully we learned some things today and just keep at it.