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What We Learned from the Spurs loss to the Suns

Two streaks collided in San Antonio and it shook out about how you’d think.

Phoenix Suns v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

I was sitting in the living room of my parents’ house last night and at some point during that particularly anemic 3rd quarter, everyone in my family looked at me with a very “what are we still watching this for?” vibe plastered on their faces. It was a good reminder that you can’t just throw people into the fire of this Spurs season if they aren’t ready for it. You might think you’re settling in for some wholesome family entertainment but then, next thing you know, Drew Eubanks is out there hoisting uncontested threes and everyone’s faces are melting off like the Ark of the Covenant flipped open in the middle of the AT&T Center.

It’s tough sledding right now, folks. There’s no two ways about it. Basically every time we sit down for an evening with the Spurs, we’re signing up for 48 minutes of Silver Linings Watch. We’re missing shots, but were they good shots? They’re scoring on us, but was the effort good? We lost, but did we keep it close? It’s not an easy way to live and you’d certainly be forgiven for being a little frustrated right now. It’d be weird if you weren’t.

In the movies, there’s a reason that they put all of the training scenes in a little montage set to fun music. No one actually wants to watch Rocky lift weights three times a day for six months and, frankly, if someone asked you to come over and watch this cool video of a guy going for a jog through Philly then you’d likely call the cops. The problem is that this is as necessary as it is painful. The Spurs absolutely need to go through this part of the development process and these young guys absolutely need to learn the lessons they’re certainly being taught night after night. If we ever want to get back to the part where we’re watching teams contend in big games that matter, then this is not something that can be skipped.

Someday we’ll be happy we were here for it. I know we will. Someday Tre Jones is going going to do that little up and under move in a big playoff game and I’m going to think to myself, “I remember the look on his face when he pulled that off over Deandre Ayton back in 2021 and realized he might have that weapon in his bag all the time.” You have to seize on the little victories. Derrick White finally hitting a three down the stretch and flashing that big smile of his. Devin Vassell growing into his game. Lonnie Walker exploring new frontiers in the field of Spin Moves. You take these moments and you hold them tight to your chest because, right now, the score doesn’t matter and the stats sheet doesn’t matter and (most importantly) the record certainly doesn’t matter.

This sum of this season is going to be greater than its parts. It’s never going to get any easier watching the Spurs lose. It’s just not. But we’re going to keep tuning in and we’re going to keep caring and we’re going to keep forcing our loved ones to watch bad basketball against their will because, well, the Spurs are our guys. They’ve earned that kind of love and devotion over the years and there’s a certain kind of nobility in continuing to show up. Even when it’s hard.

Especially when it’s hard.

You don’t need to know when it’s going to turn around, all you need to know is that it will.

Takeaways:

  • I really thought they might pull that little comeback off at the end. It was very much a Tortoise and the Hare situation where the Suns kept racing out and the Spurs kept plodding along and you could absolutely tell that whenever the Suns took their foot off the gas, the Spurs were going to be right there hanging around. It was almost enough. There are certainly worse things in the world than being a team that’s always going to make the other guy work for it.
  • I have a lot of patience for the growing pains of this particular Spurs team and I’m certainly cheering for them to figure things out. That being said, sitting through another season of watching a team not be able to shoot threes just might send me over the edge. It’s 2021! You have to make threes in this version of the NBA! It feels like we’re out there steadfastly sticking it out with dial-up Internet when we know there’s Fiber available. I just don’t get it. Make threes! Sign people who can make threes! I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. What’s the point of even having a Chip Engelland if you’re not going to use it!?!? I apologize for all the exclamation points!
  • It is, once again, time to just sit around and watch Lonnie Walker IV do something cool. Look at how cool this is! What a blessing it is to have someone on the team with the wherewithal to simply do something cool when the moment calls for it.
  • Was I expecting to have my night ruined by Cam Payne? No. I wasn’t. I figured that Phoenix had plenty of other avenues to ruin my night but then, lo and behold, there was Cam. Coming off the bench and not letting the brighter stars on that roster punt one way down the stretch. Not sure where I was going with this but, uh, congrats to Cam Payne, I guess? I wish the Spurs had more guys like Cam Payne, maybe? I really like saying his name all in one word like “campaign”, perhaps? Sorry about all the question marks, I guess?

WWL Post Game Press Conference

- It really feels like you took an unnecessary shot at Drew Eubanks in the opening paragraph.

- Yea, look, I’m sure no one is more upset that Drew Eubanks is having to take a wide open three than Drew Eubanks so, yes, it was probably unfair of me to compare that event to the one that famously caused a guy’s face to horrifically melt into a puddle of goo.

- Are you going to apologize to him and his family?

- No apology and I’ll tell you why. It was a good joke. It was a funny joke. It was an important joke. Spurs fans just had to sit through another tough loss and they come to this site trying to figure out how to get on with their day. They read these posts in the search for some kind of assurance that they aren’t alone out there. They want to know that somebody else out there saw Drew Eubanks get the ball on the wing and then stare at the basket for what felt like 10 seconds while various Phoenix players elected not to go anywhere near him. Spurs fans are looking to someone like me to tell them that, yes, I also felt my soul quietly exit my body when I realized that Drew’s eventual shot attempt was so woefully off target that it actually ended up hitting an opposing player, resulting in a Spurs offensive board and, eventually, two free throws for Mr. Eubanks. We have to laugh at things like this. We must rejoice in the chaos or else descend into madness.

- So...no apology.

- None.