clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

What we learned from the Spurs win over the Nuggets

A tidy little win with a lot to like.

Denver Nuggets v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

In theory, this is what it’s supposed to look like. When you play hard and put yourself in good positions then eventually the shots are going to start falling. Is it reasonable to expect the Spurs to shoot over 50% from the field every single game? Maybe not. But that’s how the game works and this young team is crawling up the mountain bit by bit. We know they can hit those shots. What happens if the guys on the court start to know it too?

Lonnie Walker IV had a really good game and, as such, Lonnie got to reap the benefits of having a lot of people ask him questions about it after the game. Things like, “Hey, you had a great game. How?” and “You haven’t had a lot of great games this season. Why now?” and, you know, to his credit he doesn’t seem to shy away from confronting things like that. I know we’re all experts out here, but I’d imagine he knows better than we do that he tends to be a little inconsistent on the court and it’s something he’s trying to get a handle on.

“I just have to have that mindset of being aggressive. I have that tendency of starting some games where I’m not aggressive going downhill. I just want to be a jump shooter, and that’s just not at all my game” he said to reporters after the game. He talked about being young and just trying to fight through some of the growing pains that come with being in the NBA. Shoot, he talked about spending hours in the gym working with Manu freakin’ Ginobili on it. Imagine having Manu in your ear telling you that you have what it takes to make in this league? Imagine not thinking you could leap over a building after that?

Derrick White, similarly, looked like he was completely out to sea at the beginning of this year and now, over the last two weeks, he seems to be rediscovering his game and it’s just so beautiful to watch. The guy out there taking charges and steaming into the lane and stepping confidently into threes is the one we all fell in love with. That’s the dude we looked at in every Fake Trade proposal and said, “Nah, no way.” Pop called him “special” after the game. Pop called him “stupendous” after the game. I don’t have a thesaurus handy but, look, what I’m trying to say is that he was real good.

There’s going to be nights with this team where it isn’t very fun to watch and we’re going to be sitting there, in the middle of a game, and wondering what it is exactly that we’re doing here. I know I struggled with it the other night during that anemic loss to the Knicks. It’s hard to watch bad basketball and the inclination to turn away is strong. You want to do almost anything else with your time and just put up a sign that says “call me when we’re back.” I get it. I do. But if we all just went fishing and waited for the sun to shine in San Antonio again, then we’d miss out on nights like this one. The ones where you can see the green shoots peeping their way up out of the ground. This is where the real magic happens,

I’m under no illusion that this is some sort of finished project or that we’re going to get something that looks like this every night. However, I do think we’re starting to see it more often. I think that we’re going to start winning games we’re supposed to win. I think we’re going to start pipping some of those 50/50 ones. I think that those six or seven game losing streaks are going to be a thing of the past.

These are all just things that I think. Although, maybe they’re just things that I hope. But you know what? Hope has been in short supply around these parts recently. Maybe it’s not a bad thing that hope is starting to creep its way back in.

Bit by bit.

Takeaways:

  • It’s important that we acknowledge that the Nuggets we’re coming off an overtime game the night before and are in the middle of a very long road trip and, as such, might not have been at there best last night. There. We acknowledged it.
  • A few years ago, could you ever imagine Dejounte Murray stepping into a clutch three pointer off a tipped offensive board and just confidently draining it with zero problem whatsoever? How weird is it that stuff like that isn’t even weird anymore? DJ is so good these days that’s it's almost hard to remember exactly how far he's come. He threw out a stat line of 20 points, 9 assists, and 8 boards last night. Check that, he threw out a ROUTINE stat line of 20 points, 9 assists, and 8 boards last night. Who’s got it better than us? NOBODY.
  • I really missed having Devin Vessel around. He’s so, so good and every time he’s on the court he’ll do something that sort of gets my brain going out over my skis and I start dreaming about things that I probably shouldn’t. Deep breaths. Just going to take deep breaths. I’m going to watch this dunk a few more times and then take some more deep breaths.
  • Loved having Fabricio Oberto in the studio last night. It was kind of a nice change of pace gertting his insight and, also, I loved hearing him be just continuously wowed by Nikola Jokic. Like, obviously, it’s easy to be wowed by that guy because he’s amazing, but it seems like former players especially watch some of the things he does and go out of there way to be like, “DO YOU REALIZE HOW WEIRD IT IS THAT HE CAN DO THAT?” There was one shot in the 2nd quarter last night where he set a screen and then backed up, caught a pass, and smoothly stepped into a three right over Jakob’s outstretched hand and you could just hear Fab let out a audible, “oof” that made me giggle for like five minutes.

WWL Post Game Press Conference

- Consistency is clearly something that’s very important to you, how do you work on maintaining something like that over the course of a season.

- Well, you know, obviously you’re gonna have off nights out there right? There’s gonna be nights where the words aren’t falling and the jokes aren’t landing and like...the key for me is to not give into that quicksand feeling. You know, you just gotta keep writing downhill. Stay in motion. You put enough words on the screen and eventually things will come around.

- What’s the biggest slump you’ve ever been in?

- Back in ‘98 I was out on assignment writing a What We Learned from Charlie’s Loss in the 4th Grade Spelling Bee article and I simply could not find the words. They deserted me completely. Stared at the screen for hours before choking out some simply awful, barely comprehensible thoughts about the nature of spelling and why do we even need to spell if we have computers? I think I had a lot of bee puns in there, I don’t know, it was pretty embarrassing and I definitely spiraled.

- Wait, they had you writing a WWL of an event that you participated in yourself?

- Oh, yea, it was the wild west on the Internet. No rules, no structure, just content. Obviously, these days, you’d probably be like “conflict of interest much?” but, back then, they couldn’t care less. They wanted to learn something from an event and they didn’t care who they learned it from. It was crazy, crazy stuff.

- I can imagine. Is there anywhere I could find some of those old columns?

- Oh, I’m pretty sure we burned everything that happened on the Internet before Y2K. Kinda short sighted, now that I think about it.