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What We Learned from the Spurs loss to the Hornets

San Antonio got behind early and never recovered

Charlotte Hornets v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

I’m not going to come tell all of you nice people that Gordon Hayward ruined my life, because he didn’t. All things considered, I have a wonderful life full of family and friends that I wouldn’t change for the world and, frankly, there’s nothing that Gordon Hayward can do about that. You hear me, Gordan? There’s NOTHING you can do about it!

My Wednesday evening, on the other hand, was completely ruined by the villainous Gordon Hayward. There I was, sitting down after a long day, and looking for something to take my mind off the various little roadblocks Life has tried tossing in my path. I thought to myself, “Ah, what could be better than a quiet evening with the Spurs? Surely this will unlock the serotonin centers of my brain and allow me to drift off into a peaceful night’s sleep.” Dear Reader, I was so wrong.

Instead of the soothing symphony of grace and movement I was expecting, I was treated to something more akin to a horror film. A terrifying monster clad in purple and sporting an immaculate haircut was rampaging through through the small town leaving destruction in his wake. The villagers, woefully ill equipped for a fight such as this, could do nothing to stop him. It was a massacre.

The winning strategy for San Antonio this season is going to always include knocking their opponents out of their offensive rhythm. It is never going to involve getting in a full-on boat race with the other side because, well, our boat isn’t built for speed. The Spurs came into this game wanting to be physical and take advantage of a shorthanded team that was missing its primary ball handler. Gordon Hayward looked that strategy straight in the face and said, “what if I just make every single shot I take?” I’m not sure how much more analysis is required. The Hornets came out of the gates on absolute fire and the Spurs’ water bucket was empty all night. Fin.

I will confess that I haven’t caught quite as many Hornets games this season as I, uh, normally do, so the degree to which they seemed capable of lighting it up like this was extremely off putting. Were you guys aware that this team has the second highest scoring average in the league? Second! In the league! The Charlotte Hornets! The very same ones playing the Spurs last night! That seems crazy to me. Throw in the temporary absence of LaMelo Ball to this scenario and I am even more flummoxed by how something like this can happen.

Now, I’m only telling y’all this because we’re friends and I know you can keep a secret. The worst part of the evening for me was when I was sitting there, slumped on the floor, watching Hayward cooly head off to the bench with the court engulfed in flames behind him, and I realized a terrible truth about myself. I was jealous of this Charlotte Hornets team. I was jealous of how they played and how they seemed to be attacking the game. They were fast and they got out and ran and they shot and they shot and they shot. Granted, we caught them on a great shooting night, but it still seemed like such a fun way to approach the game of basketball night after night.

These Spurs are grinders. They have the capacity to run and score do all that fun stuff when the opportunity presents itself, but the core of what they do is grind. They try to limit their mistakes and turn up the volume on yours. It’s admirable and it fits their personnel but, also, it sometimes results in a night like this where there’s simply no option other than to play out the string and hope the Gordon Hayward’s of the world lose their touch. It’s understandable, but it isn’t very fun.

I wouldn’t actually want to trade place with the Hornets or anything. I love this young core we’re building on and I think the direction they’re headed is the right one. I just...well, sometimes you look across the table and see someone eating a cheeseburger. Then you look down at your own plate and it’s like, a fennel salad or something and you feel a little silly. You know that it’s going to taste fine and you know it’s healthier for you in the long run. Everything in your brain is telling you to keep your eyes on the prize and simply enjoy the salad.

Your eyes, though? Your eyes can’t stop looking over at that guy housing his burger.


  • Hey! The Spurs made every single Free Throw they took! That’s pretty cool, eh? We love those Throws and, especially, we love when they’re Free. I know it didn’t work out in this particular contest but, in my opinion, I think the Spurs should deploy this strategy in the future as much as possible. If the Throw is Free, the game’s E-Z. Need to get on the horn with Coach Pop and see if we should get signs made up with that on it for the locker rooms and stuff.
  • I feel bad for making up a joke about not watching very many Hornets games, but I have to imagine that Hornets fans aren’t watching a ton of Spurs games either so I feel like it’s probably ok. If there are any Hornets fans reading this, reach out to my assistant and we’ll see about getting you a gift card or something to make amends.
  • The irony of all this is: it actually ended up being a pretty decent offensive night for the Spurs. Basically the entire team got out of the blocks like a lead balloon, but then things settled in. Dejounte didn’t score much, but he distributed well. Keldon came alive a little bit and Derrick got to the rim enough to be a problem. Bryn Forbes (A.K.A. The Much Maligned Bryn Forbes) tossed in a cool 25 points. Imagine getting 25 points from Bryn Forbes every night? Maybe we can build on this! Maybe this is the start of something!
    Maybe I’m losing it.
  • Let’s try and end on a good note. Devin Vassell has an extremely unique look about him when he dunks. He’s so long and skinny that it creates a weird little illusion about him as he floats through the air. It not that it isn’t powerful, because once he hits home the dunk usually radiates power, but I can’t help feeling like every time he jumps that someone has tossed an electric eel at the rim or something. This isn’t a complaint! More basketball players should be emulating eels! I’ve always said this.

WWL Post Game Press Conference

- Do you think you could take Gordon Hayward in a fight?

- Ah. No. Ugh. I really wish you hadn’t asked me that.

- Why?

- Well, as you know, I’m legally mandated not to lie in press conferences and...well, now I’m forced to admit that I think Gordon Hayward could beat me in a fight.

- Why is that a problem? He’s a 6’7” professional athlete? It seems pretty likely he could beat a lot of people in a fight.

- Sure, I guess, but my whole brand is predicated on the illusion that if a man like Gordon Hayward absolutely torches my favorite team like this, then I could go out there and defend our honor if I had to.

- Your whole brand is predicated on that?

- Yep. Now I have to start over from scratch. Say goodbye to the tough, pugilistic, ‘Teddy Rooseveltesque’ figure you’ve come to know and love. It’s time for something new.

- You had a good run.

- I thought so.