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What We Learned from the Spurs loss to Nets

A good effort from the Spurs falls a little short

San Antonio Spurs v Brooklyn Nets Photo by David L. Nemec/NBAE via Getty Images

The Spurs played a top team in the league tough for all four quarters, held in there through some ebbs and flows, and finally succumbed at the buzzer in overtime to a 50/50 floater. What a perfect loss! If you could snap your fingers and make them all like this you’d do it in a heartbeat and not look back.

After the game, Popovich said he was proud of the team and how they played and I’ve decided, as a rule, to basically just follow his lead when it comes to interpreting the tea leaves of any particular game. If he’s proud, then I’m proud. If he’s disappointed, then you better believe I’m disappointed too. If he says a curse word in his post game presser, then I absolutely get to say one in mine. Them’s the rules. (“A lot of guys stepped up, and they played their asses off, that’s what I’m most excited about.”)

The thing is that I don’t know squat about player development and I’m willing to bet that, unless you are member of some NBA front office or coaching staff (in which case, hello!) then you don’t either. We know what we see and we know what we think we see and...that’s about it. I watch Josh Primo step up and knock down that clutch three to send this thing into overtime and my lizard brain lights up and goes, “this kid is amazing, he needs to be getting major minutes!” I watch Lonnie Walker continue to get bucket after bucket and I think, “Lonnie is ready to make the leap. He’s starting to believe.” I watch Jock Landale be tall out there and I go, “holy moley, that guy is tall, why isn’t he starting??”

I don’t know anything! I’m a dog with a bone! I like watching shots go in and when the Spurs score on the screen is higher than the other team’s score then I get a little serotonin boost. That’s the whole deal. So if Popovich said he was proud of the effort out there then, you know, I’m proud too. I don’t want to come off like State Media over here or anything, I just...I trust Gregg Popovich? Is that weird? I don’t think he’s out there scrambling to keep his job. I don’t think he’s trying to trick us into believing he’s got us on the right path so he can keep cashing those sweet paychecks. No, I think he likes basketball and likes seeing his guys get better at it. If those are your goals then, yea, Sunday was an unmitigated success.

Losing games is never satisfying and there’s always going to be a twinge of disappointment served alongside it, but this was a fun one. This team is, in spite of it’s overall record, very fun to watch and keeps showing flashes of being a legitimately good basketball team. This is an exciting time to be a Spurs fan. You’re all basically listening to a band right before their first hit single blows up on the radio. This is the good stuff.

Let’s enjoy it while it lasts.

Takeaways:

  • Was, uh, anyone else completely caught off guard about this game kicking off in the morning? I’m sure they announced it somewhere but, you know, there’s a lot of news flying around these days and I think they need to announce it WAY harder so unsuspecting members of the fanbase aren’t sitting around watching a terrible football game until they see a random tweet about the final score, forcing them to have to watch a replay of the game later already knowing what happens and then not even really getting to enjoy the fun comeback because they know how it ends. Purely hypothetical situation, obviously, but you can imagine how annoying it would be if that were to happen, right?
  • I’m extremely ready for the Spurs to be playing with a full deck of players again. I miss our guys! As much fun as I had watching...*checks notes*...Devontae Cacok try to D up James Harden out there, it isn’t exactly a part of the whole “planting the seeds for our future success” plan we’re really leaning into at the moment. Look, that’s mean, Devontae was great yesterday and it is kind of it’s own thrill to see some of these dudes get meaningful NBA minutes for the first time. All I’m trying to say is that I miss our guys and I miss the version of this Spurs team that seemed like it was starting to gel before it started dancing with the Health & Safety Protocol Devil.
  • The Nets game winning shot in Overtime was a hilarious case of everything kind of going, right? Like, Kevin Durant has the ball with the clock winding down and your brain is just basically already preparing itself for the shot to go in. He was built in a lab on some distant planet and sent here for this exact purpose so you’re already screwed. But then, by some miracle or divine intervention, he gives the ball up? To a rookie? A rookie who is going to run into traffic and toss up a floater? This is perfect. We did it, we...oh. It went in? Huh.
  • I’ve made a stink before about the NBA going way overboard with every team having too many jerseys and no one having an identity anymore because it’s all tied up in branding and false nostalgia for a bygone era and blah, blah, blah. I stand by that take, however! This game did look nice. The Fiesta Jerseys obviously pop in almost any scenario, but they looked especially good matched up with those very clean Nets feuxbacks. A very important aspect of the operation is that Brooklyn went the extra step of having their court actually match with their blue jerseys instead of just leaving it black. It looks 1000% better and it makes me so angry when teams don’t do this. Like, irrationally angry. Like, every time I see the lakers wear Blue and Purple Jerseys on a Yellow and Purple court I basically decide to become the Joker.
  • Let’s watch Primo’s big shot one more time and just pretend the NBA allows for ties, eh?

WWL Post Game Press Conference

- Well, you said that you’re going to say a curse word in your post game presser, so what’s it going to be?

- Come on now, I’m not going to just blurt it out like that. I want there to be some art to it, you know? Some romance. Kids read these things so I have to make sure that they know cursing is a vile, rude, and terrible thing that you should never do under any circumstances unless you do it right.

- So there’s a right way and a wrong way to curse?

- Oh, absolutely. You can’t just go out there throwing words around without any thought or consideration to how they’re being deployed. They aren’t a grenade you toss into a conversation hoping to make an impact. No, cursing is a precision game. One must seek out the perfect opportunity and match up the exact turn of phrase to the moment. It’s like pairing a fine wine to go along with a gourmet meal. It needs to make the conversation sparkle. It needs to make you feel comforted and invigorated all at once. It needs to create a sense of familiarity, as though we’ve been friends for years and we’re just now meeting within the inner sanctum of our trust circle.

- That all sounds pretty dumb.

- Well you don’t need to be an ass about it.