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What We Learned from the Spurs win over the Thunder

A night where everything goes according to plan.

Oklahoma City Thunder v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

What conclusions can we draw from beating up on the Thunder? In spite of how it feels sometimes, there are in fact a few teams out there with worse records than the Spurs. That hasn’t always translated into a victory solution but, you know, it was nice to see the natural order of things play out on this occasion. It was fine. It was almost peaceful. We were all treated to a very zen like evening down here in south Texas.

Conclusions though. We must draw some conclusions. Every time out on the floor is a learning experience, not just for these young Spurs, but for all of us. There’s a fire burning in the darkness that holds the answer to whether or not this team is “on the right track” and this game is another log we get to add to it. More evidence. More insight. More facts. All in the service of a greater truth. The funny thing about facts though is that once they get thrown on the fire, the flames can start dancing around in all kinds of directions.

Dejounte Murray had 23 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds in this contest. That is a fact. His eighth triple double of the year. Also a fact! He showcased in this game why he is rightfully considered one of the best guards in the league right now. Ooooh, hold on, because now we’re tip toeing into the realm of speculations. Reasonable minds can’t disagree on the facts but, boy, we sure can disagree on the conclusion so , right? Was this a showcase for why Dejounte is one of the best guards in the league or did he just have a good night against one of its worst teams? I’m no expert, you tell me.

It doesn’t feel very fun to get excited about things right now. I want to. Boy, do I want to. Nothing is more fun than getting on here after a big Spurs win and letting it rip with the hyperbole machine. This is where they turn the corner! This is a glimpse of the future! These are the princes who were promised! I love writing that column. It’s one of my favorite things in the world. I know that it’s a little silly and I know it doesn’t encompass the entire reality of the Spurs franchise, but why can’t it be just a little bit true for just a little bit of time?

I jumped up out of my seat last night when Dejounte went between his legs to Drew Eubanks for that dunk. Literally, I jumped UP and yelped like there was a buzzer in the couch cushions. It was a moment of pure joy and it was the kind of play you sit around and watch a lot of basketball for just on the off chance you might get to see something like it.

I sat down with a big smile on my face, letting the replays wash over me and, as they did, the smile started to fade. I couldn’t help thinking about an off hand joke I’d seen on Twitter earlier in the night. Someone had asked who was going to replace Bryn Forbes as the guy everyone blames the Spurs’ problems on and the top response was Eubanks. I chuckled. I know it was a little bit in jest, but now I could see it playing out exactly like that so very easily. Be honest, you can too, right? Eubanks gets beat along the baseline? “He can’t even play defense.” Eubanks misses a shot? “why can’t PATFO get any real front court depth?” Eubanks checks into the game? Collective groan.

Anytime Bryn Forbes hit a three this season you would see people online roll their eyes. Almost as if to say, “it’s the least he could do.” I dreaded Bryn coming into the game. Mind you, not because of anything he actually did. He was never anything but a consummate professional who came to work and did his best. No, I hated when he checked in because it felt like his mere presence seemed to bring out the worst, most bitter parts of us. The parts of us that can’t seem to move on from whatever glory years we feel we were entitled to. Is that what’s coming for Eubanks too? Must we replace Forbes in that way? Is that where we are right now?

I’m sorry. I’m in my own head about all this. People are allowed to watch and cheer for the Spurs however they want. I’m not the Fan Police or anything. It just seems like more fun to get behind these guys, you know? To love them in spite of their faults. Shoot, to love them because of their faults. Jakob Poeltl is my favorite basketball player in the league, not because he’s the best player, but because he sometimes looks like if a giraffe watched a YouTube tutorial on post moves 15 minutes before the game and it happened to work!

Look, it isn’t my job to build the Spurs back into a contender. I’m not in charge of drafting and trading and coaching these players. My only job is to sit here and watch them do cool stuff. That’s all I want. That’s all I’ve ever wanted.

Dejounte Murray had 23 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds last night. I had fun watching him do it.

This is a fact.

Takeaways:

  • It’s probably a coincidence because, as we’ve mentioned, the Thunder are not a particularly fierce opponent this season. However! It sure was nice to see an entire roster of Spurs players out of the Health & Safety protocols. It sure did seem like the Spurs were finally playing with a full deck of cards and it sure did seem like it made a difference. Hmm. Hmmmmmmm. Hmmmmmmmmmmm. Maybe, juuuust maybe, this might be the type of thing that kick starts these jabronis back into their winning ways. Who’s to say? Probably just a coincidence.
  • I know the reason itself isn’t very funny, but Popovich’s coaching staff being reduced down to Matt Nielsen and player development assistant Willis Hall was a pretty funny visual last night. Like, imagine being part of a triumvirate with Popovich during one of these games and he looks over and is like, “they seem to be picking us apart on pick and rolls, what do you think?” You blindly agree, yes? I would blindly agree. Trying to do the thing where you impress him by disagreeing feels too risky. I lack the stones.
  • A thing I am genuinely loving this season is the development of Devin Vassell. You know what? His “development” makes it sound like I know what I’m talking about. I have no idea how he’s developing. I just love watching this kid play. He moves around the court with a quiet confidence that belies his years. He’s so long and athletic and disruptive and, boy, if he can really keep shooting it from deep like he did last night then we might really be onto something. Other than the DJ/Eubanks Pass/Dunk combo, my absolute favorite play last night was Devin jumping a passing lane and then going coast to coast for a smooth little lay in through three hapless defenders. Young Dev is way smooth, y’all.

WWL Post Game Press Conference

- It sort of just sounds like you need to get off Twitter.

- What’re you, my mom?

- I just think it would probably solve a lot of your problems.

- Where am I supposed to find all my memes then? Instagram’s too weird. I’m too old for Tik Tok. Reddit scares me.

- You could read a book? You could go outside?

- What’re you, my mom?