The San Antonio Spurs have had pretty nightmarish road trips in the past and this one definitely hasn’t been a nightmare. Has it been fun? No, not particularly. But it hasn’t been the end of the world either. If anything it’s been sort of nice to have things begin to calm down after the sugar rush opening we had to start the season. Things are falling back into place.
This is the type of game we expected from the Spurs this year. Even with Lebron James out of the lineup, the Lakers can simply trot out more talent and experience than the Spurs can. If the stars don’t align and the shots aren’t falling then there simply isn’t a whole lot to be done except hold on tight and hope things don’t get too out of hand. It’s not fun to watch for anyone but it’s probably productive from a developmental standpoint. At least, that’s the hope.
If the Spurs are anything like me, they’re also probably a little worn out at this phase of things. Road trips in the NBA are tough and they’ve covered a lot of ground this week. Throw in a back to back here at the end and I have to imagine they’re running on fumes. A big key to the flashes of success we’ve seen out of this team early on has been directly tied to their energy, hustle and effort being higher than their opponents. It doesn’t take a rocket genius to figure out why they haven’t quite been able to summon those reserves lately.
On top of all that, losing probably just gets to you. I don’t care how positive your attitude is or how much you focus on the big picture of what we’re trying to accomplish. Losing is still the pits and there’s no way that losing games in this fashion doesn’t lodge itself in your brain and start chipping away at all your good intentions. It has to. These guys are competitors and all the intangible points they’re scoring on that big scoresheet in the sky don’t really translate to one’s self esteem.
I don’t know what to say. I feel for them. I want to pat them on the head and make them chicken soup or something because we can all see what’s coming down the line now. The part of this season where you might survive on some magic, elbow grease and a Can Do Attitude is over. This team is probably going to lose a lot of games and it’s probably going to lose them pretty bad. We’re there. It’s happening.
And, look, none of it is their fault or anything and certainly no one is upset at them. What hurts right now is that you can feel them out there trying to make things work because they want to be good. They want to be better. They want get in the face of every person who predicted they’d finish at the bottom of the league and show them all the ways they were wrong. They want every person who has ever said the word tank to have sit in a dark room and deal with just how wrong they were. They want so desperately to change the reality of their situation and, instead the reality of their situation is posting up in their neighborhood, buying real estate, and looking at schools.
It’s a bummer, but it’s going to be okay. Everyone is adjusting and learning and growing, and that includes those of us out here watching from the sidelines. We’re figuring out how to watch this team and support it without caring about the final score. We’re learning how to be there for these guys without being able to actually help them. We’re learning how to find joy in the places we hadn’t thought to look before.
We’re on a journey right now. Some nights it’s going to feel like a fun adventure and some nights it’s going to feel like we’re out camping in the rain with a leaky tent. This road trip was filled with a lot more of the latter but, hey, maybe there are some sunny days up ahead.
Hope springs eternal.
- It should go without saying that the Spurs aren’t going to win many games when Keldon Johnson is a little less Superman and a lot more Clark Kent. He hasn’t played quite up to the standards we would maybe want from him lately but, well, you can go ahead and copy/paste all that stuff I said up there about being tired and apply it here with regards to Keldon. Even getting to sit a game every now and then, he’s still having to shoulder a lot of responsibility this season and that’s definitely something that takes a little getting used to.
- It seems like the reports of Anthony Davis’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Sheesh. I don’t think that AD is the best player in the league by any stretch of the imagination, but there are few players in the game who feel more dominant than he does when he’s got it working. Among the many reason the Spurs felt like an ice cube in the fire last night, he was by far the most prominent.
- It’s been nice to see Lonnie Walker be a bright spot on this pretty abysmal Laker season up to this point. Barring something catastrophic happening, Lonnie has all but locked up a place in the “Forever Spur in my Heart” Hall of fame. Keep grinding Lonnie!
- Apropos of nothing, this picture kind of cracked me up.
WWL Post Game Press Conference
- Inquiring minds want to know, who else is in the “Forever Spur in My Heart” Hall of Fame?
- Well, lets see here. Some prominent recent examples in the last few years would include Patty Mills, Derrick White and Dejounte Murray. But you know, it’s all the people you’d expect. Danny Green is in there. George Hill. Obviously, Boban was an automatic induction. With very few exceptions, if you won a championship with us then I probably put you in there. People are always like, “is Gary Neal in there?” and I have to be like, “look, of course Gary Neal is in there. He made roughly 49 threes in a finals game. He has to be.”
- Any notable exceptions?
- One extremely notable one.
- Oh, right. So do you have any exact qualifications for this or is the induction made up more willy nilly?
- Oh it’s the williest of nillies. I think It might be what the kids call a vibe check?
- A vibe check?
- Yea, a vibe check. Like, if I see you in a jersey that isn’t a Spurs jersey, do I still think you’re cool. So like, Aaron Baynes? Cool. David Lee? No so much. Kyle Anderson? Cool. Richard Jefferson? Not so much.
- It’s an inexact science.
- It’s hates even the implication that it might resemble science.