clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What We Learned from the Spurs loss to the Thunder

A shorthanded Spurs team goes to great lengths to ensure ninth loss in a row

San Antonio Spurs v Oklahoma City Thunder Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images

Two of the worst teams in the league squaring off on a cold Wednesday night in Oklahoma doesn’t necessarily conjure any images of basketball greatness and, on that account, this game did not disappoint. Even by the greatly diminished standards of the 2022 season, this one was a particularly tough hang. The San Antonio Spurs, who were shorthanded for the umpteenth time of the year, blew a 20 point lead en route to continuing their nine game streak of futility. Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

I would be lying if I told you the first half wasn’t at least a little bit fun. Everything seemed like it was clicking again for the young guys. The offense came easy and the defense was working together in a nice, easy unison. Fo a little bit, everyone could relax, breathe, and just play basketball. No one was under any illusion that a blowout win over the Oklahoma City Thunder was going to be the cure for everything that ailed us, but it certainly would’ve been a nice change of pace.

The second half was one of those halves that make you question your sanity. The Spurs were inventing new ways to avoid scoring points. Everything that worked in the first half was going awry. Everything that seemed easy was like trudging through the mud in a hail storm. It almost defied logic. The Spurs themselves even seemed bewildered at the pace with which everything they built was unravelling.

Normally I would now take a moment rattle off a few of our tried and true platitudes about the lessons being learned and the work being done behind the scenes and the vegetables being eaten and so on on and so forth, but I don’t know if I have it in me today. This place we’re in right now is not a fun place to be, so putting on a brave face and acting like it’s okay just doesn’t feel like it’s in the cards.

The real solution here is to maybe not take things so seriously. Have a little fun with it, why don’t we? This isn’t life or death and it doesn’t need to be treated with any kind of gravitas on my end. Maybe we’ll get there. Maybe this season will wear us down by the end and we’ll all find a way to reach some kind of enlightened state where everything is beautiful and nothing hurts. Maybe.

Today I’m just tired of losing. If there’s one small candle of hope still burning in this ever-encroaching shroud of darkness, it’s that the players are tired of it too. They’re sick of it and they’re trying to fix it. The Spurs aren’t supposed to win very many games this year, but it can’t be like this. It just can’t be a never ending onslaught of losses. That’s a stench that’s hard to get off your franchise, no matter how many ping pong balls fall your way.

The Spurs are adrift, lost at sea in the middle of a pretty bad storm. Sometimes, it’s tough to remember what home is like when you can’t even see the land anymore.


  • I think we need to stage an intervention for Keldon Johnson. Nothing feels even remotely comfy about his game at the moment and if it’s starting to stress me out then I can’t even imagine what it’s starting to do to him. Keldon is a confidence guy and I think when he wasn’t feeling it in the past he was able to pull back, regroup, and reassert himself when things felt better. A game or three here and there where KJ was missing didn’t really set off any alarm bells. Now, well, now there’s no hiding. He’s front and center and there’s no easy way for him to go off in a corner and work on himself. Obviously, the benefit of a season like this is that there’s no pressure on him to figure this out quickly and he’s allowed to take some time to figure it out, but there's no getting around the fact that this is a test for him and at a certain point we’re all going to start asking for results.
  • I know he’s a little bit banged up and I know there is no real imperative to play him if we don’t need to, but I really miss having Jakob Poeltl on the floor. It just feels like we have an adult out there when he’s in the lineup and that makes me feel one hundred times more confident in letting the kids run around and try stuff. Every new trade rumor I read with his name in it makes my heart grow three sizes smaller.
  • A fun one to end on from back when things were less dreary in the 1st half. This play feels like the epitome of what this team can do well when its clicking. Devin Vassell is aggressive defending the pick and roll with Bates-Diop. He uses every single inch of his frame to force Tre Mann into making the curious decision to just loop the ball across the court. Tre Jones is right there to pick it off and without hesitation whips it back up the floor to Devin in transition who finishes nicely on the break. This whole sequence is young, fast, athletic, and instinctual. It’s the kind of basketball that’s going to keep us bought in over the course of this process and I just hope we get to see more of it going forward.

WWL Post Game Press Conference

- Pretty heavy sailing imagery there at the end. “Adrift, lost at sea” and all that. You a big ocean guy?

- I find the sea to be equally enchanting and frightening. I love to look at it. I love to be near it. I love to smell it. Mostly though, I love using it for metaphors. It is infinitely useful in that respect.

- Yea, the ocean as metaphor thing is a pretty time honored tradition in literature

- For sure. That’s the whole thing about water is that it kind of take the shape of whatever you put it in, right? The ocean’s just a big thing of water you can put wherever you like.

- Do you do any sailing yourself?

- Not even a little bit. I’m more into cosplaying as a sea captain. Beards, pipes, and big, heavy, knit sweaters. Staring out at the waves in quiet contemplation? That’s more my bag. Actually getting on a boat seems pretty dangerous. Couldn’t be me.

- Seems a little bit like stolen valor.

- Well, my apologies to the sea captain community.