clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What We Learned from the Spurs win over the Heat

The young Spurs just keep swimming.

San Antonio Spurs v Miami Heat Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

It’s reassuring to know these Spurs wins don’t matter. I mean, in a grand cosmic scheme they are obviously minuscule, but in the much more tangible NBA landscape they are also just blips. Little anomalies that have flared up in the stratosphere. Nothing for anyone to get all hot and bothered about. We’re good. We won’t get fooled into anything. We won’t start thinking about things. We’re just going to enjoy the moment.

We know that too many of these wins can undermine a whole lot of sweat equity that’s already been put into being bad with a purpose. Like, we know the deal, right? The only thing worse than being miserable is having that misery go to waste. So no matter how much I complain along the way, just know that I really, really covet those ping pong balls at this point. I crave the concept of this particular bet working out and I fully acknowledge that every little win along the way threatens the structural integrity of the bigger picture.

That being said...this win was nice. It felt good to see these guys we’ve grown to care about hugging and smiling after putting a game to bed. It felt good to hear Popovich talking about how hard everyone competed and not have it seem like a consolation prize. It felt good to see the things this team does well pay off for them. The 11 game losing streak was like getting slowly crushed to death by a giant boulder and these past two games have allowed everyone to take that weight off just a little bit. A few deep, unencumbered breaths to clear the mind.

That clarity is important because it lets you reframe this whole operation into something healthy. It’s a reminder that the Spurs aren’t just lighting the season on fire in a craven attempt to beat the odds and find a winning lotto ticket. They are using this season to develop and grow. They’re seeing what kind of pieces they have and they are moving them around on some big chess board that the rest of us don’t really have access to. They aren’t playing an 82 game season. No, they’re playing a five year plan. We might not be able to see the forest for the trees at any given moment, but it’s important to remember that someone out there is on Forest Watch.

I hope we start losing again someday and I hope those losses turn out to be useful. I hope they matter. Because this win? It didn’t matter. It was just a glitch. An accident. A nothing.

Even though I know all this to be true, it mattered to me. I needed it. My soul needed it. I think the guys on the team needed it too. You have to see the ball go through the hoop every once in a while just to make sure you still remember what it feels like; to reassure yourself that you still know how to do it.


  • I think I sort of lost track of exactly how ravaged the Spurs have been by the injury bug this last month or so. Maybe that’s a product of this team being so new to me that it’s hard to keep track of who everybody was in the first place. Regardless, it’s something to keep in mind when considering the free fall down the standings that has taken place since that little hot start the Spurs had in October. There’s a teeny, tiny chance that, when healthy, this team might still be pretty good. They might just put up a little fight every once in a while. I don’t know! I promised I won’t get worked up about two wins so I won’t.
  • I’m just saying.
  • Devin Vassell sharping that clutch gene is a wonderful thing. That’s the type of tangible investment you can already see paying dividends. After the game, everyone up and down the roster was talking about how confident Devin is and it’s so cool to see how hat confidence hasn’t waned at all during this rough stretch of games. It makes me feel confident to know how confident he is and it helps me sleep better at night knowing that he doesn’t seem to be affected but the difficult circumstances of this rebuilding effort.
  • The vibes coming off that Heat squad really stink. Like, we have our own stew going on over on our side but whatever is rotten in their particular Denmark was almost suffocating me through the TV screen. When I think of recent Miami teams, I think about a group that is scary to play because their intensity level was always off the charts and that intensity was nowhere to be found on Saturday. It seemed listless and it seemed frustrated. I wanted the Spurs to get the heck out of Miami as soon as possible just so they didn’t catch anything.
  • Yesterday was the 26th anniversary of Popovich taking over as head coach which means it’s the 26th anniversary of me being really bummed out as a nine year old because I saw someone on Sportscenter say it was a bad idea. Like, I remember going to school and being really sad about Bob Hill. Bob Hill! Like, apologies to Bob Hill who I’m sure is fine, but imagine being sad about Bob Hill! What a world. It’s a good reminder that I was a pro at being wrong about stuff from a very early age. I have a prodigious record in that arena that should never be questioned.

WWL Post Game Press Conference

- You were really upset about Bob Hill?

- Yes! Frankly, all things being equal, it still seems like a bad idea. Like, who even was Gregg Popovich? Nobody, right? Like, let’s go around the league and look at every team. If the GM of any one of them fired their head coach and then installed themselves as the replacement it would make everyone’s head explode. It would shut down the internet for a week! It’s, like, one of the most insane things I can imagine happening

- I do think people were perplexed about it at the time.

- Of course they were! It was wildly perplexing! Bob Hill was pretty good and David Robinson had gotten hurt! What was he supposed to do? Fix David Robinson on the fly and get back to work? Poor Bob.

- Do you think Bob Hill ever sits around and thinks about how many championships he would’ve won with Tim Duncan?

- If I were Bob Hill, that’s basically all I would ever do. You wouldn’t be able to get me to shut up about it. I’d have written books and gone on TV shows and made documentaries. It would be horrible. You guys are so lucky I’m not Bob Hill. Shout out to Bob Hill for being such a mensch about it.