Welcome back to best of the Spurs week! We’ll be looking at some recent trends in the NBA over the past few months while also witnessing the breakup between two good friends due to a single dunk.
As always, things took an unexpected turn at times and random topics like the super soldier serum somehow worked its way into the article...
THESE TWO ARE ON FIRE!— Spurs_Muse (@spurs_muse) March 24, 2022
Dejounte Murray - 3-3 from 3️⃣
Devin Vassell - 3-3 from 3️⃣
Are we seeing the next splash duo? pic.twitter.com/ExfvxmmshK
- Derrick White explodes in Round 1 to help BOS(4) knock off Chicago (5)— Josh Paredes (@Josh810) March 24, 2022
- Zach LaVine is disgruntled, takes a meeting with SA
- Dejounte, Pop, Manu, etc wine, dine, and sign him
- I wake up pic.twitter.com/Y7V0nHJ3rM
ZACH LAVINE TO THE SPURS, WE NEED TO SPEAK IT INTO EXISTENCE.
I wish that was possible, but I don’t see any reason why Lavine would leave Chicago now that they’ve actually assembled a respectable team around him. The whole point of trading and signing both Demar and Lonzo was to convince Lavine to stay, and they’ve exceeded even the wildest of expectations this year.
Plus, even if he decides to test free agency, why would he joy an even worse team in the Spurs?
On a lighter note, I love it when players comment on each other's posts and fans get all excited because of it. Remember when Embiid used to make fun of opposing players on Instagram after games? Good times.
KELDON JOHNSON CRASHES THE GLASS FOR THE @spurs WIN! pic.twitter.com/KqEPj6N8I9— NBA (@NBA) March 21, 2022
Boy, this was one of the wildest endings to a game in recent memory. Golden State definitely isn’t the same team it was to start the season due to injuries, but no one is going to feel sorry for them.
With the playoffs starting in just a few weeks, I think the best stats to look at are team record over the last few months instead of the entire season.
According to Cleaning the Glass, the Celtics have the league’s best record (19-3) and point differential (+14.5!!) since the start of February. To no one’s surprise, Memphis and Phoenix are, respectively, second and third in point differential, with all three teams ranking top five in both offense and defense over that span.
Meanwhile, Golden State is 10-12 and +1.1, which is 15th in the league. The best story since then is probably the play of the Timberwolves, who are 17-7 and fifth in point differential at +8.5.
On the other hand, the Bulls have dropped off hard and are only 11-12 since the start of last month. The Spurs are actually just ahead of them in point differential with a mark of -1.7, although San Antonio’s only 10-12 over that period.
With that said, there’s a real chance that the good guys could catch the Lakers for the final play-in spot. L.A. is 7-15 since February with a differential of -6.0,
good bad enough for 25th overall. They’ll likely stay in their current spot if Anthony Davis returns soon, which, in my opinion, is a good thing; I’d much rather have higher lottery odds than participate in the play-in given where this franchise is at.
Loved this sequence from Josh Primo to hit Devin Vassell for a corner three in transition: pic.twitter.com/VSOZFO0wAQ— Noah Magaro-George (@N_Magaro) March 24, 2022
Jakob Poeltl the RIM PROTECTOR— Spurs Nation (@SpursNationCP) March 24, 2022
Career-high of 6 blocks pic.twitter.com/tmkPDDLGti
It’s nice to see Poeltl get some recognition for his elite defense, but his impact hasn’t been as great as it was last year. This is interesting since I haven’t noticed any huge changes in terms of the eye test, but most of his defensive stats are down.
For example, opponents shot below 50% at the rim last year with Poeltl defending them, but this number has increased all the way to 56.8% so far this season. That’s still one of the better marks in the league, even if it’s a far cry from what he did in 2020-21.
A lot of that is definitely related to a league-wide change; so far, only Jaren Jackson Jr. and Jarrett Allen are limiting the field goal percentage of opponents to below 50% at the rim this year. The Spurs as a whole have also been a lot worse defensively, which has definitely impacted Poeltl’s numbers.
It’ll still be interesting to see what’s causing the change, but that’s an article for a different time (*insert eye emojis*).
Gregg Popovich tossed - with the wink on the way out pic.twitter.com/qU9Oqiew2j— Chase Shannon (@chase_shannon) March 19, 2022
Pop definitely wanted to get ejected here, and I was starting to get worried he wasn’t going to be given how long it took the referee to blow his whistle.
But hey, the man’s 73! Sometimes he just needs a break from Spurs basketball, which certainly isn’t for the faint of heart at times.
Or maybe he just wanted to watch golf? I’m being totally serious by the way, just like the time Doc Rivers claimed he tried to get ejected to watch Tiger make a run during the Masters.
LeBron receives a standing ovation after passing Karl Malone in all-time regular season scoring pic.twitter.com/VYU4CNkXgP— NBA TV (@NBATV) March 20, 2022
I’m pretty sure I’ve said this for like three weeks straight now, but appreciate arguably the best player ever while you still can.
Most insincere tweet
FYI: When LeBron passed Karl Malone on the all-time scoring list, LeBron had taken more than 500 more career shots than Karl did.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) March 22, 2022
I hope I can find a person someday who loves me as much as Skip hates LeBron.
Most personal dunk
LEBRON PUT KEVIN LOVE ON A POSTER pic.twitter.com/CvE0JzXcyx— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 22, 2022
THAT MAN IS 37 YEARS OLD PEOPLE.
Seriously, was LeBron made in a freaking lab? I swear he was injected with the super soldier serum when he was born. When are we ever going to see a guy who’s 6’9, 250 pounds of pure fast twitch muscles who can run faster and jump higher than just about anyone in NBA history again?
Jeez, that sounds way too much like fan fiction, I’ll see myself out now...
Best visual summary
Lebron realizing he about to body Kevin Love pic.twitter.com/am70ZXYxXq— ＭＡＲＳ ＢＬＡＣＫＭＯＮ (@MarsBlackmonJay) March 22, 2022
Best friendly(?) fire
Kevin Love had the best reaction after LeBron dunked on him pic.twitter.com/nhOQ6jGCq8— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) March 22, 2022
Is it just me or did Kevin Love actually go harder than I expected here? If he did that to me, I probably would’ve been sidelined for a year with every upper-body injury you can name.
Welcome to beautiful and warm Milwaukee ☀️ pic.twitter.com/DqAZOeKtxo— Giannis Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) March 20, 2022
I have no idea what this is about...
I still enjoyed watching it, though.
Kyrie Irving is officially cleared to play in home games after NYC Mayor Eric Adams announced an exemption to the city’s vaccine mandate for pro athletes and performers pic.twitter.com/EDV2HsLeUw— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 24, 2022
This was inevitable, wasn’t it? Kyrie can make his home debut this weekend but I’m still not sold on the Nets. Every time they seem to get healthy, something else happens that blows up the entire thing.
Even so, it’s still funny seeing most of the top teams in the East jockeying out of the top spots to try and avoid potentially playing Brooklyn in round one.
ZION BACK IN THE GYM pic.twitter.com/OwmKpBIvlj— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 23, 2022
If LeBron was injected with the super soldier serum, then what the heck did Zion get?
Seriously, how is it even possible to be close to (or more than) 300 pounds and still get up that high?
As for how this impacts the Pelicans, I don’t think many people know. Zion’s already been ruled out for the season so is this just his way of reminding everyone what he’s capable of?
Either way, I just hope we can see him fully healthy next year.
This week, I’m sending you guys to check out an article on Lonnie Walker from my good friend Jesus, who’s one of the best and longest-tenured PtR writers.
See you all next week!