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What We Learned from the Spurs loss to the Clippers

San Antonio put together an impressive loss to an old foe.

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at San Antonio Spurs Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

I hate it when Kawhi comes back into town. Mostly because I’m tired of writing stuff about Kawhi. I feel like ever since he left, all I’ve done is sit around and try to process what it means. It’s gotten easier to memory hole that pain over the years but then, you know, seeing him again just dredges it all up. I’ll probably always be locked in an eternal struggle of telling myself I’m over it and that I’ve moved on and that everything is fine while simultaneously having my little Jenga tower of self confidence crumble around me every time he steps on the floor in a different uniform. Another grown man hurt my feelings five years ago because he didn’t want to play for my favorite team and I simply won’t get over it. How lame is that?

It’s still weird watching him out there as a Clipper. He glides around the court with an effortless determination that makes it seem like outcomes are predetermined. His game has never been beautiful and fluid but more beguilingly efficient. Even after all these years and all the injuries, he’s still got that level that makes you feel like you’re watching an alien who’s been sent down from the heavens to ruin some other team’s day. It will never stop being annoying that we’re the other team sometimes.

On paper, Kawhi’s post-Spurs career has largely worked out the way he wanted. He won a title, he moved to LA, and he got paid. In reality, it’s been a little topsy turvy. There’s been playoff flameouts and weird injury stuff. He’s had to deal with being on the Los Angeles Clippers and all the requisite shenanigans the come along with being involved with that franchise. I think everyone generally agrees that he’s spent the last couple years proving the he is one of the NBA’s biggest talents and also one of it’s biggest weirdos. Not exactly the legacy I had pegged for him circa 2013.

It’s impossible not to wonder about the alternate timeline where he stayed and the Spurs retooled around him. Maybe we snag another title or two. Maybe we never manage to have the firepower to compete with the Warriors or (some versions of) the Lakers. The details of what could have or should have happened get pretty hazy pretty quickly and the more you try to tighten your grip, the more they start to slip through your fingers. It’s frustrating.

Again, I hate it when Kawhi comes back into town. I do this every time. I tie myself in knots over a bunch of stuff that really doesn’t even matter. I watch him and Popovich embrace after the game and I feel like the kid who just flipped the Monopoly board during family game night and everyone is wondering what’s wrong with him. It shouldn’t matter this much. It doesn’t matter this much. And yet...

Kawhi hurt my feelings. I don’t care how it sounds to say that out loud, he hurt my feelings. He hurt them and he left and he never really said sorry or even acknowledged that the situation might be painful in the first place. He just moved on and did his thing. That’s his right and, well, it’s my right to still be salty about it. What does it matter?

It’s not like he cares anyway.


  • The “drama” of seeing our ex come back into town sort of overshadowed a pretty decent game, at least by our current standards. Playing tough and hanging around with a playoff team before eventually losing gracefully is basically the exact game plan we want to draw up every time out these days. Competitive losses: The Breakfast of (future) Champions.
  • Jeremy Sochan is really reading the “how to become Charlie’s favorite player” handbook. I’m so proud of him. He works hard. He gets in fights with Markieff Morris. He has a pretty cool style. He gets in fights with Marcus Morris. Dunks all the time. Never backs down from the Morris twins. Rebounds his butt off. Seems to hate any Morris brother whose first name starts with M. Seriously, my guy Jeremy is the whole package!
  • Just want to start doing quick shout outs to Jakob Poeltl doing cool stuff because he’s putting together truly one of the great anonymous seasons I’ve ever seen. It’s like he’s operating in a parallel universe where the Bizarro Spurs are challenging for a title and relying on the steady, workmanlike production from Jakob to steady the ship and keep them on track. His game is so full of all little, unremarkable things that add up to something beautiful and important. A well set screen here. A crucial box out there. A smooth little drive to the hoop with a subtle lay in finish. Jakob is the cog in the machine that makes it go and the only way to truly appreciate him will be when he’s not there anymore.

WWL Post Game Press Conference

- Things got pretty emo up there. You ok?

- Oh, yea. Of course. I’m fine.

- It’s just that, I mean, that final line was so dramatic. “It’s not like he cares anyway.” In your head, are you imaging that he’s going to somehow read this maybe be devastated by it?

- I...yea, I mean. I guess when you put it like that, maybe it’s a bit over the top. Who knows though! Kawhi might read random recaps on Spurs fan sites. Maybe this will be the one he reads while on the Clippers charter jet to their next destination. It’ll be late at night. Everyone else on the plane is asleep and he’s just scrolling through things like Mark Zuckerberg at the end of The Social Network. Maybe he reads this and thinks to himself, “Damn. I really was kind of a jerk. I should atone for my sins.”

- Atone for his sins?

- Is that too much?

- No no. This is your fantasy, shoot for the moon.