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What We Learned from the Spurs loss(?) to the Raptors

Are we sure they lost? They were up by an awful lot

Toronto Raptors v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

Not as fun on the other side of it, eh?

The biggest takeaway I had from this game is that it annoyed the hell out of me that they let it slip away. Like, it didn’t ruin my day or anything but it definitely got me to angrily turn the TV off and huff loudly enough that my wife, from the other room, asked me if everything was okay.

It was! It is! Things are great and good and better than we could possibly ask for right now and that’s so so important to keep in mind when you’re sitting around getting mad about a blown lead like this. Somehow, against all the odds, Victor Wembanyama is a San Antonio Spur. Somehow, against all odds, he’s turned out to be better than we expected and faster than we expected. This is miracle stuff and, you know, it’s just important to say all that upfront.

Because what I’m going to do next is complain.

I’m going to complain about sloppy closeouts down the stretch. I’m going to whine about a complete lack of effort on the defensive glass. I’m going make wild, unsubstantiated claims that I could run a better out of bounds play MYSELF than whatever that face plant was at the end of regulation. I’m going to stew about this blown lead for as long as I need to because it was bad and they should feel bad for making me feel bad.

These Spurs are good. They’re good enough to be taken seriously and, well, this is part of it. If you want to play big boy basketball then you can’t let big boy leads leak out the back like this. It’s unacceptable and they know it probably better than we do. One of the most interesting things Wembanyama said after the comeback against the Suns was that he learned that a twenty point lead in this league isn’t really anything. It can disappear in a flash. Hopefully it will start to sink in that these guys are never fully out of any game and, on the flip slide, that you’re welcome to take your foot off the gas when the clock hits zero and not a second before.

It’s fun that we’re here already though. We’ve spent a long time playing games that didn’t feel like they meant anything other than what it would do to the chances a ping pong ball might fall our way. Wins felt weird, losses felt fine. That’s no way to go through life.

These games count now. If the Spurs have a losing season I’m going to be mad about it.

It feels good to be back.


  • It’s a bummer how this ended because for like 3 quarters, the Spurs looked so good that I was starting to freak out a little bit. They were swarming on defense and the offense looked crisp. Every move was working and our tall French teen was going out of his way to do especially outrageous things on both ends of the floor. The whole experience honestly was making me a little lightheaded. I was writing imaginary letters to all of our haters and doubters. I was taking out loans to place massive future bets on Finals appearences. Things were fully out of hand.
  • Keldon Johnson seemed particularly locked in on defense. It felt like every other play he was in somebody’s way or jumping in a passing lane or just being a general menace. This heightened state of mind obviously faded for Keldon right around when the controllers for the rest of his teammates got unplugged, but it still was fun to watch
  • I’d like to join the chorus of people asking loudly, “How was Cedi Osman not a Spur already??
  • Please feel free to roast me about this, but these jerseys are starting to grow on me a little bit. I hated them when they were announced and they still aren’t my favorite and yes, we probably didn’t need another black jersey and, yes, they aren’t as good as the Gervin era throwbacks we had last year. I agree with all that. I don’t know though, they looked alright out there on the court tonight and that little patchwork design down the side is kinda nifty. Maybe everything just looks a little cooler when a 7’5” teenage phenom from France is rocking it while throwing down dunks that bend that laws of physics.
  • Lol, remember that time Wemby raised his left hand, then swiped Jakob’s layup away with his right? Remember that time he just fully swallowed a shot under the basket? Remember that time he flew from the paint out and blocked a three pointer? Guys, Victor Wembanyama is a Spur, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

WWL Post Game Press Conference

- Whats the biggest lead you’ve ever blown?

- You know? You try to have a short memory about these things and not dwell on ‘em too much. Biggest lead? Well. I’d have to really think about it but my first year writing for Pounding the Rock i was like 3 quarters of the way through comparing DeMar Derozan to an 18th Century British sailor named William Bligh. I had almost every single one of his exploits during the Mutiny on the Bounty lined up with something DeRozan was doing on the court and I just.....couldn’t land it. The comparison got away from me and I was running out of time and I ended up just saying something like, “Midrange King couldn’t save the ship but he was noble in his attempt!”

- Yikes.

- Yea. Terrible. Awful. I was righty raked through the coals for that one and it’s haunted me ever since.

- Have you ever thought about trying to run that one back?

- Well I don’t right about DeMar much anymore...

- No no, like, adding a big naval component to your writing.

- I haven’t. No. But now that you mention it...the sea does always beckon one back. She can be a cruel mistress, but there’s something mystical about the deep. It’s rewarding in it’s own way. It mirrors our own humanity back at us. Its basically a perfect theater to talk about basketball.

- So, you’ll probably try again?

- Yea I’ll probably try again for sure.