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What We Learned from the Spurs loss to the Rockets

A 17th consecutive loss leaves everyone scratching their heads

San Antonio Spurs v Houston Rockets Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

You don’t need a basketball genius to swoop in and tell you to hit more shots. That’s pretty basic stuff. In order to win you simply have to put the ball in the basket more often than the other team does. The Spurs had the opportunity to do this last night in Houston and they failed that objective. The reward for the failure was a loss. Another loss. A 17th consecutive loss. Woof.

I worry that I’m running out of things to say about this team. They aren’t this bad. I mean, they aren’t great, but they aren’t this bad. They aren’t “setting records for futility” bad. They play really well for long stretches of time. They seem to have good chemistry. They buckle down and play defense. They string together runs of offense that are as exciting as anything we’ve seen in these parts since 2014. The only caveat, and it’s an important one, is that you have to add “most of the time” to the end of every one of those statements.

Most of the time they look great. Most of the time they buckle down. Most of the time they are fun and exciting and filled with promise. It’s just that that they can’t quite keep it together for a full 48, can they? They slip. They have little lapses in concentration. The aliens from Space Jam come take their powers before the 3rd quarter starts. I don’t know what happens! All I know is that they can’t seem to do it yet.

Maybe they’re young. Maybe they’re inexperienced. Maybe Gregg Popovich is too busy teaching them life lessons and forgot to tell them how long the games are. I truly don’t know the answer. All I know is that watching this team has morphed into one of the weirder experiences of my sports watching life and I’m not exactly sure where to go from here.

Again, this team isn’t that bad. Have any of you guys watched the Pistons this year? Or the Wizards? Those are the other two teams participating in the “No Wins, Just Vibes” contest with us at the moment, and let me tell you something: those teams stink. They’re unorganized and listless. They shuffle through games waiting for them to be over and it all looks and feels miserable. They’re is zero fun to be had. I promise you that it feels completely different, and yet...the three of us have gone a combined 1-51 over their last 52 games. The one win? The Wizards beat the Pistons. That’s bleak stuff!

The Spurs don’t feel bleak though. At least, they don’t when I’m watching them play. Maybe it’s hard to ever get too down when Victor is floating around the court making our heads spin every night, but I think it’s more than that. I finish every individual game encouraged by what I just watched. There’s a palpable sense that they seem close to figuring it out. They have all the tools, it just feels like they are trying to build in the dark for some reason.

Maybe this is all part of the plan. Everyone in the Spurs Front Office has been shouting as loud as they can since that ping ball fell our way that we were not going to try to be good this year. We weren’t going to rush things. The point was not to be good and it never was. I hear all that and I get it. I guess. I think I just feel frustrated because every bone in my body is telling me that there’s been progress. I sense it. I know it’s in the room with me. I just can’t validate that opinion with any shred of tangible evidence yet and it’s making me feel a little crazy.

Okay, a lot of crazy.

Look, they simply have to win one of these games soon, if for no other reason than to give us something else to talk about.

Takeaways

  • I’ve never dreaded anything so much as I’ve dreaded the 3rd quarter with this team. What is going on?? It’s like clockwork with these guys. Is Pop serving them too many hot dogs at halftime or something? Or maybe not enough? I know their 3rd quarter efforts (or lack thereof) have been covered on this site and elsewhere so I’m not going to try and break it down in more detail here, other than to continue to lament the fact that maybe there’s a curse situation that we need to come together as a fanbase and figure out.
  • I can’t remember the last time I saw an NBA team score 83 points. That’s some 1994 shenanigans right there. I didn’t know it was possible to score less than 90 in this league anymore. I assumed Adam Silver had the practice outlawed when he came to power back in the day. 5-41 from three? That’s...I mean. I obviously couldn’t do any better than that but the alarming issue here is that I probably couldn’t do much worse
  • It’s pretty cool that Victor Wembanyama can sort of roll out of bed and grab 18 rebounds just by default. You don’t even notice him doing it anymore he just kind has the ball all of a sudden. That’ll be useful down the road when the Spurs are, you know, not losing games at a historic rate.
  • HEY. Victor! I saw you try to roll your ankle in this game and give us all collective heart attacks. Ha, ha, ha. DON’T DO THAT AGAIN. I know you were fine but PLEASE DON’T DO THAT. We are skating a very thin layer of ice between sanity and the abyss and I’m not exactly sure that our psyche is currently built to sustain a Wembanyama injury.
  • Let’s, once again, all gather around, take a deep breath, and Watch Victor posterize Alperen Şengün. It’ll be good for us.

WWL Post Game Press Conference

- What happens if there is a curse?

- We’d have to go on some type of adventure I suppose.

- Like Indiana Jones or something?

- Well, yes like Indy, a little bit. But he’s usually on the hunt for some artifact and the curse comes as a part of that hunt. What we’re saddled with here is a Curse already being in place and now we have to go find a way to break it. Maybe that’s acquiring an object. Maybe it’s destroying an object. Shoot, maybe it’s cleansing our souls in the healing waters of cave buried deep in the Andes. I’m not totally sure at this point.

- Right, we haven’t even determined if the curse is real yet.

- Yea. I mean. I’m pretty sure it’s real though.

- You think?

- The only alternative is “basketball stuff” and I’m not really qualified to diagnose that.

- But curses you are qualified for?

- 100%