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What We Learned from the Spurs win over the Hawks

Spurs show signs of life in a come from behind win over the Hawks

Atlanta Hawks v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

What a weird season of basketball. I know it’s something we talk about ad nauseam right now, but I just can’t get over how bizarre it is to engage with this team on a regular basis. They’re bad! They’re good! It’s a different starting lineup every night! It’s the worst basketball you’ve ever seen, followed by shades of the best. It might even happen in the same game, who’s to say? Top it all off with the creeping shadow of draft position looming over everything and, well, we’ve just got a real weird season of basketball on our hands.

I had my whole doom and gloom, “It’s good that we punted this game” column locked and loaded during the first half so having to switch gears to “actually, it’s great that we won” mode during the comeback has really thrown me for a loop here. That being said, actually, it IS great that we won and here’s why. The Spurs are going to lose plenty of games. I’m truly not worried anymore about our capabilities in that department. Guys will have injuries and guys will need rest and, frankly, guys will still still be very young basketball players who mess things up all the time. From a “finish in the bottom three perspective” we’re fine. R-E-L-A-X.

If you have the chance to complete a comeback win like this, you do it. You can’t ask these guys to work as hard as they do trying to better themselves and then be mad when something clicks into place and it all catches fire for a half. That’s just progress. That’s good for everyone. Are Keldon Johnson and Devin Vessell the backcourt of the future? I’m not capable of telling you that, but it’s fun to watch them finally be healthy enough to give it a go. They’re talented and capable enough to take over an NBA game like this from an actual playoff team that has real things to play for. That’s a good data point to have!

Look, we’re not going to sit here and get too worked about anything. But I also think it does everyone a disservice to pretend like there wasn’t the spark of something special happening out there. These guys are good and they’re getting better. You can squint your eyes and see how this talent might work in conjunction with....whatever happens this offseason. It doesn’t have to be the french guy. It could be any version of premium talent that gets drafted. It could be well placed veteran free agents we snag with the absurd amount of cap space floating around on our books. It could be a lot of things!

I don’t know. Maybe I am getting too worked up about it. Maybe I can’t help myself. It’s been a hard couple years and maybe we’re just trying to lean into the joy where we can find it. This was fun though. It was joyful. It was the type of thing you build on.

Maybe this game wasn’t everything, but it sure wasn’t nothing.


  • The comeback was startlingly fast. Like, if you were watching the game on your phone because you had other stuff on your TV then you might’ve had to rewind the 3rd quarter to see what happened because you missed all the good stuff. Hypothetically. Not me, of course, I was locked in the entire time like a professional. But some of you guys might have had to do that and all I’m saying is that I wouldn’t blame you if you did.
  • The comeback was obviously electric, but it felt just as important how the intensity didn’t fall away after they got it back level. It’d be the easiest thing in the world to go berserk for 15 minutes and then be completely out of gas, but our guys admirably hung in there. They kept the defensive intensity up and they weren’t rushing anything on offense. It was almost...mature? They earned this win. I hope they partied. I hope they partied so hard that maybe a few guys need to take the Pelicans game off tomorrow. You know. The old DNP: Partied Too Hard.
  • I didn’t really pay attention to that thing a few months ago where it seemed like Spurs twitter got upset about some things Dejounte Murray said about his time in San Antonio. I registered it. I clocked it. I chose to ignore it. There’s a chance it would’ve really annoyed me! However, like I said, I didn’t really engage with it and was, therefore, allowed to just feel pleasantly wistful seeing Dejounte out there in a different jersey. Is he maybe a little cranky these days? Sure. It’s been a weird season and he has to spend a lot of time with Trae Young. Who wouldn’t be cranky? All I want to say is that, while he was here, he was good Spur who was saddled with an awful lot of responsibility after Kawhi left. I liked watching him play and I really liked watching him develop into the player he is now. The Spurs community rallying around getting him to the All-Star game last year was maybe the best thing we’ve collectively done in years and I’ll fondly remember that season he put together forever. Trading him was 100% one of those “it’s a business” trades because if it wasn’t a business, then he’d still be here because he was part of the family. If we’re going to be sad about anything, we should be sad about that.

WWL Post Game Press Conference

- What could you possibly have been watching on your main TV instead of the Spurs game?

- Well, like I said, this is purely hypothetical. But let’s just say that, hypothetically, you’ve been watching a lot of basketball over the last couple days and now, in the game you’re watching, the team you’re cheering for is down by over 20 points at half time. In this situation, it’s entirely plausible that your beautiful, caring, understanding wife, might ask if it was possible that we put something else on the tv because she “just can’t watch anymore of this.”

- That’s a pretty well thought out hypothetical.

- Yea, I’m really good at this.

- So what did you, hypothetically, put on instead of the game?

- Sleepless in Seattle.

- Really?

- Yea bud. Tom Hanks? Meg Ryan? Nora Ephron? It’s a beautiful meditation on grief and love and even friendship! It dares to ask us what we want out of life. Are we satisfied with what we have because we think it’s what’s expected of us? Is it okay to want more or even, shoot, is it okay to demand more from life? Sure, this film maybe has a contrived plot device about a woman stalking a widower on the other side of the country, but it uses that premise to transport you out of the real world and effectively evoke that feeling where you feel like there might be some magic in the air. It shows you the little moments and feelings that exist all around us. It reminds you of those times where you know that the cosmos have aligned and you are exactly in the place you’re supposed to be with exactly the person you’re supposed to be with. Life may not be a movie, but life can certainly be magical.

- So, uh, it’s good then?

- Hypothetically.