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What We Learned from the Spurs loss to the Rockets

A second straight loss to Houston offers some clarity

San Antonio Spurs v Houston Rockets Photo by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images

Lest we forget what the actual lay of the land out here was, last night was a stark reminder. The Spurs are one of the worst teams in the league. They just lost two straight games to one of the other worst teams in the league. They are not messing about. They are not getting cute with it. This is a race to the bottom. Our chips are fully pushed into the middle on a bet that this season of misery might just deliver us from evil and guide us into the promised land. That’s a lot of flowery language to say we tanked.

We tanked really good last night. We tanked like the life of our franchise depended on it. I know that it’s sort of gauche to call it out in the open like this, but what we saw in the past two games was not a team fighting tooth and nail for every scrap of valor they could scrounge out of tough situation. No, it was a bad team. It was a team that didn’t belong in an NBA game. It was a team put on the court with the “unspoken” intention to lose.

I know there were injuries and I know there are rules about rest and I know all the things. I’ve been watching the same operation everyone else has for the last however many years. I get it. It’s necessary and it’s smart. No matter how many incentives the league tries to put in to prevent things like this happening, they can’t change the reality that sometimes the only way out of a hole is to just dig through to the other side.

I know all this and I still hate it. I don’t like watching it, I don’t like being a part of it, and I really don’t like acknowledging that it’s the right thing to do. It’s a cold and calculated method of succeeding at something that’s supposed to be fun. It’s a “business”, sure, but it’s also entertainment. It’s fun. It’s a hobby. Watching this play out in real time makes me feel like I’m watching a science experiment. We might as well just be playing a video game and pressing the button that lets us simulate the rest of the season.

Right now I feel about as low as I’ve ever felt as a Spurs fan.

Let’s hope that it’s worth it.


  • My main takeaway? We got a quick glimpse the other night of what this team looks like playing at something akin to full strength. It was intoxicating and it got ripped away from before we could even savor it a little bit. I’m sick of watching Keldon Johnson trying to drag along ramshackle parts and lead them on failed charges into the breech. It hurts my soul and I’m starting to wonder if it’s going to end up really hurting him as a player in the long run.
  • Watching that Rockets team literally dunk all over us made me want to walk into the ocean and float way. Maybe I’ll just go catch a ride on a research boat to Antartica. Study Penguins for a bit. They kind of have the same color scheme as the Spurs. I think I could make it work. Anyway, the dunking. Man alive, they just kept dunking on us. 14 dunks! I hate it! Do Rockets fans just sit around and watch their guys dunk all the time while trying to avoid looking at the score?
  • This jersey is clearly our worst alternate jersey but, I have to say, it’s grown on me over the course of the year. I think the side piping is actually kind of cool and it’s definitely unique. The SATX logo is...well, it’s fine. It’s even good if you focus on it long enough because you can’t bring yourself to focus on the basketball being played. I like the little Texas on the shorts? You guys, this game drove me a little batty. I need a nap.

WWL Post Game Press Conference

- Would your Penguin Research detail preclude you from writing WWL columns?

- Absolutely not. My contract runs through 2027 and, while it doesn’t stipulate that I have to write about the Spurs, they are very clear in the language that I have to periodically send out dispatches telling us What We Learned about something.

- So, What We Learned from Day 44 on the Ice Flow is coming our way soon?

- I mean, I’m not dead set on the Penguin route. There’s all sorts of things I could cover while the Spurs are taking a hiatus from competitive basketball. I could try to figure out where cilantro comes from. I could get really into making clay pots. Maybe I’ll build a wooden ship and sail it across the Mediterranean. The world is my oyster and I’m ready to tell you what we learned from it.

- I just googled it. Says cilantro “is native to southern Europe and Asia but has spread to many other parts of the world. One of the oldest know herbs, it was grown in ancient Egyptian gardens and its seeds have been found in Egyptian tombs.”

- Well that’s great! I’ll get to work on What We Learned from Googling Cilantro right away.