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What We Learned from the Spurs loss to the Celtics

The Spurs ship up to Boston and ship out with a loss

San Antonio Spurs v Boston Celtics Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

I’m not sure if we’re allowed to give the Spurs credit for playing well in their last two games considering that in the first half of both they fell behind so hard that those of us watching at home briefly had to consider having the “what are we doing with our lives” talk. We considered it! We didn’t have the talk our anything, we just...you know. Gave it a thought. A passing glance.

Look, it was bad basketball, and we were having a tough time. It’s okay to admit it. The brilliant light emanating from Wembanyama’s exceedingly long limbs is soothing to a point, but these halves of basketball where the guys you root for can’t seem to get out of their own way are tough to watch. Especially when you maybe sort of talked yourself into this team having turned a corner. Whoops.

I’m partially responsible for this. I watched them get a few wins and play cohesive basketball for a few games, and I basically hung a “Mission Accomplished” banner inside my brain. We were ascending the mountain. We were checking out listings for deluxe apartments in the sky. We were convinced that our little trip to the Small Sample Size theater was not some rosy vision from a distant future but a glimpse of impending coming attractions. I then went on the internet and wrote as much. I told everyone that we were good now. I said we should “rejoice and be glad in it.”

Fool.

I was a fool, is what I was. I listened to podcasts talking about the Spurs’ “Net Rating” creeping closer to “respectability.” I read articles about how Wembanyama’s switch to the Center position had drastically changed the team’s dynamics. I heard people say things like, “the Spurs should grab Trae Young at the deadline” and didn’t immediately grab a water bottle to squirt in their face like a misbehaving kitten. I acted a fool. I did it in plain sight and with reckless abandon.

All of this led to me sitting down on my couch last night, in full clown makeup, turning on the game excited about the possibility of seeing what these shiny, new, revamped Spurs could do against a title-contending team like the Boston Celtics. I know you can’t see me right now, but I am solemnly shaking my head. Any simpleton with an ounce of sense could have seen this coming a mile away.

So, let’s regroup, shall we? The Spurs have not magically become good overnight. “Good” has yet to become a consistent play in our playbook. This team is still very capable of looking overwhelmed when facing a talented, veteran roster that knows exactly what they’re doing and how to hurt you. The Spurs are better than they were, but they are not good. The Spurs are making progress, but they are not good. The Spurs are capable of inspiring a lot of hope, but they are not good.

Not yet.

The next time you see me getting out of line on here, feel free to grab the water bottle and hit me with a few squirts.

Takeaways:

  • Was very happy to see Coach Pop call out the cowardly behavior of Derrick White. Choosing to sit out a game against the mighty Spurs? Ducking his former team? I thought we raised him better. He should be ashamed. Come out and face us!
  • I choose to believe that Devin Vassell’s recent shooting slump is temporary, normal, and nothing to worry about. In an interview last night, he said, “Obviously, it’s not going down right now, which is part of the game,” and you know what? Yeah, it is part of it. Michael Jordan had shooting slumps. Steph Curry has shooting slumps. Why can’t Devin? It’s probably good for him in the long run to work on finding ways to affect the game when his shot isn’t falling. He has to get to the line. He has to create opportunities for everyone around him. It’s all good! In fact, I’m starting to think that if his shot were falling in these last couple of games, the Spurs might’ve even been able to win a few of them!
  • Put down the spray bottle, I’m kidding. Mostly. Put it down!
  • It’s exceedingly funny that we spent about half the season harping on how the Spurs were falling to pieces in the 3rd quarters of games at a historic rate, and then, all of a sudden, something clicked for them, and now they’re winning the 3rd almost every time out. Seriously, in the last seven games, the Spurs have basically morphed into the Kobe/Shaq Lakers for about 12 minutes after halftime, and it’s been incredible. Now we just have to work on, you know, not having to take the first half off to accomplish this feat, but we’re getting there. Baby steps. Once we learn how to win at least 3 out of 4 quarters, I think the sky might be the limit for this group.
  • When this play happened within the first two minutes of the game, man, I was ready to shock the world. I was looking up how many games we’d have to win to make the play-in tournament this year. I was, as mentioned earlier, acting a fool. Anyway. Still a very fun play, let’s live in that moment for a bit.

WWL Post Game Press Conference

- This is a serious question, because I know a lot of people are asking about it out in the world, but do you think that these post game pieces would be better if you were out there on the road with the team instead of watching them at home?

- Oh, without a doubt. I think this column and, frankly, the entire site, would benefit GREATLY from the entire Pounding the Rock team being in the building for every single game. The insights. The observations. The sheer number of intimate details we could glean from the in person experience would have an immeasurable positive affect on the audience and, possibly, the world at large.

- Wow. That’s incredible. If that’s true, why haven’t you guys been out there already?

- I have to assume the powers that be simply haven’t thought of it yet. Now that they’ve seen it, I’d expect to see us out there shortly.

- Have you considered taking it upon yourself to just go to the games and create a, you know, proof of concept?

- A wise man once said, “if your good at something, never do it for free.”

- Wasn’t that the Joker?

- Yea, a wise man.