There Go the Dreams of 80-2
Clippers 90, Spurs 85 // Record: 15-3
We were due for one of these games. After watching just a few minutes of the game, it was pretty clear that the Spurs had no energy, the Clippers were hungry for a win, and it was going to come down to the Spurs indomitable execution and experience against the Clippers ferocious desire to get a win in a season devoid of them. In the end, will won out. The Spurs executed decently, but were unable to hit any shots. Jumpers were flat; layups rolled off the rim; 3-balls were well off the mark (we ended the game 9-30, but threw in 2 cheap ones in the last minute; in truth, we were 7-28, a paltry 25%). While the execution was good to find open jump shots, there was very little attacking and breaking down of interior defense, hence the 30 3-pointers. We settled for the path of least resistance, and missed every shot that that path gave us. Defensively, we were a step slow on rotations and were overwhelmed by their athleticism, particularly that of Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon.
We’ve been playing near flawless early season basketball to race out to this record. Eventually we were going to have a flat game against a young, hungry team. It’s a long season, and the Clippers are much better than their record and wanted a chance to prove it. Hats off to them; they played well enough to get the win and we didn’t.
Perhaps the bigger storyline to emerge from this game is the 2nd half benching of Tony Parker. He didn’t appear to be injured in any way, though Pop is hyper-reactive to any potential maladies. But it certainly looked like a benching due to ineffectiveness. Parker has not been playing very well the last week, and maybe Pop wanted to give him some time to sit and think about it. That’s why we love Pop, no? I’ll be very curious to see what narrative emerges from the post-game regarding Parker.
Up next for the Spurs: the Timberwolves at home. Last time we played Minnesota (in Minnesota) it took a substantial come back, a foul on a last second 3-pointer, hitting all 3 free throws, and overtime to eke out the win. Let’s hope, playing at home, that won’t be the case again.
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