“Pooh All Over the Floor Right Now”
San Antonio 113, Sacramento 100 // 42-8 // 1st in the West
I’m sure I’ve said it a hundred times, but I hate getting a big lead early in the game. Games are too long and players too good to generally hold double digit leads for an extended period of time. Watching the game, you just keep waiting for the other team to make their run, and you derive no pleasure from what should be a joyous 20+ point lead. Because once it gets down to 14, all of a sudden you start panicking and wondering why the team is playing so crappy. Basically, you end up not enjoying the game at all, and the final buzzer just puts you out of your misery.
On the other hand, if the game stays relatively close for three quarters before the team makes a 4th quarter push and builds a nice double digit lead, you’re on top of the world and the lead seems insurmountable. You know, the same lead I was just fretting about. It’s all about perspective, I guess.
Overall, this was an impressive performance by the Spurs. Coming off a big victory against the Lakers last night in which key players played big minutes, tonight’s game had ‘letdown’ written all over it. In years past, it would not have been surprising at all to lose a game to the Kings a night after beating the Lakers in dramatic fashion. But not this year, not this team. We continue to roll right along, getting positive contributions from every player on the team, and playing so well that Duncan barely had to break a sweat.
The most enjoyable aspect of this game for me was getting to watch Tiago Splitter play big minutes. You can see all of the tools for him to be a defensive presence in the low post. As it stands today, he might already be our best one-on-one low post defender. He’s a good rebounder, moves his feet extremely well, and knows how to take a charge. On offense, you can see all the pieces there, the dots just haven’t fully connected. He’s still learning the intricacies of the offense, but getting better. You can see solid low post moves there, he just often short arms the shots. He’s got good instincts and is a solid passer, just like all of our big men. I know that he’s not as far along as we’d like him to be, and not getting nearly the minutes we’d like, but he has everything there. Patience.
The second most enjoyable part of this game was Tony hitting two 3-pointers. I’ve long wondered when his range would finally expand out behind the arc, especially considering how good of a shooter he’s made himself through practice and dedication and just how important that 3-point shot is (especially from the corner) to the Spurs’ offense. It only makes sense that the man who runs the offense would have that shot, making the team even more dangerous. Over the last few weeks, he’s starting to take more, especially from the corner, and he’s making them at a decent rate. This is something to continue watching the remainder of the season. If he can add a reliable 3-point shot to his game, he would have one of the more complete offensive arsenals in the NBA and be an even deadlier player.