Back to Back, Meh to Meh
It’s a good thing there are no style points in the NBA. The Spurs extended their league-best winning streak to 9 games with wins on consecutive nights against the struggling Pistons and short-handed (and perpetually struggling) Raptors.
They both go down as “W”s in the ledger, but neither were very impressive wins, and the team looked flat and disengaged for long stretches of both.
In many ways, the two games were mirror opposites of each other. In each game, the Spurs jumped out early, leading by double digits at halftime in both games. Instead of cruising to easy victories, in both games the home team came out and outplayed the Spurs in the second half, only to fall short. As always, in the end, talent outs.
In the Pistons game, Detroit played such an aggressive, swarming D in the second half that I thought it was the 2005 Finals again. (That was a very stressful 2+ weeks for me.) Fortunately, their offense couldn’t do enough to put the game away.
The Raptors, on the other hand, hit 11 of their first 12 shots to start the second half and were on fire. Fortunately, they were only able to trim 1 point off the lead in their torrid third quarter because they couldn’t stop the Spurs offense. And by “Spurs offense” I mean “Tony Parker”, with a little help from Tiago Splitter.
Games like these are to be expected. In the middle of the road trip, being away from home for almost 2 weeks, playing back-to-back against really depressed teams. Ultimately the win counts as equal as any other. And while the games may show that the Spurs still have a lot to work on, that’s probably a good thing. It’s way too early in the season to be satisfied, especially for a coach who is never satisfied. Ironically, these two lackadaisical wins may be able to light a fire under the team moving forward.
A brief respite, then the Rodeo Road Trip moves West. The next four games are the toughest of the trip. Saturday against the 3rd-in-the-West Clippers; Monday against the better-than-you-think Utah Jazz (plus, it’s always tough to play in Utah, no matter the team or the coach); Tuesday in Portland, a brutal back-to-back travel-wise (two members of your beloved SpursDynasty staff will be in attendance, just behind the basket, Spurs side of the court!); and finishing up Thursday in Denver, another tough road environment always. Initially I wanted to go 7-2 on the RRT, so we just need to split these next 4 to do that. Totally doable.
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