One Step Up and Two Steps Back
There’s surely nothing alarming about losing two home games, one to possibly the best defensive team in the league, the other to a really good team seeking a slight measure of revenge from a loss last week. Conversely, there is absolutely nothing special about beating the Bobcats anywhere, anyhow, under any circumstances. But a win is a win, as they say.
After going 8-1* (with an * on that ’1′ as we threw the game) on a grueling road trip, there is some irony to starting a 7 game home stand with more losses than the entire road trip. It wasn’t too hard to see coming, though. There was a week layoff for the All-Star break, providing some much needed rest, but also hurting any rhythm and cohesion the team was developing. Also, after spending the majority of the last 2 months with the same shortened rotation, the team is getting healthy and trying to reintegrate some very important pieces. Read: Manu Ginobili. But also: TJ Ford. And also Splitter and Leonard, to a lesser extent. Bringing back important pieces is going to necessitate some harm to the already developed chemistry. But as we all know, without Ginobili, we’re going nowhere in the second season. Those are two steps back that need to be taken.
The larger issue that concerns me is that the ‘magic’ the team had seems to have disappeared a bit. The team just seems a little less vibrant, less together. The offense isn’t quite as crisp, shots look a little flat, defensive rotations aren’t as strong. A bit of complacency seems to have washed over the team. And frankly, they aren’t quite as fun to watch right now.
The question is: is this just a natural lull, predictable in any season? Or is this endemic of some larger problem?
Only time will tell.
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